6 Pros on the Cleaning Products They Can’t Live Without

6 Pros on the Cleaning Products They Can’t Live Without

Skoy Cloth

skoy-cloth

Photo by amazon.com

Trade in your paper towels for the Skoy Cloth —it gives you a streak-free wipedown on any surface. It’s 100% biodegradable and printed with soy ink, and best of all, you can just throw it in the dishwasher to clean it. —Christine Dimmick, founder and CEO of the Good Home Company

HAAN SI-40 Swivel Head Floor Steamer

haan-floor-steamer

Photo by amazon.com

Typical floor cleaners leave behind residue, and I don’t like the idea of chemicals ending up on my kids’ skin and pets’ fur. So I use the Haan Steam Mop instead—it cleans beautifully and because it uses the power of steam, it’s toxin-free. —Dimmick

Bioshield Floor Milk

bio-shield-floor-milk

Photo by greenbuildingsupply.com

Bioshield Floor Milk is gentle and works wonders for sprucing up old, worn floors—not just wood, but all kinds of surfaces like tile and linoleum, too. I recommend using it once or month or so as an upkeep product. Instead of leaving a dulling film like many chemical floor polishes, it cleans and provides a natural dirt and water resistant barrier. Your floors will shine and you’ll have less scrubbing to do in the long run! —Jacqueline Janus, Owner of Two Chicks and a Broom

Casabella Microfiber Blind Glove

casabella-microfiber-blind-glove

Photo by amazon.com

I’m a huge fan of Casabella’s Microfiber blind glove which picks up dirt and dust quickly and easily. To remove stains in a toilet, I always use a handled pumice stone called the Pumie Toilet Bowl Ring Remover. —Leslie Reichert, Cleaning Expert and Author of The Joy of Green Cleaning

Better Life Stain and Odor Eliminator

better-life-stain-odor-eliminator

Photo by cleanhappens.com

Better Life Stain and Odor Eliminator is my go-to product for removing carpet stains. Just clean up any excess mess, then spray directly onto the area and blot with a damp towel. —Donna Smallin Kuper, Certified Housecleaning Technician, Author, and Blogger at Unclutter.com

Unger Microfiber Window Combi: 2-in-1 Professional Squeegee and Window Scrubber

microfiber-window-squeegee-scrubber

Photo by amazon.com

A microfiber window squeegee is the key to cleaning lots of windows in a hurry. —Becky Rapinchuk, Founder of CleanMama.net and Author of Simply Clean

Endurance Bio Barrier

endurance-bio-barrier

Photo by amazon.com

Most mold and mildew products are highly toxic and/or don’t work, but the Endurance Bio Barrier water-based formulas contain zero VOCs and have been laboratory-tested to inhibit the growth of molds, mildew, and germs on treated surfaces. First, you use Endurance Cleaner Prep to remove existing mold, then you spray Endurance Bio Barrier to prevent future mold by coating and sealing the surface with this formula. —Linda Cobb, creator of Talking Dirty With the Queen of Clean book series.

Gym Equipment Has More Germs Than a Toilet Seat—But Don’t Panic

Gym Equipment Has More Germs Than a Toilet Seat—But Don’t Panic

We got to the bottom of the hype

rear-view-woman-running-on-treadmill

Photo by Blend Images – Erik Isakson/Getty Images

If you’re looking for a reason to skip the gym today, a new study from the fitness equipment review site FitRated.com might seem like it. After swabbing 27 pieces of gym equipment at three different gyms they found that, on average, each machine was teeming with more than one million colony-forming units (CFU) of bacteria. To show just how germy this is, they drew comparisons to other dirty surfaces. An exercise bike has 39 times more bacteria than a reusable cafeteria tray. Free weights have 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat, and a treadmill has 74 more times more bacteria than a water faucet. Disgusting enough to stay on the couch, right?

We wouldn’t be so sure. Though the study broke down the average CFU into percentages of types of bacteria (gram-positive cocci, gram-negative rods, gram-positive rods, and bacillus) those are just general types of bacteria—not specific names of pathogens that would cause alarm. People generally carry a ton of germs on the skin, and they impart them wherever they go through contact through skin, nasal carriage area, and through your feces (sorry germaphobes).

“While there is potential of harmful bacteria present, it’s not a given that you’re going to be infected, says Dr. Philip M. Tierno, professor of microbiology and pathology at the School of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York and author of The Secret Life of Germs. “You can reduce that possibility by washing your hands prior to touching conduits of entry into your body.”

Besides washing your hands before and after using equipment, and refraining from touching your eyes, nose or mouth while using equipment, there are a few other things you can do to stay safe. First, wipe off the germs with a sanitary wipe before you use a machine and properly dispose of it in the trash (in other words: don’t leave it in the cup holder!). Also don’t workout if you’re sick, and wash your gym clothes when you get home.

But overall, your risk from getting sick from a germy gym is extremely low to nil, even if those numbers sound scary. “It’s not a surprising thing, nor is it alarming,” says Tierno. “Don’t let that toilet business fool you.”

 

5 Mini Decorating Moves for a Boring Home Office

5 Mini Decorating Moves for a Boring Home Office

See how a designer transformed Broadway and TV star Sutton Foster’s home office in just five easy steps.

Photos by Matt Harrington Photo

A home office can easily become a neglected space. Since it’s not usually a place to entertain guests or hang out, people tend to keep the home office bare and focus their decorating efforts on other spaces, like the living room, dining room, or family room—which was the case with the home office in actress Sutton Foster’s New York City apartment.

So Foster enlisted the help of interior designer Mike Harrison and HomeGoods to give the office more personality and style. “Functionality doesn’t mean lack of style,” Harrison says. “One of the great advantages of this space was that there was so much natural light with a stunning view, so the interest is already built into one entire wall. Another great plus was that the three pieces of existing furniture were beautiful, quality pieces so my job was just to marry the function with the style of the space and execute a clear vision for the room.”

Foster, who wanted the space to be neutral but not boring, says Harrison’s updates make the new office “come to life.” And it was all done with some inexpensive styling tricks you can use to give your own space a makeover. Here, Harrison’s tips:

1. Bring in Color.
Your favorite, eye-catching colors can make a space feel unique and more relaxed. “For this room in particular, it was important to Sutton that it be a place of inspiration for her husband, who is a professional writer,” Harrison says. “She wanted a space full of interest with a sophisticated whimsy. I wanted to achieve this through a layered neutral palette, with an occasional pop of color.”

2. Add Accessories.
“When personalizing an office space on a budget, try to remember that a little goes a long way,” he says. “One new desk lamp or one new rug can really transform a room. Also, it’s important to remember that even if a room needs to function as an office, it is still an extension of your home. It doesn’t need to be stale and corporate, so inject personal touches like framed pictures, special objects, and artwork.” In Foster’s office, Harrison added a geometric rug, abstract art, patterned pillows, plants, and unexpected lighting.

3. Play With Scale.
Often, your home office might be a small nook or a tiny room, so it’s important to maximize every inch of space. “When dealing with smaller spaces remember that scale is important,” Harrison says. “I used a great mirrored end table to serve as a coffee table instead. I also found a clean, white leather desk chair that brightened up the space to juxtapose the dark wood in the furniture.”

4. Organize With Style.
Keep the clutter contained. “Since the office is a highly functional room, organization is key,” he says. “Let the organizational supplies that you use exhibit the room’s style.” And, luckily, you can easily find inexpensive office supplies that pack a lot of color and flair—think metallic notebooks and pens, acrylic boxes and pencil cups, and colorful tape dispensers and staplers.

5. “Fake” an Office.
Don’t have a designated office? Don’t worry: You can still create a working space wherever you have a little bit of extra space. “Create room for a small desk in your living area, bedroom, or even dining area,” Harrison says. “You can add floating shelves above it to house office supplies and display decorative objects.” Ta-da, an office nook.

 

8 Ways to a Makeover With Mirrors

Brighten and expand your interiors with a touch of imagination — and a mirror or two

 

Give your interiors an instant makeover without having to knock down walls. There’s a much easier way to enhance your space and make it look larger while adding tonnes of personality to it. Simply add a mirror! No longer just restricted to your vanity table, a mirror can be creatively placed to upgrade every room from your hallway to your kitchen. We show you how.

Houzz Tour: A Contemporary Pool House Nestled in Rural Bengal

An outhouse extension of an ancestral home doubles as a recreational space and more

 

Once the land was purchased on both sides of their ancestral home, the clients wanted to build an extension to the house. Abin Design Studio (ADS) was brought on board to give shape to the (fitness enthusiast) client’s brief – to design a contemporary and luxurious pool house that included a swimming pool, gymnasium, open lawns and guest entertainment areas. And it all had to be built keeping the principles of vastu in mind.

“Beauty in simplicity and in careful, laborious, hand-crafted detailing is the most interesting aspect of the project,” says Abin Chaudhuri, a firm believer that architecture is a form of artistic expression. Abin Design Studio built this pool house in the span of two years.

That’s interesting: This new block connects to the ancestral home via bridges.

5 Ways to Recreate the Tropics in Your Home Decor

Bring in the fabulous rush of flowers, foliage and island colours to recreate the tropics in your home

 

If lounging on the beach is your idea of a fun holiday, you needn’t dream longingly of the sun, sand, coconut palms and blue sea whilst parked in your urban home. Create a tropical island within your own residence to live out your vacation. Scatter images of leafy fronds, bold flowers and brilliant butterflies … go for a riotous colour palette that brings alive the hues of the tossing blue waves of the ocean, waving green palms, lazy golden beaches and smiling colourful blossoms. Here is how to bring into your home decor the vibrancy of the tropics.

Expert inputs from interior designers Sulaxmi Laud and Reshma Chhabria

Bunk bed built for kids in attic of home!

Kbunk1ids enjoy having unique areas to play in or even a small area to call “home”.  A modified bunk bed custom-built in the attic/loft of this contemporary home would be the envy of any child, while still serving a functional secondary purpose via storage space for books, games, and other items.

In lieu of a bottom bed of the bunk, a play area instead occupies this space and gives the child offers plenty of open space for creative fun.

The bunk bed’s ladder splits the open space into two separate areas. One side is meant for fun while the other is meant for doing homework and keeping up with his or her studies.

Even myself, as an adult, find myself envious of this uniquely built attic bunk bed. I imagine children would have a blast sleeping, playing, and studying in this attic or loft  creation!

 

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Source: http://www.interiordecoratingarticle.com/a-bunk-bed-built-for-kids-in-attic-of-home/

Smart Organizing Tricks for a Clutter-Free Closet

Smart Organizing Tricks for a Clutter-Free Closet

About Home Loans

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VA helps Servicemembers, Veterans, and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. As part of our mission to serve you, we provide a home loan guaranty benefit and other housing-related programs to help you buy, build, repair, retain, or adapt a home for your own personal occupancy.

VA Home Loans are provided by private lenders, such as banks and mortgage companies. VA guarantees a portion of the loan, enabling the lender to provide you with more favorable term.

How to Hang Pictures Right the First Time

How to Hang Pictures Right the First Time

 
 

Painting hung over mantel

Framed paintings and photographs add a splash of color to a room and give it a unique personal touch, but some homeowners are reluctant to tackle the job for fear their walls will end up resembling aged Swiss cheese. With the right hardware and know-how, you can approach your next picture hanging project with confidence.

Finding the Right Location

The first step is to decide where you would like the picture to hang. Recruit a helper to hold the picture on the wall while you evaluate its placement using the following guidelines:

  • The center of the picture should be at eye level, approximately 60” from the floor.
  • Leave at least a 3” to 6” gap between the top of a sofa and the bottom of the picture frame, and 4” to 8” inches from a table top.
  • Treat a grouping of pictures as a single unit.
  • Center the picture or grouping within the available wall space or over the piece of furniture below it.
  • Position pictures away from direct light and high humidity.

Deciding on a location for one picture is fairly simple, but arranging several pieces in a single space can get a bit more complex. The answer is to make paper templates with arrows on them to indicate whether the piece will be hung vertically or horizontally. Tape the templates to the wall, using easy-release painter’s tape, and rearrange them until the grouping is to your liking.

Once you’ve decided on the perfect spot, use a stud finder to identify wall studs and mark their location with Post-it Notes or painter’s tape.

Marking wall even with edge of frame

Marking the Wall

While holding the picture in place, put a strip of painter’s tape on the wall with the bottom edge even with the top of the frame. Mark each end of the frame on the tape then remove the picture.

If the picture will have only one wall hanger, find the width of the frame, divide by two, and measure this distance in from the marks on the painter’s tape. Split any difference between the two marks for the center.

Mark wall at center of painting

For added stability on wide frames, use two hangers that are equidistant from the center point. If the frame has a hanger on each side, measure in from the outside edge of the frame to the center of each hanger and transfer these measurements to the tape.

Next, turn the picture over and measure from the top of the frame to the point the picture will hang. For pictures with a hanging wire and one hanging point, hook the metal end of a tape measure under the center of the wire. Pull up until the wire is taut, and measure up to the top of the frame.

Measure from wire hanger to top of frame

For frames with a wire that will have two hanging points, pull up on the wire at both points simultaneously then measure up to the top of the frame.

Measuring wire to top of frame for double wall hangers

For pictures with D-rings or sawtooth hangers, hook the tape over the top of the frame and measure down to the spot where the wall hanger will be attached.

Transfer the hanger location on the wall by measuring down from the bottom edge of the painter’s tape.

Measuring wall to frame hanger location

Then use a level to make sure it is plumb with the mark on the strip of tape.

Use level to measure down to hanger location

Choosing Hardware

In order to select the right hardware to hang your picture, you need to know:

  • The approximate weight of the picture.
  • The type of hanging hardware on the frame.
  • The wall material.
  • If the wall hanger will be attached to a stud.

Types of wall hanging hardware

There are a number of hardware options for hanging pictures, with the label on the package usually giving the maximum weight each one is designed to hold. To find the weight of the picture, weigh yourself on a bathroom scale while holding the picture then subtract your weight from it.

Traditional metal picture hooks work well for lightweight frames fitted with wire while screws or nails are a better choice for sawtooth and D-rings hangers.

Standard wall picture hanger hardware

If the hanging hardware will attach to a wall stud or solid wood paneling, just about any hanger suitable for the frame and rated for the weight of the picture will do. If the picture is heavy and a stud isn’t present, you’ll need to use a wall anchor on drywall or plaster walls. Self-tapping threaded anchors are suitable for attaching all but the heaviest pictures to drywall.

Anchors that spread out behind the wall—such as toggle or molly bolts—provide the most holding power and help keep plaster from cracking.

Wire hanger picture hanging hardware

The latest innovation in picture hanging hardware is a thin curved spring steel wire sold under brand names such as Heavy Duty Wall Hanger, Hercules Hook, and Monkey Hook.

To use, simply twist the sharpened point through the drywall and push the wire into the wall cavity until it locks in place.

Wire hangers will only work where there’s not a stud or other obstruction in the wall. They are quick to install and remove, leaving a very small hole that is easy to spackle and paint over.

Installing Hardware

Keep in mind that the spot marked on the wall and the location you attach the hanger may differ since the hook often extends down from the nail or screw that holds it. To make sure you get it right, position the lowest point of the hook at the mark before attaching the hardware to the wall.

While you can nail or screw directly into drywall, always drill a pilot hole first in plaster to prevent cracking. Brick and concrete walls require drilling a hole with a special masonry bit then either hammering in a masonry nail or using a plastic anchor and screw.

Hang Picture

To prevent your picture from marring the wall and keep it hanging level, apply self-adhesive rubber bumpers to the bottom corners on the back of the frame before hanging. After suspending the picture on the hanger, remove the strip of tape, and use a level to check your work.

Source: https://www.todayshomeowner.com/hanging-pictures-right-the-first-time/