Getting Ready To Sell Your House?

Getting Ready to Sell Your House?

Here are 11 Things Most People Forget to Do

 

You’ve started on your lists of small repairs, you’ve contacted a real estate agent, and now you’re in the final steps of getting ready to sell your house. But before you put your home up for sale, and certainly before having your first open house, here are 11 things to consider that most home sellers forget to think about and could cost you a sale.

 

  1. Declutter and Organize Your Closets and Cabinets

Sure, you went through your entire house and reduced the clutter in each room, organized your desk and other surfaces, and arranged your collection of antique ceramic kitty figurines to be facing perpendicular to the window. However, did you tackle your closets and cabinets?

 

One thing you should definitely expect during an open house or individual home tours is that potential homebuyers will be looking in your closets, kitchen drawers and cabinets. Will your walk-in closet fit all of his shoes and her summer dresses? Is there enough storage space in your kitchen for their cookware, bakeware, and all the kitchen gadgets that they seem to collect each year? These are all questions homebuyers will be asking themselves as they walk through your home.

 

Of course, you as a home seller will have no idea what the needs are of a potential homebuyer, but you can definitely showcase what your house has to offer in terms of storage. Start by decluttering your closets, cabinets, and drawers, and then keeping only enough belongings in each to really show off the potential that space has to offer. Think of it as an extension of staging your home, but for your storage areas.

 

  1. Clean Stains and Eliminate Odors

We should all consider small stains, marks, and other imperfections as badges of honor for a house that has been lived in for years. Nonetheless, these slight bumps and bruises your home has encountered over time will stick out to potential homebuyers, so tackle them head-on.

 

Begin by trying to put yourself in the shoes of a potential homebuyer and look at your house objectively. Start by going outside and then re-entering your house as if you didn’t actually own it but were an interested homebuyer looking at it for the first time. What do you see? Walk through every room and take note of all the imperfections you notice. You might surprise yourself with how quickly your list grows. You can then add them to your list of repairs so you can make your house truly be at its best before your first open house.

 

Also, if you have pets there is a strong possibility that your home has an odor which you can no longer smell. Deep cleaning your house is a sure fire way to help eliminate these odors, but also think about using an odor eliminating spray every day for about a week before your first open house. You can also place plugin room fresheners that offer a great crisp smell, like cucumber, to help infuse a sense of cleanliness throughout your house.

 

  1. Replace Light Bulbs

Walk through each room in your house and look at every light bulb to see if it’s working. As homeowners, we sometimes forget to immediately replace a lightbulb when it goes out. You want your house to be at its brightest when new homebuyers are touring your home and replacing old burnt out light bulbs is one of the easiest ways to do it.

 

Also, don’t forget to walk around the outside of your house to make sure all the lights of your home’s exterior are working as well. Depending on the time of year, your open house or home tours could happen when the sun is going down or when it’s already dark. So be sure to make your house shine inside and out!

 

Pro tip: Make sure all your light bulbs are the same color temperature inside your house as well as outside. A soft-white light LED bulb can create a bright but welcoming environment for new homebuyers.

 

  1. Think About the Small Details: Plants, Mirrors, Rugs

Consider each room’s individual characteristics, so you can really showcase the potential every room in your house can offer. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind while you start prepping every space for an exceptional open house experience.

 

Add a little green to your spaces

Nothing breathes life into a room more than a little greenery. A potted tree can work wonders in a living room, but for smaller areas think smaller plants such as a small potted herb garden in the kitchen or a miniature cactus on the mantel.

 

Open up even the smallest rooms

Mirrors can make small spaces seem large because they create the illusion of depth. Mirrors also work wonders in darker rooms as they reflect light deep into areas of a room that may not receive an abundance of natural light.

 

Add character to an otherwise unimpressive space

While staging your home, think about adding character to various spaces with rugs. However, keep in mind that you want to use rugs to enhance a space, not be the focal point of it. Also, if you have a strange space that you never really figured out a good use for, a rug could at least offer a little personality while leaving the space and its potential to the imaginations of homebuyers.

 

  1. Enhance Your Outdoor Space

You’re probably already aware that enhancing your curb appeal is one of the most impactful things you can do to create a great first impression. However, you don’t want to forget about your other outdoor areas, such as your front porch or entrance, your back entrance, side yard, and backyard. You want to enhance your outdoor spaces around the house so potential buyers can see themselves living as much outside your house as inside.

 

Simple enhancements like placing potted plants to your front entrance or adding fresh beauty bark around the base of your hedges and trees can go a long way. If you don’t already have a designated outdoor space for entertaining, think about building a DIY fire pit and adding four Adirondack chairs to create the idea of outdoor fun. Ultimately, your outdoor space can be just as important of a space as what your home has to offer on the inside.

 

  1. Get Professional (Aerial) Photography

By now your research has probably shown you that homes with professional photos sell for more and spend less time on the market on average. What you may not have considered is adding aerial photography to your listing photos.

 

Aerial photography can show off your entire property, a scenic view, and the surrounding area. If you have a lot of property, an aerial shot can easily put into perspective the full scope all your land has to offer to potential homebuyers.

 

Furthermore, aerial photography has come a long way thanks to the rapid development of drone technology, resulting in reasonable pricing that is accessible for many homeowners today.

 

  1. Don’t Forget About Your Gutters

Imagine that you’re having your first open house and despite the rain, foot traffic has been steadily increasing all morning. Your house looks immaculate, like one of those home’s off of an HGTV show, and your real estate agent has been messaging you updates every hour about how great it’s going. But then the unexpected happens. A small stream of water starts coming down right in front of your large bay window in the living room. The stream is outside the house, but your would-be buyers watch on as it grows into a miniature waterfall.

 

Red flags go up for the homebuyers touring your house as the foot traffic thins then disappears altogether. What they didn’t see was that the spillage was the result of a clogged gutter, nothing more, causing water to spill over in a very inopportune place and at the worst time.

 

Depending on where you live, you may not see as much rain in locations like Phoenix, AZ, but in many locations where rainfall is a common occurrence, such as Seattle, WA, this situation is more likely to happen. If you don’t have time to clean your gutters yourself—because you have a house to sell and a million other little things to do—there are professional services that can clean your gutters for you so this little oversight doesn’t drown out your hopes of selling your home quickly.

 

  1. Paint Your Baseboards and Crown Molding

It’s pretty common knowledge that you should paint the interior of your home a neutral color to appeal to more buyers. Homebuyers want to imagine themselves and their stuff in your space, so your red accent wall will need to be painted over with a more neutral hue. But what a lot of home sellers forget to do is pay attention to their baseboards and crown molding.

 

Where crown molding may just need some cleaning and touch-ups, your baseboards most likely have seen a lot more traffic, especially if you have kids. It may be a toy truck that has repeatedly crashed into your white baseboards, crayons that went rogue, or the black rubber wheels from bikes racing down the hallway, most likely your baseboards have been marked with years of life experiences.

 

To correct these homely blemishes, you can try cleaning your baseboards with simple dish soap and water. But if it has been years of wear and abuse, you most likely will need to paint. Use a paint with a semi-gloss finish that will offer a light sheen but not glossy enough to distract attention away from your floors. You can also match your crown molding using the same paint, making every room pop to potential homebuyers. Of course, if you end up hiring painters to repaint that accent wall of yours, you might as well have them paint your baseboards while they’re there.

 

  1. Focus on Your Floors

Your hardwood floors were once beautiful and one of the initial reasons you bought your home, but after years of traffic your hardwoods have since dulled to a shadow of their former glory. Likewise, your once plush carpet has also now matted down into obvious paths that lead from room to room.

 

One of the first things potential homebuyers look at when entering a new home is the floors, so make yours a statement.

 

If your carpet is approaching that 10-year mark, it is most likely looking pretty worn. Think about recarpeting your house to make it look fresh and ready for new homeowners. Such as you did with your walls, you’ll want to go more neutral in color to appeal to the majority of homebuyers. If your carpet is only a few years old, however, getting it professionally cleaned can go a long way in bringing your carpet back to life.

 

If you have hardwood floors bring them back to their former glory by refinishing them. Refinishing hardwood floors typically includes sanding down the floors to eliminate the original finish and stain, then restaining with the desired color followed by a coat or two of sealer. Your floors will look brand new and really stand out during the open house.

 

 

  1. Gather Your Documents

You might not be aware of this but you’ll want to gather all the documents you have in regards to warranties, manuals, service records, and repairs done to your house. These documents are hugely important for several reasons and certain ones are needed by different parties before you sell your house.

 

Your agent is your best friend during the home selling process. They are also your homes’ first line of marketing and the more information they have about your house, the better they can promote it. They will write out the specific details of your home as well as an enticing description that will highlight key features that homebuyers want. So, if you’ve made recent updates like a new deck, new roof, updated HVAC, or if your home has hot water on demand make sure your agent knows it and you have the paperwork to back it up.

 

During the home inspection process, home inspectors are going to go over your house with a fine-toothed comb. If your furnace or water heater hasn’t been serviced in years, they’ll let you know. Take a proactive approach by gathering all your service records so you’ll know ahead of time if something needs to be serviced before listing your home.

 

However, beyond the paperwork your agent and the home inspector would like to see, title companies require very specific documentation in order for you to even sell your home, including:

 

  • Mortgage loan information, which will show any outstanding mortgage balance and pay-off balance (if there is any)
  • Final purchase and sale agreement
  • Deed
  • Title report
  • Property tax information, including most recent tax statement
  • Homeowners insurance information
  • Lease agreement, if you’re currently renting the property
  • Any reports or documentation that relates to the property
    • Warranty paperwork, permits, service documentation, instruction manuals, dates of home improvement projects, and age of the roof, furnace, hot water heater, HVAC, and all the other major appliances.11. Pre-Sale Home Inspection
    • Originally published on Redfin
    • You may feel like spending a lot of time and money on your house is pointless because you’re just going to sell it anyway, right? Just consider that the more you appeal to the majority of homebuyers the more bids you’ll likely see and ultimately help you sell your house quicker and for more money.
    • A home inspection report will most likely turn up a list of repairs that will need to be fixed. Would you prefer to fix these issues now before you list your home, or after you’re in negotiations with a potential buyer? If you wait, you may push back the sale date of your house as repairs are being made. Or, homebuyers may ask for concessions on your asking price in order to cover the repairs and the time it takes to make them. Ultimately, getting a pre-sale home inspection will leave you in a better position when it comes time to negotiate with potential buyers.
    • Homebuyers will most likely get a home inspection of their own, right? So, why would you get one as a seller?
    • The last thing most people don’t think about before they sell their home is getting a pre-sale home inspection. Though it is not mandatory, a pre-sale home inspection is a proactive approach to understanding your home’s condition at that point in time, and if there are any repairs that need attention, you can address them now versus trying to do it during the home selling process.

8 Reasons to choose Alpine Specialty Cleaning

There are more than 8 reasons to use Alpine Specialty Cleaning, but below, we have put together 8 reasons for you to consider Alpine. When choosing any cleaning service, you should consider these variables.

  1. Certified through NADCA, IICRC, and ARCSI.
  2. A continuous A rating from Angie’s List Super Service Awards since 2005.
  3. An A+ Rating with the BBB.
  4. More 5-Star Reviews on Google and Customer Lobby than any other service company.
  5. A local family owned company with experience since 1969.
  6. The only company to offer a private concierge specialist.
  7. Committed to a safe environment by using safe, non-toxic natural cleaning products in homes and workplaces.
  8. Committed to supporting their local community and charities.

Alpine Specialty Cleaning has a sincere commitment to their clients and their community. With all these reasons to use them, why would you consider anyone else? There are plenty of cleaning services out there but most are not certified and recommended by so many.

When you aren’t sure what areas to tackle first, consider Alpine Specialty Cleaning’s private concierge specialist. Their knowledge will help you conquer your clutter and get the job done. Do it all at once or do it a little at a time. Their specialist will design a cleaning plan that fits your needs and your budget.

To view a live feed of customer testimonials, click here. There is nothing better than hearing what real customers have to say about a company.

There is no better time than now to pick up your phone and call Alpine today for a one on one conversation about your cleaning needs.

Why Use Deionized Water For Cleaning?

To understand the benefits of cleaning with deionized water, first we must understand what exactly it is. Deionized water is water that has been processed through a filtration system that removes nearly 100% of all elements other than the hydrogen and oxygen that form the water molecule. Essentially, it is completely pure water, with a purity degree four times higher than that of distilled water.

When water is deionized, it draws in other minerals and elements, such as those found in dirt and contaminants. Since most of its mineral content is removed, it’s very “hungry” to acquire other components. It aggressively tries to compensate for the loss of its ions by taking them away from its surroundings. Because of its ability to easily remove “gunk,” it makes a great cleaning agent for a variety of surfaces such as windows, table tops, wooden surfaces, mirrors, baseboards, and even CARPET CLEANING. Since there are no minerals in deionized water, it leaves behind no residue, spots, or stains on surfaces. For those who are not using deionized water as a primary cleanser, it is an excellent second-stage rinsing agent highly effective in removing all trace amounts of cleaning solution left behind.

Using deionized water to clean with is a relatively new method. It uses no chemicals, as they are replaced by the water. When it comes to cleaning, deionized water is much more efficient than tap water. It’s environmentally friendly, due to its purity, making it one of the most note-worthy new trends in green cleaning.

If you’re interested in learning more or would like further details on our deionized natural cleaning methods, contact us at Alpine Specialty Cleaning today.

How Clean Is The Air Inside Your Home?

 

 

Just because you don’t see any dirt or dust floating throughout your home doesn’t necessarily mean the air is clean. In its report titled “Targeting Indoor Air Pollution,” the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cited indoor air pollution as being one of the top five environmental hazards. So, what can you do to improve the quality of air inside your home?

Maintain 40-50% Humidity

While most homeowners are familiar with the temperature inside their home, many ignore another important climate measurement: humidity. If the humidity is too high, mold and mildew will thrive. If it’s too low, you may experience dry skin and nose bleeds. To prevent problems such as these, maintain 40-50% humidity inside your home.

Houseplants

In addition to their aesthetic qualities, houseplants also promote clean air by filtering impurities. For a list of the top air-purifying plants, check out NASA’s Clean Air Study here.

Avoid Synthetic Fragrances 

Whether it’s a scented candle or air freshener, you should avoid fragrant products containing synthetic chemicals. Once burned, many of these chemicals are converted into toxic and more dangerous chemicals, such as acetone.

Vacuum

Of course, another simple yet effective tip to improve the air quality in your home is to vacuum the floors. Vacuuming at least once a week removes a significant amount of loose dust, dirt, pollen, mold, and pet dander (assuming you have a pet).

Clean the Air Ducts

Air conditioning and heating ducts are a haven for airborne pollutants. According to some sources, up to 40 pounds of dust is created in the average home. While some of this dust catches on the furniture and floors, it also accumulates inside the HVAC ducts where it slowly disperses back through the home.

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommends cleaning your air ducts at least once every 3-5 years to reduce buildups of dust and other airborne pollutants.

 

 

What is living in your carpets?

So, you do your best to keep up with everyday life and maintaining a clean house, right? Yet somehow, nothing ever seems good enough! You dust your window sills, clean your windows, potty train your pets, get non-spill cups for the kids (and possibly even your husband), spot clean that wine you spilled (oops), vacuum, take your shoes off before you come in the house and yet STILL your carpets look dirty! It looks like it’s time to get the carpets cleaned again, but how can I take care of them between cleanings so that they don’t get so soiled looking?

It turns out carpets act like a giant filter which trap indoor air pollutants such as dust, dirt, pet dander, moisture and pests! Apparently wiping your shoes before entering is not enough to keep those carpets clean. Dirt and soil is not the only thing cohabitating with your carpet fibers, it is common for many microorganisms and bugs to live in carpets! Bugs such as dust mites, ground beetles, potato bugs, carpet mites and more could be snuggling with your carpet fibers. If carpet cleaning is neglected your indoor air quality will decline and your carpets can turn into a breeding ground for contaminants and pollutants.

So, what can I do between steam cleanings to protect my carpet and keep them clean?

Carpet is damaged by soils not visible to the human eye, so how are we supposed to protect them? High traffic areas create ground in soil which needs to be removed on a regular basis. Dirt is extremely abrasive against the fibers of carpet and will wear the carpet excessively if not properly maintained. Make sure to vacuum regularly, even if it does not appear to be dirty!

It is recommended to steam clean your carpets professionally every 6 months – 1 year. To get out embedded soils or bugs it is important to have a steam cleaning at a high heat to kill any contaminants or bugs hiding in the carpet fibers! Also, to maintain a longer life span of the carpets and have the carpet looking as good as possible, it is recommended to have it cleaned before it starts to show sign of wear! Soils that embed into the carpet fibers can cause the carpeting to break down, making it look worse and shortening its life span.

Spots and stains will act as a dye if not treated immediately or the carpets are unprotected. Most over-the-counter stain removal products will make a stain worse, thus it is recommended to purchase a stain removal product from your carpet manufacturer or certified professional cleaner. To prevent a stain from embedding into the carpet, when you have your carpets cleaned you should get stain resistance on your carpets. Each time your carpets are steam cleaned this removes any stain resistance that was on the carpet. Stain resistance forms a topical barrier on the fibers of the carpets in order to repel liquids and dry soils. Therefore, any dirt, spots and stains will lay on the top of the carpet fibers instead of embedding into them so they do not become a dye to the carpet fibers.

After everything you’ve been doing around the house to keep those carpets cleaned, turns out you could be doing more! Who knew? Moral of the story… vacuum, vacuum, vacuum, clean, protect, repeat! http://alpineclean.com/carpet-cleaning/

 

 

Show some love to your beloved furniture!

People always think of cleaning their carpets, but have you ever really thought about cleaning your furniture? I know that I never really did! My furniture gets a lot of use between movie nights, lazy days on the couch and my dog thinking the furniture is her own personal bed; so, I figured that my furniture gets a lot of use. People invest a lot into their furniture and should properly take care of it. Here are 5 ways to keep your furniture looking newer longer:

 

  • Fluff the Cushions-In order to maintain the shape and comfort of your cushions fluff the cushions regularly. There is nothing worse than a lumpy couch or chair where no matter where you sit, there is no comfortable spot. Keep your furniture feeling nicer by fluffing the cushions regularly. This will help to protect your investment.

 

 

  • Flip and Rotate your Cushions- Depending on the piece of furniture, everyone has their favorite spot. On a couch, most people prefer to sit on one side or the other, rather than in the middle. Because of this, it creates a permanent wear on the furniture. To prevent wearing of certain areas, rotate your cushions and flip them regularly. By rotating the cushions, it will make them last longer. By also flipping your couch cushions over, it will help preserve the life of the couch up to twice as long.

 

  • Vacuum your Furniture-  It is easy to forget about vacuuming your furniture because we can’t always tell that it is dusty; but just because we can’t see it, doesn’t mean the dust is not there. Vacuuming regularly helps to get rid of dust that can accumulates and helps with allergens.

 

  • Steam Clean-   It is recommended that you steam clean your furniture regularly. This process can help extend the life of your furniture. Over time your furniture picks up dust, dirt, pet hair, and food stains. Steam cleaning can give your furniture a fresh new, look and help improve the cleanliness of your home. If left alone, many pieces of your furniture can fall victim to dust and grime. Not getting these pieces cleaned can increase allergens and health issues which may pose an issue if you are sensitive to dust. Steam cleaning can help deliver health benefits and keep your furniture lasting longer.

 

  • Re-protect it with an All-Natural Stain Protectant- All in all, people invest a lot into their furniture so it may take a little investing in to upkeep it. It will be worth it in the long run when you can enjoy your favorite couch or chair for many years to come.After steam cleaning your furniture, you will want to keep it looking and feeling clean as long as possible. To help with this, you may want to invest in an all-natural stain protectant. During the steam cleaning process, it removes the natural stain protectant that is on your furniture when you buy it. So, it is recommended that you re-apply the stain protectant. That way if you spill anything or track any dirt or soil on it, it’s adhering to the stain protectant rather than the furniture itself, thus keeping your furniture cleaner longer and making it easier to clean next time.

           All in all, people invest a lot into their furniture so it may take a little investing in to upkeep it. It will be worth it in the long run when you can enjoy your favorite couch or chair for many years to come.

 

Cleaning and Pets

1. Hard Floors:
Cleaning and pets! Many pet owners assume that hard floors are easier to keep clean and odor free than is carpet; few find out until too late that this isn’t always true. Once urine finds its way beneath some floors (laminate and vinyl) into grout lines (ceramic tile and stone) or into finish (wood floors), pet odor treatment may become very challenging to perform.

2. Area Rugs:  
Pets, when given the chance, will contaminate area rugs that have been placed over hard floors first. Area rugs that are heavily contaminated are better cleaned by immersion cleaning in plant where heavy urine residues can be more easily flushed away.

3. Upholstered Furniture:
Pets are rarely forbidden from resting on furniture. It is only natural that when circumstances of illness or excitement occur, that they may urinate or vomit on furniture as well.

4. Ductwork:  
Its not uncommon for pets to urinate into registers. When animal hair is also present, there is now an additional breeding ground for the bacteria that lives off of urine residues.

Just as cleaners are learning that they must no longer be perceived as “carpet cleaners”, but instead as “Professional Cleaning Services” because of the changes in floor coverings, they must also expand the way they are seen as “Odor Control Experts”.

People who are struggling with the odor causing behaviors of their pets should not be expected to get rid of the pet. They very well may get rid of the carpet though. This trend should be addressed by a caring cleaning professional in two ways:

1. Keep Them Happy With Pets and Carpet:  
If you can provide an effective but reasonably priced program that keeps the carpet’s odor under control, your customer will not need to opt for expensive replacement. Carpet is warmer, softer underfoot, and in the long run less costly to maintain than most hard floor surfaces.

You should advise your customer that many hard floor surfaces could be harder to take care of when pets have accidents than carpet. This also applies to the inevitable choice of adding area rugs to the home to overcome the discomfort of hard floors.

2. Understand New Odor Removal Challenges:
If your customer does replace their carpet, make sure that they understand that you can help them keep their new flooring clean, as well as odor and stain free. One such example would be with ceramic tile and grout flooring. Very few such installations have the grout sealed, and it would be in your customers’ interest to have the grout sealed by you after the grout has cured. Sealed grout will resist the penetration of urine, make it easier for them to clean, and prevent unsightly stains and odors.

Rodents in Crawl Spaces: The Dangers of Rodent Feces in Human Spaces

Mice and other rodents can turn up just about anywhere: in your garage, in your basement, and even in your crawl spaces. They can carry harmful bacteria, viruses, and diseases that can not only make you and your family sick, but even cause lifelong issues or even death. As such, it is important to contain rodent infestations in your crawl spaces and ducts promptly.

Why Do Rodents Choose Crawlspaces?

Just like any other warm-blooded animal, rodents need to escape from the cold and the rain. As such, they often find a way into your home – or into your crawlspace – through tiny cracks or holes. If they find the space comfortable, it won’t take long for one or two rodents to turn into a full-blown infestation, complete with multiple nests and rodents trying to find their way into your ducts or even your living space. This infestation can present some very serious risks to your health, so removing these rodents is very important.

Hantavirus

The most commonly-known disease that is spread by rodents is hantavirus. You can contract this serious and potentially life-threatening disease by simply breathing in dust that is contaminated with rodent droppings or urine, being in contact with rodents and their excrement, or through bite wounds, although this is rare. The symptoms present much like the flu, but without prompt and proper medical attention, the pulmonary side effects can cause pneumonia and death.

Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is another disease spread by rodents, and this one can affect people and pets alike. In people, the symptoms of leptospirosis are easily misdiagnosed, and without the proper treatment (which is often a course of specific antibiotics), it can lead to liver failure, respiratory distress, kidney damage, meningitis, and ultimately death. Rodent urine and droppings soak into soil and groundwater, and coming into contact with these materials can lead to infection with leptospirosis.

Lymphocytic Chorio-Meningitis

Lymphocytic chorio-meningitis is a viral infectious disease carried and spread by rodents. It affects people worldwide, and it is carried primarily by the common house mouse. Experts estimate that 5% of all house mice carry the disease, and humans contract it with exposure to fresh urine, droppings, saliva, and nesting materials. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and other flu-like symptoms at first; these later develop into meningitis, encephalitis, or meningoencephalitis.

Plague

Although you don’t often hear of people contracting plague these days, it can and does occur – especially in parts of Africa, Asia, South America, and even in the Western US. Plague is spread by the bites of infect fleas or through direct contact with an infected animal, and many different types of rodents can carry it, including ground squirrels, chipmunks, wood rats, prairie dogs, and others. There are three different types of plague, including bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic; all of these can be transmitted by rodents.

As you can see, a rodent infestation in a crawlspace is a hazard to your health – and in some cases, the health of your pets, too. It is important to contact a professional if you suspect a rodent infestation in your crawlspace or ducts to avoid the illnesses listed above. We can be contacted at: http://www.nwalpinecrawl.com/

 

 

The Dangers of Residual Animal Urine in Carpets

 

 

If you have ever had a puppy, then you understand that housebreaking can certainly take some time and work. Unfortunately, animals can and will have accidents on floors from time to time, but it is essential that you clean the urine from your carpets immediately in order to avoid some potentially serious effects on your health. Below, you can discover some of the potential damage that animal urine in carpets can cause.

#1 – The Ammonia Odor

The most noticeable effect of animal urine in carpets is the strong smell of ammonia. Although all urine contains some amount of ammonia, it is especially concentrated in cat urine. What’s more, once a pet urinates on the carpet, if it is not cleaned thoroughly – and immediately – the water in the urine evaporates, leaving behind even more concentrated ammonia. This can have a tremendous negative effect on people who have COPD, asthma, or emphysema, and it may even cause allergies.

#2 – The Growth of Bacteria and Other Microorganisms

Most of the bacteria that grows in old pet stains is not particularly dangerous to anyone who has a healthy immune system, but it can become quite bothersome. In otherwise healthy people, the bacteria and microorganisms found in old urine stains may cause sinusitis, watery eyes, allergies, and inflammation of the airways. However, in people who have compromised immune systems, such as very young children, the elderly, or people with immune systems weakened by illness or medication, these bacteria can cause significant health issues.

#3 – The Potential for Dangerous Mold

Although one or two accidents that are cleaned up quickly and efficiently are often not a reason for concern, repeated pet stains or urine that is not immediately and thoroughly cleaned can soak through your carpet into the padding below. The components of the urine attract moisture, and over time, several varieties of mold can begin to grow underneath your carpet. Some of these mold varieties, like penicillium, can cause respiratory symptoms, and a few, such as aspergillus, can cause long-term lung conditions with prolonged exposure.

#4 – The Expense of Replacing a Rotting Subfloor

Finally, it is important to consider the financial expense that animal urine can create. Your carpet padding likely sits directly on your subfloor, which is generally made of wood. Over time, the urine soaks through your carpet and the padding below, and into the subfloor. With repeated pet accidents, the wood becomes more and more saturated and may even begin to rot. As such, it may be necessary to completely remove your carpeting and replace sections of your subfloor in order to combat structural damage to your floors.

Although pets are an important part of millions of lives, cleaning up after them is a responsibility that should never be neglected. Over time, animal urine can cause allergy-like symptoms, strong odors, mold growth, and even structural damage to your home. Aside from immediately cleaning up after your pet, it is important to contact http://www.alpineclean.com at least twice per year to not only clean your carpets, but also evaluate your risks.

Germiest spots in the kitchen

Signs of spring are showing up in the Pacific Northwest and it has us thinking about some pic girl surgical maskspring cleaning. Thrive Market recently posted a blog piece on how filthy the average refrigerator is and it is worth a quick read (click here). They pointed out that the produce drawer is incredibly germ-laden (as in worse than a toilet seat) and that those germs can get into your food. Their article got us thinking about additional kitchen germ hot spots that are often missed and we have listed them here along with some cleaning suggestions. Be sure to remember these spots in your spring cleaning routine, and once you see how easy they are, keep them up year round to keep the germ count down in the kitchen.

Light switches– one of the dirtiest places in the home because of frequent use. At least once a week, wipe them down with a paper towel sprayed in household cleaner or rubbing alcohol.   In addition, stove knobs, cupboard and drawer handles and microwave buttons would benefit from a quick wipe down.

Kitchen Sink- a real hotspot in the kitchen full of germs from meal prep, hand and produce washing, rinsing chicken, etc. The sink should be cleaned nightly with a green household cleaner and don’t forget the faucet, handle and sprayer. If some scouring is necessary, baking soda works well.

Sponges and Dishcloths– these hold a ton of germs and should be frequently washed or replaced. Microwaving wet sponges and dishcloths on high for 30 seconds kills most bacteria. Dish scrubbing brushes also require daily cleaning and can be run through the dishwasher. Dishtowels also hold a large number of germs, especially if they are being used to dry hands. Dishtowels should be changed frequently and household members should be encouraged to dry their hands on paper towels instead.

Countertops- these hold quite a few germs, especially when you consider how many miscellaneous items are placed on them (grocery bags, food, dirty backpacks and handbags, etc. Click here to see how dirty your handbags and backpacks really are!). Additionally, if counters are being wiped down with a dirty dishcloth or rag, they can be really nasty. Be sure to clean regularly with a green household cleaner and always with a clean rag or paper towels.

 Garbage Can- even if you use a bag in your can, meat juices, food, etc. can build up. Weekly, take the garbage can outside and hose it down. Fill partially with vinegar and water and scrub it down. Allow it to soak for 20-30 minutes to disinfect. Rinse and allow to dry completely before bringing it back inside.

 Cutting Boards- experts usually agree that meats, seafood and poultry should be cut on a separate cutting board from produce to avoid cross contamination. Clean cutting boards with hot soapy water and let air dry completely. Plastic boards can usually go through the dishwasher.

 Blender gasket– any appliances that should be disassembled to be properly cleaned can harbor germs if they aren’t cleaned correctly. If your blender is dishwasher safe, put the blender, blade and gasket in the dishwasher after each use.   Otherwise use hot soapy water on the disassembled items and dry completely before reassembling and using. For those that use a Vitamix, cleaning instructions are available here.

Reusable Grocery Bags- these carry loads of germs! USA Today reported on a study that found 99% of reusable bags had bacteria, about half with coliform bacteria and some with E. coli indicating fecal contamination. The report also mentioned that a Norovirus outbreak amongst a soccer team in Oregon was traced to a reusable shopping bag. It is recommended that reusable bags go through the washing machine at least weekly.

 Can Opener- these can carry germs from our hands and from the various foods in which they come into contact. If appropriate, run through the dishwasher after each use. If washing be hand, pay special attention to the blade and be sure to use hot soapy water. Dry thoroughly.

 Food storage containers– these should be thoroughly cleaned after each use to avoid mold and yeast. Wash in the dishwasher, or if washing by hand, pay careful attention to the grooves in the lid and the seal.

Salt and Pepper Shakers- these can harbor bacteria and viruses, including the common cold, and should be frequently wiped down with a green household cleaner or rubbing alcohol.

Fridge Ice and Water Dispenser- these have been found to hold some nasty germs. For regular day-to-day cleaning, wipe down the buttons and housing with rubbing alcohol or household cleaner. For a deeper clean that is recommended monthly, ehow.com offers instructions to clean the germs out of the tubing here.

Knife block- these hold a number of germs that are transferred from knives and dirty hands. Monthly, remove all of the knives and turn the block upside down to shake out debris. The block can be washed in hot soapy water. Also, diluted hydrogen peroxide can be used to sanitize the block. Ensure that the cleaning solution is in contact with the knife slots for one minute, then rinse thoroughly and dry upside down. Ensure that knives are clean and completely dry before being placed in the block.

Pet Food Bowls- these should be washed daily in the dishwasher, or by hand in very hot soapy water. They can be disinfected weekly by soaking in vinegar. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry.