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9 Easy Home Improvements To Sell Your Home Fast

You’ve been trying to sell your home and you did everything you thought was expected of you. You connected with a real estate agent, had professional photos taken of your house, and opened your home to numerous strangers as they paraded around your halls on private tours and open houses. But after weeks of your home being listed, not a single reasonable offer has been made. Sound familiar?

 

Currently, the median number of days a home sits on the market is 41 days. And, of course, the longer your home sits on the market the more control homebuyers have when it comes time for negotiations. So, take your house out of seller’s limbo by adding perceived value (and actual value) to your home. Here are nine easy home improvements you can do that will make your house more appealing to potential home buyers and help sell your home fast.

1. Upgrade Your Mailbox

Upgrading your mailbox might seem like a rather silly thing to do at first, but if we are talking about making a great first impression to potential home buyers, the mailbox is often the very first thing someone sees before pulling in the driveway. It’s also the easiest home improvement you can do.

 

It could just be a new mailbox that replaces the old, weathered one you’ve had for years. And let’s face it, most homeowners don’t put much thought into what their mailbox looks like, often becoming an eyesore to your driveway. Or, you could upgrade to a “Next Generation” mailbox that allows USPS to deliver large packages to your mailbox instead of your front door. And we all know packages that are apparently visible to any passerby have a better chance of not being taken.

 

In fact, with more and more consumer products being purchased online and delivered to homes, you may even consider upgrading to a security mailbox that keeps your mail and packages safe from theft altogether.

 

Either way, upgrading your mailbox is a simple, cost-effective method of bringing perceived value to your home.

2. Paint Your House Inside and Out

This cannot be emphasized enough, but painting the inside of your home with a fresh neutral color goes a long way with potential homebuyers. For example, your kids’ rooms may have very unique colors that they had insisted upon at one time, but not every potential buyer is going to enjoy that purple room as much as your kid does. You’ll want to put a fresh coat of paint on those walls so anyone touring your home can envision themselves living in your space.

 

In fact, everything you’re doing to prep your home for sale is making your home look its very best and allowing potential homebuyers to envision themselves in every room of your house. You want people touring your house to think, what if I bought this house? This room could be my office, nursery, guest bedroom, etc. However, it becomes hard for potential buyers to envision themselves in a room with purple walls.

 

Alternatively, painting the exterior of your home may be the best solution to getting your home sold faster. If your home’s color has faded from its former glory, the paint is chipping, or your house has always been that home on the block the neighborhood kids call the orange house, you may want to consider getting your home painted a more contemporary color. Though painting the exterior of your home can be pricey, when done by professionals, the process has a very quick turnaround time and the result will be sure to leave a lasting impression on potential buyers.

3. Enhance Your Curb Appeal

It doesn’t matter if you live in Dallas, TX or Portland, OR, enhancing your curb appeal can go a long way toward making a great first impression on potential homebuyers.

 

First, you’ll want to look at your landscaping in front of and around your house. How does your lawn, trees, and overall vegetation look? Make sure your lawn is freshly trimmed, all dead debris (like sticks and leaves) are picked up, and 2 to 3 inches of fresh bark mulch is placed around your shrubs, trees, and plants.

 

Do you have hedges that line your property or some other form of fruit or decorative trees on your property? Having your hedges trimmed and your trees cut back can make your yard go from something that resembles an unruly wilderness to a well-maintained and welcoming paradise.

 

Also, if you don’t already have decorative plants bringing color to your front driveway and entrance, a few well-positioned potted plants are an inexpensive and inviting sight for newcomers to your home.

4. Clean, Declutter, and Stage Your Home

Nothing turns potential homebuyers away faster than an unkept and cluttered home. If you’re looking to sell your house quickly, it might be a good idea to hire professionals to get your house in order. Decluttering and staging your home is a must if you want to make your home and all its uniqueness shine its best for potential buyers.

 

If your closets are overflowing with winter jackets, or you have too many large pieces of furniture in your living room, your spaces will not be showcased the way they should be. People touring your home like to look not just at the larger rooms, but also poke around in closets, drawers, and other storage areas to make sure their stuff will fit. If your stuff is in the way, that makes it much harder for buyers to see themselves in your space.

 

Furthermore, a deep cleaning is a must before any open house or home tour takes place. If you have a cat or dog (or both), you probably don’t smell them anymore. However, people that don’t have pets are acutely aware of homes that do, simply because it’s a scent they’re not used to. If you’re looking for a quick turnaround, a professional can help eliminate odors, stains, and any number of other things you may no longer be aware of and make your home feel brand new again.

5. Fence in Your Backyard and Refinish Your Deck

It’s amazing what a refinished deck or new cedar fence enclosing a backyard can do for a home. Not only is it functional and aesthetically pleasing, but the return on investment is nothing to shy away from if you’re looking for an easy project that will help you get your home sold fast.

 

In fact, the national average in 2019 for recouping the cost of a wood deck addition on a home is 75.6%. So, although you may take a small hit financially by adding a wood deck onto your house, you would recoup most of the cost and potentially sell your home faster because of the added feature.

 

Likewise, adding a fence to your property can do wonders for your home in a relatively short period of time. And according to a 2018 survey by the American Pet Product Association,67% of U.S. households own a pet,” meaning over half the people touring your home have a fuzzy little friend, and a fenced in backyard is a bonus to some homebuyers but a must for others.

6. Fix Your Light Switches and Update Your Fixtures

So it’s true, people touring your home will play with your faucets, open your drawers, and test ALL your light switches. If you have a light switch that doesn’t work (or an electrical outlet), now is the time to get it fixed. Light switches that do not work signify to homebuyers that your house may have electrical issues, when in fact, it may be something much more simple. Nonetheless, at that point, you’ve already lost that potential offer.

 

You’ll also want to replace all your burnt out light bulbs to make sure every room in your house is bright and inviting. Furthermore, all your interior lights should be the same color temperature for consistent lighting throughout your house.

 

Updating your light fixtures, ceiling fans, and even your hardware on doors and cabinets is an easy and cost-effective way of increasing the perceived value of your home. If you already have an electrician fixing your light switches, they could also replace your dated brass light fixtures with ones that have a more contemporary feel. Beyond making your interior appear more modern to homebuyers, you can take this opportunity to find fixtures that can help brighten your home and make it stand out among other homes for sale in your area.

7. Upgrade Your Garage Door

Installing a new garage door is one of the simplest and quickest ways to give your home a much-needed facelift and impress potential homebuyers. New garage doors recoup nearly all the money invested into them, and, in some areas like the west coast, a new garage door actually recoups more than its initial investment at 123.8% on average. Meaning your new garage door could actually put money back in your pocket.

 

There are several styles and designs to choose from, just make sure that you go with a style that fits the look of your house. Especially if you’ve recently painted your home a more contemporary color, a new garage door can be that easy home improvement that pushes home lookers into actual offers.

8. Get a New Front Door

Give others entryway envy by upgrading your front door and transforming the character of your home. Over the years, front doors see a lot of abuse and begin to look worn and tired. Luckily, a new front door is quick to replace and a very cost-effective way of making your entryway unique and aesthetically pleasing to anyone stepping up onto your doormat.

 

Solid wood doors are always a classic style for homes not to go out of style anytime soon. They’re solid and typically last much longer than alternative materials like fiberglass. Additionally, front doors with inlaid glass can also give your entryway more natural light for the interior of your home. Either way, a new door is a quick and easy way to impress homebuyers.

9. Update Your Kitchen Appliances for a Fresh Look

If you’re looking to sell your home quickly, updating your kitchen with modern and timeless stainless steel appliances is a great way to go. Though this can be costly, new appliances really appeal to first-time homebuyers, and as a result, you could see more competitive offers.

 

Furthermore, there is a good possibility your appliances probably need to be updated anyway. Typically, larger appliances like fridges and stoves should be replaced every 10 years, while smaller appliances it’s recommended to be replaced every 5 years. Nonetheless, updated appliances are a safe bet if you’re looking to sell your home fast.

 

Originally published on Redfin

Carpet Care Basics

Most homeowners think they’re caring for their carpets adequately if they’re hiring a professional carpet cleaner periodically and vacuuming now and again, but many don’t know that a few simple steps could help their carpets last longer.

 

“Whether it’s the wrong carpet spotter or forgetting to vacuum often enough, there are a number of steps homeowners can take to make their carpets last longer between pro cleanings,” says Eric Moe, owner of Alpine Specialty Cleaning, a family-run business that has been cleaning carpets around Seattle since 1969 and which specializes in chemical-free cleaning processes.

 

These days, when Alpine Specialty Cleaning comes to clean a home’s carpets it uses a rare chemical-free de-ionized water system from a high-suction truck to draw out impurities from carpets. But working on a carpet that has been well maintained always helps lay the foundation and maximize the results of a good professional clean.

 

Here’s a look at how to keep your carpet in good shape.

 

Use a high-quality vacuum

 

If you’ve got wall-to-wall carpet in one or more rooms of your home, you need to play a role in keeping it shipshape between professional cleanings. To do that, you’ll need a high-quality vacuum with maximum suction, preferably at least 245 AW (air watts). There are several other suction measures to know when vacuum shopping, so familiarize yourself with them and look for the higher end of the spectrum when shopping.

 

Vacuum high-traffic areas daily

 

If you’ve got carpet, you’ll need to vacuum at least weekly. But for high traffic areas – front door entries, halls leading to kitchens, family rooms – you’ll need to vacuum daily to keep your carpet from marinating in future stains and damage and to maintain fibers’ pluck and firmness.

 

Use pads beneath area rugs

 

Many homeowners use accent area rugs atop wall-to-wall carpeting. But those who choose to do so should place rug pads beneath these carpets to prevent two common problems – dye transfer, and carpet-surface erosion. Unpadded area rugs can seep dye into surfaces beneath them, and their scratchy backing can act like sandpaper and erode the wall-to-wall carpet’s pile.

 

Rearrange furniture periodically and doctor divots

 

Carpet wear and tear is often directly related to furniture positioning. Sofas and chairs in permanent locations create natural foot-traffic patterns and dirt patterns (where snacks and drinks spill, where toddlers or pets romp), and the furniture legs planted on carpet surfaces can eventually damage carpets if not moved (even a few inches) periodically. If your carpet has divots, place ice cubes in a plastic baggy and rest the baggy inside the divot. The cold from the ice will force carpet fibers to swell, restoring their resiliency and the carpet’s surface.

 

Use a proper stain spotter

 

“If you use a harsh store-bought stain spotter, it will remove the carpet’s stain resistance, allowing more stains to soak into the fibers,” Moe says. The principle is similar to overwashing hair so that it’s stripped of natural oils, and thus becomes oilier more easily. Once applied and allowed to sit, stain spotter should be thoroughly removed. Alpine offers free stain-spotting solution to its clients for between-cleaning spotting, as well as tips on how to remove common carpet stains using household remedies and products.

 

Know when it’s time to replace carpet

 

If your carpet is old and damaged, there are certain signs that cleaning alone won’t restore the carpet to its old luster – and only replacement will do. If the carpet’s pile is worn down or has “bald spots,” if the carpet is heavily soiled, or if it has begun to delaminate or separate from its backing (so it’s no longer stretched tight to the floor beneath it), it’s time to replace rather than clean the carpet.

 

Got new carpet? Get in a cleaning routine.

 

If you’ve moved into a home with new carpet or are replacing old carpet with new, that’s the perfect time to get into an established cleaning routine. How often should you clean carpets? Moe says that most homeowners need professional carpet cleaning at least annually – every six months if pets, crawling babies or toddlers, or allergies or respiratory sensitivities are present. Another tip for new carpet: Make sure to use blinds or curtains so constant direct sunlight doesn’t fade or change carpet colors.

 

Alpine Specialty Cleaning was founded in the Seattle area in 1969 by Maurice Moe. Eric Moe and his wife, Bobbie, continue the “Tradition of Quality” and “5 Star Experience” that Alpine has been known for over the years.

5 signs it’s time to clean carpets and ducts

Seattle-area residents are known for living “green” lifestyles, striving to use cleaning products that leave a minimal environmental footprint and that don’t worsen allergies or medical conditions. But even the most diligent homeowners don’t always know how to recognize signs that a home needs serious duct or carpet cleaning rather than the usual once-over with off-the-shelf cleaning products.

“Many people in this region have pets and allergies, and more homeowners here are investing in air conditioning systems as summers heat up, which increases the risk of mold,” says Eric Moe, owner of Alpine Specialty Cleaning, a family-run business that has been cleaning homes around Seattle since 1969. “Without proper cleaning, these homes run the risk of accumulating and recirculating dirty air in ducts and developing unhealthy carpet conditions.”

As more homeowners use their forced-air heating system for heat in winter and to fan air in summer – or to circulate cooled air from an air conditioning unit – these ducts are in service all four seasons, Moe notes.

 

Is it time for a deep cleaning? Here are five signs.

 

  • Your home was built energy-efficient. Energy-efficient homes are sealed tighter than most homes, meaning air recirculates more frequently than in traditional-built homes. This makes duct cleaning more important, as a tightly sealed home with pets, kids or lots of wall-to-wall carpet may accumulate dust, mold or smells faster than in a home where outside air can leak inside more easily.

 

  • Carpets have black lines around their edges, matted fibers or numerous visible stains. If your carpet has black lines around its perimeter or where the carpet hits doorways, that means dirt is infiltrating through gaps in walls, beneath doors, or due to broken screens. Matted fiber may result from soil buildup. Heavy stains need treating for removal.

 

  • Dust has accumulated. If you clean and dust regularly but dust persists, it may be living in ducts and carpets that need a thorough cleaning. Additionally, if you need to frequently change furnace air filters because of dust or other accumulation, that may be a sign your ducts are dirty.

 

  • You’ve got allergies or respiratory health issues. If you’ve got asthma or other respiratory health conditions, or if you’re allergic to common substances like pollen, pet hair or other airborne particles, keeping carpets and ducts professionally cleaned can reduce exposure to irritants at home.

 

 

  • It smells! Smells may be a sign of mold, moisture problems, or soaked-in stains that need professional cleaning.

 

How often should you clean carpets? Moe says that most homeowners need professional carpet cleaning at least annually _ as often as every 6 months if pets, crawling babies or toddlers, or allergies or respiratory sensitivities are present.

Ducts typically need thorough cleaning every two to three years, but again, a more frequent cleaning may be necessary if pet hair or the above factors are present in the house. Moe encourages those in the market for a duct cleaner to carefully vet the outfit they hire, making sure that like Alpine Specialty Cleaning the company is certified by NADCA, a duct-cleaning association that holds member companies to rigorous standards.

“Most people clean their ducts first, then turn to their carpets,” he says. “September is typically our busiest month, as people prepare for fall when heating systems are turned on and rain begins. But you can clean carpets and ducts any time of year – they’re year-round systems, especially ducts which carry air for both heat, fans, and air conditioning.”

 

Alpine Specialty Cleaning was founded in the Seattle area in 1969 by Maurice Moe. Eric Moe and his wife, Bobbie, continue the “Tradition of Quality” and “5 Star Experience” that Alpine has been known for over the years. 

We Love Generation Z

What does generation Z want from the businesses they choose?

 Generation Z – those born after 1995 – are growing into the position of most-sought-after consumers, with $44 billion dollars in buying power already. So what does this new generation want from the businesses they choose?

Internet Presence

GenZ has grown up in an online society; their first means of discovering something new is seeing it online, in an ad, on social media, in a blog. They are used to being able to click away to something that better meets their requirements quickly, so businesses need to grab their attention in 8 seconds or less. This is not about a short attention span as much as it is that they have had to learn to filter enormous amounts of information. Once their attention is caught, they can be incredibly focused. Your company internet presence needs to have high-value information to avoid being filtered out.

GenZ is used to ordering and paying for things online. They want to have a variety of ways to pay for services and goods available right on your website, and they expect that process to be seamless and efficient.

Good Value

GenZ is very careful with money. Even at their young age, they are saving, planning for retirement, and carefully choosing what they spend their money. They grew up in a recession, and have seen their parents and families struggle with money. They expect good quality and high value, and they have strongly negative reactions if something breaks or goes wrong. They avoid debt and try to keep risks low.

They avoid debt and try to keep risks low. They do research before making purchases. They look at online reviews, they check with friends, they ask about companies and products on social media. They expect good quality, high value, and have strongly negative reactions if something breaks or goes wrong.

Customized Products and Service

GenZ seeks individuality and being able to make something “theirs”, so they look for the ability to customize or personalize what they get. They want to have options from which to choose and to have the feeling that what they are getting was specialized just for them.

They want interactivity and responsiveness from their businesses. They expect a business to be loyal to them, as the customer; if they don’t sense that, they won’t have loyalty to the business and will move on. As the first generation that has grown up connected, they are well aware there are always other options if they are unhappy.

Speed

GenZ is used to quick gratification – remember the ‘one click away to something better’ mindset? They expect things to be delivered quickly and promptly. They are very impatient with lateness or delays.

They put a very high value on being able to find what they want quickly and easily. If one business’ website is difficult to navigate, slow to load, or has a complicated checkout process, they’ll just go to a different one.

GenZ has many things in common with the generation that grew up in the Great Depression, but with a highly individualistic, high-tech twist. Businesses need to be able to meet the unique needs of the up and coming generation of customers.

 

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.

Do It Yourself Home Cleaning Tips

Looking for a safe eco-friendly way to clean your home and save some money while doing it? On this article, we’ll be sharing six of the best cleaning tips for the home that will help you clean smarter not harder. These tips will help you have a clean toxin-free home while keeping money in your pocket. These are items that you can find in your kitchen and can be used to efficiently clean your home.

Vinegar

One of the best things to have in your home at all time is Vinegar. This is the most versatile product in the market. This is something that should be in the pantry at all times and it’s inexpensive. You can use vinegar to naturally disinfect surfaces, clean toilets, floors, clean coffee pots, steam clean the microwave, & even restore used paint brushes!

Arm & Hammer

A great way to go green is by switching out your laundry detergent for Arm & Hammer’s washing soda. Like all their products it is Phosphate and fragrance free which is a huge plus! Not only will this help you clean more eco friendly it will help you save money. This is another miracle product that you can also use to clean sinks, bathtubs, grout, and even stainless steel. Yes, I said stainless steel!

Micro Fiber rags

These are great for wiping down surfaces! And the best part about them is that they are reusable. No more unnecessary money on paper towels. Some places even carry rags that are resistant to bacteria. All you have to do to reuse them is to get them into the washer.

Air flow

You always want to keep a good flow of air coming and going throughout your house. Poor air quality leads to dust build up and toxins in the air.

Make your own cleaners

A really good way to make your house cleaning more eco-friendly is to make your own cleaners with everyday things find in your kitchen! Products like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, dish soap, and washing soda will give you great cleaners such as:

Multi-surface cleaner: Empty spray bottle with a 1:1 ratio of water and apple cider vinegar then add a couple drops of pure lemon juice.

Window cleaner: Empty spray bottle filled with water, 1 drop of dish soap (I use Ajax), & 1 tbsp. Of apple cider vinegar.

Floor cleaner: One and a half gallons of water in a bucket, half a cup of vinegar, lavender essential oil.

A lot of eco-friendly moms use these three cleaners all the time, but you can make any cleaner you wish. You could also add essential oils for different scents and smells.

Laundry sponges

We love sharing this tip with people, we think it’s so cool. And it saves you a ton of money on dryer sheets. Buy a pack of four sponges, soak them in halfway in warm water (You want an index card container for this) and a half of a cup of any fabric softener and boom you’re good to go. No seriously, that’s all there is to it! Every time you need a “dryer sheet” grab a sponge out of the water, squeeze it out really good and throw it in the dyer.

What Are the Most Common Health Concerns Caused By Dirty Ductwork?

Indoor air pollution isn’t just what the outside air brings into the home through open doors and windows. The air inside your home or office includes the daily, monthly, and even annual build-up of dirt, airborne bacteria, and broken down debris from every facet of activity within a given building. Indoor air pollution tends to build up in air ducts, on air filters, and all throughout a ventilation system, which is why it’s so critical to regularly clean your air ducts and replace or clean air filters as necessary.

What respiratory problems and other health concerns can be caused by a dirty ventilation system?

  • Allergies: One of the clearest effect of dirty air duct or air filters is an increase in allergies. Dust and mold spores can build up and spread throughout the entirety of a building, and these hazard can increase give it a greater number of people pet and exposure to the elements outside.
  • Respiratory Infections: Viruses and bacteria can easily spread throughout the air even without direct person to person or hand-to-hand contact. Once these germs enter the ventilation system, they can easily grow and spread due to the dark, warm, and generally undisturbed environment. Mold often likes to grow directly on air filters, especially in damp environment near leaks or moist air. This buildup can lead to it penetrating the air filter or being recycled into the air, making respiratory infections are more common and harder to remove the root cause of.
  • Sinus Infections: Even if indoor air pollution is more dirt and debris than it is viruses and bacteria, the buildup of motes and obstructions in the air will come into contact with your nasal passages every time you breathe. This dirt and debris can inflame your sinuses which can lead to an infection even with the most benign of air particles. Having indoor air pollution of any sort can always increase complications with sensitive sinuses.

Whether you’re sensitive to allergies and sinus infections or simply want to breathe clean air in your home or office, regular cleaning of your air filters and ductwork is essential. Please contact us if you have any questions about the best way to make sure that your air is clean or want to learn more about our air duct cleaning process.

A Healthier Life: The Use of Plant Based Cleaners in the Home

Plant based cleaners are becoming increasingly popular for house cleaning, and for good reason! Whether you’ve transitioned your home to a green-clean home or not, it’s worth knowing that not all plant-based cleaners were created equally. In fact, some still contain harsh and irritating chemicals like alcohol and fake fragrances.

 

At  Alpine Specialty Cleaning  we use Better Life cleaning products, and we’d like to show you why that’s important and what it means for you.

 

Environmental pollution

Green cleaners for house cleaning are safer for the environment as less toxic chemicals end up in landfills, soil, and drinking water for animals. However, even some green cleaners are not biodegradable, safe for marine life, or safe for wildlife – which almost defeats the purpose of green products. Better Life is not only biodegradable and safe for wild and marine life; it’s also packaged using recycled materials that are manufactured using mainly solar power.

 

Dyes, fragrances, and additives

Many green cleaners still use additives that are found in traditional cleaners such as alcohol, dyes, artificial fragrances, sulfates, or other chemicals that may not only be damaging to your respiratory system but are also toxic. This could be dangerous for you, your family, pets, and wildlife. Better Life does not contain any of the ingredients above and is non-toxic for everyone in (and out) of your home.

 

Animal testing

Some green products still test on animals, which is counterintuitive to how one usually thinks of green products. Better Life never tests on animals – so you can rest assured that no animals were harmed for the sake of a clean house.

 

Safer for you and your family

Not only are the Better Life products that we use safe for the environment, animals, and the Earth – they’re also safe for you and your family.

 

Want to find out more about our process? Get in touch with Alpine Specialty Cleaning today to see how we can make your home a healthier, cleaner, and greener place to be.

 

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.  You can also TEXT us at 206-339-5684 for more information on pet urine!

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.