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10 Tips for Cleaning Your Home Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Photo By: Classic Marble Design

Cleaning your home during the pandemic is going to be different than normal spring cleaning. Here’s tips for deep cleaning that’ll help keep you safe and healthy.

A clean home is a happy home, and during the pandemic cleaning supplies like lysol, paper towels, bleach and disinfectant are must-haves in order to keep you and your a. The CDC has posted recommended cleaning and disinfecting guidelines for preventing the spread of the virus, but we’ve compiled a condensed version with tips for quick reading.

Cleaning Hard Surfaces Around the House

Objects around the house that are touched on a regular basis are going to require constant disinfecting. These surfaces include (but not limited to):

  • Door knobs
  • Light switches
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Floors
  • Windows 
  • …and so on

When cleaning hard surfaces as mentioned above, you’ll first want to wipe it down with a rag that’s been dipped in a solution of warm water and soap (we like using Dawn, but whatever detergent you prefer will work as well). Wring the rag out so that it’s slightly damp and then wipe the surface. 

Once the surface has dried completely, you’ll want to use some kind of disinfectant. This could be a solution of alcohol (70% or above) or bleach combined with water in a 1:2 ratio. You can spray this solution on the surface and then wipe it down with a paper towel.

You can, of course, use disinfecting wipes such as Clorox Disinfectant wipes, Lysol disinfectant wipes, and even store brands. 

Pro tip: Some folks say that lemon juice, vinegar, or even vodka (what a waste!) work just as well, but we strongly recommend against it, as these homemade disinfectants won’t kill as many as a store bought disinfectant… But, they could work if you can’t find any products on the shelves.

Photo By: Wayfair

Cleaning Soft Surfaces in the Home

Naturally, soft surfaces like carpeting, furniture, drapes and pet beds can’t be cleaned and disinfected the same as a kitchen countertop. To clean soft surfaces, you will want to clean any visible dirt and debris using a fabric or carpet cleaner (always follow the items’ cleaning instructions so that the item doesn’t get ruined!). 

After you’ve cleaned away any visible debris, launder items on the warmest water setting with appropriate detergents. For items that can’t be laundered, like fabric furniture or carpeting, try using a deep-clean carpet antibacterial cleaner like the Bissell concentrated cleaner (although you’ll need a Bissell carpet cleaning machine).  

Pro tip: Although the EPA says no disinfectant can claim to work for soft surfaces, they have a list of cleaners that have the “soft surface sanitizing claim,” it’ll clean 99.9% of bacteria, but it won’t get rid of virus’ or fungi like true disinfectants can. Here is a list of EPA approved cleaners for soft surfaces.

Photo By: Pinterest

Disinfecting Electronics

Our electronics have a haven for germs! Think about how many times you touch your phone throughout the day or how long you’re typing on the keyboard. To kill the germs on these types of things, read the manufacturer’s cleaning and disinfecting instructions. If you lost the instructions, you can use disinfecting wipes or sprays with 70% alcohol content. Make sure you don’t spray too much of the cleaner on the device because you don’t want to damage it. 

There’s no denying that people are afraid of contracting the coronavirus, despite some states re-opening. However, you can reduce your chances of getting sick by cleaning and disinfecting your home and anything you come in contact with. 

There’s a long road ahead of us, but remember, we’re in this together! Follow CDC guidelines for social distancing, limit traveling, and wear personal protective gear whenever you go out. If there’s anything we’ve learned about this pandemic is that if we all work together, we can “flatten the curve.”

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Backyard & Garden Shop the Room!

3 Ways to Better Utilize Your Outdoor Space

Featured image by: John Kraemer & Sons

Getting ready to buy a new house? Like most of us, you’re probably hoping to increase the amount of space you have. No matter how big any home is, though, there’s only so much square footage you can fit under one roof.

What people often overlook is how much empty space they have access to outside. Instead of just sitting there as a boring patch of grass you only think about when it’s time to mow the lawn, put that yard to use enriching your life. And maybe add some resale value while you’re at it.

Whether you’re looking at houses for sale in Los Angeles or property in Poughkeepsie, we know that even a single inch can be precious, so here are three ideas for how to make the most of every last one.

Build a Deck or Patio

Adding a deck or patio to your backyard might seem too obvious, but there’s a good reason it’s such a popular renovation among homeowners. This one seemingly simple addition can open up a whole world of possibilities.

Decks and patios can be used as exercise and play spaces. They can host cookouts and parties. You could just put a couple of chairs and a table there to create a private open-air leisure spot. Or you could go so far as to add a swimming pool or hot tub if you’re feeling particularly indulgent.

Plant a Vegetable Garden

Looking to add something to your yard that’s both fun and useful? Planting a vegetable or herb garden could be just the thing you’re looking for. Not only does the planning and tending of a garden make for a surprisingly fulfilling pastime, but it produces tangible results that you can put to good use.

If you already love to cook, there’s nothing like being able to make a meal with your own homegrown tomatoes, carrots, basil, or dill. If you don’t already love to cook, well, the possibilities that become apparent when you can raise your own food from the ground up are sure to instill in you a newfound appreciation for the culinary arts.

Create a Mini Playground

If you have or plan to raise a family, having a backyard is a godsend. Kids love the outdoors at any time of year, whether they’re having water-gun fights in the summer or building igloos in the winter. Give them even more of a reason to get outside by putting in a swing set, sandbox, jungle gym, slide, or even a little clubhouse.

Not only will your young ones have a blast, but having your own mini playground comes with the added benefit of letting you keep an eye on them from the house, erasing worries about where they might wander off to on their own.

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Backyard & Garden Shop the Room!

How To Change A Lawn Mower Spark Plug

How To Change A Lawn Mower Spark Plug

When your car or truck needs a new spark plug, you likely head to your local auto parts store. Maybe you use their VIN lookup tool to find the right part. Then, the process of switching out the spark plug is fairly simple. Of course, cars and trucks aren’t the only things with motors. What do you do when your lawn mower needs a new spark plug?

Finding the Right Plug

The good news is that replacing a lawn mower spark plug is easy. If you can replace one in your car or truck, you can do it for your lawn mower. Even if you take your vehicle to the mechanic, you can learn how to change a spark plug easily. The first step is to know that you need to replace it. If your lawn mower is hard to start, the engine stops unexpectedly or your have poor fuel efficiency, the problem may be the spark plug.

There are a few different types of spark plugs. To determine which is the right one for your mower, check the owner’s manual. If you can’t find your manual, check the existing spark plug. It should have the part number on the ceramic insulator. Once you have your new spark plug, it is time to change the plug. This should take less than an hour depending on your experience. Many people can do it in significantly less time.

Steps for Changing a Lawn Mower Spark Plug

The process is simple. Before you start, make sure your mower is on a flat, stable surface such as a garage floor. Grab a screwdriver, socket wrench with a spark plug socket, feeler gauge, cleaner, brush and a knife.

  1. Disconnect: Disconnect the spark plug lead (ignition cable). You may need to remove the engine cover first.
  2. Remove: Using your spark plug socket, turn the plug counterclockwise to loosen it. If it is resistant to turning, don’t force it. Instead, apply some lubricant, let it soak for a few minutes then try again. It should be easy to remove.
  3. Adjust Gap: Using the feeler gauge, adjust the gap on the spark plug. You can determine the right gap based on the original spark plug.
  4. Install: Place the plug in position and tighten it using your hand. After that, tighten it a little further with the spark plug socket. Rachet it until it stops going down, then add an extra quarter turn.
  5. Reconnect: Attach the spark plug lead back to the new plug. Then, replace the engine cover.

Once you are done, dispose of the used parts. You can throw spark plugs in the garbage if you want or take them to a scrap yard if they are still in working order.

Get Started

Now that you know how to change a spark plug in a lawn mower, it’s time to get started! The process is easy, and anyone can learn how to do it. You may be surprised by how much you can achieve by yourself with a few tools and a little learning.

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