Wednesday, December 15, 2010
This morning I was thinking about a phone call I had yesterday and thought it was a good time for holiday reminder.
During the winter months and especially during the holidays, we close our houses and add lots of fragrances. A home has smells, it is part of living. Close up your house and those smells become a little more obvious. Of course, you don't want your house to smell like dirty socks or your cat box so what do you do? If you listen to the TV, you might choose the options of: spraying disinfectants and deodorizers, lighting scented candles, using plug ins, or misting fragrances.
What happened? Your home no longer smells like socks but pumpkin spice, misty mountain and cider apple. All good stuff right? Our sense of smell is very powerful, but our ability to guess what is giving us a headache, sinus infection, stuffy nose, or watery eyes may be harder to distinguish. If you or a family member is sensitive to fragrances, these added smells may be giving you more than you hoped for.
While your home is closed for the winter, be mindful of what you are adding back to your air. Sometimes the fragrances we add may not be so festive!
Top 5 tips for a fresh smelling and healthy home:
1. Open up your windows as often as possible
2. Keep your home clean- especially well vacuumed and dusted
3. Run you vents and fans during: showers, cooking and laundry
( make sure your vents, vent directly outside)
4. Remove the source of the odor, don't cover it up
5. Introduce healthy and yummy smells
Put a little fresh cinnamon and cloves on the stove
A clean home, a fresh home, and a loved home usually smell pretty good.
From our house to yours- Happy Holidays,
Denise and Dallas Frakes
Monday, November 22, 2010
After, a quick shopping trip, a bit of luck and a handy husband by evening, I was back in cooking business. As I was going through the paperwork for my new cook top, I came across this handout for safer cooking. It is all about preventing and putting out a fire in your kitchen. As the holidays are literally right around the corner, I though you might like a refresher on fire safety in the kitchen. Wishing all a very happy and safe holiday season.
The follow comes from the Association of Home Appliance Manufactures: Recipe for Safer Cooking:
To prevent a cooking fire in your kitchen:
Keep an eye on your cooking and stay in the kitchen. Unattended cooking is the #1 cause of cooking fires!!
Wear short or close fitting sleeves. Loose clothing can catch fire
Watch children closely. When old enough, teach children to cook safely.
Clean cooking surfaces to prevent food and grease build-up.
Keep curtains, towels and pot holders away from hot surfaces, and store solvents and flammable cleaners away from heart sources. Never keep gasoline in the house.
Turn pan handles inward to prevent food spills.
To Put out a cooking fire in your kitchen:
Call the fire department immediately in many cases, dialing 911 will give you Emergency Services
Slide a pan lid over flames to smother a grease or oil fire, then turn off the heat and leave the lid in place until the pan cools. Never carry the pan outside.
Extinguish other food fires with baking soda. Never use water or flour on cooking fires.
Keep the over door shut and turn off the heat to smother an oven or broiler fire.
Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Make sure you have the right type and training.
Keep a working smoke detector in your home and test it monthly.
Here's to safe cooking,
Blue Sky Services
Natural stone and tile care
Preventative maintenance and in this case fire prevention in our cooking!!
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
We hope to always exceed your service expectations but exceeding our quoted price is not where we excel. Not only do we stay below our quoted price, sometimes we can also go below that price. It is so hard to tell the exact details of a job until you are deep within. A job may go a little easier than expected in which case our invoices reflect the ease.
Of course, when additional services are requested and we are already on your job, it may to have exceed the quoted price, but you will know that up front. Many times we have added a service or two but the bottom line still stays the same. I think being a company that doesn't not exceed may be even better than one that over exceeds- especially where the bottom line is concerned!!
We are able give your this benefit because you are always working directly with owners. Blue Sky Services isn't just another pretty company it is also a company with a lot of TLC. Thanks for your business, please feel free to call anytime.
Wishing you a healthy and happy home.
Blue Sky Services: stone, tile and grout care
Preventative maintenance consulting and very effective tools!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
It is always a good time to remember to say thank you. For without you where would we be? In return we hope you feel confident knowing we are always just a phone call away. Ours is not a big company but what it lacks in size we make up in heart. We take our work personally, we do our very best to help out, even if it means referring you to another company. Having happy customers and the satisfaction of a job well done is pretty much what we shoot for.
Currently, I'm taking a online class from South Seattle Community College on Online business. My class assignment was to find our business a tag line. Do you think 'thanks" would work? As I was contemplating tag lines, here are the words that came to mind: confidence, honestly, relaxed, personal, experience, gratitude, fun and helpful. It's not a tag line but maybe those words that come to mind are what keeps us in business. We may not have the best web presence, I don't even write to you for web presence. Our business is more like conversations between friends. I hope remembering to say thanks is always part of those conversations!
with our deepest gratitude, we wish you a happy and healthy home,
Blue Sky Services
Thursday, October 7, 2010
It actually makes sense. Your cleaning efforts will last longer when your house tucked in for the season. You don't have as much foot traffic coming in and out, probably less dust with the windows closed and you will feel like a million bucks to have your home clean before company and the holidays arrive at your door.
Besides the obvious benefits there are also some hidden benefits. Clean and organized just plain feel better. I can't explain it so much as I know it. With 20 years of professional cleaning experieince, a life of personal home cleaning and zillions of chats with family and friends here is my verdict: Clean and organized feel good. I'm not talking perfect here, just refreshed and rejuvenated.
There is something almost magical about a home that has been deep cleaned. It comes with a deep breath and big cleansing-relaxing-letting go exhale! If you don't believe me, next time you catch yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed stop and clean a closet or bookshelf. The act of quiet simple act of cleaning is also good for the soul!
May you breath deeply and have a healthy and happy home,
Thursday, September 2, 2010
That is our topic today: Fragrance and how it affects the health of your home
The over abundance of fragrances in a home, can be a hidden irritant to you and your families health. Almost everything and anything can have a fragrance added. Even, get this, unscented and natural products! To find an scent free product look for products listed as fragrance free.
Where do these fragrances come from...everywhere! A typical home can easily contain the following fragrance filled products: candles, plug ins, shampoos and cream rinces, cleaners, furniture polish, body deodorizer, body lotions and soaps, air freshener, disinfectant sprays, and perfume. Get the picture? They are everywhere and in almost everything.
Why is this unhealthy to your home? Because those fragrances are what you breath. Besides just being unhealthy in general, a lot of people, like me, are sensitive to different fragrances.
From the American Lung Association, here is a quote from Facts about Perfumes, Fragrances and Scented Products:
"People with asthma or allergies can have their respiratory problems triggered by perfumes. Small children, babies and the elderly are especially susceptible to these effects. People who are sensitive to perfumes sometimes notice headaches, problems breathing, watery eyes, nausea, fatigue and other symtoms."
For me, I get watery eyes, my throat gets all flemmy and my sinuses start giving me fits-how lovely is that!. Headaches and fatique are sneaky side affects of fragrance sensitivities that give many unsuspecting family members troubles.
What can you do?
4 Steps to Healthier Air
1) Start by becoming aware of the scented products in your home.
2) Notice how you or other members of your family feel around fragrances.
3) When you buy new products, look products listed as fragrance free.
4) Open up your windows, turn on your vents and consider getting a good air HEPA filter
in your home.
A home should be a place of health not the source of unhealth. Consider taking a deeper look at the fragrances and perfumes that may be lurking in your home and car.
If you have any questions, you are always welcome to call on us. I am not only the co-owner of Blue Sky Services but I'm also a Master Home Enviromentalist volunteer from the American Lung Association.
As always, we wish you a healthy and happy home,
Blue Sky Services
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I can give you two very good reasons why you may want to re-think your free time priorities...
Reading the labels of your cleaners before using can...
1. Protect you and your family from harm
2. It can save you thousands of $$$$$$
Labels are not perfect, but they do give you enough information to be incredibly helpful.
For you and your families protection please at least read:
1) the CAUTION/WARNING/DANGER/POISON section.
This little section will help you know if the product you are cleaning with is dangerous.
It will give safety tips such as: fatal if swallowed; avoid eye contact; do not mix with bleach, mildew removers or any other household chemicals as hazardous gases may be released!!!!!
This is great info to have before you start cleaning!!!!
It is always a good idea to follow directions- enough said.
3) For use on or not to be used on...
You may have to hunt for this one but trust me it is soooo worth your time. The wrong cleaner can do thousands of dollars of damage. Just this week, I visited with the nicest lady who had just etched her travertine floors with an acidic cleaner. This happens all the time! Sometimes the label will be clear: Do not use on such and such, but sometimes you have to dig a little deeper.
A good hint is... if the cleaner says it removes hard water buildup, calcium and lime stains or rust stains it is most likely an acid. An acid will etch acid sensitive surfaces such as marble, travertine, onyx, limestone and grout.
I would love to say labels have all the information we need, but they are far from perfect. However and this is a big however, they do give you enough info to help protect you and your home. When in doubt call the 1-800 on the bottom of your product, look up the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) or call a professional before you clean.
Also, keep in mind some cleaners such as vinegar are considered food and do not have cleaning instructions. Vinegar is an acid, it may be pretty safe for you but it may still do big $$$$ damage.
If you ever have any questions, please feel free to call us or the manufacture of your cleaners. Today's blog is precisely where our blog site got it's name...
An Ounce of Prevention.
Wishing you a healthy and happy home.
Blue Sky Services: Stone and Tile Care
Saturday, August 21, 2010
In November of 2008, I wrote the 7 Clues You May Need a Nap. Today, feels like a good day to re-write that list (this afternoon I needed a nap)
1) If your friends and family's IQ's mysteriously plummet... you may need a nap.
2) If you accidental ask for a pillow instead of a double espresso... you may need a nap.
3) If you can't think of one thing that makes you happy, but can easily come up with 5 things that make you miserable... you may need a nap.
4) If the thought of going to bed early sounds better chocolate... you may need a nap.
5) If you find yourself nodding off at a stop light... you may need a nap.
6) If you start snapping at your pets just because they need to pee... you may need a nap.
7) An finally, if the last time you remember taking a nap was in kindergarten... you may need a nap.
A nap may not create world peace... but it sure can't hurt. May your naps feel as good as our cat Penny's naps.
Wishing you a healthy and happyhome,
Friday, August 20, 2010
Please picture this with me. As you clean, say your shower walls, what do you do? Spray cleaner right? Where does that cleaner go? Most of it goes on your walls, but some of it goes in the air and you breath it, some of it lands on you and maybe some on the adjacent shower glass door. What if your next step is to clean the shower glass doors? Here is where this gets a little sticky!!! Now your spray the glass shower door. The cleaners go on you, in the air and on the shower. If your shower cleaner contains bleach and your glass cleaner contains ammonia you just created a toxic gas!!!!!
This accidental mixture and reaction of cleaners happens all the time. Toilet cleaners mixed with glass cleaners or all purpose cleaners is another unfortunate but very common mixture.
Your home should be a place you and your family can relax and rejuvenate, your home should not be the source of your un-health or stress.
Cleaners are often left behind in the cleaning process. This shows up as re-soiling but the unseen part of this is there are unintentional chemicals left around your home- every where!!!!!
Cleaners are not food, they should not be left on countertops. They aren't air, they shouldn't be put in our air and of course they are not something we want on our skin!
Here are some easy solutions-
Do not spray cleaner over your head
Apply cleaner directly to a microfiber or towel and then apply to surface
Always rinse and dry surface after using a cleaner
Wishing you a healthy and happy home,
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
The bottom line is, when your home is in transition it is easy to become overwhelmed with chaos. Your stuff is everywhere, decisions must be made daily, finances get stretched and pulled, you wonder who you can trust, deadlines are extended and on and on it goes. A good designer can help you remember what your passions are, put them on paper and then into reality. A good designer can help you maneuver around land mines and costly mistakes, put you in contact with great contractors and subcontractors. A good designer will know which surfaces will fit your lifestyle and the ones that function better on paper than in reality.
A healthy home is a relaxed home. A home filled with stress is detrimental to you and your families health. Sometimes your best decision is the decision to ask for help and then relax. If you are considering taking on a major remodel or even just changing your paint colors, consider working with a good designer. The time and stress saved will be well worth the cost.
An effective way to find a good designer is to contact the Northwest Society of Interior Designers or NWSID. http://www.nwsid.net/
Wishing you a healthy and happy home,
Monday, August 9, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Characteristics of Travertine:
A neutral colored stone
Has small holes in the stone, which can either be left open or filled
Tends to be scratch sensitive and acid sensitive
Preventative Care for Travertine Floors
* Use a good and clean entryway mat at every entrance to your home or business
These mats act like filters to your home: Keep them clean
* Vacuum or sweep your floors often
Use a vacuum that is made for hard surface only
Frequent vacuuming or dusting is more better for your floors than frequent wet cleaning
* Wipe up spills quickly
Travertine is usually acid sensitive. Acids can etch your stone leaving dull marks
Common acids: cleaners, vinegar, vomit, urine, personal care products, toilet cleaners...
* Use felt pads on all furniture and chair legs, replace felt pads when then get dirty or worn
For chairs with rollers. Put chair casters on with a soft rubber wheel
These are the same you would use for hardwood floors
* Be careful with high heel shoes. Keep your shoes in good condition
* Keep your dog's nails trimmed. This will help prevent scratches.
Cleaning: Maintenance Care for Travertine Floors:
* Use a neutral cleaner made specifically for natural stone daily maintenance
General house hold cleaners can be high alkaline and acids- stay with neutral cleaners
* Leave your floors residue free.
If you leave soap/cleaner behind this can attract more soil.
If you leave water behind you can attract extra dust and leave mineral deposits behind.
* Whenever possible clean, rinse and dry floors for best long term beauty and care
* Protect your travertine floors with a high quality impregnating sealer
Please do not put coatings or finishes on travertine floors-
you know, the sealers that make your floor look shiny
* Penetrating sealers will not prevent scratches or acid etches so still be careful
Polishing, Repairing and Resealing your travertine floors
* Don't panic if your floors get an etch or scratched they can always be re-polished
* This also goes for the fill in travertine floors. It sometimes comes out -
but not to worry it can be refilled
* Periodically you may want to have your floors professionally cleaned and resealed. Stone can hold amazing amounts of soil. If your stone starts looking kind of grey or if water starts penetrating into your stone give us a call for a professional cleaning and resealing.
Hope this info helps but if you have Questions give us a call...
Blue Sky Services: stone and tile care 253-946-2056
New construction sealing, professional tools and techniques for residue free cleaning
Filling, resealing and deep cleaning
Wishing you a healthy, happy and beautiful home,
Friday, July 2, 2010
It might just be your own cleaning causing the trouble. I know that sounds backwards - cleaning is causing dirt- but cleaning is exactly what causes a huge portion of floors to soil and then re-soil.
Consider this: How do you wash your windows, TV screens and mirrors? Would you ever consider taking your mop and smearing your windows and then just leaving them to dry on their own? You can imaging the soil, the wipes, the water spots, the soil! Oh my! Now think how those poor windows, TV screens and mirrors would look if you mopped them every week. Can you see where I'm headed with this? Mopping is not really cleaning, it is smearing.
If you currently mop your floors- not to worry. We can help. It's called residue free cleaning. Residue free cleaning is cleaning without leaving anything behind- soap or moisture. Residue free cleaning-with the right tools and techniques is fast and very effective. Plus, you won't have scrub off your own cleaners.
Residue free cleaning can help extend the life of your floors, keeping them looking great and as an added bonus... drum roll please... you are not leaving unwanted cleaner/chemicals behind on your floors. This is a big bonus to homes with pets and children.
At Blue Sky Services we practice and teach residue free cleaning- it is the only way to go. If you have any questions just give us a jingle. We are always here to help.
Wishing you a happy and healthy home,
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
This weekend, my step mom gave me an article she had saved for me from the Wall Street Journal about laundry and over soap application.
The article is called "The Great American Soap Overdose" by Ellen Byron. " 1-27-10
Here is a quote I though summarized the article.
"Detergent "overpouring" creates a high, foamy tide inside the machine, lifting solid and lint above the water level so it isn't rinsed away. That leaves residue on clothing that fades colors and attracts more dirt, they say. Inside the machine, detergent buildup encourages odor and bacteria growth, and leads in time to wear and tear that will require professional attention, washer manufactures say."
Over application of cleaner not only applies to cleaning your floors, countertops and showers, it also applies to your dishes, laundry, windows and pretty much everything we use a cleaner on.
What to do...
-Always read your labels and follow directions.
There is more to cleaning than just the cleaning chemicals.
-Cleaning is a science which includes many factors such as:
Inspection/testing, time, heat, agitation, water, cleaner, dry soil removal,
rinsing and drying Cleaning is not just using chemicals or cleaners
-Consider applying the cleaning philosophies of:
Less is more - more is often worse not better
Practice residue free cleaning - where no soap is left behind
Cleaning with less may be weird at first and you may not believe your clothes or dishes are as clean, but trust me they will be cleaner! If you have a spot on your clothes treat the spot and then use less cleaner.
Have you ever been in a hot tub where there is foam and bubbles everywhere? This is left over soap that gets reactivated with heat and water. Lots and lots of soap is left behind.
If you have concerns or questions about your laundry or dishes my best recommendation is to call the manufacture of your equipment and ask for technical support. Ask for their recommendations and suggestions on using their equipment the best way to achieve the very best results.
Wishing you a healthy and residue free home,
Friday, June 4, 2010
I whittled my list of sensitivities down to 5 and drum roll please..... here is my list.
I know there are more, but as a general rule these are the 5 things that your surfaces are most sensitive to. Keep in mind each surface may have levels of sensitivities. Take granite, it is generally acid resistant but can be etched with hydrofloric acid. Carpet can be cleaned with water but if flooded over time can de-laminate. A little abrasion is sometimes needed to break surface tension but scrub too hard on pretty much anything and walla... damage.
Examples of normal sensitivities:
marble is sensitive to abrasives and acids
carpet is sensitive to abrasives and bleaches
wood is sensitive to abrasives and water/moisture
laminate is sensitive to abrasives and heat
upholstery is sensitive to sunshine and bleach
grout is sensitive to abrasives and acids
Of course for any general rule there are always exceptions.
For an effective maintenance program it is essential to know the sensitivities of your surfaces and the exceptions. With good sensitivity knowledge, you can prevent and minimize damage thus extending the life and beauty of your surfaces.
If you have questions, give us a call, cleaning, teaching and minimizing damage is our business.
Wishing you a happy and healthy home,
Sunday, May 30, 2010
As a culture, we don't always value cleaning our homes, nor do we value the person doing the cleaning. So often it is shoved into nooks and crannies of a busy life, a kind of low man on the totem pole philosophy. I say it is time to let the true value of cleaning rise to the top. Not only is cleaning an essential element to a healthy home, when done with the skills and intent of cleaning for health, it also extends the life and value of your home. Cleaning is one of the guiding forces behind a great feeling, beautiful and smoothly run home. But beyond the obvious benefits of cleaning for health, cleaning for health also give us a rich time to practice mindful living.
Cleaning for health as a practice gives you time to do nothing but wash your dishes while breathing and relaxing your shoulders. A time to open up the windows, smell the fresh air and methodically vacuum your floors for the health of your home and not just to remove some fuzz before company comes. A moment each morning to quietly dry your showers walls with nothing in mind but watching the water absorb into the towel. Does this sound slow? On the contrary, slowing down and being mindful gives you time and as an added benefit, a healthy more relaxed home.
Wishing you all a relaxed, healthy and happy home,
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
There are defiantly coating supporters out there but we spend much of our time inspecting coatings that have uglied out, looking at coatings that were improperly applied and removing coatings for multiple reasons. For us putting a coating on is the last option not the first.
How to avoid using a coating...
1. Pick the surface that has the look & characteristics you want from the start.
Don't select and try to alter the stone or tile after the installation
2. Have your stone and tile professionally cleaned after installation. So often a
surface will look dull and not at all what you remembered in the showroom. A lot of the
time, this is because it is dirty from travel, installation, grout haze and construction soil.
Have it cleaned and watch its true beauty emerge.
3. Don't fall for the "wet look". In the installation process, the stone will get wet,
we tend ooh and aah over the dark stones. Don't make any decisions now.
Wait until the stone is clean and dry. A shiny stone looses the natural essence of stone.
The texture, the color ranges and the true beauty can be hidden from the "wet look".
4. Before sealing, do your research. There are 3 basic types of sealers.
Impregnating sealers, enhancing impregnating sealers and coatings
These 3 sealers are all very different.
Make sure you know what type of sealer is being used, its maintenance and wear
characteristics and if it is even recommended for your surface.
If you want to change the look of your surface do multiple samples and then try to damage
those samples to see what may happen in the real world.
5. When in doubt please call us first.
Not only do we professionally seal but we can also help you make an informed decision.
Wishing you a happy and stress free home,
Monday, April 26, 2010
Talk about a multitude of great reasons for high quality entrance rugs. Did you know 75-80% of the soil that comes in your home or business comes from the outside- mainly through your front door, garage door, back door and any other door you have and use. It gets tracked on feet, paws and the wind. My philosophy is, if you can prevent it from happening then by all means do!
Here is the low down and benefits of effective entrance rugs.
1. #1 cause of damage to floors is tracked in soil that acts like sand paper on your floors
Entrance rugs minimize soil tracked in your home
2. The soil that we track in isn't just dirt... it can also be:
lead, pesticides, allergens, sand, road dust, tire fragments, mold spores, plants....
the list is long and sometimes a little scary.
Entrance rugs minimize the contaminates tracked into your home.
3. What doesn't come in doesn't have to be dusted, vacuumed and removed!
Entrance rugs minimize over all soil- which means less to remove.
Entrance rugs are so helpful in the health of your home, reduction of dirt and extending the life of your surfaces. It is one of those almost to good to be true products.
When shopping for entrance rugs call us. We offer tons of high quality, multiple sizes and beautiful colors. The bigger, better and cleaner the entrance rug the better it will serve you.
Keep in mind- your entrance rugs are like filters to your home and business. Keep them clean!
Wishing you a healthy and happy home.
Blue Sky Services
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Cleaning and maintenance of our homes is all about finding balance. The balance between perfect and chaos, between under cleaning and over cleaning, between being too concerned about your home and not even caring. On and on it goes. I teach a lot of prevention in my home care classes but of course there is still a balance to over prevention and under prevention.
My basic philosophy is: Our homes should be a place where we can be healthy and regain our health; A place to feel safe and to relax; A place for families and joyful gatherings; A place to unwind and kick back; A place where your creative juices have fertile ground. What our homes shouldn't be is the source of our un-health and stress.
My suggestions of home care are just that- suggestions. Will they help keep your home clean and healthier? Absolutely. Will they help your surfaces last longer and look better in the the process? Yes. If overdone can they become irksome and frustrating? You bet. My goal is always to help you find that balance in your home so it serves you and you can enjoy living with less stress and dust.
Our lives and homes have a kind of flow, some weeks they are fast and furious and others slow and methodical. (I would guess most homes have more fast and furious). No matter the speed of your home, always keep in mind, what you want from your home. That is your foundation. What I teach are tools to help you achieve that foundation.
Wishing you effortless balance,
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Last night at my Master Home Environmentalist class I was in for a surprise....
Maybe I should go back a bit. When I was little, my grandparents made furniture for us kids. In my house, I have beautiful wooden tables, dressers and book cases. All made by hand and each with amazing love from my grandparents. They meticulously hand sanded and hand oiled each piece over and over until the color was rich and the finish smooth. They used Old English furniture polish and so I have used Old English furniture polish to care for their/my furniture ever since.
I love my grandparents, unfortunately they are no longer with me except in my memories. Each week as I clean, especially when I clean the things they made me, I always feel a little closer to them and appreciate their gifts more and more as time goes.
What does this have to do with my class or with dangerous products? Everything! Because of my love, respect and use of a product over decades, I didn't read the label. I didn't even question this product- which is so unlike me. The odors were familiar and the product handed down from people I love and greatly admire. To turn my back on their wisdom and question was not even in my field of vision.
Until last night..... If you read the back of the Old English Lemon Oil furniture polish it says and I quote "Keep out of reach of Children. DANGER: Harmful or fatal if swallowed. May cause eye irritation. DO NOT ingest. Avoid contact with eyes. Contains petroleum distillates greater than 10%..." It continues on, but I think you get the main point. I was using a product with the key word danger, which is the equivalent of poison on the key words rating scale.
You know, I talk about this very thing. How easy it is for us to be emotionally attached to a smell, a cleaner and method. Bleach, pine sol, disinfectants, pesticides, lemon deodorizers, fragrances... the list goes on and on. What we sometimes don't realized is the product is just the product. It is either safe or not. It is our emotional ties to our past, to family members we love and respect that can put blinders on us. Last night I felt like I had cold water thrown in my face. Apparently, I am just has emotionally connected to my cleaners as everyone else.
I will continue to love my grandparents and cherish their wisdom and think of them as I clean.
But from now, on I just wont be using a poisonous product to do it with.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy home from one very surprised and humbled cleaner. Who I might add is a little sad this morning-from the loss of a cleaner and the emotion that connect. wow!
Blue Sky Services
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Color is powerful.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Dirt: we use to play in it, its natural, it is everywhere, we plant in it. Dirt is as natural as apple pie... right? What if your apple pie is a highly processed imitation?
I just got in from planting beets and carrots in my "dirt". In our master home environmentalist program, one of this week's topics is on dust. A lot of our "dirt" becomes our dust.
Volcanic ash, quartz, sand... this is in your dirt. It is the number one thing that damages your floors. Getting tracked in from outside, dirt acts like sandpaper on the bottom of your shoes scraping and wearing out your floors.
This is what we often think of when we think of our dust, we think of our dirt. But maybe what is in our dirt is not just "dirt". The indoor air quality of most homes is pretty poor. A big factor in the health of our homes is in the dirt we track in - or don't track in.
So just what is in our dirt anyway? Besides the stuff that damages your floors, there is a ton of other possibilities including: lead, pesticides, bacteria, pollen, road/street dust, and other toxic substances from air pollution. All this and more can end up in our "dirt".
So what is a family to do? Not to panic, there are 3 simple prevention steps you can take.
1. Install great entrance rugs at every entrance to your home. Think of these rugs as filters to your home. Get good quality commercial rugs, keep them clean, and get them as big as you can. In our home, we usually come through the garage. This is a perfect place for a long commercial grade runner.
2. Take off your shoes. This is huge in keeping contaminates out.
3. Minimize pesticide use. Many weed and feed type products for our lawns also contain pesticides. It's often the stuff you spray to remove ants, wasps, dandelions and other little annoying plants and critters. Outside, these pesticides may get broken down a little, - although many end up in our water. But inside, we don't have rain, sunshine or wind and those pesticides and herbicides come into our homes...to stay.
There are lots of other tips for dirt control but this is a great place to start. Not only will your homes and families be healthier, you won't have as much to clean and remove and your floors will last longer. Not a bad days work! I'll be giving you some dust prevention and containment tips later this month, but dirt prevention is a good place to start.
Wishing you and your family a healthy and happy home,
Blue Sky Services
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I joined this program for many reasons, one of which is the training I could gain to help others improve the health of their homes. We have been working to increase the health of your homes for years, this training will expand our knowledge and resources.
So far I love the program, of course I am a bit of a learning nerd, but that aside the MHE is a fantastic program. Tonight, our classes will be on Toxicology and Lead- very interesting! Last week we were learning about biological pollutants and moisture. You can see why this is all so much fun-seriously!
In the coming weeks, I hope to give you additional tips and ideas for your own homes. If you would like to learn more about this program check out www.alaw.org.
Hope you are all loving rain, we sure got a lot yesterday!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Why do we keep the phone book adds? I know it seems crazy. I guess it's because that's what most businesses do. Each year when we meet with the add companies it feels like no one will ever call if we don't have an add. You would think after 19 years with our great clients/referrals we would know better, but still it seems like we are jumping without a net.
This year we decided we are not going to renew any more phone book adds. We'll stay listed in case you need to find us. But we are going to focus on our strengths, making our business as personal as it is.
It feels a little like peddling your bike for the first time without training wheels. Once you get over the panic of no little wheels to hold you up, its kind of exciting and exhilarating. We might as well have fun and take a little risk-which is probably no risk at all. This is just a decision long over due.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I know our days are filled with a million things- thinking about why we clean is not exactly on top of our to do list. It's not that I think you should just sit around dreaming of cleaning or the philosophy of cleaning but here are three little thoughts that might be worth a minute or two.
3 ways cleaning can make our homes unhealthy
1) Using too much cleaner and accidental leaving behind cleaner residue...
Over cleaning, spraying your cleaners and not rinsing leaves chemical residue everywhere-
This residue can mix with other cleaners, get on our pets and kids and become our dust...
2) Using too harsh, toxic or aggressive cleaners in normal cleaning
These restorative cleaners can be dangerous to our health and the health of our surfaces
Most cleaners sold are more of what I would consider a restorative cleaner
When we expect fast results- we get restoration cleaners
3) We are so rushed for time or focused on the task we may not notice how we are feeling
Scratchy throats, sinus pressure, stiff backs, strong fumes, tight shoulders...
These little tell tale signs often go unnoticed- until...
I believe our primary focus of cleaning should be health:
The health of our families and pets
The health of our surfaces
The health of whoever is doing the cleaning
Cleaning is important and vital to the health and well being of our families and homes. Maybe spending hours thinking about cleaning is out of the questions, but consider giving it at least a moments thought.
Wishing you a healthy and happy home,
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
He reminded me about the importance of our pets as we design and care for our homes.
1) Consider your pets when you pick your flooring. Too slick of surfaces may be hard for your pet to get footing. This lack of traction is hard on old hips.
2) Don't leave cleaning residue behind on your floors.
Pets walk on floors and later lick their paws.
On occasion- I have even seen ours licking the floor.
3) Be aware of any pesticide or herbicide used outdoors.
As your pets run around outside they may nibble on the grass and later lick their paws.
Thankfully, most of our home flooring is slate. Reggie has no problem with the slate floors.
We also don't leave cleaning residue behind and our gardening and lawn care is organic. Now, we just have to take care when he comes back to say hi in our bedrooms with the hardwood floors.
p.s. this info also applicable to our whole family not just our four legged members.
Wishing you and your pets a healthy and happy home.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Did you know spring cleaning started a long time ago when we had oil lamps, wood fireplaces and stoves? By spring the house was getting mighty sooty. Spring is also when bugs start having babies. If you have ever heard stories of bed bugs and the horror they cause, nipping these little critters in the bud before they multiply was highly motivating.
Last spring, I was visiting with my Aunt Velma and grandma and grandpa, they gave me vivid stories of bed bugs gone bad and the ingenuity they used to control those bugs.
Anyway, on the first nice sunny days of the year, families used to remove most items from their home and give both the inside and the furniture outside a thorough cleaning!
Thankfully, we no longer have to go to such extremes to keep our houses clean and bed bug free but still a thorough cleaning feels mighty good. Dallas and I have known for years, after cleaning stone floors, tile and grout, carpets, showers etc. After, all the soil and residue is removed there is a noticeable change in how a home feels. It feels fresher and lighter. You have the feeling of taking a big breath in and then just relaxing and smiling. That is what spring cleaning does for you.
If you are ready for a breath of fresh air and a chance to relax and enjoy your home, just give us a call we are experts in creating clean, fresh and residue free homes!!
Wishing you a clean and healthy home,
Saturday, February 20, 2010
As I was vacuuming our home this morning, I thought of something I do as I vacuum you might find helpful in your own home.
Vacuuming in one of the very most important cleaning tasks you can do in your home. Dry soil is the number one thing that can cause damage to your floors. The airborne dry particulates can also cause havic with your indoor air quality. Vacuuming is essential for a healthy home and long lasting floors.
That said, it can also be a bit irksome to your body. As you vacuum, you are twisting and extending in ways you don't normally move during the rest of your week. This can cause shoulder and back strain.
Here are my top tips for healthy and effective vacuuming
1. Vacuum with great posture. I bend my knees slightly, stand up tall- lifting my chest up with my neck slightly tucked. As I vacuum, I also tuck my behind a little and relax my shoulders.
2. Move with mindful ease. When I vacuum, I breath in as I push the vacuum away and breath out as I bring it back towards me. This keeps me present as to what I am doing. As I vacuum I also switch arms as I move back and fourth accross a room. I let my legs and core muscles do the work, not my arms and back.
3. Vacuum slowly. No only is vacuuming slowly easier on your body- it is much more effective over fast vacuuming. When we had our carpet cleaning company, I rememeber reading- One slow vacuum stroke is better than 5 fast. Slow vacuuming, also helps keep you from running into your walls and furnature.
4. Use your legs to lift. If you need to move furniture or unplug your cord, bend down with your legs and not with your back. Keep your posture healthy and your head up.
5. Get a good vacuum. Vacuuming is essential for a healthy home and long lasting floors. Do not try to use an old, heavy, cumbersome, ineffient vacuum. This is a good place to spend your money wisely. Get a vacuum that is easy and effective to use, has a good filtration system- like a HEPA filter. I like a cord over 30 feet. If you have a large home- get one with a large head. Trust me a 17 inch head will save you hours and hours of vacuuming time.
6. Use the right vacuum head for your different floors. If you have hard surfaces, use a vacuum that has a hard surface head. For carpet, use a vacuum with a beater bar.
7. Keep your vacuum in good working order. Make sure you keep your filters in good working condition and your beater bar clean. The belts on the beater bar will expand over time making your vacuum less effecient. Make sure your bag isn't too full- your vacuum will not be near as effective with a full bag.
During the time we had our carpet cleaning company I must have vacuumed miles and miles of carpet. I can safely say I have perfected the art of vacuuming- effectively and safely. Don't let this helpful task cause you discomfort. If you have any questions just give us a jingle.
Happy vacuuming! Denise
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
If your cleaning gives you soar throats, burning eyes, tired feet, back aches, grumpy thoughts or feelings of irritation ,then you might be in need of a cleaning overhaul.
If when you clean you get up before the roosters, if you have bulging scrubbing muscles, if you own more that 20 different kinds of cleaners- and you are not a professional cleaner- you might need a cleaning overhaul.
If you panic when the dog runs in your home with muddy feet, if your life rotates around your cleaning schedule, if you spend more time with your vacuum than your family, then you might need a cleaning system overhaul.
Cleaning should serve you and your family. It is a gift you give your family. It is very valuable but usually goes unnoticed. In our culture, we don't always value cleaning. I don't agree with this general feeling. For 19 years I have seen the benefits of cleaning. Cleaning and caring for your home is a gift- the gift of health and happiness to your family. Not to mention, done well, it extends the life and value of your home.
If cleaning is not benefiting you, call us. We think what you do is very important. Let us help you also be happy, healthy and effective in the process.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
To me safe means, if my dog Sally accidentally gets the cleaner spilled on her, drinks it or licks it off the window it will have no detrimental effect to her. It is safe. She is just as healthy after the incident as she was before. There will be no long term or short term ill effects.
Mild sounds safe but there is a difference. To me, mild means it will not damage the surface you are cleaning. There are many products that say they are safe. Safe for you. Vinegar is usually considered a very safe product. Although, spill it on an open wound and you might disagree- it burns, right? It is a food, you can eat it and it is fairly safe if we eat it. But is it mild??? This is the question of the day. Is safe and mild the same thing. I say no!
To me, safe won't damage you, mild won't damage your surfaces. Going back to vinegar. Most consider it a safe product and therefore it must be mild. I beg to differ. I get about a call a week from this "safe" product causing damage to your surfaces. Vinegar is a food, but it is also an acid. An acid with a pH of around 3. If you have an acid sensitive surface such as marble, travertine, or grout this product will etch and cause damage. Not so safe for your surfaces!
This little equation goes both ways. I was searching for a mild product when I found a great example. I neutral disinfectant that was "mild" on natural stone. This meant it would not damage the stone. I looked up its Material Safety Data Sheet. This little mild product that would not damage your stone but was definitely not so safe for you. It has a toxicity level or rating of 3! The scale on an MSDS sheet is between 0-4. 0 being non toxic and 4 being poison, 3 is considered very dangerous.
As you clean and care for your home, I always recommend you start with the most mild and safe means possible . You can always work up from here but this is the best place to start and stay as long as you can. Make sure your cleaners and proceedures are mild for your surfaces and safe for you and your family.
You are always welcome to call on us to help you .
Wishing you a healthy and happy home,
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
For me, the two hardest parts of this practice is remembering to practice in the first place and then trying to staying focused on my practice for an extended period of time.
My solution: learning to pause. To take a moment to stop, breath, smile and relax. To notice where I am, what I'm doing and how I feel. It's like a super-mini vacation in your day. With the pause I can then intentionally decide on my next practice and how long it will be.
This morning I discovered this quote out of one of my books,
"In the middle of my morning's work I break for blessings: a deep breath, a glance out the window, a graceful stretch, a remembrance of God, a brief reflection of the nobility of work, an encouraging word, a grateful thought, a smile, a short prayer, a remembrance of who I am, a sip of freshly brewed coffee. I honor the wisdom of pausing. The day, still bright with potential, when I have the wisdom to step away from work momentarily, I am able to see it as a gift for the entire world."
The Seven Sacred Pauses
Isn't this quote as delicious as a cup of hot chocolate?
Wishing you a day filled with pauses,
Sunday, January 10, 2010
In highschool and college I ran track and cross-country. I did a lot of practicing, there was little work involved. Somedays we had meets, but that was just a test to see how well our practice was coming along. Some of my practices were painful and not very effective but it was just practice. Practice makes sense. To practice you are trying to improve. House work alone is just a never ending battle.
When cleaning your home, cooking dinner or going shopping think of it not as part of your to do list or house work but as a way to practice. What you practice is up to you.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Just a little, because within a few minutes I had a call. An anxious and frustrated homeowner called because she had used a natural and safe cleaning product on her marble floors. I knew what she was going to say before she even finished her sentence. "there is cleaner and damage on the floor that won't come up" I could hear the stress in her voice. She was afraid she had ruined her beautiful marble floors. I felt compassion for her. She was trying to be safe for her family and damaged her surfaces in the process. Unfortunately, this happens all the time.
She hadn't ruined the floors but I'm sure she probably etched the marble, which will need to be polished. Her safe and natural cleaner was most likely also an acid. A little known fact with cleaners is: Natural and neutral do not mean the same thing. You can have a cleaner that is natural such as vinegar or citris but that does not make it safe on acid sensitive surfaces- such as marble, travertine, limestone, onyx and grout.
Thankfully, her floor can be repaired. But sometimes the damage is done to our health in the cleaning process. This may be a little harder to repair. Once I got over myself and the panic of talking for 1-2 hours I realized this class is sooooo needed. I helped our caller but she helped me more. She gave me back my confidence. What I know is highly beneficial to share. Do I know everything- heavens no! But what I do know is great and can be life changing-seriously!
On January 21st, I will be teaching a class at Marlene's Market. You are invited to come. And don't worry 1-2 hours will not be boring but fun and inspirational. I will not only be teaching on how to not damage your surfaces but how to clean to for health. There will be a bonus on how to turn your daily chores into a creative practice. And I might even tell a story about a chicken. For more information call us at 253-946-2056 or visit Marlene's Market's web site: http://www.marlenesmarket-deli.com/.
Wishing you a happy and healthy home- hope to see you on the 21st at 7:00pm in Federal Way.