Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Labels Labels Labels......It is a big deal

On your moments of free time what do you do? Do you read the labels of your cleaning products? I'm guessing no. And really why would you? If you are like most families, you may not have oodles and oodles of free time. Why in the world would you add reading your cleaning labels to your list of a million and one to do's?
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:

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!!!!

2) Directions
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.
Denise Frakes
Blue Sky Services: Stone and Tile Care

Saturday, August 21, 2010

7 clues you may need a nap

A healthy home is also a happy home. There is more to life than being serious and working all the time. Sometimes a good nap is in order.
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,
Denise Frakes

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cleaners are not food or air

Yesterday, I wrote about noticing the huge overuse of cleaners in a home. Today, I thought I would explain why I think this is detrimental to the health of all those living in that home.

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

Don't fall for the spray and destroy method of cleaning

One of the scariest constants I have seen over my last 20 years has been the over use of cleaners.
There is a billion dollar industry out there trying to help us decide to buy their cleaners because we need their cleaners. Help and need are the key words. Help is actually a huge marketing plan to convince us that we can not live with out their products. Need is truly in the eye of the seller. If you listen to commercials you would think your life will come to an end if you don't disinfect your mirrors, wipe up any germs that dare enter your home and remove any trace of living from your home.
The fact is you do not need 15 different cleaners in your home. Most cleaners you pick up at the grocery store are what I would call restorative cleaners. They are meant to spray and destroy. The spray and destroy method is not healthy for your home or your surfaces.
For the next couple of months, we are going to help show you a new way to have a healthy home, a clean home and a long lasting home. We are not a billion dollar industry and we do not recommend the spray and destroy method, what you will find is a very passionate company trying to help prevent damage- to you and your home. Stay tuned!!
Wishing you a healthy and happy home,

Monday, August 16, 2010

The value of a good designer

This morning I made a decision to focus the next 2 months on helping you have a healthy home. Why in the world would my first writing be on the value of a good designer? My answer to that is two part: First of all, tomorrow night I'm speaking at an association meeting of NWSID or Northwest Society of Interior Designers, so designers are kind of on my mind. The second reason is that I have had the privilege of working with multiple clients of these designers. What I find is, the clients of a good designer seem happier and more relaxed.

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.

Wishing you a healthy and happy home,

Monday, August 9, 2010

The decision to walk 60 miles

This past weekend I spent it with a good friend on Whidbey Island. We were at a camp to walk 38 miles in 3 days. This was in preparation of the upcoming walk my friend will be doing. You may have heard of it... Susan G Komen 3 day for the cure.
I went to this camp to support my friend.
During the 3 days of rain, water bottles, mole skin, pee stops, hugs, pink pom poms, two ducks, one large bale of hay, laughing, sound views, old houses, camp fires, fields of hubbard squash, lots of hugs and smiles, 38 miles of walking and camping in the rain we became a team.
A team that will go on together and walk the 60 miles on Sept 24 here in Seattle. I realized when you are in pain a friend close by makes the pain so much less. Spontaneous laughter and lots of chatting also helps keeps your mind off your soar feet.
Everyone I know seemed to already know I would go on to do the 60 mile walk. I'm always the last to know what is obvious to everyone else. Dallas is incredibly supportive as he always is. As I was walking this weekend, he was working on a big job. He knows this will take a lot of time and effort and he didn't even waver, he just supported me and our friend. He didn't even wince when I told him I need to raise $2,300.00 in 6 weeks. Now that is a good husband!!
My friend is walking in memory of her friend who passed away on Sept 24th last year from breast cancer. I am walking to support my friend who went through breast cancer treatments this spring. If she can walk after what she has been through I can most certainly walk and raise $2,300 in 6 weeks.
I'll be writing more about this later but this is a long over due blog. In my view, cancer can hopefully be prevented but if it can't be prevented then let it at least be diagnosed as early as possible.
May you and your families be happy and healthy,