Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How to prevent moldy toes, soap scum on your skin and an ugly shower!

       Showers are part of everyday life.  But do you ever wonder why our skin doesn't have the same chronic soil conditions as our showers:  mold, soap scum, hard water deposits and itty bitty dust bunnies?

    The only reason we don't have soap scum on our tummies and mold between our toes is because we rinse and dry our skin with every shower. If we didn't and treated our skin as we treat our showers, we would have a bad skin epidemic on our hands!  Well, maybe not an epidemic but we would definitely be itchier humans.

3 miraculous things happen when we rinse and dry our showers after each use:

      1.  Hard water deposit build up is minimized
      2.  Soap scum build up is minimized as is mold food
      3.  Less moisture means less mold, mold thrives in moist areas!

      My husband was just telling me about a conversation he had earlier this week.  Our client was wondering if you could in fact clean a shower with mild cleaners- neutral pH.  The answer to that depends on when you clean.  If you rinse and dry after each shower, then you can use the very mildest of products because nothing has set up.  Think about your kitchen dinner dishes and a meal of eggs, pasta or oatmeal.  If you rinse as soon as you are done eating, the process is quick and easy.  If these foods sit up over night, we all know they can turn into concrete!  Soap scum is like concrete on steroids!

     In cleaning, most damage is done by using too aggressive of cleaners or scratching pads (green pad).  Not only do we damage our beautiful showers by what we use to clean, we also damage ourselves.  The cleaners we usually buy to clean our showers tend to be dangerous to our lungs, skins and eyes, they are often acidic, high alkaline or very reactive like bleach.

     Did you know an acidic cleaner will eat away most grout joints and damage many natural stones?  Did you know mixing acids and bleaches cause caustic gasses?  Did you know showers tend to have poor ventilation but most cleaners want you to use in a well ventilated area! 

     The secret to being healthy, having a beautiful shower, minimizing your family's chemical exposure and keeping your shower in great shape is easier than you think.

     5 tips for the incredibly effective daily maintenance of a shower!

1.      Before you turn on your shower - turn on your exhaust fan!                                                             
         Let your exhaust fan run a full 60 minutes after your shower
           This step removes the humidity from your shower that can lead to mold
           Keeping the relative humidity down in the NW also pays big dividends for healthy homes.

2.   After showering
         Rinse the walls, door and shower pan with water
            Hand held shower heads are perfect for this step
            This step removes the soap and personal care products you used from your shower

3.   After showering
        Dry off your showers with either a towel or squeegee.
        If you only squeegee, you will be re-depositing the soap down the walls, into the grout joint and onto your shower pan- creating a surprisingly thick build up of soap scum.
       I personally like to dry with a towel as it gets the details better and I can dry fixtures off at the same time.

4.  Open up shower doors or curtains to let air flow.
     If you close up your shower tight, this will greatly delay your drying- if not stop it completely.

5.  Use the mildest means possible to clean!
      And when you clean your shower: use mild cleaners!  A good choice is a neutral stone and tile cleaner.  Another product which works wonderfully is dish washing liquid.  Dish washing liquid usually has a neutral pH and is already a product you have on stock. (Make sure to dilute or you will have bubbles galore!)
     Also, use a microfiber, wash mitt or wash cloth and rub your shower to break the surface tension- releasing the soil/soap from the walls.

    In our family the rule of thumb is:  Last one in dries the shower.  This daily process takes minimal time and effort but pays huge- gigantic- enormous benefits in the long run!  You will have a squeaky clean shower.  Your shower will last much longer and look better.  You will not need to use or even buy those harsh shower cleaners and on cleaning day- cleaning your shower is a snap!

   If you need help getting your shower back to clean, feel free to call on us.  We specialize in cleaning natural stone, tile and grout.  With our 23 plus years of cleaning experience we can get your shower back to beautiful!

  As always, wishing you and your family a healthy and happy home!

Denise Frakes
Co- Owner of Blue Sky Service: Stone and Tile Care
Certified Healthy home specialist
Residue free and green cleaning specialist

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fresh Air Does a Body and Home Good!

    It is here!  It is beautiful!  It is spring, sunshine and fresh air!!  In the northwest, I believe we should require mandatory sunshine days.  We have snow days but wouldn't a free & unexpected day to go be outside in the early spring be even better?  As I look out our office window I see blue skies, flowering cherry trees and a slight breeze moving the branches of our fir tree.

    Some of the best things in life are simple, effective and free to all.  This spring weather is one of those freebies.  Besides going outside and absorbing all this wonderful weather, this fresh air is also a major benefit to our homes.  Just like us, our homes need to breathe, the fresher and healthier the air the fresher our homes.

   Over the winter we close our homes up tight to keep our heating bills down and our homes warm but now it is spring.  Open up your windows and let the fresh air in.  This is one of the single most important steps you can do to create a healthy home.

  Anytime you are cleaning, doing construction, crafts, cooking, laundry, sitting or standing... open your windows.  Our exhaust fans remove stagnate and contaminated air but opening up a window brings in new life. 

  Our homes are a lot like balloons whatever expands the balloon stays in the balloon.  In the case of our home, this could be a huge variety of chemicals, particles, germs and who knows what else.  Open your windows let the trapped odors and wayward molecules out and in this same process you will let the sunshine, fresh air and new life in!

  As always, wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous home & life,