Pets & Allergens: How to Get Rid of Odors and Dander

Pet Allergens

When you brought your pet home, you probably hadn’t planned on sneezing, wheezing and itching. Fido and Fluffy don’t mean to, but they can create havoc if you have allergies and asthma. Even if you aren’t allergic, airborne pet odors can be irritating.

While many people think animal fur causes allergic reactions, the problem actually stems from dander, which is composed of microscopic flakes from pet skin, saliva, dried urine and feces. These particles become airborne and cause a host of allergy and breathing troubles for sensitive individuals. The ammonia in cat urine also creates unpleasant reactions, such as watery eyes.
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14 Homemade Cleansers That Won’t Irritate Your Allergies

DIY Cleansing Products

Commercial household cleaners often contain harsh chemicals and fragrances that can irritate allergies. But a few common kitchen products provide the perfect ingredients for natural cleaning products that are allergy friendly.

You can make a variety of cleaning products from white vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice. Invest in some plastic spray bottles and a few small plastic containers, and you’re ready to make your own cleaners.

1. All-Purpose Cleaner:

Mix 2 cups vinegar and 2 cups water to create an all-purpose cleaner and disinfectant. Don’t use this cleaner on marble, but it can be used on most other kitchen and bathroom surfaces. If you are not sure the cleaner will be safe, test it in an inconspicuous area before using it.

2. Scouring Cleaner:

Mix three-fourths cup baking soda and one-fourth cup water to create a paste for cleaning sinks, tubs, toilets, ceramic, aluminum, chrome and stainless steel. This same paste can be used to polish silverware.

Alternatively, mix one-fourth cup baking soda, 1 tablespoon liquid detergent and enough white vinegar to make a creamy texture. You can also add a squeeze of lemon into the paste to add a fresh and clean smell.

3. Copper and Brass Polish:

Use plain lemon juice as a polish for copper and brass items. Lemon juice will also dissolve hard water stains and soap buildup.

4. Drain Cleaner:

Pour one-fourth cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar down drains. The combination of the two will create a fizzy cleaner that will scour the inside of your drain pipes. Rinse with hot water. Use weekly to help prevent clogs and leave drains smelling fresh.

5. Dishwasher Cleaner:

Pour a half cup of vinegar into the reservoir of your dishwasher and run an empty cycle to disinfect and clean the interior of the dishwasher.
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12 Uncommon Triggers for Seasonal Allergies

Allergy Triggers

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you probably know all the typical triggers — exposure to pollen, dust mites, mold and animal dander.

And you probably know to minimize your symptoms — staying indoors when pollen counts are high, using air conditioners instead of open windows, use a air purifier with a HEPA filter in your home, keeping pets out of your bedroom, and using a mask if you need to be outdoors.

What you may not know is that allergy symptoms can be triggered or made worse by a variety of activities that seem to have little bearing on seasonal allergies. If your allergy symptoms don’t respond to conventional preventative and treatment measures, it might be due to one of these 12 uncommon triggers.
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6 Cleaning Tips to Help With Allergy Relief

It’s time for neighborhood barbeques, backyard pool parties and outdoor sporting events. Now that summer is officially here, your social calendar will undoubtedly fill up with fun-in-the-sun activities. Most people welcome the opportunity to be outside after a particularly harsh winter, but the arrival of warm weather can sometimes be rough for allergy sufferers.

Cleaning Supplies

You’ve probably read a bunch of articles that offer tips to fight allergies. From taking your medication earlier to wearing a mask while you mow the lawn, you probably already know some tricks to keep your allergy symptoms at bay.

But you might not know that keeping a clean house can help keep the onslaught of cold-like symptoms away. To add to your allergy knowledge, we’ll go over some of the best cleaning tips to rid your home of allergens.
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Types of Patio Heaters Explained

During winter months people often find themselves trapped indoors because of the cold. Break the cabin fever and get outdoors sooner with the investment of a patio heater. They are a great way to make your deck, patio or other outdoor space a more desirable during fall and spring months allowing you to get more from your outdoor areas.

Patio Heater Types:

Floor or Free Standing Patio Heaters

Floor Patio Heater

These heaters are similar to what you would often see in a bar or restaurant patio and are by far the most popular type of patio heater, and the most common type of floor and free standing patio heaters utilize propane as the fuel source. They are convenient because they can be easily set up just about anywhere outside as long as they have a source of fuel. They are typically made of 4 basic parts: base, pole, heat source and reflector.

The base prevents the unit from falling over and can double as a storage compartment for a propane tank if it is a propane heater. The pole extends the heat source upward so that the heat coverage is greater. The heat source or heater itself it rated by BTU (British Thermal Unit). The higher the BTU the more heat output the heater will be able to offer. Gas powered heaters offer the highest BTU range with some of them rated at 45,000 BTUs or higher. The reflector prevents the loss of heat upward by reflecting the heat back down to the area surrounding the heater. Not all floor heaters have a reflector, but those that do not usually have a moveable heat source that can directed to the area you would like to heat. These heaters can be fueled by propane, electricity or natural gas.

Tabletop Patio Heaters

Tabletop Patio Heater

Tabletop heaters are a great centerpiece to your patio table offering warmth while you and your guests sit and chat. They often look like miniature versions of the floor or free standing patio heaters and some are even made to look like outdoor table lamps, which, like the floor heat lamps extends your indoor living space to the outdoors. These have the same basic parts as their larger free standing patio heater counterparts, they however, being smaller have a lower BTU range and therefore are not able to heat as large of an area. These heaters can be fueled by propane or electricity. The most common version is electric.

Wall-Mounted Patio Heaters

Wall-Mounted Patio Heater

Wall-mounted heaters are an easy way to have a heat source that is up and out of the way allowing you enjoy your patio to the fullest.

These are a great alternative if you need a heater but do not have the space for one. They are usually electric and use infrared heat to warm up your patio. They come with wall mount brackets and they often are able to tilt up or down so that you can point the heater in the direction needed.

Patio Heater Fuel Types:

Propane Patio Heaters

Propane is the most commonly used fuel source for patio heaters. Propane comes in easily portable tanks and therefore makes for the most versatile heater since you can place the heater just about anywhere. Because of their portability, many propane heaters come with or have a wheel kit that is purchased separately for ease of mobility. Propane heaters have a place for the propane tank to be stored in the base so the tank is out-of-sight and does not take up room on your patio.

Most require a standard 20 pound propane tank, but smaller propane heaters, such as the propane tabletop heaters will take a smaller propane tank. Once the fuel runs out, you simply purchase another propane tank and connect it. Propane tanks can usually be found at your local grocery store, and rather than refilling, empty tanks can be exchanged for full tanks at a discounted price.

Propane patio heaters are started using an ignition switch that is typically a Piezo or multi-spark ignition system. There is no electrical connection needed for the ignition switch. You simply press or turn the ignition switch and a spark is created to ignite the gas and therefore turn on the heater. These heaters have a higher BTU range than most of their electric counterparts and therefore can heat a larger area.

Electric Patio Heaters

If you don’t want to worry about buying or refilling propane tanks and do not have access to natural gas, electric heaters are a great alternative as long as your heater will be close to a power source. With these heaters you simply plug them in and turn them on. They typically have weather resistant hardware, but it is recommended to have them in a more sheltered location when they are plugged in. There are electric versions of all the different styles of patio heaters: Floor, tabletop or wall mounted. Electric heaters are by far the simplest type of patio heater, but they do not typically offer the same heating capacity as their gas powered counterparts so they are better for small areas.

Natural Gas Patio Heaters

If you have an outdoor natural gas outlet then you have the ability to use a natural gas patio heater in your outdoor space. These, like the propane outdoor heaters, offer a higher BTU range and therefore can heat a larger space. For these heaters, you simply connect the heater to your natural gas outlet. There is no worry of running out of fuel, like with propane heaters. To turn on these units there is an ignition switch that is typically a Piezo or multi-spark ignition system. There is no electrical connection needed for the ignition switch. You simply press or turn the ignition switch and a spark is created to ignite the gas and therefore turn on the heater. Natural gas heaters are the rarest fuel type for patio heaters and are typically a floor or freestanding patio heater.

Outdoor patio heaters are a great way to extend the use of your outdoor space. They can extend the life of your outdoor living area by one or two months in cooler climates and can be utilized year around in warmer climates. The heater you choose depends on your space and needs but the result is the same: a warm space outdoors for friends and family to enjoy.

The Differences Between a Cold and Allergies

How do you know if you have a cold or are experiencing symptoms of allergies?

No one likes to have a runny nose, itching eyes, or a sore throat. These symptoms can be an indication of a common cold, or it could mean that you have allergies. It is quite possible for people to develop seasonal allergies later in life; allergies do not only develop during childhood or adolescence.

For this reason, many people’s allergies aren’t managed in the most constructive manner because they think that they are experiencing a cold. In order to find relief from you symptoms, you need to first diagnose your condition. It would be wise to consult with your doctor on this, as they will be able to give you the most in-depth information on what you may or may not be suffering from.
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4 Reasons Why the IQAir HealthPro Plus has Won Consumers Digest “Best Buy” Award 4 Times

This year marks the fourth time in a row that the IQAir HealthPro Plus has been awarded a Consumers Digest “Best Buy” above all other high-performance air purifiers.  Their five-year warranty, six fan speed selections, and four stages of filtration are stated by the publication to be the model’s winning combination. Although those are three fantastic reasons to give the HealthPro Plus a high grade, we think there are four overarching reasons why the air purifier deserves recognition. Those four reasons are: coverage, cutting edge technology, convenience, and certification.
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How to Remove Cigarette Smoke From Your Indoor Air

At this point, we all know that smoking isn’t good for your health. You also probably know that breathing in the smoke that comes off of cigarettes, whether or not you’re the one smoking, can be just as dangerous. If you are concerned about the impact of lingering cigarette smoke in your home, or just tired of your home smelling like an ashtray, there are many things you can do to get rid of the smoke and odor.


Let’s take a look at the dangers of secondhand smoke, as well as a few methods you can follow to remove smoke from your indoor air. It’s time to clear the air and start breathing easier once again.

The Dangers of Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is the combined effect of the smoke that comes off the actual end of a cigarette and the smoke that a smoker exhales. While people who smoke don’t necessarily intend to harm those around them, this is what they are doing when they smoke, especially indoors.

Secondhand smoke can contribute to lung cancer, emphysema, and a variety of other illnesses. This is because secondhand smoke contains nearly 4,000 chemical compounds, many of which are known to cause these diseases, clog a person’s airways, and even trigger asthma attacks. Because of these effects, it is essential that you are diligent about controlling the amount of smoke in your home.
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8 Ways to Reduce the Symptoms of Pet Dander

Families all across the world have pets. They’re our family. We live with them, cuddle with them and simply find joy in having them around. My dog has been with me for over ten years now. She’s part of my family. There is a very real connection many people have with their pets emotionally. Unfortunately, these lovable fur-balls can also cause your allergies to go haywire.

Pet Dander Allergies

Pet allergies are a real problem for people. With these tips, you can reduce the symptoms associated with pet dander and get back to loving and caring for your pet.

What Causes Pet Allergies?

Pet allergies are a fairly common occurrence for many Americans. It is often thought that these allergies are due to the hair of the animals. However, this is not the case. Generally, the reactions people have to pets are from the skin scales of the animal. As they shed their old skin, the dander can get into your eyes, nose, or throat and irritate them. Since the dander is so small, you can’t always see it and it is easily transferable.
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10 Houseplants That Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

Today, January 10th, is “Houseplant Appreciation Day”. In honor of this little-known holiday, we wanted to take a closer look at the top ten houseplants that have the ability to naturally improve the air quality in your home.

All of these indoor houseplants were analyzed by NASA in 1989. They found that each had a unique way to naturally cleanse the air of toxins that have a negative effect to your health. To read the full report from NASA, please visit this link. In case you didn’t want to read through NASA’s paper, we’ve summarized the top ten houseplants that act as natural air purifiers.

If you don’t have an air purifier in your home, or just want to take extra precautions, we would recommend adding a few of these houseplants to the most important areas of your home. It’s a great first step to improving the air quality inside your home.

1. Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)

Spathiphyllum - Peace Lily

Often referred to as a Peace Lily, this beautiful evergreen plant is widely regarded to be easy to care for, even for those that don’t have a green thumb. They require very little light or water to remain healthy, which is one of the main reasons why they’re one of the most popular plants to keep in your home. In fact, Spathiphyllum should never be put in direct sun light, as the rays of sun may lead to leaf burn. While they are great to have inside your home, they also work remarkably well as a groundcover around your home, especially in areas where grass is hard to grow because of the shade.

NASA’s analysis of indoor houseplants revealed that the Peace Lily was the most efficient at removing airborne Volatile Organic Compounds, including formaldehyde, trichloroethylene and benzene. Simply put it in a dark corner, give it water once a week and this little plant will help purify the air around that general area.
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