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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4 Tips to Minimize Allergy Symptoms While Gardening

Allergies & Flowers

Spring and early summer usher in both gardening and allergy seasons. But avid gardeners don’t have to choose between their hobby and allergy relief. Understanding a bit about how plants contribute to allergy symptoms can help gardeners develop a strategy for having a well-tended garden while minimizing allergy symptoms.
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Top 5 Air Purifiers for Allergies

Best Air Purifiers for Allergies

If you suffer from seasonal or chronic allergies, you know that relief can be hard to come by. You’ve probably seen a specialist and are a regular at the pharmacy, but you may still be wondering if there’s more you can be doing. Using an air purifier in conjunction with your other preventative measures can provide additional relief within the bounds of your home, giving you the ability to breathe easier in the place you spend most of your time.

While looking for the perfect air purifier to provide you with allergy relief, there are 2 specific specifications you should pay attention to:

Filtration:

For allergy relief, you must find an air purifier with a HEPA filtration system. This is hands down the most effective air purifier technology when combating allergens. Other systems will remove larger particles from the air, but only HEPA filtration systems are certified to remove allergens on a microscopic level.

Noise Levels:

The best time to use an air purification system is while you’re asleep. This allows you to awake with less severe symptoms, such as congestion, itchy eyes, and scratchy throat. Because of this, you’ll want to find a unit with a tolerable noise output so you won’t be disturbed in this rejuvenating state. A little white noise can be soothing, but a disturbingly loud machine will undoubtedly cause you to lose sleep. Pay attention to each unit’s decibel (dB) levels. The higher the levels, the noisier the unit will be.
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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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The Complete Air Purifier Buyer’s Guide

Stop and consider the air around you. Over the years, a few disconcerting facts have become clear: As populations grow and emissions levels rise, air pollution has become a dire issue for city dwellers. In both city and rural communities, airborne allergens can hinder daily life, causing bothersome and debilitating respiratory issues. The health risks associated with chemical, smoke, and other harmful inhalations are undeniable.

Air Purifier

To combat these and other issues, more and more people are turning to air purification systems to help them breathe cleaner, healthier air.

What do air purifiers do?

An air purifier works to remove contaminants from your surrounding air. Whether your biggest concern is eliminating airborne allergens, pollutants, smoke, or odors, there’s an air purification system designed to do just that.

How do air purifiers work?

Depending on the brand and model, air purifiers employ a variety of technologies. The most effective is HEPA filter technology. HEPA filters, or High Efficiency Particulate Air filters, use a complex configuration of fibers to trap 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns or larger. If that sounds oddly specific to you, it’s because in order to carry the HEPA name, the filter must be certified to perform at that level. So it’s not a guess, just a fact.

Another technology that is typically used in conjunction with HEPA technology is Activated Carbon. Activated Carbon’s porous structure and absorption properties make it the ideal combatant of odor, chemical, and smoke.
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Activated Carbon Filters: What They Are & How They Work

If you use an air purification system, or are shopping for one, you may be familiar with activated carbon filters. With so many air purifier filters to choose from, you may wonder how an activated carbon filter works or what the benefits of using one are. Don’t let their small stature fool you; these clever filters are major combaters of everything from allergens and harsh pollutants to unpleasant tastes and odors. They rely on the process of adsorption to remove and capture impurities, so that all you’re left with is fresh, breathable air.

Here is a closer look at how these small filters can make a big improvement in your overall air quality.

What is an Activated Carbon Filter?

Activated carbon filters are small pieces of carbon, typically in granular or powdered block form, that have been treated to be extremely porous. It is so cavernous, in fact, that just one gram of activated carbon can easily have a surface area of 500m2 or higher. Vast surface area enables these carbon filters to adsorb exponentially more contaminants and allergens than traditional carbon.

Adsorption is a distinct process where organic compounds in the air or water react chemically with the activated carbon, which causes them to stick to the filter. The more porous the activated carbon is, the more contaminants it will capture. These filters are most notably used to remove hazardous compounds in home air purification systems.
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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.

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.

Cigarette

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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7 Benefits of a Humidifier in the Cold Winter Months

Why Humidify?

During the cold winter months, many ailments may become pronounced due to the cold dry air. Even in climates where there is moisture in the outside air, the heating systems in your home and office tend to dry the interior air, which may lead to problems for many.

Humidifiers can be a great solution for many of these winter-related problems. Here’s seven benefits that come along with using a humidifier in your home or office during these cold, winter months.

1. Helps Prevent the Spread of Airborne Viruses

A recent study found that raising indoor humidity levels to at least 43% had a dramatic effect on approximately 85% of airborne viruses, rendering them them virtually ineffective. As a result, researchers are now contemplating increasing the humidity levels in hospitals across the nation, as an extra method of protecting doctors, nurses and visitors from also getting sick.

Moisture has the ability to prevent the movement of germs, as they combine with this moisture and simply drop. This happens because the airborne particles are now too heavy to float around in the air. In turn, this helps prevent the spread of many illnesses, including influenza. This is precisely why one of the main benefits of a humidifier is increasing the overall humidity levels in a room or in a home.
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