Friday, May 18, 2007

Cleaning Wood Floors with Vinegar
    I have read on other cleaning experts' pages where using distilled white vinegar to clean a wood or laminated floor will cause it to become dull. That the "acid" will damage the floor. Then these same people recommend microfiber mops to clean the floor. Please do not follow this bad advice. It is NOT the vinegar that causes the problem.
    These people need to study their fabrics and do their homework. It is the microfiber mops that causes the damage not vinegar. Microfiber is made from 80 to 85% polyester. Polyester is plastic and plastic scratches. With time, it not only will scratch the dirt off the surface, it will continue to "scratch" the finish off the floor as well. It will take the clear or gel coat off a vehicle, the finish off cabinets and the paint off a wall. I have had microfiber manufacturers from Taiwan and China admit this to me only the advertising does not mention that with continued use microfiber will remove a finish, sealant or paint. 
     Also do not follow the advice of other cleaning experts who recommend using cotton string mops. It is impossible to wring out the excell moisture. That moisture will work between the boards and it will warp them.
Wood floor challenge: If you want to test this for yourself, take a brand new wood floor. Clean half of it with a 100% cotton terry towel (the towel must be made here in America or it may contain 20% polyester) 2 tablespoons of white vinegar per quart of water. Spray the towel until it is just damp enough to damp mop. Mop one half with this solution and the other side with water and a microfiber mop. Within a year the side that has been cleaned with the microfiber will have dulled and the vinigar side will still look brand new. I cleaned homes professionally for over 12 years - none of my clients floors were damaged in that time by vinegar and water.
Murphy Oil Soap: Other cleaning experts also recommend using Murphy Oil Soap. Two of my customers had to have their floors sanded and refinished because their prior cleaning ladies used Murphy's on their floors and it gummed up the finish by softening it. Murphy Oil Soap does not belong on wood or laminated floors.
     Vinegar is not like other acids. It's a natural acid. When mixed with water, the acid in the vinegar neutralizes the alakali in the water so the water is now a balanced PH. Water spots are slow to form if at all it cannot dull the floor. You do not need to use more than 1/4 cup vinegar per gallon of water unless your water is quite hard then perhaps 1/3 cup. The floors are dulling by microfiber mops or Murphy Oil Soap NOT by vinegar.
This article may be reprinted but credit must be given to Mary Findley and her website All rights reserved world wide.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Prepare for an Emergency

When Tragedy Hits – Be Prepared   The tornado and horrible storms hit the Midwest while I was visiting my family. Those storms brought another house cleaning chore to mind and one that I need to bring current as well.

     So what would happen if you heard a tornado warning or listening to the news were told to evacuate? Your home and all your possessions are about to be demolished – everything gone in minutes. You have time to take only a few things. What will you grab?

     You best have your important papers handy and in one spot so you can grab them and head out the door.

Here is a list of things to help you prepare for an emergency:

1)      Take pictures of every item in your home – don't you love those digital cameras? Include pictures of everything, computers, jewelry, cars, collections like baseball cards, appliances, tools, computers everything you own needs to be on film including an overall picture of your closets, cabinets etc. 

Now copy those pictures to your computer and save that to a separate CD. Then start by placing one picture per page into a folder titled Household items or whatever is best for you. On that page list when you purchased the item, how much you paid for it and the item name.

2)      Also keep receipts for everything that is a major purchase. Appliances, computers, cameras, furniture tools, locate all the receipts you can. Beginning today keep all receipts for major purchases in one place where you can grab them easily.

3)      Your insurance papers and any and all important documents like birth certificates, SSN papers, CDs or stocks you may own, a copy of your last pay stub, passports, a few checks from your bank and a couple of withdrawal stubs, a copy of one statement from each of your credit cards and any other document that will give you the information you need to start your life again. 

Take Copies Make a copy of your drivers license front and back along with a copy of your insurance cards and your credit cards front and back. These items will help clear your identity.

Make a living will along with a regular will or instructions on how to settle your estate should something happen to you.

4)      Start a spread sheet folder with the names of all your banks, CDs, your stocks who they are with and the amounts, when and where you purchased them and when they are due along with the name and number of your broker or bank etc where they were purchased. 

Also list all your credit cards, who issued them, the amount owed and a phone number to call if something goes wrong. This is an excellent idea anyway in case your billfold is stolen. Include copies of your 401K plan and your IRA and savings deposits.

Add to that the name and phone number of your insurance agent and who to call in case of emergency. Include any hospital phone number, your doctor, dentist and all pertinent phone numbers – family members included. When you are in the middle of a catastrophe it is easy to forget your own phone number let alone that of family. Don't assume you will remember – trust me you won't. I've been through both a hurricane and a tornado. You will not remember.  

5)      I have never read where experts advise this but after hurricane Katrina I have also included pieces of gold and silver. Paper money can get wet and be of little or no use. So if you want to put some paper money in with this information make sure it's in a vacuum packed bag so it can't get wet. Many of the Katrina victims could not get access to their bank accounts because their bank had been demolished. Keep enough money there to get you by for about a month.

Now most important, make a copy of this CD and send it to a family member, preferably whoever would be the executor of your estate. This should not go to someone in your own home town as their home may be destroyed as well.  If your executor is in your home town, then forward a second copy to a family member you trust but who is living out of town.  Even more importantly print out a copy to send to these people along with a copy for you to keep. You will not be able to get access to your computer to read the document.  Again vacuum pack this document along with the CD so they won't get wet.

This article may only be reprinted giving full credit to Mary Findley and her website at Copyright @2007 All rights reserved worldwide.



Friday, May 11, 2007

Five Top Reasons to Shut the Toilet Sea
Reason #5: The lid covering is far prettier than a toilet seat especially if it has been more than a week since it was cleaned.
Reason #4:  If your spouse asks you to close it. We are far too quickly becoming more concerned about what "me" wants rather than being courteous to each other. It's time to turn the corner and bring courtesy back into all our relationships.
Reason #3:  It is quite unsightly as a guest to walk into a bathroom with the lid up.
Reason #2: Children throw things in them then flush - the results of which are costly. It costs nothing but 1/2 second to shut the lid.
AND the #1 Reason to close the lid: Just like unexpected and perhaps unwanted guests,  things do drop in.
This article may only be reprinted with reference to Mary Findley and her website at All rights reserved world wide.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Getting Kids to Help Around the House

     People are asking how to get kids to help around the house. The draw to computers, TVs and the like are distancing families more and more and it breaks my heart. Personally I'll be glad when 2009 comes along with the forced digital TV. I refuse to buy one or the converter box. The TV goes off and good riddance. I've been listening to the radio for most of my news and will continue to do so. The vulgarity, violence and degrading way programs treat women needs to stop. Nor do I put it past these digital TVs to have added circuits that will track our phone calls etc. I don't trust them and won't have it in my home.

     Oops I got off on my soap box again. Let's get back to these chores. First of all children, young children in particular are like baby ducks: lead, they follow. You can't expect them to pick up their room, set the table or help with dinner when the house is cluttered, needs a good cleaning and dinner is always late because of distractions.

 Start them young and praise them often   

   Step one is to start young - very young. Even a one year old can put their toys away. And insist they do just that. They are not allowed another toy until the one they are playing with is back in its proper place. Yes you will need to show them how several times and help them but doing these things together can be a lot of fun. Make it a special time. Don't do it for them just because you are tired and don't want to wait for them. Your being tired is not their fault. They are slow and will also follow your wonderful example of patience.

     Next remember young children won't do things up to your expectations. A one year old will miss the toy box and a two year old won't get things in there neatly. By age four they can be shown how to do a neat job. In the meantime encourage them. Words like "Wow Gracie, how did you do that? You got the teddy bear in the box – way to go." It doesn't matter if it was the right box, praise her for her efforts.

   Criticism is the key to killing the joy of helping 

     This is the single most important thing to remember through their growing years. Kids of all ages will soon stop helping if they are criticized at every attempt. Praise them and give them tons of hugs and personal time with you and not a financial or material gain. Keep the allowance out of it. Yes a lot of people will object to this but allowance should not be a part of chores. There are exceptions if they need to earn money to pay for fees for school or clubs etc. Those should be extra chores after their primary chores are finished.

     So what happens if the child does not do his chores? Well you must do them for her. That means you don't have time to take her to ball practice or whatever and if she doesn't have time for chores she certainly doesn't have time to watch TV etc. Stick to your commitment on this one. It's difficult when they do have practice and must be there. They don't go until the chores are finished. If the activity is right after school, the TV, computer IPod whatever stays off until homework and chores are finished. No exceptions. Giving in even once means you have lost face and will be pushed to the limit from there out. Yes I found out the hard way.

Start Young  

    The time to start with children is when they are very young. Even two year olds can clear their plates and take them to the kitchen. Saying something like, "Julie, I'm taking my plate to the kitchen bring yours and we'll rinse it off." Kids love to play in water so have them pull a chair or stool up to the sink and rinse off the dishes.

     Next, set up a chore chart. You and your child can choose chores that are age appropriate and they can set their chores each day. Then set one for you as well. Remember kids learn by example. So put up your own chore chart and each of you mark off each day when yours are done. And perhaps Mom or Dad's treat for getting their chore done is a 5 minute quiet time – no interrupting or a soak in the tub. Learning to respect your quiet time will teach them respect.

     Each evening before your child goes to bed, his room is to be picked up and his chore done.  

This article may only be reprinted giving full credit to Mary Findley and her website at Copyright @2007 All rights reserved worldwide.