Cleaning vs. Sanitizing vs. Disinfecting

Let’s be honest; we all love having a clean, spick-and-span environment. In fact, this reason is why we continually clean our homes to help take pride in our properties and to reduce the spread of bacteria and germs. Yet, cleaning your home is a generic term we often misuse. In fact, you will find that cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting all have distinct definitions. For instance, the level of cleanliness differs. How clean a dish is after washing it with soap and water is very different from how clean a scalpel is before a surgeon performs surgery. To further explain, here are the differences between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting:

Cleaning

To clean something is to remove any visible dirt or debris physically. We do this all the time in our homes, from washing dishes, vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting. Additionally, cleaning will also facilitate the use of water and detergent, sometimes like wiping down your countertops with soap and water. However, water and soap do not kill germs. Adding water to the cleaning process is more or less to dilute the number of germs on a given surface.

Sanitizing

To be more thorough, the method will be sanitizing. This process kills 99.99% of germs and bacteria that can be health hazards. It is more used for things that may enter our bodies, such as food. You can sanitize an area or surface with strong chemicals, as well as extreme heats reaching over 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Hence why dishwashers use intense heat to help reduce the number of unwanted fungi and bacteria.

Disinfecting

Lastly, disinfecting is the most thorough of the processes. Disinfecting something kills the germs, fungi, and bacteria completely. This process is done with powerful chemicals, UV-C germicidal short wavelengths, ultraviolet lights, and other machinery. This process is not typically done in our homes. It is a process used for hospitals prior to surgeries.

Knowing these three methods can help you prioritize them. Try to clean your home and remove visible debris and dirt frequently. It is a great habit to achieve daily. For instance, you can sanitize your home during the weekends or, when needed, in high-bacteria areas or food prep areas. Lastly, you will only try to disinfect your home if you know sickness is afoot in your home. Go the extra steps when you have someone extremely sick to help prevent the spread.

Building a Home Gym on a Budget

We are living through an uncertain time where the coronavirus pandemic has closed many businesses temporarily to prevent the spread of the virus. In a society where social distancing and home quarantine is becoming the norm, it can be very challenging to reach some of your fitness goals. In fact, many gym-goers have no had to create their own personal at-home workouts to help stay proactive and healthy during these challenging times. If the gym has been part of your structured lifestyle, you probably have been brainstorming ways to stay healthy at home. This factor is why many homeowners have decided to create their own home gyms. However, it will not take long for you to realize that creating your dream home gym is not always very budget-friendly. This factor is where proper planning comes into play. If you are planning on building a home gym, here is everything you need to consider:

Budget

The one variable that can be the most limiting is your budget. It is essential to create a realistic budget before tackling this project. As you explore the realm of home gym equipment, you can start to gather an idea of what the prices are for gym equipment. Going into any project without a plan can wreak havoc on your wallet, so before you buy, start to round up some prices of what you may want. You also want to consider, not everyone loves training at home. Gyms will eventually reopen. Do not blow your budget on something you may only facilitate for a month and never again use.

Space

Once you have determined your budget, you can begin to purchase your equipment. While equipment may fit your budget, it may not fit your home. Gym equipment can be bulky and need extra space to keep safety at the forefront. Maybe some equipment dimensions fit your space; however, do you have adequate space to perform exercises safely and properly in those dimensions as well? This factor is why it is good to consider multi-purpose equipment. Your home may not fit a squat rack, bench, and cable machine. Yet, Power Racks or other options can have multiple functions. Likewise, it may not be practical to invest in a whole dumbbell set. This is great for commercial gyms yet not always ideal for home gyms. You may want to go a more practical route and buy adjustable dumbbells or a couple of different pairs you will use.

Personal Goals

Lastly, determine your personal goals. Home gyms can take a little creativity. What did you do when you went to the gym? Consider your workouts. If you did Pilates or yoga, do not invest in a powerlifting home gym. Likewise, if you prefer free weights, do not invest in machines you will never use. This can be a big mistake! It may be wise to buy just enough to get started. Decide if you like the setup and can workout at home. After a week, you may decide the environment is too challenging for you, or you need to invest more. These tactics can help save you money.

Home gyms are great to have, whether gyms are closed or not! This investment is a great way to convert an unused garage or basement to a more facilitated room in your home. Remember to stick to your budget and consider your space. These are tactics that will help you buy once and enjoy reaching your personal goals.

Laundry Room Spring Cleaning Hacks

Laundry rooms are incredibly functional and vital rooms in our homes. Some people do not have the privilege of washing their own clothes in the comfort of their own homes, so this feature can be a blessing that we overlook all the time. In fact, these rooms can quickly become second thoughts and become the home of many cleaning products and other miscellaneous household utilities. However, this room is such a privilege and designed for functionality! Sometimes a once extremely-functional room can become a cluttered mess of mayhem. That is why this spring is the perfect time to reorganize and clean your laundry room to return it to its functional state. Since there is nothing worse than struggling to maneuver in an already small space, here are some great tools and tactics to help make your laundry room clean and organized this spring:

Shelf Organization

The beginning of any cleaning project should be your organizational step. Too often, the laundry room holds miscellaneous household belongings. Start by sorting out everything in your drawers and cabinets. Create specific drawers and cabinets to keep organized belongings. Try to eliminate too many duplicate products like double bottles of bleach or three pairs of scissors. These tactics can make your cabinets and drawers look much more organized.

Countertop Space

Next, if you have the space already or can add it, try to organize your countertop space. This step is great for folding or sorting out clothes. In fact, a clean countertop is ideal for every time you are not currently in the process of sorting laundry. Try to keep this in mind as you clean your laundry room as well.

Hanging Areas

Lastly, if you do not have it already, create a drying/hanging area. This step can be a simple investment that allows clothes to dry. You can keep spare hangers and sort your clothes more thoroughly with a hanging rack. You can also install a hanging area on the back of your door to the room. This is a great hidden storage area for brooms, mops, and even ironing boards.

Cleaning your laundry room is a great spring project to tackle. Stop letting it continue to become the melting pot of miscellaneous goods in your home. Instead, opt for a clean laundry room that is more functional. Remember, this room thrives off of making your life easier, so allow it to do so.

How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

We have entered a unique time in history, which has made traditional ways of living very challenging. With the coronavirus pandemic in effect, social distancing and personal hygiene have become a top priority in our defense. In fact, many stores have closed that are not vital to daily living. Toiletry and hygiene supply and demand have tenfold, making some essential items nearly obsolete in stores. This respiratory virus can be spread through droplets produced while coughing or sneezing. So the best way to combat this virus is by frequently washing your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water. Yet, hand sanitizer is not as common as it once was. However, do not fear because you can still create your own home-made hand sanitizer to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Your Active Ingredients

What makes a hand sanitizer work is its effectiveness in killing germs and bacteria. This process is done with alcohol as the main ingredient. You need at least 60% of your hand sanitizer to be alcohol for it to be effective. Remember this when getting your alcohol. Your alcohols to use are isopropyl and ethanol. Other alcohols can be toxic and chemically burn your skin, so pick one of these two. When purchasing isopropyl or ethanol, get them as close to 100% as possible. The lower the percentage, the more you will need to use when making your sanitizer.

Scenting Your Hand Sanitizer

The fun part is personalizing the scent of your home-made hand sanitizer. This step can be done by picking an essential oil of your choice. Some essential oils also offer germ- and bacterial-killing properties. Understand the oil you choose thoroughly before adding it to your sanitizers. Many essential oils need a carrier oil and can irritate skin or even burn it.

Making It

Next, you will make your hand sanitizer. Find the pump dispenser you want in your home to contain your home-made sanitizer. Add 2/3 of your alcohol. If your alcohol is not 100%, you will need to accommodate for this step. Next, add the remaining 1/3 with Aloe Vera gel. This contains antioxidants and antibacterial properties. Aloe Vera also can help accelerate the healing of burns and improve skin conditions. Lastly, use the essential oil of your choice to add a couple of drops until you obtain the smell you desire. Do not exceed a dozen drops per cup.

Making your own home-made hand sanitizer is a great home project to help disinfect your hands at home. This simple project is fun and simple for the whole family. Let everyone create their own to stay germ-free during this season. For more great at-home projects and home improvement ideas, make sure to subscribe.

Disclaimer: We always recommend consulting with your physician before making and using any home-made alternatives.

Tips for Adding Color to a Gray Color Scheme

Do you feel stuck with your all-gray color scheme? Well, it is time to unlock the magic hidden in this cool-toned hue. Grey is so much more than just a combination of black and white. In fact, this color scheme is versatile, and there are numerous possibilities for designing it to compliment your home’s interior. In fact, although grey is considered a neutral color, it is much more interesting than white or black. The best way to make a gray room pop is to implement color into the design. In fact, you will find that gray serves as the perfect backdrop for a bold accent color. It also has the power to enhance more subtle hues as well as frame colors. The color palettes are virtually limitless. Look at some of the ways you can use add color to a gray room.

Soft Furnishings

If you find that your taste is subject to change from time to time, gray is the perfect backdrop for ever-changing designs. Use bright colors such as orange, blue, and yellow as accent colors in your soft furnishings. Whether you are designing a living room or bedroom, you can select soft furnishings like pillows, curtains, and comforter sets that feature unique patterns and bright hues.

Metallics

You do not have to just stick to traditional color palettes. In a dull room, find the perfect area to install a copper panel, or you can opt for metallic fixtures. Add an extra dimension to the room with accessories such as pendant lights and place settings. When paired against gray, metal is able to take center stage.

Electic Patterns

When adding some spice to the gray room, combine colors with eclectic patterns to further add emphasis to the room’s design. You can even mix different patterns within the space while the gray walls further highlight the decor. Area rugs, couch slipcovers, and other types of textiles add variety.

Using Texture

Be sure to add some colorful texture to your cool gray rooms. For instance, you can combine natural stone, distressed wood, and plush accessories against your gray walls to add dimensions.

What ways would you add a pop of flair to an all-gray room? Let us know below in the comment section.

Entertaining Your Kids at Home

Children can be one of the greatest blessings but come with a lot of needs. For instance, many younger kids need constant attention and activities to do at home. It can become a full-time job. So, it is essential to find entertainment in your own homes that can hold your children’s attention for some time while also being safe. If you are a parent with rambunctious children, here are several at-home activities to help entertain your kids:

Host Playdates

Children play well with other children, so one of the best ways to free up your own time is to find another parent willing to alternate playdates. Some days you can watch the kids and host a playdate while other days the other parents can. This idea will be a blast for all the kids as well as be low-maintenance for the parents.

Play Outside

Playing outside is a great way to let the children enjoy and explore the outdoors. You can go to the park or let them pick some outdoor sports activities. Let your children learn to discover what activities they enjoy and dislike during their early youth. From flying kits to sidewalk chalk in your driveway, the options are endless. You can even take them to water parks, playgrounds, soccer fields, and more!

Educational Video Games or Movies

If you need to get away and have some own rest and relaxation times, a movie or an educational video game is perfect for distracting children for several hours. This idea is not the best method to keep your children productive yet can help you get the physical break you need. A healthy mommy and daddy need their rest too to be the best parents they can be.

Creative Puzzles

While action figures, barbies, and racecars are all great toys to entertain kids, try adding some creating puzzles into the mix. Encourage your kids to try puzzles, Legos, or even word searches. These creative and brain exercising activities are great for children in their prime mental growing stages.

There are hundreds of great ways to keep children entertained. Try to keep in mind what children can and cannot do alone at their age. Always keep safety at the forefront. What are some of your children’s favorite household activities? Let us know how you keep your children entertained below in the comment section.

Deep Cleaning Your Bathroom

Keeping a bathroom clean and tidy is one thing; however, it needs to be deep cleaned as well. These rooms can be very prone to bacteria and germs. Plus, the bathroom has many surfaces to clean. It is always best to start from the top and work to the bottom. Since most bathrooms will have similar trouble areas, if you are looking to deep clean your bathroom, here is everything you need to do:

What to Have 

  • microfiber cloth 
  • rags or paper towels 
  • antibacterial spray 
  • glass cleaner 
  • toothbrush 
  • toilet cleaner 
  • baking soda and vinegar 
  • dawn dish soap 
  • lemon 
  • bucket 
  • sponge 

Where to Begin

If the weather is permitting, open up a window to allow some fresh air to come into the room. Begin by using a glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth or paper towels to clean your windows and mirrors. If you have any fans or ceiling wall trim, dust them at this time.

Sink, Shower, and Bath

Wipe down your countertops with a mixture of water and white vinegar. This mix should remove any soap scum or toothpaste. Clean the inside of the sink with this as well. If your faucet is smudged, you can use a lemon to help bring back out its natural chrome shine. Use toilet cleaner in the toilet and allow to sit. Use a toilet brush to scrub toilet bowl. Remember to wipe down all over your toilet to remove bacteria with warm water and vinegar. You can add dawn dish soap to also help add to the cleaner. Do not forget to get behind the toilet! This area is where a lot of dust will accumulate. Next, clean your shower head and facet with the lemon. Clean your bathtub with your vinegar and water as well.

Floors and Baseboards

Finally, you can clean the floor. If your bathroom is tiled, create a baking soda paste—mix baking soda and water in a small cup. Use your toothbrush to clean the grout lines. Next, mix your vinegar and water in a bucket. Use your sponge to clean each tile thoroughly. Do not forget to wipe down your baseboard and allow it to air dry.

Deep cleaning your bathroom should be done several times a year. These steps can help you quickly clean your bathroom from start to finish. Plus, most of these cleaners can be found around your own home. For more quick tips on deep cleaning and home maintenance, make sure to subscribe.

How to Declutter Your Countertops

The kitchen is the heart of the home. When designed correctly, it can also be one of the most beautiful areas in your house as well. From elegant flooring options, backsplashes, kitchen appliances, lighting, countertops, and more, this area is easily one of the most customizable rooms a home has to offer. This reason is why it is essential to make sure you keep your kitchen looking spic and span. However, kitchens are used every day, so our countertops can easily become home to many miscellaneous items or even kitchen goods. And this clutter can easily take from the room’s aesthetics and beautiful countertops. To help, here is a checklist for everything that should be on or off your countertops:

Is It Kitchen Essential?

The first question to ask yourself is, “is it a kitchen essential?” Our kitchens are facilitated daily, and this factor can lead to many items accumulating in them. Small things like mail on the counter, backpacks, schoolwork, or even books can slowly start collecting overtime on your kitchen counters. So try to find places for everything in your home. Perhaps you need to create a new spot to store your keys or a place to put your mail when you get it. These are great habits to prevent kitchen clutter.

How Often Do You Use It?

Next, how often do you use items on your counters? Maybe you use a coffee maker daily. Then this is an excellent utensil to sit on display; however, having a food processor or mixer our on display may not be in your best interest. This comes down to personal use. If you use things daily, they deserve a spot on your countertop. The other utensils and appliances need to be stowed away in a safe place, however.

Can It Be Stored Safely?

Next, can it be stored safely? A butcher block with kitchen knives will not stow away correctly in a pull out drawer. Or perhaps you have a Keurig which holds water and cannot be turned on its side. Make sure you consider if stowing away appliances is the correct and safe way to go about it. Maybe you use a toaster daily for breakfast. If it is still hot, then you cannot put it into a cabinet or drawer. Consider safety first and foremost.

Is It Aesthetically Pleasing?

Your countertops have a coffee maker, a griddle, and a toaster oven. Maybe your accent color in your kitchen is bright red. Every one of your appliances is bright red, but your coffee maker is turquoise. This color may come across out of place. While it may not be right to hide the coffee maker, perhaps you can create a way to store it on your countertop in a more aesthetic manner. Be creative!

Is It Hurting Functionality of the Room?

Lastly, we do not have unlimited countertop space. Be honest and consider if appliances on your countertops are taking away from the kitchen’s functionality. If your counters are too clutter, you need to make some changes. This factor needs to be considered unbiasedly and can be challenging. However, when you put functionality first, your kitchen will feel even more welcoming and inviting.

Your countertops can be a focal point of your entire design. Allow them to shine by keeping your countertops clutter-free. Remember, sometimes less can be more. While minimalism does not happen overnight, it can be facilitated daily to keep your home beautiful.

Five Brilliant Ways to Design Your Great Room

The term “great room” gets thrown around very often as an interchangeable word with “family room.” However, there are several key differences. A great room is typically in the front of your home and adjacent to the kitchen. It traditionally will have your family room and living room as one with a little higher of a ceiling. These large rooms are great for giving a more mid-century modern floorplan with an open layout. However, some people seem to get profoundly baffled on how to design and decorate these rooms. For instance, boundaries and walls are great for establishing space, yet in a space so grand, it can become challenging. Have no fear, though, because we are going to show you five of the key tricks used for decorating these spaces. Let’s get started!

Scale

Your room should be decorated to scale. Putting too much furniture or little furniture can make the room look chaotic or just plain empty. To avoid this, you need to consider what are the appropriate distances. Keep walkways open, avoid clutter, and create the illusion of space through balance and proportion.

Visual Boundaries

Your room is going to be lacking boundaries; however, you can still create sections in the room. If you want half the great room to be the living room while the other half be a dining room, you can create these boundaries with your furniture. Sectionals are also great tools for creating visual boundaries and pathways. You can even use area rugs or décor to help direct eyes to different areas and distinguish both areas individually.

Size Matters

Pay attention to the size of your furniture. High rise ceilings need taller furniture. Too short of furniture can make the room feel off and awkward. You can use your windows or other architectural lines to help gauges heights that you will want to reach.

Importance of Color

Color is a vital tool used in interior design. Color can have a significant impact on how the room looks and feels. Make sure you incorporate a fair share of color into your space. You can add color through throw pillows, wall art, area rugs, and décor pieces to help spruce up the atmosphere.

Do Not Trace the Borders

A common mistake is putting furniture on each wall. You have the freedom to create boundaries. Do not just trace your room. Use coaches and chairs to help create walkways and “rooms” within your room. This step will make your space feel larger and more open than tracing the walls with your furniture.  

Decorating a great room can feel like a daunting task at first. However, with these five tricks and a little patience, you can design your dream oasis. For more insight on designing your home, make sure to subscribe!

Adding Zen to Your Home

Zen in interior design refers to the balance of relaxation and harmony. In today’s hectic society, our homes should be our safe havens and a place of comfort. Therefore, adding a little more zen to the atmosphere is a great way to incorporate more peace and relaxation at home. Though zen is not bound by strict guidelines, it is the ability to obtain tranquility in your home, and there are several great ways in which you can go about this. Here are the top ways to create a zen-influenced atmosphere:

Comfort

To begin creating tranquility in the room, you must start with elements of comfort. This feature can be the textures you add to the space. Consider adding a soft rug, comfortable throw pillows, or cozy blankets. A little bit of comfort can go a long way with creating zen.

Natural Light and Elements

Zen is derived from the roots and comfort of nature. Many ancient oriental philosophies in design are core-rooted in natural elements. Consider having natural light in your room as much as possible. You should also incorporate all different types of plants, woods, or stones in your design. Even running water can help add tranquility to the environment.

Simplicity

While all these are great for helping to create your design, always remember that less can be more. Most zen atmospheres thrive off a minimalist approach. Too much clutter can cause chaos in your home. Having fewer objects can be a great way to open up your environment and allow natural energy to flow.

Plants

When incorporating natural elements, do not forget plants! Plants can help rejuvenate a space and give a breath of fresh air. They are natural air purifiers while also giving homage to elements of nature. In fact, every great zen space will facilitate some plant life in the atmosphere.

Eliminate Electronic Disturbances

Lastly, if you are creating a zen room, consider eliminating electronics. Too often, we get overwhelmed by technology today. Therefore, having a place to escape in your own home is vital. So try to limit too much electronic disturbance in your home to help conquer zen in your design.

These tricks are great for helping to achieve a more peaceful atmosphere in your home. Remember, zen is a great tool for anyone to facilitate in their design. While it may not be for your entire home, this design trick can still help create an area to escape to in your home.