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Life Hacks, Tips, Tricks... Just For You.
Get Ready for Winter! The Season's Must-Do Checklist
First off, of course:
Reset your analog clocks back an hour if you haven’t already.
Then, use the next week to tackle any of these tasks that apply to your home life:
Change your smoke alarm batteries. Whether or not they’re drained, do it now. The low battery alarm never sounds at a convenient time, and a smoke alarm is not something you want to be running low on juice.
Flip or rotate your mattress. Newer layered foam mattresses aren’t designed to flip like those simple old-school spring mattresses, but you can still rotate them around to even out wear. Better yet, use this time to clean your mattress! Click here to see our how-to blog post!
Flip and switch your couch cushions. Moving things around will ensure even wear and keep your couch looking nice and cushy longer. While you're at it, give them a refresh with the Wrinkle-B-Gone to ease any creases and take care of any odours.
Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. During winter, your fans should spin clockwise to bring warm air back into the living space from the ceiling. While you’re at it, give the fans a wipe with your All-Purpose Cleaner!
Decorate. If you haven’t already, set out the decorate pumpkins and squashes, hang a seasonal wreath, or plant some mums.
Declutter winter wear. How many mittens are missing their mate in your closet? Start cold weather dressing off right with winter wardrobe staples pared down to the best, the favourite, and the necessary.
Clean your gutters. Most of the leaves have left the trees by now, so use this time to remove dirt and leaf build up from your gutters.
Change filters. HVAC, air purifier, water, refrigerator – all of them!
Try out a new evening routine. Taking after-dinner walks may no longer be an option when it gets dark earlier. What might you do instead? We recommend a family game night – whether it be Monopoly or a simple card game!
Getting a Head Start on Autumn: Your Cleaning Checklist
The sun is out, the weather is great, and the kids are at home. Believe it or not, but August is the perfect time to get ready for the end of summer and the beginning of fall. Take advantage of the weather and with the extra hands around the house, and deep clean now to welcome fall and back-to-school (even better). We’ve got an easy to-do list for you, tackling everything from inside to outside and the tools and products you’ll need. Happy cleaning!
- Focus on your home's ‘public’ rooms first: the living room, family room, entryway, guest bathroom, etc.
- Clean from the ceilings down to the floors. Begin by vacuuming the drapes and window treatments, followed by cleaning window sills and window wells. Vacuum baseboards and corners.
- Vacuum upholstered furniture. To get rid of any stains, use the Nellie’s All-Natural WOW Stick, or take to the dry cleaners if necessary.
- Wash interior windows.
- Clean the walls: dust, wash, rinse, and dry any painted or wood-paneled walls with a mix of warm water and Nellie's All-Natural One Soap in Fragrance Free.
- Turn mattresses front-to-back and end-to-end to ensure equal wear.
- Launder all bedding: mattress pads, pillows, duvets, blankets, and comforters, making sure you can tuck the family into warm and cozy beds. Don’t know how to tackle this? Don’t worry, we’ve got some how-to’s for your mattress, pillows, and duvets.
- Straighten out your closets – declutter, reorganize, and switch to your transitional summer-autumn wardrobe.
- Prepare the kitchen for more nights inside: clean and organize kitchen cabinets, paying extra attention to baking supplies, pans, and equipment. Give your cabinets a wipe down with the All Purpose Cleaner.
- Clean kitchen counters of all appliances that you have not been recently used. Clean counters look cleaner, and provide more room for cutting, chopping, and prepping.
- If you can, pull the refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum the condenser coils. For bottom-mounted coils, use a long, narrow brush to clean coils of dust and debris.
- Spruce up the computer: dust the CPU, clean and wipe down the keyboard, and dust off the monitor with a microfibre cloth.
- Check the dryer exhaust tube and vent for built-up lint, debris, or even birds’ nests! Additionally, make sure that the exterior vent door closes tightly when not in use.
- Schedule a fall inspection for your furnace – don’t wait for the first cold night!
- Drain any sediment from your hot water heaters.
- Clean the patio furniture and get ready to store it away along with umbrellas and the kids’ summer toys.
- Touch up the paint on your home’s trims, railings, and decks. Use a wire brush to remove any flaking paint (be sure the prime bare wood first).
- Check caulk around the windows and doors, re-caulk if necessary.
- Inspect external doors and garage doors. Do they close tightly? Fix them now with weather-stripping and door thresholds if needed to make sure you’re not dealing with a draft in a few months.
- Wash exterior windows with a mix of warm water and One Soap in Fragrance Free.
- Drain and store garden hoses.
- Check gutters and downspouts. Clear of debris if necessary.
Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite - How and When to Clean Your Duvet
You know how and when to clean your pillows and mattresses, but do you clean your duvet? You can and you should, and we're going to walk you through the how-to. Regularly cleaning and switching out your sheets and bed linens is great, but what good is a wash if the comforter isn't taken care of too?
Before we get started – check the care labels. You’ll want to take some extra care if you have a down comforter or a feather duvet, rather than a hollowfibre duvet. Can you wash a feather duvet? Yes, but you need to ensure it’s in a good condition beforehand, and make sure that your duvet is suitable to be machine washed. If the label says ‘dry clean only,’ then it’s best to leave it to the professionals and take it to the cleaners. If not, then read on!
BEFORE YOU WASH A DUVET
First, remove the covers - you can wash these in your regular laundry load so don't worry about them for now. You can absolutely wash your duvet at home, albeit carefully. First, check the duvet for any holes or loose feathers, and, if necessary, sew up any holes with a needle to make sure the feathers don't become loose in the washing machine. Once you're happy your comforter is secured, you're good to go.
The big question: can you wash a duvet in a washing machine at home? This depends on the size and type of your washing machine. Needless to say, duvets can be quite large and they might not fit into your washing machine. If that's the case, your local launderette should have larger machines that will accommodate the duvet more easily. However, many home machines will be large enough. Front loading machines are the best option here - they tend to have a hollow drum that allows for more room for the duvet to move about. Some top loading machines have an agitator in the middle of the drum which can make things more tough, but it can still be done.
SETTINGS & DETERGENTS FOR WASHING
We recommend a gentle setting for washing duvets, along with a warm (not hot!) water temperature - around 30°C or 85°F is a good rule of thumb. In terms of detergent, it's best to opt for something mild and gentle. The Nellie's All-Natural Laundry Soda is ideal. If the stains are very dark or noticeable, don't be afraid to use the WOW Stick or the Oxygen Brightener. When your duvet is in the machine, don't wander too far! Keep an eye (or an ear) out for the end of the rinse cycle. Before the spin ends, stop the machine and repeat the rinse cycle once more. Since comforters are so big, fluffy, and absorbent, they can easily retain some soapy water, so an extra rinse cycle will make sure it's completely fresh and clean.
DRYING A DUVET
When you take your duvet out of the machine, don't be alarmed! If it's a feather duvet, the damp feathers will have become darker, and will make your duvet seem discoloured. This is nothing to worry about, and it'll return to its normal colour once completely dry. To dry, it's best to use a dryer, and you should always follow the care instructions. Again, if your home dryer can't accommodate the duvet, check out your local launderette. Some people prefer to line dry their duvets, but we recommend using your dryer - with line drying, the process takes so long that the duvet can begin to grow mildew and mould. The faster they dry, the better! A good compromise is partially drying the duvet in the dryer, and then air drying afterwards.
SO, CAN YOU WASH YOUR DUVETS AT HOME?
Sometimes, yes! Just be sure to check the care label first. Some comforters may be marked as 'dry clean only,' and in that case they should be taken to your local dry cleaners.
Washing a duvet may not be the easiest (or most enjoyable) cleaning task you'll ever complete, but it's much better than sleeping under dirty bedding. Don't wash your duvets too often -- too much and the duvet may start to come apart. We recommend washing your duvets once per year, usually when you make the switch between your light summer comforter and your heavier winter alternative.
A Cleaner Night's Sleep: 5 Steps to Deep-Cleaning Your Mattress
Last week, we were all about cleaning your pillows, but this week we’re diving deeper with an easy 5-step guide to deep-cleaning your mattress.
You spend about a third of your life on your mattress – when was the last time you gave it a good, deep clean? Your sofa probably sees the bristles of a vacuum cleaner more often. Besides a more pleasant and productive night’s sleep, a clean and well-cared for mattress can last longer and can help prevent nasty (and costly) pest infestations.
The conventional wisdom, back when most mattresses could be flipped over, was that you’d turn your mattress twice per year, and take that as an opportunity to clean it. These days, most mattresses, including the pillow-top variety, have a proper top and bottom and are unable to be flipped. However, cleaning it twice a year is still a good rule of thumb. Our list of five steps for a deep clean will make you sleep easier and cleaner.
Start the cleaning process by stripping the bed of all sheets, pillows, and bedding, and toss the appropriate items in the wash. To remove tough stains, use Nellie’s Oxygen Brightener or the WOW Stick. Be sure to wash and dry on high heat if possible to ensure a truly deep clean.
Vacuum your entire mattress surface with your vacuum cleaner’s upholstery attachment. Pay special attention to seams and crevices where dirt, dust, dead skin, and other gross things can gather.
When you’re finished vacuuming, check for stains and spot treat them with the Nellie’s WOW Stick.
Next, deodorize by sprinkling Nellie’s Laundry Soda over the entire surface of your mattress with a sifter. If this is your first cleaning, sprinkle lots! For best results, leave the Laundry Soda there for 6 or more hours. If you can place the mattress near a window, the sunlight will add to its sanitizing power.
After you’ve tackled any odors, go back over the mattress with your vacuum’s upholstery attachment. If you don’t already have a mattress cover, we’d recommend buying one. Adding a mattress pad between the cover and bottom sheet will help absorb any moisture. Along with the periodic deep cleaning, the extra layers of protection will help prevent mites, fleas, and other unwanted bed guests. Now that should really help you sleep tight!