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Jan 11 2012

4 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

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At Crucial Vacuum we talk a lot about indoor air quality, which should serve as a sign as to how crazy important it is to us. Like I’ve said before, your home should be your safe place. You shouldn’t have to worry about silent and invisible dangers that could be making you and your family sick. But if your home has poor indoor air quality, it could be doing just that.

Indoor air pollutants can be hazardous to your health. Babies and children can develop respiratory problems, allergies, and asthma, which will affect them for the rest of their lives if they are breathing in harmful pollutants on a regular basis. Poor indoor air quality can have just as much of an impact on the health of the elderly as well. Your home could be making the people that you love the most sick.

So now that I have your attention, are you wondering what you can do to maintain good indoor air quality in your home? I’m so glad you asked!

Vacuum Maintenance

One of the simplest ways to keep your home clean and your breathing air free of dirt, dust, and allergens is to vacuum regularly. But if you aren’t taking care of your vacuum you are only wasting your time. A quick check of your vacuums bag, roller bar, belt, and filter every couple of uses goes a long way. Just make sure everything is working the way it should be and that your bag and filter don’t need cleaned.

Change Your Vacuum’s Bag

If your vacuum’s bag is full it may not only fail to pick up, it will also more than likely stir up all the harmful pollutants in the air. This will cause your indoor air quality to be even worse than when you started. So take my advice, be sure to change your bag before it’s full. If you are going to vacuum with a full bag, you may as well not vacuum at all. Stock up on vacuum bags, they fill up fast.

Replace or wash your vacuum’s filter.

The filter on your vacuum is a wonderful thing. It traps all those harmful pollutants that your vacuum would otherwise toss back into the air. It is one of your very best allies in the war against allergies. But if you don’t take care of your filter, it can’t take care of your air quality. Make sure that your filter is clean. Replace or wash your vacuum’s filter regularly to ensure that it can work to it’s full potential.

Consider an air purifier.

Air purifiers purify and clean the air you breathe. They are great for filtering common allergens like mildew, dirt, and dust and reduce odors. If vacuuming doesn’t seem to be doing enough to help improve the air quality in your home, these could be a huge help. Crucial Vacuum offers a wide variety of air purifiers from the small and portable to the large installed systems.

Jan 7 2012

Beware of Bedbugs!

If you pay any attention to the news whatsoever you’ve probably heard something about the disgustingly scary phenomenon of bedbugs. You would think these creatures are a new breed of bug the way the news has been going on about them in recent years. While I am sure they have always been around, I still get freaked out every time I see an undercover story on bedbugs in hotels.

If you’re like me, you want to do as much as you can to protect yourself and your family from bedbugs. Did you know there are proven sprays and powder formulas that can kill bedbugs and get rid of them once and for all? Well there are, and Crucial Vacuum has them!

While I know there isn’t much I can do about the presence of bedbugs in hotels, you better believe I can try. While my husband likes to pull up the sheets and inspect every mattress in every hotel we stay in, I just prefer to kill bedbugs and get it over with. The least I can do is keep my luggage protected so that I’m not bringing them home in my suitcase. Doesn’t the thought just make you cringe?

But even more importantly there is no way I am letting those nasty things live in my house. The last thing I need is bedbugs living in my mattress feasting on me and my precious baby when we sleep. I don’t want to have to worry about whether or not there are bedbugs in my baby’s closet or mine.

Hotels aren’t the only place bedbugs can be picked up. Did you know that they often live in clothes and products in stores? This past shopping season I heard a major retailer had a bedbug outbreak and was recommending putting any items purchased from them into the dryer for an hour. Gross! That wasn’t enough for me. I wasn’t taking any chances with my baby’s new clothes so I used my bedbug killer on them first, and then washed them. Take that, bedbugs!

If you travel often, or shop, I seriously recommend having some bedbug killer on hand, unless of course, you don’t mind sharing your bed. But I can assure you there are none of the bloodsucking bed hogs in my house, that’s for sure!

Jan 3 2012

Are You Steam Cleaning Yet?

Recently, my husband decided that we needed a steam cleaner. I resisted at first. Why did we need to spend all that money on something when a mop and a rag did just fine? But all the hype and infomercials must have gotten to him and he persisted. Eventually I caved, but I was convinced that I would be selling an unused steam cleaner at my next garage sale.

It isn’t often that I admit when I am wrong, but I have to give it to my husband on this one. I love that steam cleaner. As a mother to a baby and a long sufferer of allergies, I don’t know how I ever lived without my steam cleaner.

I know that steam cleaning has become the “hot” new thing to do lately. But if you are like me and are just catching on, or if you haven’t bought into the hype yet, let me break it down for you. Steam cleaners simply use water to produce super hot steam vapor, which works to remove dirt and stains from multiple surfaces throughout your house. The hot vapor is able to penetrate the porous surface of your floors and other surfaces to weaken the bond between the dirt and your surfaces.  The vapor is hot enough to destroy germs, dust, bacteria, mold, viruses and all the other gross things that you don’t want living in your home.

I specifically remember talking my husbands ear off about how we would never use our steam cleaner once the newness wore off. We brought it home and tried it out and were pretty impressed by what it could do. It left our kitchen floors squeaky clean. But I was convinced that it would never be used again.

And again, I was wrong. I am constantly finding new uses for my steam cleaner. Just the other day, I used it to clean the walls of my shower. I couldn’t believe how easily the soap scum and water spots came off with steam. I could have scrubbed until my arms fell off and never got my shower that clean.

I use my steam cleaner for everything from the typical jobs like floors and counters to steaming our baby’s new car seat before we put him inside. When we got new carpet, we steamed it before we let the baby crawl on it. When we bought a new mattress, we steamed it in case of bedbugs. I can’t believe how many times my trusty steam cleaner has been put to good use.

I don’t even bother buying harsh chemicals to use on my floors and counters anymore. Before being a mom I didn’t mind using chemicals to clean but now it makes me feel good to know that it’s safe when my little guy gets the urge to lick the kitchen floor.

Not to mention, the benefits that the steam cleaner has had on our allergies are remarkable. Dirt, dust, and all the other nasty things that clog up our sinuses stick to the rag on the steam cleaner like glue. It is very satisfying to know those particles aren’t floating around my house.

So I will say it one more time… I was wrong. Steam cleaning is where it’s at. Haven’t joined the rest of us in the wonderful world of steam cleaning yet? Lucky for you, Crucial Vacuum offers one of the best steam cleaners on the market along with an extensive line of steam cleaning products. Trust me, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Dec 30 2011

Worst Chore Ever, or Not So Bad? Where do You Rank Vacuuming?

Crucial Vacuum recently asked on Facebook where vacuuming ranks among your favorite and least favorite household chores. As is to be expected, the answers varied. There werethose who absolutely hate to vacuum, and there were those who don’t mind it at all.

One response was, “ I despise it. Love the house when it’s done, but hate the chore.”

Another Facebook friend said, “My favorite chore too. Instant gratification. That’s my kind of cleaning.”

In fact, about half of the people who responded said it was their favorite chore. But just as many people claimed to not like vacuuming at all.

As for me, I love it. There is nothing better than freshly vacuumed carpet. I love the lines that my vacuum leaves behind as if to say, “why yes, my lovely owner did just vacuum”. I love knowing that there are no tiny little choking hazards for my baby to get a hold of. I even enjoy the actual act of vacuuming, it’s kind of fun honestly. My dog goes crazy chasing the vacuum, which always makes the baby laugh, and it’s a little bit of a workout. So, as far as household chores go, I really can’t complain about vacuuming.

The only problem that I have with vacuuming is that I have to do so much work before I can vacuum. You know, all the picking up, putting away, and dusting that comes first? Those are among my least favorite chores along with dishes and laundry and pretty much every other chore. Sorry to disappoint, but the domestic goddess you see above is not me.

It is because of all the putting away and picking up that my living room has not been vacuumed in a few days. At this very moment, my house is a complete disaster thanks to Christmas. I now know why my parents used to dread bringing home a car full of new toys from every grandparent. I have no idea where any of this stuff is going to go and no desire to start trying to figure it out.

But my husband and I are both already starting to sneeze and sniffle, a telltale sign that it is past time to vacuum. Unfortunately for us our allergies don’t stop when winter comes around. I have to constantly keep our house dusted and vacuumed or we are miserable. So while I would love to put off sorting through these toys for a few more days, I know I can’t.

On the bright side, I have a brand new filter for my vacuum and I am not ashamed to admit that I am super excited to put it to use. Until recently, I had no idea how important it was to keep my vacuum in tiptop shape for my own health. Since I have started changing my vacuums bags before they are completely full and maintaining a clean vacuum filter, I have been able to breathe much easier. My husband and I have both noticed that our allergies are less irritated and we are hoping that by keeping the air clean in our house we are helping to keep our son from developing the same problems.

So the rest of my day will consist of sorting through toys new and old, putting things away, dusting, and last but not least… vacuuming. Maybe that is why I like vacuuming, because it means I am finally done cleaning.

Dec 27 2011

How Often do You Change Your Vacuum’s Bag?

So, how often do you change your vacuum’s bag? If you’re like me, and millions of other housekeepers who mean well, the answer is probably not often enough. Vacuum bags fill up much quicker than most people realize. Once the bag is full your vacuum is unable to perform to it’s full potential and is left struggling to pick up. You’re left angry with your vacuum for not working right, and let’s face it, your vacuum is probably not too happy with you either.

But this is a problem that is easily avoided; you simply need to know when to change your vacuum’s bag. I bet a quick check of most people’s vacuum bags would uncover a bag that is too full. I can’t promise that my own vacuum’s bag isn’t ready to be changed again. But how full is too full? How do you know?

When we bought our house we didn’t have much carpet. I vacuumed only occasionally. But hardwoods turned to a large area rug when we brought home our first baby. I began vacuuming regularly but honestly, I didn’t give the vacuum’s bag much thought. When our baby started crawling I talked my husband into wall-to-wall carpet. I loved my new carpet and became a huge fan of vacuuming. I loved the lines that the vacuum left in the carpet, I felt like they made me look like a good housekeeper. I didn’t even pay any attention to whether or not my vacuum was actually picking anything up, oops.

But one day, as I was vacuuming the rug in our entranceway, I realized that my vacuum was actually spitting stuff back out at me. It was a fairly new vacuum so I was not happy that it wasn’t working properly. For the first time since I had bought the vacuum, I opened it up and discovered a bag that was practically bursting at the seams. Hmmm, so that was the problem. Upon further investigation, I realized my vacuum even has a handy little light that indicates when the bag needs changed. Who knew?

I know I should be embarrassed to share that story but 1) I have no shame and 2) I am trying to help others learn from my mistakes. Oh, and it helps that a certain head-honcho at Crucial Vacuum, whose name I am not at liberty to disclose, shared a similar experience with me the other day. He was recently vacuuming his office and couldn’t figure out why his vacuum wasn’t picking up. Sure enough, a quick check of the vacuum’s bag revealed a bag in desperate need of changing. So if even he forgets to change his vacuum’s bag sometimes, it’s ok for the rest of us to do it!

A good rule of thumb for when to change your vacuum’s bag is to change it before it’s completely full. Once the bag is full it won’t be able to pick up anything else. We both know your time is way too valuable to waste running a vacuum that isn’t picking up. If your vacuum has an indicator that tells you when the bag is full, learn from my mistake and don’t ignore it.

Oh and one more thing, make sure you actually have extra vacuum bags. Crucial Vacuum offers the best selection of vacuum bags on the internet. From Bissell to Oreck, we carry bags for all brands and offer free shipping. Now that you will be changing bags regularly you will need to stock up, it’s crucial!