Steam Mops

If your home has mostly hard floor surfaces rather than carpet, then you need a piece of cleaning equipment that is lightweight, versatile, and powerful to keep all your floors looking good. A steam mop is the perfect solution because it fits that description perfectly. Most steam mops weigh less than ten pounds so that they are easy to carry from room to room and easy to use as well. They are appropriate for cleaning all kinds of hard surfaces such as ceramic tile, vinyl, laminate, stone, marble, or sealed hardwoods because they do not use any harsh chemicals that could damage the floors. In addition, the steam mop machines usually do not leave a lot of water behind so there is no risk of damaging your floors that way either. Finally, steam is a great natural cleaner. It is hot enough to kill most bacteria that can be found on your floors and it will break up almost any stain.

A steam mop has an electrical cord because you need power in order to heat the water to make steam. Most steam mops have steam on demand meaning that the steam is dispensed with the push of a button on the handle. However, certain models work slightly differently. The Euro-Pro Shark S3501 Deluxe Steam Pocket Mop, for example, dispenses steam whenever the mop moves in a natural mopping motion. That gives you a continuous supply of steam as you mop the floor. With this Shark steamer you do not have to worry about how much steam to dispense because the mop does it for you.

With all steam mops, the longer you dispense steam with the mop in one position, the hotter that area of the floor will get. Therefore, if you have a particularly bad stain or an area that you are particularly concerned about when it comes to bacteria, you should hold the mop in place and push the steam button. Some steam mop manufacturers recommend eight second of continuous steam to reach an appropriate temperature. With the Shark steam mop, you can pump the handle to dispense steam while it is in place since normally the steam is dispensed when the mop is in motion.

Some people might be concerned about the longevity of a product like this because over time and after much use, most mop heads wear out and the mop needs to be replaced. Steam mops come with reusable mop pads that are usually washable so that you do not have to buy a new mop every time the pad wears out. You can remove the pad after each use and wash it. Some mop pads are machine washable and others have to be washed by hand. If a pad does wear out then you can replace it instead of replacing the entire mop.

Certain brands of steam mops have special mop pad features that make them more desirable than others. For example, the Eureka! Magic cloths are machine washable and can be washed just like any other piece of laundry. The Bissell Deluxe Mop Pads for the Bissell Steam Mop have a ribbed bottom and are thicker than other brands so they are more durable and better at scrubbing hard stains and rougher surfaces such as slate tile. The Shark mop pads come in different shapes to go with the interchangeable mop heads. The Shark Pocket Steam Mop has a rectangular and a triangular head and there are mop pads to match both orientations.

Shark Vacuum

Shark is one of the brands that have been developed by Euro-Pro Operating, LLC in order to provide easy to use products that make every day cleaning easier for the consumer. Shark mops and vacuums are lightweight and efficient so that you can keep your house looking clean in less time and with minimal effort. Shark makes both upright vacuums, cordless uprights, and cordless hand held vacuums so that you can address any kind of mess in your house.

Shark Upright Vacuum

Shark NV22L Navigator Lift-Away Lightweight Upright Vacuum With 24″ Crevice Tool

The Shark NV22L Navigator Lift-Away lightweight upright vacuum is a comprehensive cleaning system for your household. This lightweight, purple vacuum cleaner features Shark’s patented “Never Loses Suction Technology” which removes 99% of dirt from the filter. The result is continuous suction on…

Shark Navigator Upright Bagless Vacuum Cleaner, NV22L

Lightweight and easy to maneuver at only 15-pound, the navigator rides on smooth glide rubber wheels for effortless maneuvering around furniture. Powered by infinity technology the shark navigator traps dust and dirt so the navigator never loses suction and cleans the last room as well as the first…

The two Shark upright vacuums pictured above have at least on feature in common and that is that they both use Shark’s No Loss of Suction Technology. This patented technology allows the dirt and debris that is sucked in through the vacuum to be pulled away from the filter in order to avoid clogs and any loss of suction. Continuous suction will ensure that you pick up everything in your path without leaving crumbs or pieces behind like you do with many vacuums if you are not able to maintain suction.

The two upright vacuums, while similar in name, also have many differences. First, the Navigator Lift Away has swivel steering so that it is easier to maneuver than the Navigator as well as most traditional vacuums. The Navigator does not have the same maneuverability, but it does come equipped with smooth glide wheels so that it can run smoothly over all kinds of floor surfaces.

The second important difference is that the Navigator has two unique motor systems so that you can use it on carpeted surfaces as well as hard floor surfaces. When running the Shark Navigator on hard surfaces you can turn off the rolling brushes to avoid damaging the floor surface.

The Shark Navigator Lift Away has a detachable canister so that you have some portable cleaning ability. That makes it easier to clean upholstery and hard to reach places. The Navigator has some included accessory attachments for this purpose such as a twenty four inch crevice tool and a premium pet power brush for removing stubborn pet hair from upholstery.

The Shark Navigator Lift Away also comes equipped with Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology. This means that 99.99% of the dust captured stays inside the vacuum. Consumers with allergy problems will appreciate this feature because often times, running a vacuum stirs up a lot of dust that starts a sneezing attack or creates problems with watery eyes.

Shark Upright Cordless Sweepers

Ultra-light weight and convenient the Shark VX63 2 in 1 cordless hand and stick vac is the perfect partner for prepping the floor before using the shark steam mop. With its powerful suction it effectively picks up dirt, hair and food particles from hard floor surfaces and low pile carpet. Extremely versatile this 2 in 1 vacuum becomes a powerful hand vac with a crevice feature that is perfect for corners and tight spaces. As a stick vac, with shark swivel steering, a motorized brush and powerful suction it is perfect for both bare floors and carpets. The removable battery charges anywhere and the telescopic handle adjusts to different heights. Accessories included are rechargeable battery, battery charger and foam filters.
Cordless Shark VX3 floor cleaner combines the power of a vacuum with the convenience and maneuverability of a broom. Pick up heavy-duty messes including food, glass, nails, cat litter and more. Folding “backsaver” handle lets you reach under furniture without bending over. Effective on vinyl, tile, hardwood (won’t scratch), and carpeted floors. Side brush works along walls, dirt collects in a large capacity “no touch” removable tray. Weighs only four pounds and is ultra quiet. Included rechargeable battery lasts up to 50-minute -clean your whole house in a single charge.Features include:13 inch Motorized Brush Roll sweeps any size/type of debris into an easy to empty dust cup3 speed settings: Floor, Carpet, Turbo for superior cleaning on hard floors and carpetNo Touch Dust Cup effortlessly empties at the push of a buttonFolding Handle allows easy access to hard-to-reach places without bending over50 minutes of cleaning time on a single chargePatented Wall Hugging Technology(TM) with a motorized side brush that grabs dirt along wallsEasy to maneuver with our patented Swivel SteeringEasy reach a low profile and long reach makes it easy to get under furnitureMeasures approximately 13 by 12 by 42 inches Includes retail packaging

There are two products by Shark that fit into the category of upright cordless sweepers. The first is the Shark Cordless Stik Vac. This product is great for cleaning on both carpets and hard floor surfaces. There are two brush speeds so that you can switch from one to the other with a push of a button. For a cordless machine, there is an incredible amount of suction and it is quite effective at picking up hair, ground in dirt, and spills of larger pieces of food.

The handle of the Stik Vac is telescopic which means that when it is convenient for you, you can lower the handle and convert the Stik Vac into a handheld vacuum. In its handheld form, you can use the Stik Vac on upholstery or stairs. Since it only weighs six pounds, it is quite portable and easy to move around with. It even comes with a crevice tool that is stored on the unit for use in the seams of your furniture. When it is in the upright position, the swivel steering makes it easy to maneuver the vacuum around any obstacles like furniture. It is almost as maneuverable as the Swivel Sweeper G2.

This vacuum will run for about fifteen minutes before needing to be recharged again. The initial charge of the rechargeable batteries that power the Shark Stik Vac takes twenty four hours. Shark recommends that you fully charge and then fully discharge the vacuum cleaner three times in the beginning in order to get top performance out of your batteries. Shark also recommends that you fully discharge and charge for twenty four hours about once a month to get the longest life out of your batteries as possible. The included rechargeable batteries should last between twelve and sixteen months if you use the machine an average of four time per week.

The Shark Cordless Floor and Carpet Cleaner is a somewhat similar machine. It uses a brush and dust cup rather than a dust canister. No do not have to handle the dust cup at all though because it empties with the touch of a button. The motorized brush has settings for both carpet and hard floors. Just like the other cordless vacuum, this upright sweeper is lightweight and comes equipped with swivel steering for easy handling.

The handle on the floor and carpet sweeper is something special because it has a hinge in the middle that lowers the upper part of the handle down at an angle so that you can roll the sweeper under pieces of furniture, etc.. Shark calls this innovation the Backsaver folding handle. Another Shark patented feature is the wall hugging technology that includes a motorized side brush to collect dust and debris from along the walls.

The main advantage of this model over the Stik Vac is that you get about fifty minutes of cleaning time before you need to recharge the batteries. Maximizing battery life on the Shark Cordless Floor and Carpet Cleaner is the same as with other cordless products. The initial charge should be for at least twenty four hours. You should completely discharge before charging again and you should be sure to completely discharge the unit once a month.

Shark Handheld Vacuums

Clean your home easily with this cordless hand vacuum that features Twister Cyclonic technology to maintain suction and a motorized brush to thoroughly remove pet hair from upholstery and ground-in dirt from carpet, car mats and seats. The convenient dust cup design means no replacement bags are needed and the filter is easily detached and washable. The LED indicator light alerts you when the vacuum needs to be charged. Includes motorized brush and crevice tool.
The Shark Cordless 18-vold Hand Vac performs better than other competitive models.

Handheld vacuums are an important cleaning tool to have around the house, especially If you have pets that shed on your furniture. The Shark Cordless Pet Perfect Hand Vac and the Shark Cordless Pet Perfect II Hand Vac are both excellent pieces of cleaning equipment with many admirable features. First, both have powerful batteries that allow a superior amount of suction in order to pick up pet hair that clings to upholstery and ground in dirt stains. However, the Pet Perfect II with it s18 volt battery has about 35% more power than the Pet Perfect with a 15.6 volt battery. Both units have removable and washable filters so you will always have your machine with the most powerful suction possible. There are no bags to throw away, but rather a bagless dust cup. The only other notable difference is that the Shark Pet Perfect II Hand Vac has a wall mounting system and a rubberized grip for easy access and storage and more comfortable handling.

Bed Bugs Signs

Of all the different kinds of pests that might infest your home, for some reason bedbugs is one of the most troublesome to homeowners. First of all, it is quite distressing to think about bugs crawling on you and biting you while you sleep. Second, they are very hard to get rid of and spread easily. Bed bugs are very resourceful at finding ways to hitch a ride into your home. You can bring them home from almost anywhere you find people. For example, bedbug infestations can be found in movie theaters, public transportation, libraries, retail stores, hotels, airplanes, hospitals, day cares, etc. In addition to being able to travel well, bedbugs can go up to two or three months without feeding so they are very illusive and hard to kill because they do not necessarily come out that often. Therefore, people want to do everything they can to avoid bringing bedbugs into their home in the first place and allowing them to stay for extended periods of time. That is why it is important to do regular checks for bedbugs at home and be diligent in hotels and motels in order to avoid bringing the bugs home. Remember that a bedbug infestation says nothing about your cleaning habits or personal hygiene. They are simply a parasite that is very common.

Bed Bug Bites

The first question most homeowners ask when they hear about bed bugs is “How do you know you have bed bugs?” Most people know it when they start to notice bites. Bedbug bites look very similar to a mosquito bites in that they are small red welts that are slightly raised. They usually appear in clusters or lines because bedbugs tend to stay in the same locations to bite over and over again. Many people afflicted with bed bug bites say that they itch constantly and are quite troublesome. As itchy and bothersome as the bites may be, bed bugs do not carry any diseases that we know of so their bites are relatively harmless.

Another one of the interesting things about bedbugs is that they administer an anesthetizing agent when they bite so that you do not feel it. If you start to wake up in the morning with bug bites that you cannot explain, then you might have a bed bug problem. However, not everyone reacts to bedbugs the same way. Some people do not get the welts or do not have any visible signs of being bitten. In that case, you might notice small spots of blood on your sheets or bedclothes that you cannot explain.

What to Look For When Searching for Bed Bugs

Because you may not notice or may not have signs of bed bug bites, it is also necessary to check your home for bedbugs occasionally. Bedbugs are called that for a reason, they tend to infest the area on or around your bed because that puts them in close proximity to their prey. So the beds in your home are the best place to start looking for bed bugs signs. I do an inspection every time I change the sheets because you need to remove all blankets and sheets from the bed anyway to do the inspection. Bedbugs like to live and travel in crevices and places where they can hide so you want to look at the seams in your mattress and box spring. You probably will not see the actual bugs, but rather their fecal waste which looks like brown speckling. Start at the head of the bed and inspect both the top and bottom seams on your mattress carefully. Bedbugs are attracted to heat and carbon dioxide which are both more prevalent at the head of your bed than at the foot so that is the most likely place to find evidence. Continue your inspection around each corner and all the way to the foot of the bed. You should also inspect that top seam of the box spring and the area where the box spring meets the bed frame.

While you have the bed linens off, you should take this opportunity to inspect the corner where the floor under your bed meets the wall for the same brown specks or the actual bed bugs. The bed bugs themselves are the same color as an apple seed and slightly smaller, but it is rare that you find the bugs out in the open. Behind the headboard is another place to look for evidence of a bedbug infestation.

Try to Prevent Bringing Bed Bugs Home

The most likely place to be exposed to a bedbug infestation is in a hotel or motel, so you should take precautions when visiting these institutions. Do a thorough inspection of the bed and areas around the bed before you settle into any hotel room. Take off all of the bed linens and do an inspection similar to the one you do at home. It will be trickier to check around the headboard because hotel headboards are often attached to the wall and are very heavy and difficult to move. If you do find evidence of bedbugs, just call the front desk and asked to be moved to a different room. Calmly explain that you found evidence of bedbugs and you would like a new room that is preferably not next door or close to the one that you currently occupy. Just because you find bedbugs in one hotel room, that does not mean that the entire hotel in infested. However, you are more likely to find infestations in neighboring rooms.

If you do not find any evidence of bedbugs, there are still some precautions you should take. Never unpack your suitcase into the furniture of the hotel room. Keep everything zipped up in your suitcase and only remove items of clothing when you are ready to wear them. Never pile clothing in a corner or next to a wall. Instead, pack dirty clothing in a plastic bag that you can hang in your closet or pack in your suitcase. The zipped suitcase should be stored up high on a flat and hard surface such as a desk or coffee table. Do not store the suitcase next to the walls or on an extra bed. When you get home it is probably a good idea to wash all of the clothing you took with you on your trip so that the heat of the washer and dryer will kill any bugs that might have stowed away in your clothes. The suitcase should also be decontaminated. In order to clean your suitcase, you can wash it by hand with extremely hot and soapy water. Be careful not to burn yourself with the hot water. Heat is the best way to kill bedbugs so if you can somehow get the temperature of the suitcase up to about 120 degrees, then you will successfully eradicate the bedbugs. Another option is to cover the suitcase with a plastics garbage bag and store it in a non ventilated area like the garage for a few weeks to make sure that any bedbugs have been suffocated.

What to Do If You Find Bed Bugs

If one of your inspections of your home turns up evidence of bedbugs or if you have bite evidence that there are bedbugs feasting on you at night, then you should call a pest control service like Terminix for help. Professional pest control companies have the chemicals and the knowledge for getting rid of bed bugs. Chances are that the process will start with an inspection. If the pest control technician finds evidence of bedbugs they will proceed with a treatment plan. Different pest control companies use different methods, but the three most common plans for dealing with a bedbug infestation are chemical treatments, heat treatments, and freeze treatments. Chemical treatments are probably the least effective, but they are less expensive. The alternatives are more environmentally friendly and more effective. Freeze treatments will use dry ice to freeze the bedbugs along with the eggs and babies so that they die and the infestation ends. Heat treatments involve raising the temperature of your home to over 120 degrees in order to kill all the bugs and eggs for the same result.

Top 5 “How Clean is Your House?” Cleaning Tips

BBC America had a television show that took you into some of the dirtiest and most disgusting homes you will ever see. The two hosts, Kim Woodburn and Aggie MacKenzie work together to show the families living in these homes where the problem spots are and just what bacteria and germs they are exposing themselves to. Then, they make the families clean and come up with a plan to keep the house from deteriorating in the future. The show aired for two seasons and is still a fan favorite in reruns and the occasional marathon. The helpful cleaning experts dispensed lots of advice during their two year run, and some of their best tips are on the show’s website, here. Here are my thoughts on just a few.

Tip 1: Get drinking glasses and wine glasses shiny by soaking them in vinegar.

Sometimes when you send your glassware through the dishwasher it comes out with a cloudy film on it. The cloudiness is caused by too much detergent of hard mineral deposits from your water. Sometimes, this cloudy residue is impossible to avoid so you have to come up with a way to correct it. Soak your glassware in warm white vinegar for about an hour and then rub them dry with a clean dishtowel or paper towel. The vinegar will dissolve the offending residue and then you can wipe it away with the towel. Some people may be concerned about a vinegary smell or taste to the glassware afterward, but the vinegar residue evaporates and is unnoticeable later.

Tip 2: Keep your toilet free of clogs and odors by adding baking soda.

The toilet is one part of your home that you absolutely need to keep clean because the potential for odor and germ exposure is so great. Of course you can use baking soda pastes as scouring agents to get rid of toilet bowl stains just as you do with grout cleaning , but you can also use baking soda as a preventative cleaning agent in the toilet. Just sprinkle approximately one cup of baking soda into the toilet tank and let it sit overnight before you flush. The baking soda will both break up potential clogs and keep your toilet odor free. This is an inexpensive and environmentally friendly substitute for toilet bowl tablets. The folks at “How Clean is Your House” say to perform this trick once per week, but other cleaning experts say once per month. You should add baking soda to your toilet as often as you think is necessary to keep odors and clogs away.

Tip 3: Clean your showerhead by soaking it in a bag full of vinegar.

Vinegar is a very versatile cleaning agent to have in your home because it can be applied to so many different situations. You probably will notice that overtime, the holes in your showerhead start to get clogged and residue builds up all over the showerhead. A god way to clean it with minimal effort is to fill a plastic bag with vinegar and attach it to the showerhead with a rubber band so that the shower head is soaking in the vinegar. Let the showerhead soak overnight and then remove the bag. Some gentle scrubbing with a scrub brush in the morning will leave your showerhead looking like new again.

Tip 4: Use lemon juice as a rust stain remover.

You may think that a piece of clothing or upholstery is ruined if you get a rust stain or a hard to get out fruit stain on it, but that is not true. The ascorbic acid in lemon juice works as a reducing agent and dissolves stains such as these. Another school of thought is that lemon juice is an organic substance that contains oils. Many staining substances may be soluble in oils or organic substances and not water so the lemon juice is an effective stain remover. Be careful though because lemon juice itself can cause stains so if you use lemon juice to treat a stain, make sure to rinse the garment quickly so that the stain remover does not leave behind a stain of its own.

Tip 5: Use WD-40 to remove crayon marks from walls.

If you have children, chances are that you have some crayon marks on at least one of the painted walls in your home. If this is true, then you need to make a trip to the garage for a can of WD-40. I know it sounds crazy, but this trick really works. All you need to do is to spray a little bit of WD-40 onto a towel or cloth and then use that cloth to wipe away the crayon marks from your wall. Do not spray the WD-40 directly on the wall because that will be far too messy. The WD-40 is oily and will leave behind a residue on the wall that needs to be washed away immediately with soapy water.