How To Clean Hardwood Floors

There’s something beautiful about hardwood floors; the best thing about them, however, is that they are easy to clean. They are also durable, and you only need to do a minimum to see them bright and shining again.

The first step when cleaning a hardwood floor is to use a vacuum cleaner or dust mop to remove any dust, hair, pet hair and any other dirt that might be on the floor. Make sure the vacuum cleaner does not have a beater bar attachment since it might scratch the floor; use a vacuum cleaner that has a floor brush attachment. Depending on the number of people or pets in the house, this can be done once per week.

cleaning hardwood floors with an orange vacuum

The second step is to use a liquid cleaner, and a good example is Murphy’s oil soap. Make sure all the instructions on the cleaner’s guide are followed. Also, you can make your cleaner by mixing vinegar ( 1 part), and water(10 parts) then put a few drops of castile soap.

Whatever cleaner you choose to use, soak a cleaning cloth into the water and cleaner solution and remove the surplus water from the cloth. The cloth should be damp and not wet. Mop the floor with the damp cloth and make sure to use less pressure lest you put too much water on the floor. Wash your floor with clean water to remove any cleaning solution on the floor. Dry the floor with a clean towel to remove any standing water that might have been left on the floor.

Boling water and two tea bags come in handy if you want to give your hardwood floors a beautiful shine. All you have to do is to leave two tea bags in boiling water. Pour the ‘tea’ in your cleaning bucket and soak your cleaning cloth in that bucket. Remove excess water and make sure the cloth is damp and not wet such that they will not be excess water on the floors once you are done the cleaning.

For scratched areas, pick a crayon color of your floor and rub it on the scratched area until the gap is filled. Turn a blowdryer on high heat and heat the area where the crayon was applied. Once done, buff the area with a soft cloth. This review on Bissell vacuum will help you find a vacuum that cleans hardwood floors really well.

Empty house with clean wood floorsTo prevent damage to your freshly cleaned areas, place doormats inside and outside the main doors to lower the volume of dirt that is carried inside the house. Use floor protectors where your furniture has been placed to reduce chances of damage on the floor. Also, put rags in areas with a lot of traffic in the house to reduce chances of damage.

Other things you should know

Do not use alkaline products, straight ammonia or abrasive products on the floor because they tend to dull the finish

Do not use furniture sprays, waxes or oils on the floors. Oils tend to leave a residue while furniture sprays create slippery floors. Applying wax on the floor takes time while after sometime recoating the floor will become difficult.

Car Safety for Dogs

Traveling with a dog is like traveling with your baby; they are your fury baby, right. You need to make sure the dog is just as securely ‘belted’ in case of an accident. Leaving the dog ‘unbelted’ means the dog could jump from a moving vehicle which can be very fatal.

On a good day, the dog can jump and escape unhurt inconveniencing you because you have to park somewhere and start following the dog. There are several ways of securing your dog one of them being having barrier devices at the boot of your car to contain the dog.

However, for total safety, the dog should be in a carrier or a crate, and the carrier or the crate should be strapped using a seatbelt to keep your pooch safe.

How to use a carrier when traveling with your dog

If you are using a carrier, make sure it is the right size such that your dog doesn’t feel trapped and uncomfortable. Make sure the carrier is not too big and that the ‘bed’ fills the whole space just in case the dog thinks the uncovered part is the bathroom.

Before you put the dog in the carrier, make sure the dog is calm, is not in any tag or leash because the tags could be caught in the carrier. Make sure the dog is fed before the start of your journey to prevent motion sickness.

Have plenty of water to keep the dog hydrated and cool and keep the windows open for fresh air. Also, bring a few toys to keep your pooch entertained during the travel. Also, keep on taking regular bathroom breaks for your dog to relieve themselves.

Various options to keep your dog safe during the road trip

  1. Ruff rider canine vehicle restraint

Ruff rider canine vehicle restraint helps to keep the dog from moving around inside the car. The good thing is that it can be used inside or outside the car. This restraint can fit dogs that weight between 6 to 150 pounds; all you have to do is measure your dog to get the one that fits.

  1. Small dog seatbelt

Small dog seatbelt is meant for small dogs just like the name suggests. The dog seatbelt will attach to any dog harness with the best thing being it can be used in different cars. Make sure to pick the right size for your dog for comfort as well as safety.

  1. Bergan auto harness

Bergan auto harness comprises a seatbelt and a harness that uses carabiners to attach to your car’s seatbelt. This began seatbelt offers the best security as well as meeting the V9DT safety durability test. This seatbelt fits dogs with the weight that range from 10 to 150 pounds. The best thing about this harness is that the padded chest area keeps your pooch safe and comfortable.

  1. Kurgo pet travel backseat carrier

This carrier is best kept on the backseat of your car such that if even the car stops abruptly, your dog will still be safe. Fasten the carrier between the front seat and the back passenger seat such that the dog will be safe and still be comfortable. Keeping the dog in a carrier makes sure it doesn’t move because its movement will shift your focus from the road thus causing an accident

  1. Ezdog click adjustable car restraint

This restraint keeps the dog safe while riding in the backseat. The restraint clicks into your seatbelt’s buckle. The other end of the restraint is secured on your dog’s harness so that the dog’s movement is restricted. The best thing about is that you can adjust the length of the restraint to the length that you’d like.

  1. Kurgo pet travel canine leash and zipline combo

This Kurgo pet travel canine leash and zipline combo make sure that your dog is safe and it can still move around in the backseat. Secure the leash to a hook in your car’s interior and make sure the leash is clipped. The best thing about this line and leash combo is that the leash can use to control your pooch once you get to your destination.

  1. Pet gear signature pet car seat and carrier

This seat and carrier are best for dogs that weight up to 20 pounds. Put your dog in the carrier and then attach the carrier to the backseat’s seat belt. Attach your dog’s harness to the carrier before attaching it to the seatbelt.  Make sure the carrier is connected to a seatbelt at all times during your trip to keep your pooch safe

  1. K and H bucket booster pet car seat

Your pooch can have a better view during your road trip without you endangering him. This better view with safety can only be achieved with K & H bucket booster pet car seat. Clip your dog’s collar or harness to the clip that’s inside this seat which can be placed in the front or back seat of your car. Attach this seat to a seatbelt on whatever seat you place your dog.

  1. Good pet stuff aquiline traveling dog pet car seat

Good pet stuff aquiline traveling dog pet car seat is the best seat for your pooch when you are taking road trips. It has adjustable booster belt, and It also has harness straps that help in keeping your pooch secure. It has folding legs that can range from 10 to 14 inches in height; it has reinforced plastic to offer additional security. The good thing is that one adjust the seat to fit your pooch’s needs.

  1. Bergan Car dog Travel Barrier

Bergan car dog travel barrier has both upper and lower vents that promote good air circulation. This barrier fits well between the front and the backseat of your car. This barrier is attached securely to the two front seats such that even if the car comes to a halt abruptly, your dog cant be projected out of the car. Also, the dog’s movement is restricted thus reducing chances of your focus being taken away from the steering wheel.

How To Save Time Cleaning Your Home

You have visitors in a few hours time or even in a week’s time, but you don’t feel like moving a muscle to start cleaning. Well, I hate to tell you that one way or the other you will have to pick that broom or that duster and start cleaning. So, how do you clean your home using the least time possible?

For starters, you need to concentrate on cleaning and cleaning only! No checking your phone unless it is necessary for example when you need to answer a crucial call.

Start at the top

It is always good to start from the top to the bottom so that dust and any other dirt does not fall on the already clean areas. For example, you should start from wiping or dusting your ceiling, come down to the walls, dust your furniture and finally clean your floors. When dusting you can use a good shark vacuum cleaner which will remove all dirt. If you are cleaning your bedrooms, remove the beddings once you are done with cleaning the walls and the ceiling so that you can remove the beddings that have dust. Also, clean from the right to the left such that everything will be clean by the time you are finishing. Most people waste time by cleaning haphazardly; they will clean the blinds then realize the far end table is dusty, then they will clean the picture frames.

Have a timer

Timer to use when cleaning your home

How much time do you want to use in cleaning each room? How much time do you intend to use on vacuuming? List all the activities you need to do then divide by the available time. Some activities might take more time than others might while others might take a shorter time. You can start with the one that needs more time and the one that you hate the most so that you can get motivated knowing you will finish what you like.

Have a system

When cleaning your house, make sure you have a system. Go from the living room, kitchen, stairs, bedroom, and washrooms. By having a system, you should start from one spot in the house and make sure you finish on the same spot. Work on one room at a time such that there will be no lost time used running from one room to the other. Don’t forget to clean and vacuum carpeted stairs in your home, many people forget about this. Also, you need to be consistent by making sure you do the same thing every time you need to clean whatever room you are cleaning.

Squeegee windows for a better finish

For better results when cleaning windows, it is advisable to use a squeegee such that you will have streak free windows. Most people use paper towels or newspapers and then use circular movements to dry them. The best way to clean windows is by using clean fiber free cloth with soap then use a squeegee to dry the water off. If you don’t have a squeegee, a microfiber cloth should come in handy. Always, remember, clean your windows from top to bottom.

Have all your cleaning tools ready

On your cleaning day, make sure you have all your cleaning tools and products at an arm’s length. This means you will not need to keep going back and forth looking for cleaning tools and products. You might need to put on an apron then have your cleaning product in small bottles that you can carry in your apron’s pockets. This means you have everything you need on the go. If you don’t have an apron to carry your cleaning tools and products in, put them in a bucket or a basket.

Defeat mineral deposits

If mineral deposits have stained your plumbing fixtures, you should not use pads or brushes to clean them because they might scratch the faucets. The best thing to use is white vinegar; pour some vinegar on a cloth and clean the faucet. You only need to use a little of white vinegar, and your faucets will have their shiny look again.

Keeping your stainless steel shining

To keep your stainless steel shining, use some mineral oil and wipe off the surfaces once a week. This mineral oil helps to repel water. Also, this mineral oil helps to keep toothpaste and any other item from sticking to your stainless steel surfaces.

Clean your microwave faster

When your microwave has foodstuff sticking on the walls, cleaning can be quite hard. To make your work easier, leave a cup full of water in the microwave and boil it for some time. The steam will help to loosen any foodstuff sticking on the microwave insides; all you have to do is to wipe it off, and you will be done with cleaning.

In conclusion, follow all or part of the above tips, and you will find cleaning less a little painful.

Happy cleaning

Baby Must Have Part 2

1.Muslin clothes –  To be fair this may be down to the fact that I only managed to breastfeed for two months, but you would think I would have found other uses for them. We had muslins coming out of our ears as so many people told us that we would never be able to have too many. However, we barely used ours. If you missed baby haves part 1 you can read it here.

Little miss was never a really sicky baby so that and the lack of breastfeeding may mean that it was a combination of circumstances and luck that meant we didn’t need them, but there you are. Saying that I will most likely have a stash this time round as I’m hoping to nail breastfeeding and who knows Little dude may be a very sicky baby!

2 Baby monitor- A baby monitor helps me keep an eye on Little dude when I’m in the kitchen cooking or he is in the bedroom and I’m downstairs.

3.Fancy highchair– When your baby is little a nice highchair with fancy cushioning is good for offering support. But to be honest we found fancy high chairs a pain. Keeping them clean was a nightmare (food quite literally got everywhere and in every nook and cranny).

Baby chair

Once Little miss could support herself, on the advice of a friend we bought the ANTILOP highchair from Ikea. Ok, it’s a very minimalist high chair and isn’t exactly ‘pretty’, but it’s cheap. It’s light, legs are removable for easy transportation, and cleaning it is a doddle.

4.Non-battery operated breast pump – Little miss was not a great feeder, she just didn’t take to the boob and in my midwife’s own words was “lazy”. In my quest to make sure she got breastmilk I decided to express and we bought a manual breast pump.

Yes, it worked, but it was hard work. It would take me a good hour to get one feed for Little miss and by the time I had finished my hand would have cramped up. They may be much more expensive but I will definitely be buying a battery-operated one for next time.

5.Bumbo – I was so excited at having had a Bumbo bought for us as a present when Little miss arrived as I had heard so many wonderful things about them. I couldn’t wait until Little miss was big enough to use it. Alas! when that time came it was a huge anti-climax. Little miss never really took to the Bumbo, she was never happy in there for more than five minutes.

We bought the additional tray ($10 cost) in hope that being able to play with toys, look at books etc would broaden its appeal, still to no avail. Before we knew it she was big and strong enough to lift herself out and the Bumbo was relegated to the corner to collect dust. A shame as I really wanted to like this product.

So there you have it. Of course, every baby is different, but for us these are products that we won’t be bothering with again.

Baby Must Haves

Hubs and I have often discussed the products that we felt were essential when Little miss was a baby. When I was expecting Little miss we were naive and believed we needed every baby product out there and were enticed by many products that in hindsight maybe weren’t necessary.

It’s not just a first-time parent thing either, now that I’m expecting baby no. 2 I’m finding myself being wooed by baby stuff AGAIN.

Despite having a perfectly good, working travel system I have serious buggy envy and want a new one, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. Only this time I’m a little wiser and won’t cave and buy anything unnecessary (I think).

I thought I would share with you our baby must-haves, some of the bits and pieces that hubs and I found particularly useful when little miss was a baby, and will definitely use again.

  1. Angelcare baby movement sensor and monitor– this was a godsend, I would have never slept without it. We had had some pretty negative views shared with us about how unreliable they were, but ours was amazing. It was expensive at over £80, but for me worth every penny.
  2. Diaper Pail– The best diaper pail will keep your baby’s dirty diapers in a closed container reducing the bad smell. A diaper pail is even better if you use baby cloth diapers that you don’t normally throw away.
  3. Samsonite Pop-up Travel Bubble cot – This compact little cot was a great space-saver in the car when traveling. Stored in a handy carry case, the cot simply pops up with very little assembly required. We have had a fair few holidays where there has been very little room to spare, not a problem with this little cot. We often chose to use this over cots supplied by B&Bs and hotels.
  4. Bassinet– Bassinets are a comfortable place for baby’s to sleep. You can even carry your baby bassinet when going out since some of them are portable.
  5. Grobags – I was aware of the hype around Grobags, but not entirely convinced I believed it. Two years on and Little miss is still in them. These handy little sleeping bags are available in many togs to suit the weather and keep your baby comfy and warm, eliminating the need for blankets they also lower the risk of suffocation. Again, Grobags are pricey at around $30 each. But, many shops are doing their own versions at cheaper prices and we got some great deals on bundles on Ebay.
  6. Anti-colic bottles– We switched to the Tommee Tippee anti-colic bottles fairly early on. Little miss never really suffered from colic and I’m pretty sure these bottles may have been the reason why.
  7. Fisherprice rainforest Jumperoo and musical swing seat – Ok, these are definitely investment buys. They are pricey, but we got a deal online if we bought the two together and it worked out at a great discount. Little miss went through a clingy phase at only a few weeks old and I couldn’t put her down without her getting very upset. The musical swing seat solved this, she would lay happily for ages listening to the music and watching the mobile. It was great when I needed to do housework or nip to the loo! She often fell asleep in there too! We started using the Jumperoo when she was about six months old and again she adored it. I can’t wait to get these out of storage for the Little dude, my only concern is that Little miss will want to play with them!

Best Dogs for First Time Owners

You are a first-time dog parent, you are excited about the fun, and the good time you will have with your dog. You cannot wait to have a furry companion, a playmate, snuggle partner and a living alarm system. Before you adopt a dog you need to know there is a lot that goes into the adoption. A

A dog just like a human baby is a huge responsibility. There is a lot in terms of money and time; you might even be needed to have a lifestyle change. First time owners who do not get to spend enough time learning what they are getting themselves into end up making big mistakes.

While there is a lot that goes into first-time dog ownership, some breeds are better than others are. However, it is good to know that there is no bad breed; it is all a matter of commitment. If you are a newbie and you are looking for suggestions, you could use the below suggestions to pick one;

1. Bichon Frise

Dog for first time owners

Bichon Frise is a popular breed whether you are a first timer or an experienced dog owner. They make great family companions and they have low levels of temperament. They are low maintenance only requiring regular grooming and regular walks. On the other side, they need lots of love and cuddles.

2. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

If you are looking for a smaller breed, a cavalier is an excellent breed; they are adorable couch potatoes and they enjoy cuddling any time of the day. Cavaliers are quite lazy and they are excellent dogs for first-time owners. They however, require regular grooming because of their long hairs that need regular trimming. They are sweet creatures and they love companion wherever they are.

3. Papillon

Papillons are great dogs in that they are low maintenance and they are easygoing companions. They love being with people and their temperament is great. Papillons are active dogs; they love playing and do not be surprised if they beat other dogs on the agility field. They have a great personality and they are great companions for first-time owners.

4. Pugs

Pugs are the best dogs for first-time owners because they are active enough and they are low maintenance. They are hilarious and their wonderful personalities end up being the life of the party.

5. Poodles

Some poodles are small while others are big in size. Whatever the size of a poodle, they are the greatest companions and the easiest dogs to train. They have incredible temperaments and they love being with people.

They are excellent snuggle partners as well as great exercise partners. Poodles need regular grooming; they are among the few dogs that do not shed a lot.

6. Golden retrievers

The Golden retriever is a popular breed and makes a great companion. Golden retrievers love relaxing on the couch but they will still be there when you need them to go for a jog.

They are low maintenance, they are friendly with both adults and children; they are easy to train. Their wonderful temperament is what makes it easier to train. For a first time owner, a golden retriever is a wonderful dog.