show bugs the unwelcome mat
Here’s how you can control unwanted insect guests so they don't get the chance to ruin your summer parties.
If your insect control routine isn't the right one for the job, you may end up feeling frustrated—or even embarrassed. That's why the more you know about unwanted insects, the better prepared you’ll be to send them packing.
For example, did you know that certain wasps known as yellowjackets, a type of wasp, can be controlled by setting a trap for the queen in early spring? That mosquitoes can breed in as little as a tablespoon of standing water, making repair of leaky faucets a summer must? Or that warm summer temps can bring about increased insect activity—including critters you may have never even seen before!
Get this kind of information, and much more, with Bug Info 101. This helpful site shows a lineup of household pests so you can easily identify them and learn their habits and weaknesses. You'll also find helpful solutions for managing the insect pests that show up in your home and yard—and the events you host in them.
5 Spring-Cleaning Shortcuts
Deep clean your home now and keep it clean later.
From removing dust to banishing bathroom grime, we've got five solutions for cleaning your home for spring and keeping it that way all year long.
1. Remove dust now.
Household dust is made up of tracked-in dirt, sloughed-off skin cells, pet dander and dust mite excrement and corpses. For a thorough dusting, work your way from top to bottom so you don't have to go over surfaces more than once.
Help keep dust at bay.
Stash a pack of Pledge® Wipes in a decorative basket by the staircase so you can grab a wipe to run along the banister on your way up or down the stairs. Put another pack in the living room so you can stay on top of dust while watching your favourite shows. You can also avoid dusting small appliances you seldom use by storing them in a large Ziploc® Brand Big Bag.
2. Master microwave messes now.
Boil a cup of water in the microwave. The steam will help loosen dried-on food particles so you can easily wipe them away using a paper towel. To clean up messes before they dry, try using Windex® Multi-Surface Antibacterial spray and then rinsing surfaces with water prior to cooking food.
Keep it mess-free later.
Use a microwave food cover to keep your microwave clean and free from food splatters. Most covers cost between $2 and $10 and are dishwasher-safe.
3. Tackle laundry now.
Spring-cleaning brings loads of extra laundry. As tempting as it may be to try to get the job done quicker, don’t overload the washer or dryer. Clothes need to move freely in the machine to come out clean and wrinkle-free.
Lighten the load later.
Enlist the help of family members by divvying up laundry chores like loading, folding and ironing. To make it easy for everyone to treat stains before they set in, put Shout® Trigger by each hamper. Make sure the young ones are supervised by adults when treating stains.
4. Clean window treatments now.
Window treatments are often overlooked when cleaning, but dirt and dust can build up over time. Give them a thorough cleaning using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner or wash according to the label directions.
Keep them clean later.
To avoid dirt and dust buildup, open and close your window treatments often and gently shake them. Give dust a few minutes to fall to the floor so you can easily wipe it up with a dust mop or towel.
5. Banish bathroom grime now.
Wash your shower curtain according to its label and replace the shower curtain liner, which can harbor mold and grime. To rid your tub of soap scum quickly, use the Scrubbing Bubbles® Mega Shower Foamer®. Its wide spray ensures you won't miss a spot, and tough cleaning action makes scrubbing virtually obsolete.
Keep it at bay later.
Traditional bar soaps have binders that are the main cause of soapy residue. So try switching to a liquid shower gel or glycerin bar soap to help prevent soap scum buildup. You can also install Scrubbing Bubbles® Automatic Shower Cleaner to keep your shower clean for up to 30 days with the touch of a button. And don’t forget to open a window or run the fan during your shower (and for at least 10 minutes afterward) to avoid mold and mildew buildup.
7 Little Cleaning Tricks that Pay Off Big
Super simple ideas to transform your cleaning and organizing routines.
Even a few changes can make a huge difference in your life, helping you save energy and money. But most of all, they'll help you transform your cleaning time into more moments for the things that matter most. And isn’t that kind of magical?
1. Make a great entrance
Each time someone enters your home, he or she tracks in dirt. Although the greatest concentrations of this dirt collect near the entryways, foot traffic can quickly spread it throughout your home. According to an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency USA) study, 30 to 40 percent of the undesirable chemicals in the dust inside your home are brought in from outdoors.
Adding a doormat outside makes it easier to keep dirt outside where it belongs. Go one step further and implement a shoes-off policy that starts just beyond your threshold. This will help ensure that the dirt and debris don't wind up in your carpet or rugs. With less dirt to clean up, you'll reduce the time you spend cleaning, mopping and vacuuming your floors.
2. Turn scrubbing into scrubbies
To get more bathroom cleaning done in less time and with less effort, forget scrubbing and let technology do the hard work for you. To get your tub and shower area clean without breaking a sweat, install a Scrubbing Bubbles® Automatic Shower Cleaner. While the walls are still wet from your last shower, simply push the button so it coats the tub, tiles, glass doors or shower curtain—including hard-to-reach corners—with a penetrating cleaner. Then just leave it alone to work on dirt, soap scum, mold and mildew. It will clean dirty showers in days and keep clean showers free from soap scum, mold and mildew stains.
3. A second (and third and fourth!) cleaning life
When you're done cleaning the dishes and kitchen, don’t forget the sponges and dishtowels that helped you clean! After each use, rinse and wring them out. Then let them dry completely. Sanitize them once a week by soaking them for a minute in one cup of water and two teaspoons of bleach; then rinse thoroughly with water. Or disinfect them with bleach in the washing machine following the manufacturer’s recommendations on the bleach bottle.
4. Change a dirty job into a clean one
Make trash collection less of a chore. Instead of making one trip to empty all the trash cans that have trash bags, and then making another trip to replace those bags with fresh ones, you can handle both tasks in one trip. Store a few new trash bags at the bottom of each can you use. When you remove a filled trash bag, you can replace it immediately with a bag from your stash of new ones.
5. Magically self-sorting socks
When the whole family has socks in the same load of laundry, trying to find matching pairs takes forever. Instead, get each family member a different colour mesh laundry bag suitable for the washer and dryer. Make sure that they each have a couple of bags so they can separate out light coloured socks from dark. When socks need laundering, each person separates their socks in his or her own bags appropriately. When the socks are dry, return the bags to their original owners for sorting.
6. Give bed linens a new shake
If you are always on the hunt for matching sheet sets or can’t remember what size the sheets are until you unfold them, try this: for smaller sheets that fit cribs or twin beds, fold both the fitted and flat sheet and place them together inside the matching pillow case. With larger sheets, place the folded fitted sheet in one pillow case and the folded flat sheet in the other. Now to keep them straight, use a simple label maker to mark shelves "twin", "queen" and "king". Place sheets away accordingly. Sweet dreams!
7. The incredible expanding refrigerator
Finding space in your refrigerator and freezer is easy if you do a little maintenance before you head to the store. First check the condiments. Chances are you'll find some empty containers that can go into the recycling bin. Next, check the back of the shelves where food items get forgotten. Toss anything that's past its expiration date. In your freezer, eliminate bulky containers by freezing soups and sauces flat in Ziploc® Brand Freezer Bags with the Smart Zip® Seal. Arrange them vertically to create an organized filing system that opens up a lot more space.
Rainy Day Barbeque Success
The grill is sizzling, but now it’s drizzling. Here’s how to move the fun indoors.
Make room for more. For an instant picnic feel, cover the floor with a plastic shower curtain or tablecloth (to protect it from spills) and some throw pillows. If they’re still dry, bring in your picnic benches to squeeze more people around the “table.”
Transform the menu. Grilling a party’s worth of burgers may no longer be an option, but a quick rethink could turn the ground beef, cheese and fixings into tacos or sloppy Joes. To add to the picnic vibe and make cleanup a breeze, serve toppings in Ziploc® Brand Containers with the Smart Snap™ Seal. And create neater versions of outdoor treats, like watermelon balls instead of sticky wedges.
Bring the outdoors inside. For ambiance, think about filling a bowl with colorful croquet balls, making an impromptu centerpiece with potted herbs or even scattering plastic ants across the table!
Ready, Set, Party!
6 tips to get your grill and patio furniture (and house!) party ready.
Whether you’re thinking about inviting neighbours over for dinner, hosting a big event or serving a family meal al fresco, don’t let a dirty deck stop you. Get ready to enjoy your outdoor space with this easy, six-step checklist.
1. Hose it down.
Get your patio furniture guest worthy by using Windex® Window & Surface Cleaner, which you can attach to your garden hose to spray off the winter’s grime. For painted or wood surfaces, test on a small, inconspicuous area first.
2. Sweep and spray.
Wait for a dry day to sweep decks and patios, removing dirt and dried leaves. A quick blast with a spray hose should remove most stuck-on dirt.
3. Get up and grill.
Before you barbecue, clean the outside of your grill with Pledge® Multi Surface Wipes and wash the inside grates with warm, sudsy water. If necessary, replace the lava rocks at the bottom of your gas grill.
4. Clean and clear.
Get your patio doors and outdoor windows squeaky clean with Windex® Outdoor All-in-One Glass Cleaning Tool. The best part? There’s no need for hand drying. Do you know of guests with allergies? Check out these tips to ensure they’re comfortable in your home and garden.
5. Get creative.
We love this tip from reader Gina D., who added some bold colors to her backyard on the cheap. She painted her flowerpots terra-cotta, lime green and cobalt blue and then found green, yellow and blue striped material from her fabric store’s discount bin and re-covered her furniture cushions.
6. Extend an invitation.
Ditch your neighborhood coffee shop and make the most of your pretty patio while weather permits. Host a morning coffee or brunch with your buddies. We recommend this yummy menu of Banana Banana Bread.
5 Ways to Get Organized on the Cheap
Create smart storage solutions from things you have around the house.
From an old ladder taking up space in the garage to the used votive candle holders cluttering up your cabinets, we’ve got five clever ways to turn household trash into organizational treasures that won’t cost you a thing.
1. Make a bathroom rack.
An old wooden ladder makes a shabby-chic rack for the bathroom. Just prop it up against the wall and drape towels over the ladder rungs. If the rungs are wide enough, you can also use them as shelves for small toiletries. Spruce it up with a fresh coat of paint to match your décor or keep the ladder as is for a little rustic cottage charm.
2. Free up closet space.
Ziploc® brand Space Bag® vacuum seal bags offer a smart solution for cramped closets. Use them to easily store bulky seasonal items on higher closet shelves.
3. Store small stuff.
Empty votive-candle holders are the perfect size for organizing small items such as paper clips, ribbons, bobby pins, rubber bands, rolls of stamps and more. To empty wax out of candleholders, just put them in the freezer for a few hours to shrink the wax so it pops right out. If you don’t have extra votives handy, you can also use extra Ziploc® brand Containers with the Smart Snap™ Seal that you might be ready to retire from their food duty.
4. Contain plastic bags.
Keep plastic grocery bags tucked away in an old tissue box to easily pull out one at a time when needed.
5. Create custom storage boxes.
Shoe and boot boxes are great for storing everything from mittens to makeup to sewing supplies. Get creative and disguise the boxes by wrapping them in fabric remnants or leftover wrapping paper.
Take a Closer Look in Your Produce Aisle
New produce offerings in your market mean new ways to boost nutrition and flavour in your meals.
Here are a few good ones to try. Or talk to your store’s produce manager for more ideas.
This leafy green with broccoli-like florets is rich in vitamins A, C and K, as well as potassium, calcium and iron. Sauté with garlic and olive oil and eat alone or add to pasta.
A Chinese cabbage variety that’s sweet, crunchy and high in vitamins A and C, beta carotene and calcium. Great steamed, stir-fried or added to soups.
Sweet, delicious and chock full of vitamins and antioxidants. Cut into quarters, scoop out the juicy seed clusters and enjoy alone or sprinkle over salads or ice cream.
The tart tomatillo, an excellent source of vitamin C, looks like a small green tomato. Raw or grilled, it’s perfect for salsas.
This sweet, crispy tuber is great for dieters because it’s low in calories and a good source of potassium, fibre and vitamin C. Cut raw sticks for dipping (as you would a carrot), or cut into smaller strips for salads and stir-fries.
Introducing the Family Savings Centre by Right@Home®
These days, every family is looking for great ways to save some money and find great value wherever it can. Here at Right@Home®, we’ve always prided ourselves in offering engaging and informative tips, articles, ideas and recipes to enrich the lives of you and your family. While we’ve always strived to offer great value, we’re excited to announce that we’ve created a destination specifically designed to be your source for savings! We’re happy to introduce the Family Savings Centre by Right@Home®.
The Family Savings Centre is a place for you to access coupons for your favourite SC Johnson brands, such as Windex®, Ziploc® brand, Scrubbing Bubbles® and more! In addition to all these coupons, it’s also your source for great value, with innovative and interesting tips, tricks, ideas and articles on how you and your family can save money.
So be sure to sign up and check back often. With updates almost every month, the Family Savings Centre is sure to become a cost-cutting resource for you and your family.
Once again, Diane’s mailbag is filled with your questions.
- Dear Diane,
My family has so many photos that we’ve collected over the years, but they’ve been doing the same thing all this time – taking up space on our mantle, side board and fridge. Do you have any fun ideas for making the most of our family photos?
- - Lauren, Mississauga, ON