Archive by Author

Carpet Cleaning Tips for Better Home Improvement Living

Between the kids, the pets or just a clumsy relative in keeping a perfect carpet clean. There are a number of things you can do in your household to make your investment last.

Picking the Right Carpet

You have to ask the right questions like where do you see yourself in the next five years? Is your family growing? What kind of activities do you do? These are things to factor in for your carpet purchase. A winter white or ivory spread carpet may not be a good idea for a busy home.


Eliminating shoes on the carpet can save you trouble. First, you won’t have anyone dragging mud, dirt and other unmentionables onto the carpet. Second, you’re likely to prevent accidents, like people tripping over their heels or over shoelaces. Leaving your shoes at the door can cut lead dust levels by about 60% and it can lower your exposure to dust mites.


With vacuuming, once a week is good enough. Don’t forget places where people may eat or other high-traffic areas of your home. Also, consider sprinkling your carpet with baking soda before you vacuum. The powder will help absorb carpet odors and it does not cost as much as scented products.


Shampooing your carpets should be done in regular frequency. If you’re in a single-person home with few guests, once a year is okay. However, if you have kids or pets, consider at least once every 6 months. The best time to clean is really up to your family’s routine. A nice preference is after winter when everyone’s tracking in muddy and snowy boots.

Clean Spots and Spills Immediately

The longer a spill soaks in, the harder and less likely you’ll be able to remove it. Soak up the spill with a dry rag or towel then continue to blot. Try loosening up the spill with warm water.

Take It Easy with the Chemicals

When you spot a spill on the carpet, don’t buy every stain remover at the store. Try blotting the stain with warm water. If it doesn’t loosen up, try a mixture of mild soap and water. Be sure your soap does not have bleach in it or strong chemicals as they may end up damaging the fibers of your carpet.

Stain Treatments

There is no universal method to cleaning a beverage stain as they all react quite differently. Yet, a good starting point for treating any carpet stain is a good vinegar-water solution. Fill mixture in a spray bottle and then spray onto stain. Let it soak for 5 to 15 minutes then gently scrub the area with brush and water.

Drink Stains

Coffee and tea stains – Clean with a vinegar solution.

Beer stains – Clean with a vinegar solution. Use borax if the stain is stubborn.

Red wine – Use club soda to lift the stain right out. If that doesn’t work, blot up the stain with water then apply baking soda to the spot. It will form a paste. Let it sit for a few minutes then vacuum it up.

Grease Stains

Cornstarch does the trick. Sprinkle a bit onto the stain and let it sit for half an hour. Vacuum the cornstarch up. Repeat if necessary. If all else fails, a grease-fighting dish soap and water may just do the trick.


Home Improvement for Home Protection and Security

Safety is a prime concern of all homeowners. The reported incidents of break-ins have increased due to worsening economic conditions. Thieves and burglars are now using state-of-the-art technology and smarter techniques to break into houses. These attacks have caused anxiety and stress for many families.

Straight Facts about Burglaries

Contrary to what people know, most burglaries happen at daytime. Thieves take advantage when the house is empty after the owners have left for work and school. People are very complacent during daytime thinking that no one would do a crime in broad daylight. A house is also not randomly targeted. There is a selection process where the thief studies a house’s layout and security before doing a break-in. They observe the daily activities of the household and their neighbors to decide the best time to break in. The usual items targeted during a burglary are cash, jewelry, guns, watches, laptop computers, and electronic gadgets. These items are easy to carry out of the house.

How a House Becomes a Target

A house can be selected as a target if a thief sees one or any of these signs:

  • Tall hedges – Thieves use these hedges as cover during a break-in.
  • Small toys in the backyard – The presence of small toys scattered in the backyard or garage informs a burglar that vulnerable targets live inside the house.
  • Poorly lit garage and back doors – Garage and back doors are an ideal point of entry for thieves especially when it is not sufficiently lit. This invites night break-ins.
  • Stuffed mailboxes – Stuffed letters and piled boxes indicate that a homeowner is in a long-term vacation.

Increasing Home Security

There are ways to minimize security risk. It starts with installing a strong security system around the house. It also includes reinforcing potential entry points such as windows and doors. Here are some home improvement tips to increase home security.

Doors and Locks – Exterior doors should use Grade-1 locks to resist twisting, prying, and lock-picking. A quality deadbolt lock prevents any channel-lock pliers from shearing off lock cylinder pins. A sturdy door knob-in-lock uses a dead latch mechanism that prevents thin materials from slipping the lock. Always use a solid core or metal door for all entry points.

Sliding Glass Doors – Sliding glass doors are vulnerable to break-in if the latch mechanism is tampered or faulty. Inserting wooden dowels or charley bars can prevent a forceful entry. A slide can also be lifted from its track. Rollers should always be properly adjusted and in good condition.

Windows – Thieves can use stairways, trees, fences, roofs, and balconies to reach upper floor windows. These should always be closed before leaving a room or the house. Windows must be equipped with secondary blocking locks and devices.

Are There Gutter Materials That Need to be Avoided?

When choosing the right gutter materials for your home, you need to consider strength, and how sturdy the material is when being used as gutters. Will they withstand the constant running water of frequent rain? Do they easily bend, sag, or go out of shape? Can they withstand extreme heat during the summer and spring, strong winds during the fall, and near zero cold during the winter? Can they be easily cleaned?

Gutters are made from many different materials today, but aluminum, steel, and even copper are the most commonly installed types, for good reason. They’re sturdy and they hold up well to the elements when they’re properly cared for. Copper, of course, is more of a luxury metal and is usually used for old or historically restored houses, or made to order homes with unusual décor. Aluminum and steel are more expensive and take more time to install, but once set up, they can last more than 20 years when well maintained and cared for. The one common enemy of metal gutters is rust, that is, if the gutters are not well cared for.

There are some cheaper alternatives to metal, but they have some serious drawbacks.


Vinyl gutters are becoming more popular because they don’t rust or corrode like metal, so leaky gutters are a less frequent problem in mild climates. They’re also fairly inexpensive and easy for homeowners to install themselves thanks to their light weight and their snap-together assembly. The biggest drawbacks with vinyl gutters is that because they’re easy to install, many people who would not otherwise attempt the installation now try their hand, DIY style, and most often do it incorrectly, resulting in sections that sag. Vinyl also tends to get brittle and crack over time, especially in extreme cold weather. Vinyl is not recommended for places with extreme weather conditions that continually fluctuate.


Wood gutters used to be the standard, but are rarely used today because of the expense and the high maintenance. They are very cheap, though not worth the cost of constant replacement since wood tends to rot quickly. Water and wood are not the closest of friends.

Plastic Gutters

Plastic gutters are the cheapest you can purchase. However, these gutters crack easily, especially in cold weather, and aren’t worth the time you spend installing them. They’re good for temporary use if you can’t afford metal and need gutters immediately, but don’t expect them to last long. They do make good extension spouts and French drains.