Winterizing Your Garden

It’s the start of the cold season and soon enough we’ll be welcoming the snow breeze of winter. Some loves the season, while some don’t because the temperature during this time reaches the temperature as low as 0C or even a negative. Flowers and plants react differently every season, how can we help them get ready for the heavy snow?  

Seasons in the UK

In the United Kingdom, there are four seasons that happens in a year: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Spring starts at March, April, and ends on May. The hot summer then follows on June, July and ends at August. The beach and pool are popular during this season to beat the summer heat. The cold breeze starts again on Autumn at the month of September, October and ends in November. Autumn is usually the best season to travel and go around the country as it is not too cold nor too hot. Finally, the winter season starts, and everyone are getting ready to put up their Christmas decors. Expect to experience extreme cold and snow. This is the time where everyone can play with the snow and go ice skating or skiing.

Preparing for Wintering

If you are a green-thumb or your work or business is related to the garden, then you are probably familiar with winterizing. For some, this might be a new thing. Winterizing means that that you are preparing something, specifically your garden, in the cold weather.  This is done to reduce the amount of work that you will face during the cold season itself. Here’s a few things you should take note of:

Clean-up Rotting and Finished Plants

Seeing the dead plants on your backyard is not only an eyesore but it can also be a source of disease or illnesses. Old plants are capable of harboring disease, pests and funguses that once you come in contact with can cause you to become ill. Remove the plants from the soil surface and bury them in the garden trenches, this helps prevent pests from laying their eggs on it. It is also an added fertilizer for your healthy plants, improving the overall soil quality and health.

Remove the Weeds

Weeds grow everywhere. This is the best time to deal with them as these invasive weeds harms your garden. Removing them is the only way to prevent them from sprouting all over again on your garden and disrupting it.

Prepare the Soil

Autumn is the great time to dig in the soil amendments like the compost, kelp, manure and even rock phosphate. Adding these serves as nutrients for the soil, enriching it and making the soil ready for when the garden dries out on winter for the first time after a long time. You can also toil the soil to improve the drainage before the sudden changes in the temperature when winter comes. Cover the bed after with a sheet of plastic to protect them from the winter rains that might come. The rain washes away the compost and lessens its effectiveness. Remove it when the spring comes.

Plant Cover Crops

Crops that are ideal for the season are rye, vetch and clover because these crops can prevent the soil erosions cause by the extreme cold weather. It also increases the amount of organic matter in the soil and also serves as the soil’s food. Legume, on one hand, are known to increase the level of the available nitrogen for the vegetables in your garden. Make sure to plant these crops at least a month prior to the first frost.

Plant your Bulbs

Planting bulbs is not really easy, and many gardeners are having a hard time planting them because the soil may be too hard, or they never got the plant it deep enough. Plant them before winter starts and deep enough to have a good protection for the winter and for them to bloom wonderfully when spring comes.

Water is your Plant’s Best Friend

Before the pipes gets ice-cold why not give your plants water? Do this on the new trees, shrubs and even perennials. This extra help will help your plants bear with the cold ground. For better timing, water them a week or two prior to a snow or frost forecast. After using the hose, make sure that they are empty and there is no water left in the gardening supplies to prevent them from getting freeze and damage by the cold.

Winter Jacket

People are not the only ones who wear a jacket! Winter jackets are made to protect the trees and other plants from the harsh wind brought about by the weather. There are two types of the jacket: Fleece and cones. They are put over the plant. Don’t forget to secure them properly so they will not blow off during the most frigid days.

Clean your Garden tools

Keep your tools clean and well-oiled all throughout the year. This is the best season to take care of these tools as you can’t use them most of the months because of the extreme weather. Begin cleaning by washing of the debris and dust off the tools. If rusts are present, use a sandpaper to remove it or a chemical remover and spray it all over the tool. Remove the debris of the rust and apply light machine oil on them to seal the metal oxygen and extend the lifespan of your tools.

How To Get Rid Of Dust Mites

Did you ever wake up in the middle of the night because of the bite marks all over your body? Did you try changing your bed linen but still to no avail? We listed down the most effective ways on getting rid of dust mites that will probably change your sleep forever!

What are Dust Mites?

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, one of the most common triggers of allergies and asthma attacks at home is the dust mites. Dust mites are tiny bugs that commonly lives on house dust. They are close relatives of ticks and spiders and cannot easily be seen by the naked eye. Dust mites fed on the shredded skin by the people and thrive on warm environment. This makes the bed or your mattress the ideal place for the dust mites to hide.

Dust mite allergy is a common problem of people with sensitive body. Symptoms of dust mite allergy include sneezing, runny nose, wheezing cough, red eyes, and even difficulty of breathing. These are common signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction.  Most often than not, the allergic reaction caused by dust mites can be reversed by your anti-allergy medications but if it persists, you may need to visit the doctor immediately.  

Ways to get rid of Dust Mites

Lower the Temperature and Humidity

Dust mites thrive on a warm and moist environment. Dust mites like it when the humidity of the room/house is greater than 50%. If it’s less than 50 percent, they may have a hard time living in the comfort of your home. The ideal room temperature is between 65 to 72 degrees Farenheit. Make sure to keep the humidity of your home low. You might want to consider buying a dehumidifier if necessary, to further decrease the humidity of your home.  

On days when the weather is dry, you may open your windows to allow good ventilation of your room. Aside from keeping your room smell fresh, opening your window also helps in reducing the humidity of your room.

Cleaning is your Best friend

As much as you love or hate cleaning, this might be your best friend when it comes to stopping the dust mites from thriving at your home. Cleaning your house thoroughly and dusting the areas that are often exposed at least 1-2x weekly will help in eradicating your enemies. You might also consider using a damp cloth to avoid spreading the dust mites in the air when you are dusting. Make sure to wash the cloth at high temperature or dispose it after use.

Hot Temperature is Recommended

As dust mites cannot survive in temperature more than 130 degrees Fahrenheit, you may want to wash your beddings at high temperature. This will ensure that the dust mites that might be present on your cushions, linens or rugs will be eliminated and washed away by the heat of the water. Also, adding a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to the wash will help remove at least 99% of the dust mites that are present in the beddings.

Freeze Them!

Some fabrics cannot be washed on high temperature like silk or stuffed toys. But this should not hinder you from eliminating the dust mites that are thriving in them. If these items can fit in your freezing, you might want to try this hack. Place the items on a container or a zip lock and freeze them for a day. Dust mites doesn’t love an extremely high temperature. The freezing temperature is enough to kill each one of them. After freezing it, use a vacuum and thoroughly clean each item to remove what’s left on them. If possible, you can still wash them in low temperature.

Diatomaceous Earth can do Wonders

Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that can easily be crumbled to a fine white sand. It is often used as a pesticide as it absorbs the oils and fats from the cuticle of an insect’s exoskeleton causing them to die. It also has sharp edges which are abrasive and is not harmful for humans but deadly for insects – such as the dust mites!

You may sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth powder on carpet rugs, mattresses, beddings and sofa to better eliminate these unwanted visitors. Leave it for a few hours or better, overnight before cleaning it up using a vacuum. You can use it as often as you want.

Keep your Houseplants to a Minimum

Having houseplants does not only make your house feel and smell fresh but also keeps the air clean. Not all houseplants are recommended because some can trigger allergic reactions. You might want to consider on investing on air-purifying plants such as Peace Lilies, Golden Pothos, Philodendron, and Dracaena. Fun Fact: It can also help you have a better sleep at night!

Essential Oils

Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants that captures the plants scent and flavor. It is more commonly used as an aromatherapy treatment either via inhaling them or applying it on your skin.  These essential oils have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties which can be used in eliminating dust mites. Make your own mite spray by using tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil and mix it with water. Spray them on areas where dust mites hide. The smell is not only refreshing but is also relaxing for the body.

Vacuum!!

Vacuuming is more important than you think it is. It is a great way of reducing the dust mites and also makes it easier for you to clean the house. Here are some tricks that can make cleaning with a vacuum easier:

  • Choose a vacuum cleaner that has HEPA filter to decrease the dust emission from it.
  • Vacuum at least 2x a week and thoroughly clean areas where dust often accumulates such as under the bed or near the door.
  • Wear a mask when cleaning to avoid inhaling the dust that was dispersed. If you are allergic to dust, hire someone who does not have allergies.
  • Wet vacuuming or steaming is effective in removing mites and their dropping on rugs and carpets.

Sources Of Bacteria At Home

Ever wonder where bacteria can be residing at your home? There are many possible places, but we will only enumerate the most common places they can be found. Knowing where to find them is helpful in keeping a clean and healthy home for you and your family.

Sources of Bacteria

The Kitchen Sink

According to a study and survey by the Hygiene Council, it was found that there is a about 17, 964 bacteria per square inch that can be found on your kitchen sink. This is in agreement with the findings of infection control, where they found that the toilet bowl may be cleaner than your sink. Food particles that was left behind after eating from plates that were soaked and rinsed from the dishes may make its way to the dishwasher where it can serve as the breeding ground for E. coli and salmonella. These two are known for causing food-poisoning and diarrhea. When getting the table ready, this bacterium has already multiplied on the plates and can get on your hands or spread to the food.

Quick-clean: For deep cleaning of the sink, wash it using a mix of bleach and water once a day and letting it run down the drain. Make sure to remove the drain plug and include it in the cleaning.

The Toothbrush

A toothbrush is a must and part of our daily hygiene care. When brushing your teeth, some bacteria comes stay on the toothbrush afterwards. But this is not the worrisome part. According to a study, the flushing of the toilet can send sprays of bacteria and virus-contaminated water into droplets. These germs can float in the air and can find its way to your toothbrush.

Quick-clean: Place your toothbrush somewhere it can air dry between usage. Make sure that it is not near the toilet. Also, it is recommended to replace your toothbrush often especially after you’ve been sick.

The TV Remote Control

Woman eati

The living room is the most comfortable place to stay and relax aside from your own bedroom. The TV remote control is one of the most common touched items in the living area aside from the books and magazines. Researchers found that it is the dirtiest item in the living are and has viruses and germs living on it.

Quick-clean: Use an alcohol wipe or bleach to clean the surface of the remote control. Also, remember to do regular and proper handwashing to prevent acquiring such viruses and germs and getting sick.

The Bathtub

Who doesn’t love to soak on the bathtub for long hours after a day of hard work? It is the best place to clean oneself, but it may not be so clean at all. Studies showed that the bathtub has multiple bacteria living on it such as fungi and staphylococcus bacteria. When you turn on the jets, the germs on the tub can mix into the water where you are soaking.

Quick-clean: Disinfect your bathtub with bleach or bathroom cleaner after bathing then dry with clean towel. Drying it after cleaning lessens the chances for the bacteria to breed on your bathtub.

Importance of Proper Cleaning and Disinfecting

a family cleaning and disinfecting the house together

Aside from the bacteria that is dormant in our home, there is also the threat of the new novel coronavirus or COVID-19 that can be spread from person to person up to 6 feet away. This is known to be transmitted by respiratory droplet and the WHO is considering that it might be airborne.  Recent studies suggest that the virus may stay viable on surfaces for hours. Cleaning and proper disinfection at home may not only help eliminate the bacteria but also prevent such viruses from entering our home. Here’s what you should know regarding cleaning:

Cleaning is different from disinfecting. These two terms are used interchangeably. Cleaning refers to the removal of germs and dirt on surfaces. It does not help eliminate them. While, Disinfecting refers to the use of chemicals to kill these germs and viruses on surfaces. By eliminating these bacteria or viruses, it lessens the risk of a person from acquiring and spreading infection.

Reminders:

  • Always wear gloves when disinfecting. These can be reusable but make sure that this is durable and recommended for cleaning and disinfecting. You may also use latex gloves but make sure to properly discard it as infectious.
  • Always wash your hands before and after disinfecting the house.
  • For disinfection, use one EPA-registered household disinfectants as these are the ones that are proven effective against viruses such as COVID-19.
  • Weak skin protection and eye protection for possible splashing incidents.
  • Make sure that there is proper ventilation.
  • Always read and follow the directions on the label to ensure effectiveness and safety. Do not use more or less than the recommended mixture or dilution.
  • Electronics such as cellphones, tablet, iPad, remote controls and keyboard should be cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instruction. You may also use alcohol-based wipes or spray to disinfect them. Make sure to dry them thoroughly after to avoid pooling of liquids.
  • In doing Laundry, use the warmest appropriate water setting possible for the items and make them dry completely. Use bleach according to the manufacturer’s instruction.
  • For hard surfaces, use a multi-purpose disinfecting spray to disinfect surfaces and prevent growth of bacteria. Let the disinfectant stay for about 5-10 second before drying the surface clean.
  • Make sure to change your toothbrush regularly and provide a fresh hand towel every day. The bathroom’s hard surfaces is recommended to be disinfected 2x a day as this is the area most exposed to body fluids.