Category: Home Care

COVID-19 CDC & American Red Cross Guidelines

 

Use Healthy Practices to Protect Yourself

The best way to stay healthy is to follow these steps from the CDC:

 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow or sleeve, not your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, computers, phones, keyboards, sinks, toilets, faucets and countertops.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them – use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Find full information on how to disinfect here.
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick. You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.

Coronavirus Safety:    

Follow these 3 easy steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Sneeze or cough?  Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or use your elbow!
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces around your home and work frequently.

Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19:

Community practices such as social distancing, closures and canceling large gatherings can help slow the spread of this virus.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Listen to and follow the directions of your state and local authorities.
  • Stay home if you can and avoid any non-essential travel.
  • Avoid social gatherings of more than ten people.
  • Practice social distancing by keeping at least six feet away from others if you must go out in public.
  • Avoid eating or drinking in bars, restaurants, and food courts. Use drive-thru, pickup or delivery options.
  • Avoid visiting nursing homes, retirement or long-term care facilities.

Precautions for Those at Higher Risk:

According to the CDC, early information shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. This includes older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.

If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to avoid getting sick.

  • Stay home and avoid crowds as much as possible. Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Talk with your doctor about any additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself.
  • Stock up on supplies:
    • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time. If you cannot get extra medications, consider using a mail-order option.
    • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
    • Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.

Source Credit: AmericanRedCross.com

Carpets, Upholstery, and the New Strain of Coronavirus

 

At Wiz Team, Inc. we’re doing our part and including a hospital-grade disinfectant with all cleanings at NO CHARGE to our clients!

Most people in Chicagoland know by now, with all the media attention given to a new strain of coronavirus, that coronavirus and similar viruses are distributed through coughing, sneezing, talking, and physical contact. Our clients want to know whether they should be concerned about coronavirus on carpets and upholstery. It’s not as if you can douse your furniture and carpets with hand sanitizer or disinfectants like countertops, doorknobs, and other hard surfaces. This article offers some answers, as well as some valuable information on how to sanitize your home against any cold or flu virus.

How long can Coronavirus survive on Carpet and Upholstery?

The infectious lifespan of viruses, in general, depends on temperature, humidity, and the porosity of the surface where the virus is found. We have flu “season,” because cold, dry environments allow viruses to remain infectious longer.

In a 2011 study called Survival of Influenza A(H1N1) on Materials Found in Households: Implications for Infection Control by Dr. Jane Greatorex at Public Health England, findings showed the virus remained infectious about twice as long on non-porous surfaces, such as plastic and metal, as porous surfaces, like clothing, wood, and the like. Your carpet and upholstery are porous, which means it is less hospitable to viruses than non-porous surfaces. However, your carpet and upholstery is still cool and dry.

According to a study recently published in The Journal of Hospital Infections entitled Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents, the new strain of coronavirus, like similar viruses, such as SARS and MERS, can survive for anywhere from 2 hours to 9 days on a surface. Although there are proven methods for preventing the spread of known coronaviruses, these methods have never been tested against this specific virus. So, until more information is available, our recommendations for dealing with the new strain of coronavirus on carpet and upholstery can only be based on what coronaviruses in general, and we cannot offer any guarantees that professional carpet cleaning will eliminate the new strain of coronaviruses.

Keeping Surfaces Clean

It is always a good idea to protect your family by keeping all of your surfaces clean, especially during the flu season.

  • Wash your hands often with sanitizing liquid soap and warm water.
  • Disinfect surfaces that see a lot of hand-traffic, such as doorknobs, and light switches, as well as countertops, walls, and floors.
  • Use a HEPA filter in your vacuum so that small particles are trapped instead of being blown back into the air. Vacuum often.
  • Schedule professional cleaning services for your carpets, rugs, and upholstery and ask that a disinfectant be applied.

Why Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Matters

As you step up your normal cleaning routine and sanitize your home, don’t forget about your fine surfaces, such as upholstery, carpet, and rugs. These surfaces are often overlooked. The couch is a cozy, comforting place to rest when one has a virus. A professional carpet, tile or upholstery cleaning with a hospital-grade disinfectant such as what Wiz Team, Inc. uses can help prevent the possibility of the spread of the new strain of coronavirus by removing any deposits by professional carpet, tile, mattress or upholstery cleaning.

Proper professional carpet and upholstery cleaning involves both heat and moisture, so having your carpets and upholstery cleaned and then treated can help ease your mind while addressing the Coronavirus. . If the new strain of coronavirus proves to be like those already tested in the past, professional cleaning with a hospital-grade disinfectant will decrease the chances of coronavirus surviving on your interior textiles.

Wiz Team, Inc. is a Certified by the prestigious IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification), Carpet & Rug Institute, the Wool Safe Certified, and A+ Rated by the Better Business Bureau.  Our cleaning solutions are allergen-free and safe for pets and children.

From now until the government declares the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has run its course, Wiz Team, Inc. will provide, with all services, a germicidal disinfectant that meets EPA standards with all cleanings that will help fight the Coronavirus.  Additionally, prior to our technicians entering your home, any equipment used will be disinfected.

Our services include professional carpet cleaningtile and grout cleaningupholstery cleaning and draperies cleaning,  hardwood floor cleaningair duct system cleaning and sanitizing,  as well as commercial cleaning service.

Also we are ONLY Certified Master Rug Cleaners in Illinois, so we are your trusted experts in oriental and area rugs cleaning

For more information about Wiz Team, Inc. please visit us online at www.wizclean.com and call us at anytime at (847) 526-6060 

 

THE EASY GUIDE TO CLEANING GROUT

THE EASY GUIDE TO CLEANING GROUT:  DIY TILE & GROUT CLEANERS TESTED

 

Need help cleaning grout? I tested 10 popular homemade grout cleaners to figure out which DIY tile and grout cleaner works best.   The winning solution is an all-natural cleaner that brightens and whitens grout with only 2 simple ingredients. Learn the easy, healthy way to clean grout and tile today!

Our new-to-us house has a white tile entry and white tile in the kitchen. Between the kids, the dog, and my husband (who likes to walk inside in his lawn mowing shoes) it’s nearly impossible to keep the tile and grout clean.

Seriously, there always seems to be one mystery spot or blob of goo somewhere on the white tile floor.

The worst part? The brownish discolored tile grout.

The floor tile grout hadn’t been cleaned in so long that it was hard to tell what the original color was meant to be. Was it white? Was it tan? Your guess is as good as mine.

WHAT’S BEST FOR CLEANING GROUT?

I love DIY green cleaning solutions so I set out to find the best homemade grout cleaner that uses safe, all-natural ingredients.

THE GREAT GROUT CLEANER EXPERIMENT

I decided to test the 10 most popular DIY grout cleaners online to find the best homemade grout cleaner.

Methodology

I tested each cleaner on the same surface (grimy white grout and tile) and used the same process to test each cleaner:

  1. I divided the tile floor into 10 sections using painters tape and numbered the sections with post it notes. (Yes, I’m a green cleaning nerd.)
  2. I mixed a batch of one cleaner, applied it to one section of the tile and grout, gave the cleaner 10 minutes to start working, then scrubbed the grout with a clean, dry toothbrush and wiped the area clean with water and a clean white cloth.
  3. I repeated step 2 nine more times using a clean, dry toothbrush and different white cloth each time. (I’m a martyr for your green cleaning needs!)
  4. I waited overnight for the grout to dry completely and then recorded the results.

The differences between the tile and grout cleaners were mind boggling! Some of the cleaners made absolutely no difference, some worked okay, and two left the tile grout amazingly clean!

THE TESTED GROUT CLEANERS

Grout Cleaner #1

Ingredients: 3 cups water, ½ cup baking soda, 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup white vinegar

Directions: Mix ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray floor, let sit for a few minutes, scrub.

Grout Cleaner #2

Ingredients: 1 cup Epsom salts, 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup liquid hand washing dish soap

Directions: Mix together the Epsom salts, baking soda, and dish soap. Scoop mixture onto grout and rub clean. Rinse.

Grout Cleaner #3 (Winner!)

Ingredients: 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 1 tsp dish soap

Directions: Mix together the baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap. Spoon mixture onto grout, wait 5-10 minutes, scrub and rinse.

Grout Cleaner #4 (Winner!)

Ingredients: 1 cup baking soda, 1 cup hydrogen peroxide

Directions: Sprinkle baking soda onto grout until it is covered, spray with hydrogen peroxide until it is wet, wait 10 minutes, scrub, and wipe clean.

Grout Cleaner #5

Ingredients: 3/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3 tbsp salt, 3 tbsp hand dish washing liquid, 1/2 cup vinegar, 10 drops essential oil (I used lemon)

Directions: Mix together is large bowl or bucket (mixture foams a lot), pour into spray bottle. Spray floor, let sit for a few minutes, scrub.

Grout Cleaner #6

Ingredients: 1 gallon water, 1/4 cup washing soda, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tbsp dish soap

Directions: Combine washing soda, vinegar, and dish soap in a one gallon container. Slowly pour water into container. Pour mix into spray bottle, spray floor, let sit for a few minutes, scrub.

Grout Cleaner #7

Ingredients: 1 gallon hot water, 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 tbsp Castile soap, 8-12 drops essential oil (I used lemon)

Directions: Mix ingredients in a bucket and mop floor.

Grout Cleaner #8

Ingredients: 1.5 gallons hot water, 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 – 3/4 cup white vinegar, 5-10 drop essential oils (I used lemon)

Directions: Pour all ingredients into the hot water. Stir to combine. Mop or spray on floor.

Grout Cleaner #9

Ingredients: 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 tbsp hand dish washing detergent

Directions: Pour ingredients into a spray bottle and swirl to combine. Spray on floor, wait 5-10 minutes, scrub and rinse.

Grout Cleaner #10

Ingredients: 2 cups warm water, 1 tbsp baking soda, 2 tbsp Castile soap, 30 drops tea tree essential oil, 20 drops sweet orange essential oil

Directions: Pour ingredients into a spray bottle, shake to combine. Spray grout and wipe clean.

THE TILE AND GROUT CLEANER RESULTS

The Winners

The best grout cleaner was the most simple: hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Grout Cleaner # 3 and Grout Cleaner #4 both use this combo and had equally great results.

Why this combo works:

  • Baking sodais mildly abrasive so it helps to remove the dirt that is stuck in the porous grout surfaces without causing any damage.
  • Hydrogen peroxideis a natural alternative to bleach that brightens and eliminates germs. Plus it is non-toxic and decomposes into water and oxygen.
  • Dish washing detergent (used in Grout Cleaner #3) cuts through the greasy grime that gets tracked onto tile floors.

I love using the cleaning combo of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide! It’s in my DIY  Natural All-Purpose Cleaner that works great for all types of household cleaning and is perfect for laundry stain removal.

The Losers

The most disappointing homemade grout cleaners were the ones that mix reactive ingredients such as Castile soap and vinegar or vinegar and baking soda.

  • These combos create reactions that cancel out the cleaning power of both ingredients and leave your grout and tile dirtier.

I was also let down by cleaners that used expensive ingredients (such as 50 drops of essential oil) or took a lot of time to make (such as measuring and mixing 6 ingredients) and didn’t do much cleaning.

I’d rather stick with low cost ingredients that are easy to mix into a cleaner!

HOW TO CLEAN GROUT

 Getting ready to clean? These grout cleaning tips will help you get the best results:

 

  • Give the grout cleaner some dwell time.You’ll get the best results if you allow your favorite cleaner some time to work (also called dwell time) before you start scrubbing. When cleaning tile grout, let the cleaner sit on the surface for 5-10 minutes then scrub out the dirt.

 

  • Use a small, firm brush to scrub grout lines.Grout is porous meaning it has minute spaces or holes that liquid can pass through. These tiny spaces are great traps for dirt and grime. Scrubbing grout with small firm brush will loosen this dirt making it easier to mop or wipe up. (I use a cheap toothbrush to scrub my grout.)

 

  • Scrub first then mop.After scrubbing the grout clean give the entire tile floor a final once over with a mop (or damp cloth). Use warm water with a few drops of dish detergent or a gentle floor cleaner. This final swipe will rinse off any remaining grout cleaner and leave the entire floor shiny.

 

Red Brick TileGROUT CLEANING FAQ

I get lots of emails from readers with grout cleaning questions. Here are some of the most common questions about cleaning grout:

What is grout?

Grout is the porous material that builders use to fill the spaces or cracks between tiles. It creates a smooth solid floor, wall, or backsplash and makes tile pop. The most common type of grout is cement grout. It is made from a mix that includes water, cement and (sometimes) sand.

How do you clean grout between floor tiles?

Apply grout cleaner, allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes, then get a small brush and scrub. An old toothbrush works great.

Is bleach bad for tile grout?

I do not clean with chlorine bleach because it is toxic and pollutes indoor air. You should not use bleach when cleaning grout and tile because:

  • Bleach is a base with a pH of around 12 meaning it is a highly alkaline substance that is caustic (can cause severe burns or injuries). Because of its high pH bleach can be corrosive and slowly destroy the materials it touches including grout and tile finishes.
  • Grout is porous so it absorbs the bleach and wicks it down to your subflooring and/or over to you baseboards (or carpet) where it can do even more damage and cannot be rinsed away. Yikes!

 

Is vinegar bad for tile grout?

Vinegar is an acid with a pH of around 2 (vinegar contains acetic acid). A popular cleaning vinegar manufacturer recommends never cleaning grout with vinegar because it can corrode the surface.

There are a lot of online cleaning tips that recommend mixing baking soda and vinegar to clean grout. This fun bubbling reaction is actually the baking soda neutralizing the acetic acid in the vinegar. The resulting mix cleans about as well as plain water.

How do you clean grout naturally?

Mix a thin paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, apply it to the grout, wait 10 minutes then scrub with a toothbrush, wiped clean with a damp cloth.

  • Baking soda is mildly abrasiveso it helps remove the dirt that is stuck in the porous grout surfaces without causing any damage.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is a natural alternative to bleach that brightens and eliminates germs. Plus it is non-toxic and decomposes into water and oxygen.

How do you whiten tile grout naturally?

Let the cleaner “soak” into the grout for a few extra minutes (15-20 minutes). Giving the cleaner  more “dwell time” allows it to brighten and whiten the grout.

What’s the best homemade grout and tile cleaner?

Mix together 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide, and 1 tsp dish soap. Apply cleaning mixture onto grout, wait 5-10 minutes, scrub and rinse.

 

If you require professional assistance in getting your tile and grout to look beautiful and vibrant again – contact Wiz Team, Inc. at 847-526-6060 to set up your free in-home consultation today!

Grout: Sealers 101

 

Let’s face it, grout can be tough to clean. The problem is, grout maintenance takes time and effort. And many homeowners don’t know how to properly care for grout around kitchen, bathroom, and living room tiles, leading to problems down the road. Sealing grout is the most important thing you can do to keep it sanitary and avoid having it erode. With proper grout maintenance, care and cleaning is easier and grout will last for years to come.

After you’ve cleaned the grout with the method that works best for your home, you’ll need to reseal it. (Note: epoxy grouts don’t need to be sealed.) Choosing the right sealant depends on the job. For instance, surface sealants or coatings are not sufficient sealers in a bathroom. They need silicone, not water-based products. Your selection depends on several factors, such as the type of the grout, location, your intention, applying method, and budget.

 

Why Seal Grout?

Regular cleaning for good grout maintenance isn’t usually enough to prevent buildup of mold and bacteria. Because grout is porous, it traps dirt and is a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and fungus, so sealing it is a must. Properly applying a grout sealant protects the grout and helps keep you and your family healthy. Apply grout sealant based on traffic or usage patterns. The tile floor in a living room may get a lot of traffic, but little moisture, whereas bathroom tile gets a lot of use and moisture, especially tile showers or tubs. Reseal grout once per year for these “hotspot” areas and also after you have deep cleaned your tile and grout. Low traffic or usage areas need resealing every 4-5 years to remain effective.

 

Different Types of Sealers

There are many types of sealant products and each offers different benefits depending on your objective for grout maintenance. Regardless of product type, sealants fall under one of three categories:

 

Coatings

Color Sealers

Penetrating Sealers

Coatings are a thin layer on the grout surface so no oil, water, or dirt can penetrate the grout pores. There are two coatings available: permanent and strippable.

Permanent coatings are difficult to remove. They are made of epoxies, polyurethanes, and such. Because they are so difficult to remove, this type of product is not always recommended.

 

Strippable coatings are easier to remove from the grout’s surface. These are made of styrene, acrylics, polyethylene, and other polymers. Most are water based making removal easier to do. Check the label for acrylic, high speed, metal cross link, and so on.

Color sealers will bond to your grout, filling the pores, while keeping the same look and texture of your original grout. Color sealers will also allow you to change your grout from dark to light, or even light to dark. Penetrating sealers are made to penetrate the grout surface and deposit particles that will protect the grout, preventing water and dirt from penetrating the grout. These types of sealers mostly contain silane, siloxane, silicone, or some other silicon derivative.

Depending on traffic patterns in your home, and general condition, when you keep up with grout maintenance, it can help your tiling and flooring sparkle for many years.

Beware that improperly sealed grout lines may trap dirt permanently. For professional assistance always remember, Wiz Team, Inc. offers free in-home consultations of all of our Tile & Grout cleaning and sealing services.

 

Simply call our friendly office staff at 847.526.6060 to set up your appointment today!

Lovin’ Leather Care Guide

The Basics of Cleaning

Dirt, Dust, Debris, Etc.

Like anything you wear or use, leather items are going to get dirty over time. But worry not – most filth can be cleaned off without any extensive process. Just keep in mind that leather is, essentially, a living material – meaning it will change over time. There’s no stopping it; leather is going to age. How that happens and over what span of time, however, is much more under your control. The following processes should allow you to extend the life of your leather items much longer than they would last on their own.

Cleaning The Filth

Basic leather care is actually a lot simpler than you might think. In fact, all you really need is access to some cleaning rags (or paper towels if you’re in a pinch), water, a non-abrasive unscented gentle bar of soap, and a brush – you can, in theory, use a toothbrush, but we prefer using a proper leather cleaning brush. The steps for basic cleaning are as follows:

Begin by wiping away as much dirt and grime as you can with a dry towel. Sometimes, the dirt isn’t clinging to your leather and will brush away with ease. If there’s still more, repeat this step with a damp cloth, as the moisture can loosen up the grime and make cleaning as simple as following just this first step.

If you find that there is still dirt or grime stuck to your leather, the next step would be taking a bar of soap to it. Work up a bit of a lather with the soap and water, then rub it directly onto the leather in the spots where you find the dirt. You should be able to see the filth break up and start to come off the surface of your leather.

With a damp cloth, wipe away the soap and the grime. If you need to repeat step 2, do so now. You should not need to soak the leather to get the soap and filth off, and it’s best to avoid getting the leather too wet – if that can be avoided, of course.

Once your leather is clean, lay it out to dry on a flat, dry, cool surface. Do not apply heat and do not leave it out in the sun, as this can shrink and crack the leather in the process. It may take a while, but your leather should dry on its own.

Waterlogged Leather

In the off chance that your leather is exposed to a large amount of water – like if you get caught in the rain, accidentally drop your jacket in a puddle, or fall into a body of water – you’ll want to take extra care to get that leather dry again. Do not, under any circumstances, use a direct heat source or the sun to dry out your leather. Like human skin, exposure to a great amount of heat can cause leather to dry out, shrink, and potentially crack. If you take a hair dryer to your favorite pair of leather pants, best case scenario you’ll have a hard time getting back into them next time, as they will have shrank. Worst case, they will dry out, crack, and tear – becoming essentially unwearable. If your leather gets soaked, lay it out on a flat dry surface in a cool room and wait. Letting the leather dry naturally will ensure it will shrink as little as possible and, hopefully, will not suffer any other ill-effects.

 

Sunlight Exposure

While water-logging is mostly reversible, there is one type of damage that cannot be undone: that which happens as the result of prolonged exposure to sunlight. Sunlight is probably leather’s number one worst enemy. As leather (and all animal hides) are, essentially, skin, UV rays and heat will do them no good (with the exception of the heat used in the tanning process). If you’re fond of your leather and you want it to last for a long time, keep it out of the sun as much as possible. If this is impossible, you must be prepared to replace your leather items after some time. No, there is not a sunscreen for leather. The drying out and cracking of your jackets, shoes, pants, or whatever else is something that cannot be undone.

 

Long-Term Treatments: Make Your Leather Last

While your best bet for leather care starts with the short term cleaning solutions listed above, there are plenty of other things you can do to extend the life of your leather as far as possible. There are also a few things you might think are a good idea, but will inevitably have little to no effect or even a negative impact on your animal hide gear. We’ve listed these longer-term solutions below, as well as some information on their purpose, benefits, and what to avoid.

Conditioner Creams

Think of these kind of like skincare products, except that, instead of using them on your own skin, you use them on the animal hide that makes up your leather apparel or gear. Much like lotions, these products are designed to keep up the appearance and feel of your leather – making it supple and (sometimes) softer to the touch than it would be naturally. This stuff also staves off some of the negative effects your environment might have on your leather, like drying it out to the point that it cracks and/or shrinks. One thing to watch for in many conditioner creams, however, is lanolin. Lanolin is a fatty substance found in sheep’s wool that is a common ingredient in leather conditioners. While it isn’t dangerous, it will soften and moisturize your leather – which is great if that’s what you’re looking for. If you want your leather to remain a bit rigid and tough looking and feeling, try to avoid lanolin conditioners.

Leather Oils

Oils are another leather conditioning option. And while you might think that a cream and an oil are two very different products, those with a focus on leather care are essentially one and the same. In fact, you’ll often see leather oils with the word “conditioner” on their label and no mention of the fact that an oil is in the bottle whatsoever. When it really comes down to it, the difference between a cream and an oil conditioner is your personal preference. Some folks like using conditioning creams, others prefer oils. Pick whichever one suits you, purchase the appropriate product, and run with it.

Polish

While shining your shoes is certainly a way to quickly make them look sharp, technically speaking, polishing leather doesn’t actually qualify as care. You see, putting a sheen on your favorite jacket might spiff it up a bit, but the overall effect doesn’t actually protect or condition the leather at all. So, while we certainly don’t suggest against a good polish every now and again, it’s important to realize that the act of polishing doesn’t really qualify as care. That being said, some leather polishes have a moisturizing agent in them. While this is not standard, it is definitely something to look out for, especially if you don’t want to soften up your leather.

Waterproofing

As a natural side-effect of the material itself and the tanning process that keeps leather from putrefying, leather is naturally extremely water-resistant. It is not, however, completely waterproof. With prolonged or excessive exposure, leather will absorb water. This might make you want to take some Scotch Guard to your combat boots in order to make them more waterproof. We strongly suggest against this, however. As a living material, leather need to breathe in order to maintain its pliability, flexibility, and so that it can age over time (aged leather is one of the most beautiful materials in the world). Spraying a waterproof layer onto your apparel or gear can suffocate your leather and can give it a cheaper look.

There are, however, alternatives to spray waterproofing. Creams and waxes are a viable option if you absolutely want to be able to wear your leather during the wetter months. You will likely have to reapply them several times over the course of the season, but they are better for your leather than a spray waterproof and are relatively easy to clean off once you’re out of the wet time of year. Still, if you can avoid it, we suggest staying away from waterproofing altogether as there’s no way around the fact that it will inhibit beneficial aging processes and can have a negative long-term affect on the material.

Other Animal Hides: Leather Alternatives

As you may or may not know, cow hide is not the only option when it comes to leather – whether that’s in the creation of jackets, cash and card carriers, apparel, cowboy boots, or whatever else. And while most alternative leathers are near enough that they basically require the same care steps, there are some notable differences between standard cow leather care and the care of, say, reptile, sheep, or even calfskin. The following is some information on different types of animal hides and how to care for them.

 

Suede

Technically, suede is a type of leather. Though, apart from the fact that it is animal hide, the steps for caring for suede are quite different from that of regular leather. You see, suede is much more delicate than standard leather, as its finish is soft and – for lack of a better term – fragile. When it comes to caring for suede gear, you’ll want to do away with just about all the types of care listed above. This is especially true for all exposure to water. H2O will ruin the finish of suede, matting it and making it unpleasant looking. So, avoid exposing suede to water at all costs. As far as cleaning goes, you can purchase a brush specifically designed for taking care of suede and simple brush away any dirt, dust, or otherwise. As a final note, there are suede-specific conditioners, but if you’re going to go this route, make absolutely sure the product you are using is intended for this material.

 

Calfskin/Snakeskin/Alligator Skin

You may own a type of leather that doesn’t come from a fully-grown cow. But that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to treat it differently. In fact, most alternative leathers (though there may be exceptions) can go through pretty much the same care processes as cowhide. The one thing you’ll want to be sure of, however, is that – when using product like conditioners or oils – you should make sure the product you use is appropriate for the type of leather. For instance, a snakeskin conditioner can be chemically different from a regular leather conditioner. Make sure you consult a leatherworker, cobbler, or similar expert if you are unsure.

 

Vinyl/Faux Leather

Whether you’re a vegan, aren’t interested in spending a ton of money on a leather jacket, or you don’t like the investment associated with actual cowhide, there are a number of different types of non-animal leather alternatives. While they share many properties with leather – like a tendency to dry out in heat and sun – they do not benefit from the same types of care as actual animal hide. There are a number of different types of non-animal leather alternatives. In fact, anything outside of basic cleaning will only make a mess and potentially shorten the life of your non-leather apparel or gear.

Your best bet for maintaining non-leather substitutes is as follows: limit the sun exposure of your clothing or gear; gently brush off any dirt, dust, or debris as needed; and follow a similar cleaning regiment to the one listed above for leather. Namely, you’ll want to wipe it down with a wet sponge, use a gentle bar of soap (preferably unscented) to get off tougher grime, wipe the soap away with a damp cloth, and let the article sit to dry – do not use direct heat or sunlight to dry it off. Follow these steps, and your faux leather should last for a good amount of time.

For larger projects or large furniture pieces such as sectionals, love seats, chaise loungers, and headboards, call your friendly Wiz Team, Inc. local office for assistance in care, maintenance, and to schedule your FREE in-home consultation for leather care/cleaning today !

 

847-526-6060

 

CLEANING UP AFTER THE HOLIDAYS

 

The holidays can do a number on your home! Between house guests, holiday feasts, and kids on school breaks, your house probably need some TLC. Try these tips to clean up and start New Year off on a sparkling clean foot.

Clean Up After House Guests

Give your house’s surfaces a deep clean. Wash all your linens. Vacuum carpets, floors, and baseboards to give yourself a fresh start. Clean out your refrigerator – eat the last of those yummy leftovers and then clean and store your leftover containers.

Clean up Christmas Tree Sap

Rubbing alcohol can remove sap from washable clothing, knit gloves, and rugs, because it acts as a solvent. For clothes, even a down coat, saturate the area with alcohol, let sit for a minute, then launder in warm water with regular detergent. Heat sets stains, so be sure all the sap is gone before using the dryer. Repeat the process if any remains. For sap on a wool coat or leather gloves, the dry cleaner is your best bet. For a rug, spot-test first, then apply alcohol with a cloth; blot with clean parts of the cloth until the sap is gone. Check for recycling services in your community so your tree can be a gift back to Mother Nature that keeps on giving for many years.

Clean and Store Holiday Decorations

How many of us have opened up a box of holiday decorations in November only to find a tangled mess of half-broken lights? Set yourself up for success next year by carefully cleaning and storing your decorations. As you take your decorations down, clean them and store them in closed bins, boxes or plastic bags that are clearly marked. While specialized storage containers may seem like an extravagance, they are designed to keep treasured decorations safe from dust, mold and breakage. If possible, group the decorations in categories like “dining room,” “mantel,” “front door,” etc. That way, you can avoid the decorating frenzy by tackling your home one area at a time.

Prepare For The Rest Of Winter

The holidays may be over but winter probably isn’t! If you live in a cold climate, make sure your home is ready for a few more months of snow and mud. Keep a boot tray near the door for rain or snow soaked footwear. Put mats and throw rugs at all entryways. This will help prevent dirt from being tracked into your home. Before you know it, it’ll be time for spring cleaning!

 

For your harder to handle messes and possible post holiday disasters – please give our office a jingle and we will happily set up a free in-home consultation to help you tackle the stains and dirt left behind by the guests this holiday season!

 

Warm Wishes from Wiz Team, Inc – Seasons Greetings !

Top 7 reasons it’s important to have regular upholstery cleaning

 

You read your favorite book on it, take naps after a long day’s work on it, have the kids’ friends over for a sleepover on it, and gather around it to watch that one show everyone in the family likes. What are we talking about? Your furniture, and your furniture upholstery, to be more precise. Because you do so much life on and around your furniture, regular upholstery cleaning is just as important as regular carpet cleaning. That’s right: your couches, chairs, sectionals, ottomans, and anything else with fabric needs to be deep cleaned just like your carpets.

 

Here are the top 7 reasons it’s important to have regular upholstery cleaning:

 

  1. Air Quality

Every time you sit, lie, plop, or move around on your upholstered furniture, you’re unknowingly releasing dust, dirt, grime, mold spores, dead skin, and bacteria into the air of your home. Of course, having your upholstery full of dust, allergens, mold, mildew, or old stains can negatively affect the quality of the air in your home.

While good air filters and household plants help filter out those allergens, removing them completely from the upholstery means they aren’t there to be picked up by the filter, to begin with. And, complete removal of allergens and dust is always ideal for a clean home with clean air.

 

  1. Health

Did you know that the allergens, dust mites, fleas, mold, and bacteria can get into the fibers of your upholstery, and left too long, they all could cause a wide range of allergies and illness? Also, if you have anyone with sensitivities to dust or mold, this will only impact them more. Keeping up on regular upholstery cleaning drastically reduces the presence of these irritants, and in turn, helps to keep your home and family healthy.

 

  1. Odors

The family couch or sectional is where a lot of life happens. You’ve engaged in countless movie nights, eaten dozens of TV dinners, fought off illnesses, and watched hundreds of TV shows and cartoons. If you have a baby or toddler, the couch has been a changing table and feeding station. For most families, the living room furniture becomes the favorite spot for homework or running an at-home business, and you can bet it is your pet’s favorite spot to wait for you to come home.

Clearly, a lot happens on your furniture, and sometimes it’s all too obvious because of the odor. Plus, cooking odors from the kitchen have a way of staying on your upholstery, which also contributes to an unpleasant smell. Upholstery cleaning helps remove those odors by removing the source.

 

  1. A Longer Life for Your Furniture

Your furniture is an investment, and oftentimes an expensive one. Whether it’s just regular wear and tear, or spilled milk, body oil and grease, cleaning your furniture regularly can extend the life of your investment.

 

  1. Appearance

You know those stains couches collect that you’ve tried covering up with a blanket or pillow, and when company comes over you feel embarrassed? Of course, we all do!

Whether they’re from kids and animals, or just being old and experiencing normal wear and tear, we use our furniture on a daily basis. And no matter how clean your house and carpets might be, if the upholstery on your furniture looks dirty and grimy, the rest of the house isn’t going to feel clean.

The easy solution is to have your carpet cleaning professional add-in upholstery cleaning while also cleaning your carpets.

 

  1. Your House Experienced Water or Smoke Damage

Accidents happen and are sometimes out of our control. A roof leak or a minor stove fire can cause water or smoke damage. Part of that damage is done to the upholstery of your furniture. While you might be inclined to just throw out the furniture and start over, you would be surprised what a good upholstery cleaning can do.

Our technicians are IICRC certified and ready to help you clean up the water/smoke damage your home and furniture experienced.

 

  1. Durability

You know that faded, thinning look your furniture upholstery can get? That’s caused by dust and dirt, which act like bits of sandpaper rubbing on the fabric. Regular upholstery cleaning removes this dust and improves the durability of the upholstery, making sure your furniture lasts a long time.

 

Avoid DIY Upholstery Cleaning

Tip: While many people are tempted to clean their own upholstery, we encourage you not to. One of the reasons professional carpet and upholstery cleaning is so effective is because we know what issues can arise and we work to prevent those issues from damaging your furniture and rugs. Also, we are able to fully extract moisture from your furnishings. Leftover water and moisture can be a significant problem causing:

  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Further staining

 

Many of the cleaning machines you can buy from a store do not have the power that truck-mounted water extraction equipment has. Because of this, even though you might feel like you’ve gotten all the moisture out of the upholstery, there still could be more hiding that hasn’t yet come to the surface.

 

You Can Trust Wiz Team To Handle Your Upholstery with Care

One of the first things we do when we come to clean upholstery is to check the upholstery condition to guard against any problems. These include:

  • Cushion shrinkage
  • Texture damage
  • Color fading
  • Dye bleeding

 

At Wiz Team, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration, we use the hot water extraction method to carefully clean your upholstery, helping it look like new and last longer (where applicable). Some finer textiles are manufactured as dry cleaning only, which we are more than able to handle.  As always, we do recommend that after each cleaning, we apply Kleenguard Protective Finish to help protect against any future spills or stains. Contact us today to schedule your cleaning.

 

 

5 Reasons It’s More Fun to Clean in December

 

 

Whether you like to clean or not, you have to admit that there’s something magical about making your home sparkle this time of year. Maybe it’s all the wine? Or maybe it really is just more fun?

 

Keep reading for five good arguments on why it’s better to clean in December.

  1. It’ll warm you up.

Baby, it’s cold outside (and probably inside, too!). A little vacuuming, dusting, or cabinet organizing is a good way to get that blood flowing and increase your body temp.

I am notoriously always cold (I complain so much all winter that people who don’t know me think I’m from Florida … and then I tell them I’m from New Jersey!). I can never seem to warm up and will never say it’s too hot — even in August. But after any cleaning session this time of year, you can find me overheating, stripped down to a tank top and shorts with my hair piled in a messy bun on the top of my head.

Try it. If your place is tidy to your liking and you’re still cold, you can crank up the heat or light a fire. But I’m guessing it won’t come to that.

 

 

 

 

  1. You can listen to Christmas songs the entire time.

I highly recommend the “Today’s Christmas” station on Pandora. I turn that on, crank up the volume, and get to cleaning my own little winter wonderland. It’s certainly not as educational as a podcast, but I think it’s okay to zone out for a few hours. Plus, this station gets me in the mood for some serious holiday-ing.

 

 

 

 

 

    1. Your soap smells like pine trees.  Or cranberries. Or peppermint. The holiday season is a short one, so there’s a limited amount of time that it’s technically acceptable to surround yourself with these festive scents. I fully support getting as much of it as humanly possible while you can. I can clean with basil-scented soap 11 other months out of the year. For now, I’m going with something that smells like a forest of trees and freshly fallen snow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. You can do it under the twinkle of string lights.

Yes, I know you’re technically supposed to clean when it’s sunny, so you can see all the dust. (Although you’re supposed to clean windows when it’s overcast. So many rules!) But I’d rather do it at night with all my Christmas lights on to set the mood. It just makes it all feel so much more special. Like I’m a Christmas elf and I’m on a mission. Besides, that’s the setting my guests are going to see, anyway. So I may as well clean from their perspective.

 

 

 

  1.  You’re getting ready for guests.

Guests, I say! It’s not like you’re cleaning for no reason (you know, aside from having a clean home). You’re organizing because your coworkers are coming over. You’re vacuuming because your baby nephew will be scooting around on your floor. You’re scrubbing your countertops because you’re about to prepare a major feast in that kitchen. Those impending plans just make it all worth it. I know I’m going to have fun and people might even shower me with compliments when they see how clean I keep my home.

 

 

 

What do you help cleaning this time of year? Your professional cleaning and restoration specialists are here to make your holidays go right. Give us a call to set-up your free in-home consultation today at 847.526.6060.

From all of us at Wiz Team, Inc. we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!

Thanksgiving Holiday History

Thanksgiving at Plymouth

In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.

Did you know? Lobster, seal and swans were on the Pilgrims’ menu.

Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.

In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the first Thanksgiving’s exact menu, much of what we know about what happened at the first Thanskgiving comes from Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow, who wrote:

“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deer, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations

Thanksgiving Becomes a National Holiday

Pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well.

During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.

In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition. In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians, earning her the nickname the “Mother of Thanksgiving.” Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

Thanksgiving Traditions

In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Turkey, a Thanksgiving staple so ubiquitous it has become all but synonymous with the holiday, may or may not have been on offer when the Pilgrims hosted the inaugural feast in 1621. Today, however, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat the bird—whether roasted, baked or deep-fried—on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate.

Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters.

Beginning in the mid-20th century and perhaps even earlier, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.

Thanksgiving Controversies

For some scholars, the jury is still out on whether the feast at Plymouth really constituted the first Thanksgiving in the United States. Indeed, historians have recorded other ceremonies of thanks among European settlers in North America that predate the Pilgrims’ celebration. In 1565, for instance, the Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilé invited members of the local Timucua tribe to a dinner in St. Augustine, Florida, after holding a mass to thank God for his crew’s safe arrival. On December 4, 1619, when 38 British settlers reached a site known as Berkeley Hundred on the banks of Virginia’s James River, they read a proclamation designating the date as “a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

Some Native Americans and others take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public, and especially to schoolchildren. In their view, the traditional narrative paints a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands. Since 1970, protesters have gathered on the day designated as Thanksgiving at the top of Cole’s Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a “National Day of Mourning.” Similar events are held in other parts of the country.

Thanksgiving’s Ancient Origins

Although the American concept of Thanksgiving developed in the colonies of New England, its roots can be traced back to the other side of the Atlantic. Both the Separatists who came over on the Mayflower and the Puritans who arrived soon after brought with them a tradition of providential holidays—days of fasting during difficult or pivotal moments and days of feasting and celebration to thank God in times of plenty.

As an annual celebration of the harvest and its bounty, moreover, Thanksgiving falls under a category of festivals that spans cultures, continents and millennia. In ancient times, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the fall harvest. Thanksgiving also bears a resemblance to the ancient Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. Finally, historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores.

Citation Information

Article Title Thanksgiving 2019

Author History.com Editors

Website Name: HISTORY

URL: https://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving

Access Date November 18, 2019

Publisher A&E Television Networks

Last Updated November 18, 2019

Original Published Date October 27, 2009

BYHISTORY.COM EDITORS

 

 

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