Cleaning Your Home Without Any Use of Chemicals

We have gotten used to relying on a whole range of chemical products for the cleaning of our homes and offices without paying attention to how harmful such substances can be for the health or the environment.Every household actually uses stain removers and all sorts of solvents to get clean clothes, impeccable kitchens and germ-free bathrooms. However, with the development of the environmental awareness, some companies have started producing eco-friendly cleaning products. Most spot and stain removers in the eco-category are now derived from natural resources, with plant or vegetable ingredients in organic solvents.

It is false to absorb that eco-friendly cleaning products can not eliminate resistant stains and stains such as nail polish, wax, ball-point ink, glue, resins or dyes from solid or textile surfaces. If we manage to eliminate such prejudices and actually try some eco-friendly cleaning solution, we may be pleasantly surprised by the results. It is paradoxical how we soil and litter our planet while making efforts to remove the dirt from daily life. Why switch to eco-friendly cleaning? First of all your home will be clean from toxic fumes and chemicals, you will sleep better and enjoy a great sense of well-being.

There will be less health hazards for children and babies who may come in contact with toxic cleaning residues. Nor will there be any more fumes from spray bottles. Poisons should be a no-no in our lives. You can eliminate the hazardousous substances by using household pickup days, and replacing them with safer versions. Eco-friendly cleaning provides a safer environment for your children. Moreover, the fewer chemicals you use, the fewer toxic materials will be evacuated in the waste water stream. If you do not have eco-friendly cleaning products ready-made for a certain task, there are homemade solutions available too.

The Internet abounds with eco-friendly cleaning tips, you just need a bit of time, interest and patience to see how to deal with the issue. Not only the cleaning agents should be changed with eco products, but the cleaning accessories as well. Sponges, mops and rags should be all reusable and natural. A responsible human being living in the 21st century should mind the durability, health and environment impact of the products he / she purchases for home use. This kind of changes will also bring considered savings.

What You Need to Know about Vacation Rentals before You Go

That time of the year is finally here. You know what I'm talking about, the one or two weeks you get every year to escape from "real life" and just be you. Relax, eat and drink well, enjoy your family, catch up on some much needed sleep. But, before you pack up and head out, rethink the all-too-normal hotel stay. Believe it or not, you have options, one of which is the vacation rental.

Would not it be nice to leave your own home, arrive in your destination city and settle into a "home away from home" for your next vacation? That's what vacation rentals are all about. These are homes waiting to be rented out by people on vacation. Each vacation rental owner will have different criteria in what type of renter they are looking for, each vacation rental house will vary in amenities, and each price will be dependent on the time of year and the length of stay. So, it sounds like a great idea, but how do you figure out how to make it all happen? Not a problem. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding vacation rentals. Read on, my friend, your next "home away from home" vacation rental is right around the corner.

Frequently Asked Questions on Vacation Rentals

What are the advantages of a vacation rental?

Do you ever wish your hotel room had just a little more personality? Yeah, I thought so. Well, renting someone else's home for your vacation might just be the thing you're looking for. Usually offering larger living spaces than hotel rooms, these vacation rentals are all about living like you were in your own home. They offer greater privacy than hotel rooms and most rentals have a kitchen area for cooking, which in the end will save you money if you prepare some of your own meals.

You'll enjoy several rooms, and maybe even different levels, instead of one big room where the whole family sleeps. Many owners will leave information on things to do and see in the local area. Vacation rental homes are clean, friendly, comfortable and inviting. This is because many of them are not just rental homes, but also function as the owner's own residence for part of the year.

A majority of vacation rentals tend to be cheaper on a per night basis than their hotel. By renting directly from the owner you will avoid taxes, tips and other external charges. However, there is a wide variation among others based on a number of factors (see How Much Should I Expect to Pay below)

What are the drawbacks of a vacation rental?

Of course, there's always the other side of the coin. As vacation rentals are not usually monitored by a central managing company, you'll only know what you're getting yourself into when you actually arrive to your rental. Many owners require pre-payment, or at least a large deposit fee, before arriving. Therefore, if things are not the way you anticipated after arriving, or if you find your dwelling unacceptable and decide to head to a local hotel, you may lose any money you prepaid. This is also true for last minute cancellations. There is not usually a refund. You always run the risk of getting less than you expected, but, it's rare.

Most times, vacation rentals tend to be cheaper than an average hotel room per night. But, not always, so make sure you are comfortable with the price you will be asked to pay.

Another disadvantage to vacation rentals is the lack of a managing member on site to deal with any problems that you may encounter with the home or during your stay in general. Most owners get around this by having a list of emergency numbers, utility companies and other such items available to the renter should they need anything.

What amenities are included in a vacation rental?

Since every rental is owned by a different owner, each will include different amenities. Some come with swimming pools, hot tubs, others with golf packages, and horse stable privileges. In cities with tourist attractions, some owners include tickets to local attractions.

Most vacation rentals come with the essentials: TV, equipped kitchen, towels, linen, and everyday appliances, but it never hurts to ask these questions when searching for the perfect place. Be sure to understand exactly what you are paying for before sending in the payment.

What types of rentals are available?

Pretty much any type of dwelling that you would want to live in during your vacation is available somewhere. From studios in downtown Manhattan to a villa in the south of Spain, you'll be able to find what you're looking for. The range of available options is mind boggling. Additionally, each week, month and year there are new possibilities as owners put their homes up for only certain weeks or months of the year, the choices are constantly changing.

Are vacation rentals only available in the US?

Vacation rentals are available worldwide. They can be found in every state of the US and almost every country in the world. Do not be fooled by their different names, though. Vacation rentals are also known as holiday cottages, tourist rentals and holiday rentals. If you are looking for one in Europe, the Italians call them agriturismi, while the French say gites. If you are in Germany you will be looking for ferienwohnungen (yep, try to say that three times fast with a bratwurst in your mouth!)

Regardless of what you call it, though, a vacation rental is a great option for those getting ready to take a few weeks off from reality and enjoy the good life a bit.

How do I find a property?

There are several ways to go about finding the perfect vacation rental for your next trip. Check with your local travel agent to find someone in your area that specializes in finding owners and renters and getting them together. Another option is the yellow pages. Finally, there is a wealth of information on the Internet. Type in a search for "vacation rentals" and over 13,300,000 websites can be found just on http://www.google.com alone. Some websites only list vacation rentals in the United States while others specialize in vacation rentals worldwide. There are some sites that will allow the potential renter to look for a residence by specific search criteria such as a particular destination, certain number of bedrooms and types of amenities that are included in the property.

Most of the vacation rental services on the internet are only the "go-between" or the "classified" section of the newspaper. They take no responsibility for the truth or correctness of the ads that are listed on their sites. So, do your homework by making phone calls, speaking with the owner and asking specific questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the answers, if not, move on to the next rental, there are plenty.

If you're not comfortable with the whole renter / owner thing, there is another way to rent a vacation home. Some companies exist that strictly buy and rent out homes to vacationers. They offer a bit more security so that you feel you are really getting what you bargained for (although nothing is ever 100% fool proof). Additionally, sometimes these agencies will give you cancellation insurance. In other words, if you cancel before arriving, they may be able to refund a portion of your deposit or payment instead of keeping it as most owners do if a cancellation occurs. With some agencies you'll find that you pay a higher price than going directly to an owner. This is how the agencies make their profits. There are always pros and cons to each scenario. Ensure you know which one works best for you.

How much should I expect to pay?

This is a tough question to answer. The amount you pay will depend on what country or state you are visiting, number of days you are staying, and type of house you are renting. Some owners offer package deals including tickets or sightseeing events along with the rental, others include bonus days if you stay for a certain length of time. There are other owners who may offer free or add-on house cleaning service with your stay while some go to great efforts to ensure you have everything you need, even additional items such as a crib, highchair or wheelchair. Each vacation rental will be entirely different from the next. Your best bet after deciding on your destination is to review multiple rentals to determine which is better suited to your needs and overall budget.

Are there any hidden fees?

Hidden fees usually only emerge after you have arrived. These may include extra for phone calls, house cleaning service, extra person fees, excess heat and air-conditioning bills, pet deposit, computer access … etc. Again, be extremely thorough when interviewing the owner of your prospect vacation rental. Ask about any "extra" fees, or if the house is "all-inclusive". Do you have free access to all the pantry and food items? How about the laundry supplies? All utilities? It never hurts to ask!

Vacation Rentals

In summary, cover all bases by asking lots of questions. Getting your agreement in writing is also a very smart idea. After these basics are out of the way you will be ready to take off for your home-away-from-home vacation rental. Try one this year and see for yourself that vacation rentals can be a fantastic means to really getting the full enjoyment out of your next vacation.

Controlling Mold Without Toxic Chemicals

Mold can grow anywhere there are damp conditions – from a windowsill to a
bathroom, to a whole house. While the health effects of most common molds are minimal, the chemicals we commonly use to remove the unsightly growth can harm our health. Mold cleaners can contain toxic chemicals such as pentachorophenol, which can be harmful through skin absorption or inhalation, and formaldehyde, which can cause cancer as well as irritate eyes, throat, skin, and lungs. Many mold cleaners carry the "DANGER" warning label and state that they should be used only in a well-ventilated area (next time you want to clean mold from your shower, look around for the ventilation …)

Fortunately, there are ways to clean and even prevent mold that are natural and safe
for you and your family.

Mold is a living organism that needs certain conditions to stay alive. A moist, dark,
environment with little moving air is perfect. Mold just can not live in an environment
that is dry, light, or breezy. The solution to any mold problem of any kind is to
introduce heat (to dry the moisture), light, or moving air (such as from a fan).

I used to live in an old house in a forest, next to a creek, in an area that has a lot of
rainfall in the winter. One year was particularly cold and rainy and so to conserve
heat, I closed the door on my extra bedroom, which contained books and research
papers, a bed, and out-of-season clothing. By the end of winter, there was so much
mold in that room that was was literally growing on my clothing. My cotton espadrille
shoes and cloth-covered binders were covered with blue fuzz. What to do? Mold was
covering literally everything!

In my situation, I opted to use heat. I put a portable space heater in the room and
closed the door. After several hours I peeked in and steam was rising. It was like a
sauna. After twenty-four hours, however, all was bone dry and I was able to brush
visible mold (now a dry powder) from walls, clothing, and other surfaces. The moral
of the story: if you live in a damp environment that does not get much sun, make
sure your heat circulates completely around the house, and even though it may take
more energy, it's needed to keep your home dry and safe. Mold can do damage to
material possession and human health, so its better to stay warm and dry.

If you have just a small area of ​​mold, use a hand-held dryer to dry it up in just a few
minutes.

You can prevent mold from growing by keeping areas dry. Find the source of
moisture and control it. Mold in an undersink cabinet, for example, may require
fixing leaky pipes. Controlling mold in a bathroom may involve installing a small
space heater to run after a shower to dry out the room, or using a fan for the same
purpose. No moisture – no mold.

In a closet, hang garments with space between them to allow for air-flow and install
a small light, both to dispel darkness and provide a little heat. If you live in a very
humid area, a dehumidifier may be necessary.

To remove mold from shower tile or other hard surface, mix borax and water, or
vinegar and water, in a spray bottle. Spray it on and the mold wipes right off. Borax
inhibits mold growth, so wash down the walls in your bathroom with a borax
solution and just leave it on, or sprinkle borax in damp cabinets under the sink. If
you need something stronger to remove stubborn mold, use hydrogen peroxide.

Steam cleaners – which clean, sanitize, and deodorize using only hot water – also
work great on mold. You can purchase small hand-held steam cleaners in the
housewares department of discount stores for about $ 50 or larger units on the
Internet.

Read more about controlling mold without toxic chemicals in my new book Home
Safe Home, at http://www.dld123.com/homesafehome.html .

If You Are Travelling Overseas This Year Then Here Is How To Find Cheap Holiday Car Rental

When you want to hire a car for a holiday, you are likely to look for an option that will allow you to spend less. This is the reason why many people like it when they get cheap holiday car rental. They know that by finding cheap holiday car hire, they will save a lot of money which they can then use to make their holiday experiences even better. However, what you need to know is that unless you hire the most suitable cars, your holiday will never be as good as you want it to be.

Be careful when choosing a company to hire cars from. What should not escape your mind is the fact that unless you choose a reliable company, you will be more likely to end up with many problems. Although there are many companies that rent out cars, what is obvious is that not all of them can be trusted. You therefore need to know how good each one of the companies is before you decide to use their services. For example, find out the type of cars that they have, how long they are willing to rent them out and how much they charge for this.

Another important thing is to know if you are allowed to rent from them. This is because there are some companies that will restrict people from hiring their vehicles. For instance, a company may not allow you to get cheap holiday car rental if you have a bad credit score. Others may not agree if you are going to use the cars beyond the geographical limits that they specify. However, the good thing is that there are other companies who will provide cheap holiday car hire without bothering too much about your credit score or how far you intend to go in their vehicle.

You also need cars that are in a good condition. They should be well serviced and ready to be used immediately. Just because you are getting them at cheaper rates does not mean that you should be provided with cars that are too difficult to use. Remember that a person going for a holiday needs to be comfortable all the time. This will not be possible if you do not receive a vehicle in good condition. You also should ask them for things such as insurance. Let them tell you if they will be paying for it or if they expect you to meet the costs of insurance for the period over which you will be using the car.

Since one cannot tell exactly how much cheap is, you need to ask them to state how much you are expected to pay. There is a wide variation in the amount of money that a client can pay for cheap holiday car rental. This depends on the costs that the companies incur and many other things. If you have the time, you can compare prices from several companies in order to know which one offers the most affordable services. This can be done online for faster results.