Be Careful When Dealing with these Toxic Household Items

When we shop for food we often try to buy the healthiest foods we can find. Low sugar, high vitamin content, and low fat are the most immediate things we tend to look for. While these things are definitely good to watch for, they are by no means the only things we should be on the lookout for. Believe it or not, even some of the healthiest of foods can actually contain hidden dangers. Without realizing it, we can actually be bringing in harmful products in our attempts to eat a more healthy diet. This article will present several dangers to look out for when shopping for food.

Dangerous chemicals in fish

Eating fish is considered a healthy alternative to eating beef or pork, with many people actually replacing meat with fish altogether. Needless to say, fresh fish is always the best type of fish to buy and eat, but canned fish, especially tuna, is often the mainstay in many of these diets. The only problem with canned tuna is that it contains the highest amount of mercury than any other fish. While this is not necessarily a problem for people in overall good health, it can be an issue for pregnant women, young children and even the elderly. Excessive levels of mercury can have catastrophic health consequences on any person with delicate immune systems.

rice waterDangerous chemicals in rice

While rice is considered a healthy food in general, the truth of the matter is that it can actually contain chemicals which are harmful to humans. Arsenic, a chemical readily associated with its poisonous properties, is actually a chemical found naturally in water and wet soil. Thus, rice, which grows in flooded regions, contains high concentrations of naturally occurring arsenic. The best rule of thumb is to reduce the amounts of rice you consume, so as to limit the amount of arsenic you ingest. This is particularly true for younger children and the elderly, who will be more vulnerable to the effects of arsenic in smaller levels.

Risky food dyes

Most foods that appear bright and colorful owe their appearance to chemical dyes. These dyes are usually tested and considered harmless. However, there are dyes which have been proven to cause cancers in animal tests. Despite these findings, many countries lack the laws necessary to prohibit such chemicals from being used. As a result, it is best to avoid any foods that use food colorings or dyes in order to be as safe as possible.

Foods that come in plastic cups

Most of the foods that come in plastic cups are usually not the healthiest of foods to start with. To make matters worse, the plastic they come in may actually add to the dangers inherent. Many of these plastics contain chemicals that can leak into the food when the food is being prepared. It is best to avoid any foods with plastic cups in general.

Overview

Overall, it is a good rule of thumb to eat as many natural foods as possible. Avoiding such things as plastics and food dyes will only serve to protect you from some of the dangerous chemicals that lurk in most pantries undetected.

Organize your Kitchen Using these Tips

organizing your kitchenIf you think about how many utensils, appliances and miscellaneous gadgets the average kitchen contains, it is small wonder that most kitchens are cluttered and disorganized. After all, what other room is likely to have a ‘junk drawer’ devoted to things that don’t seem to belong anywhere in particular? Despite the fact that your kitchen may seem beyond hope, the truth is that any kitchen can actually be organized. This article will present several easy to follow tips on how to not only organize your kitchen, but also how to make it more efficient in general.

Keep like things together

This may seem like an all too obvious tip, but one way that kitchens become disorganized is through like items being scattered around. Organized kitchens ALWAYS keep like items together. Measuring utensils should be allocated to one area, regardless of shape, size or quantity. By keeping measuring cups, spoons and similar items together, it will be easier to find what you need when you need it. Additionally, you will be able to keep the most used items in the front, and place less necessary items in the back where they may be unseen, but not forgotten.

Use baskets for smaller items

With so many small items to keep up with, whether small utensils or small jars of spice, clutter is seemingly unavoidable in the kitchen. One way to address this problem is to use baskets or organizers for these items. Baskets will not only keep many small items neatly contained, but they will also make it easier to move and find these items. Rather than having to sift through dozens of small jars of spice to find the one you need, simply pull down the spice basket and you are good to go. This also makes cleaning shelves easier as you can remove entire sections of product in one simple move.

Use uniform size containers

One problem with kitchen cabinets is that they can be too small for larger size boxes of cereal or other food items. Similarly, a box of cereal that is almost empty has the same appearance as a full box of cereal. This means that you can run out of something without realizing it before it’s too late. Using clear plastic storage containers for dry goods will not only eliminate boxes that are too large for your cabinets, but they will also allow you to see exactly how much of a thing you have left. Now you will never run out of an item completely unaware.

Conclusion

By simply putting like items together, and by using storage accessories to better contain products, you will be able to eliminate much of the clutter and confusion in your kitchen. Not only are these methods simple, but they are also cost effective, meaning that with only a little time and money you can turn your kitchen into a more efficient, organized environment that is more pleasant to be in. Hopefully this article will help you love your kitchen again!

How to Improve the Performance of Your Dishwasher

washing dishesDishwashers are a common appliance found in many homes today. They not only take the drudgery out of cleaning the kitchen, but they’ve improved at removing grease and food from dishes.

Even with the improvements made over the past 50 years, there are some tricks for making your dishwasher more efficient. We’ve listed our best ideas to keep your dishwasher clean and in top performance condition.

Before Using the Dishwasher, Turn on the Water

For efficient energy usage, replace cold water running through the lines by turning on the kitchen hot water faucet. This purging flushes cold water out for the flow of hot water into the dishwasher for better cleaning.

Clean the Dishwasher with Vinegar

After several cycles, scale, and lime deposits build on dishwasher surfaces and descaling and removing buildup keeps your machine running efficiently. Remove buildup by filling a glass dish with 2 cups of white vinegar and placing on the dish rack in the top of the dishwasher. Do not add detergent and turn the heat dry setting off then run the machine for a full cycle. As the dishwasher runs through the cycle, the vinegar and water mix and circulate through the machine.

Cleaning the Sprayer Arm Holes

After cleaning the dishwasher with vinegar, remove the small debris from the tiny sprayer arm holes. Using a strong wire like the ones used to hang pictures, poke through the sprayer holes to remove remaining food gunk. Wipe away any particles that fall onto the floor of the dishwasher.

A Toothbrush for Small Spaces

A toothbrush is a secret weapon in your dishwasher cleaning toolbox. The bristled end gets deep in tiny crevices where built-up dirt and gunk hide, like around the detergent and rinse aid compartments and the filter.

Labeling for Organization

If your family suffers confusion from not knowing if the dishes are dirty or clean, DIY labels let the family know when to empty the dishwasher. Using Washi Tape, strip magnets, and a magic marker, customize your labels with one side telling everyone the dishes are dirty and the other side they are clean.

Pre-treating the Grime

Pre-treating your grimy dishes works in the same way as pre-treating stains on your laundry. Before you load the dishwasher, add gel dishwasher soap directly to the baked-on food spots on casserole and baking dishes. This gives your washing cycle and extra cleaning boost. To avoid a machine full of soap suds, make sure you use detergent for dishwashers and not regular dishwashing liquid.

Silverware Organization

Most people agree, the hardest part of using a dishwasher is unloading the clean dishes. Make this task easier by organizing silverware by type, i.e. group spoons, knives, and forks.

Tip: To maximize cleaning and avoid stuck on food from nesting spoons and forks, turn part of utensils facing upwards and the other part facing down.

Top Rack Last

Unload the rack in the bottom first to keep the water collected in saucers and cups from splattering on the dry dishes at the bottom.

It’s Not Just for Dishes

Dishwashers are versatile machines. Use it to clean children’s plastic toys like dolls and Legos. Toss in your sponges with the load and set to heated dry to kill mold and bacteria while getting rid of germs on the toys.

How to Transform Any Room with Carpet Tiles

carpet tiles at homeSometimes a room can lack a certain luster, making it just a little less than what it could be. Even with the right curtains, wall art and paint, something is missing. This is a common problem because we often ignore one of the largest surfaces in the room—the floor. Even if we have nice carpeting, a room can seem a bit bland if that carpet isn’t bright and colorful. Still, Persian rugs can cost an arm and a leg, so what real option is there for fixing a bland floor? The answer—carpet tiles. This article will show you how to use carpet tiles to enhance the look of any room without breaking the budget.

Ideal locations for carpet tiles

Carpet tiles can be used to brighten any room at all. One of the main reasons for this is that they are not only easy to install, but they are also easy to replace. Rather than having to replace an entire carpet or rug, you can simply replace individual tiles that are worn or damaged. Having said that, the construction of carpet tiles often makes them more durable than normal carpets or rugs, so they withstand a great deal more wear and tear. Rooms that can benefit from the appearance and durability of carpet tiles include children’s play rooms, garages, basements and any foyer which may be of an awkward shape or size for conventional carpets or rugs.

Steps for installation

Installing carpet tiles is far less complicated than installing regular carpeting. There is no stretching required, nor are there pads or tacks to contend with. In fact, installing carpet tiles is almost as easy as throwing down a rug. However, there are a few steps required for best results.

  • Clean the floor thoroughly. Mop any non carpeted floor, and allow to completely air dry. For carpeted floors, vacuum thoroughly. Using a carpet cleaner is advisable as you really want the floor as clean as possible.
  • Next, determine the exact center of the floor. You can do this by measuring wall to wall, or you can use chalk lines on bare floors. Either way, getting the exact center is critical.
  • Next, place four tiles around the center point, using the center point as the inside angle for each tile. Make sure that you check the straightness of the lines of the tiles, as you don’t want them being crooked.
  • Finally, once you are satisfied with the straightness of the lines, remove the paper backing and stick the tiles to the floor. Marking the floor is advisable, as it will guarantee more accurate results. The carpet tiles will cover any markings, so you don’t have to worry about them showing.

In summary

Carpet tiles will add a touch of color and vibrancy to any room, and for a fraction of the cost of carpet or rugs. The ease with which carpet tiles can be installed is a real plus, as is their low cost. Mix up the colors for a more fun look, or use rich colors to add an element of sophistication to any décor.