We’ve all heard the saying “work smarter, not harder,” but when it comes to mundane household cleaning, it seems that nothing replaces hard work and time. That may be one reason why we hate doing it so much. You can only put off cleaning the toilets or doing the laundry so long, which means that at some point your stuck inside on a sunny, beautiful day doing housework rather than heading out for a day of fun. Well, maybe the picture doesn’t have to be as bleak as it seems. In actuality, you can use a good night’s sleep to start the cleaning process. In fact, we would venture to say that there are major home chores that you should only do as you sleep. Interested? Read on for our top five.
Clean the toilet
Okay, so cleaning the toilet doesn’t always take that long, yet it’s one of those chores that adds time to your routine. On the other hand, if you have hard water, cleaning the ring around the toilet can take a fair amount of elbow grease and time–or some pretty high-powered chemicals. An eco-friendly and easy solution to this task is a little white vinegar or Borax. Before bed, add a couple of cups of vinegar or 3/4 of a cup of Borax to the toilet bowl. For tough hard water rings, use your toilet brush to make sure the solution is applied above the waterline. Then go to bed. That’s right…stop everything and let the vinegar or Borax do their job. When you wake up, swirl the toilet brush around the bowl and flush. Doing this once a week should be plenty.
Clean your (non-self-cleaning) oven
One word of caution: never turn on your oven to run while you sleep. That being said, “soaking” your oven overnight is the perfect way to soften and release baked-on and burned-on oven messes. Spray the oven’s interior with your choice of oven cleaner, then place old towels or paper towels just outside the door to catch any drips. When you wake up, don your rubber gloves and gently wipe away the softened dirt and leftover oven cleaner. It’s a trick that may just give you back an hour or two on oven cleaning day.
Deodorize your carpets
From pet odors to musty smells, baking soda is always a good choice when carpets and upholstery smell less than fresh. The biggest obstacle to using it is the time it takes to fully absorb the odors. Of course while it’s on your carpet, you tend to walk over it, tracking it all over the house and actually removing patches of the baking soda from where it really needs to be working. The solution is deodorizing overnight. Before bed, vacuum your carpet, then sprinkle baking soda liberally. If you have really stubborn odors, you may want to work it into the carpet or upholstery with a clean broom. Then go to bed and let it do its magic. When you wake up, run the vacuum back over the area to remove the baking soda.
Clean your shower
We’ve all seen the advertisements for automatic shower cleaning solutions. Just spray after a shower, then it cleans. The problem is often that you don’t get the greatest results unless you do it the right way. First, you are going to have to clean. Find time to get your shower sparkling. This step allows the shower cleaning solution to work at its maximum potential. Second–and a big reason to do it while you sleep–fresh water running over the cleaner weakens its effects. Spray the shower down after the family’s last shower for the night, then let the solution work while everyone sleeps. In the morning, there’s no need to wipe down or rinse away. Just complete this step every night and you’ll probably never clean the shower again.
Do the laundry or the dishes
Unless the sound will keep the family awake, doing the dishes and laundry at night is smart. First, you aren’t waiting for the cycles to finish. Second, energy costs can be lower at off-peak hours like bedtime (important for those of us who are surcharged for energy use during peak hours). Fill the dishwasher and let it cycle through during the early part of your sleep. The washer, on the other hand, should be set to start in the middle of the night, if possible. If your washer doesn’t have a delayed start cycle, you can still begin the wash at bedtime. Just keep in mind that laundered, wet clothing may not smell quite as fresh after sitting in a closed washer all night long if your home is hot and/or humid. In cooler months, or if you always use air conditioning, the potential for soured laundry is nearly non-existent, making bedtime the smartest time for starting a long cycle like towels or whites.
Red-rimmed eyes, tissues strategically tucked in every pocket, a nose that puts Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to shame…it’s
spring allergy season. Most of us enjoyed a warmer-than-usual winter but we’re paying the price now with ultra-high pollen and mold spores in the atmosphere. Of course we all know there is no shortage of allergy medications on the market but they only alleviate the symptoms. You still wake up with the telltale signs–puffy eyes, purple under-eye circles and skin ruddiness. Let’s be honest, we all want to look better than we feel at times like these.
When it comes to allergy season beauty, the approach is three-pronged: prevent, treat and correct. Sound difficult? Never fear…we’re here to offer up easy tips and tricks to downplay the allergy/sinus look while you await fall (or the first freeze).
Step 1: Prevent
There are easy steps to prevent allergens, and many of these steps begin in the bedroom. Simply vacuuming your mattress and your carpeting is a perfect first line of defense against pollen spores. Washing your sheets regularly also helps to rid trapped allergens. If you’re still waking up puffy, sleep on two pillows instead of one. The slight elevation will help fluids drain from your face, meaning you’ll wake up less puffy.
Step 2: Treat
Allergy medication has come a long way in terms of treating symptoms with very few side effects (like medicine head). Talk to your doctor about allergy medications. As for treating the effects of allergies, moisturizing your face is vital. The friction created by using a tissue so often creates red, dry, painful chafing. Use a gentle oil-free (and preferably fragrance-free) moisturizer all over your face, then dab something extra emollient like Aquafor on irritated skin. Since lips also become chapped, Eos lip balms are excellent for both treating and preventing irritation. Red, itchy eyes can also be alleviated with an inexpensive over-the-counter eye drop. And do not forget to drink water. It helps to flush your body, ultimately keeping you hydrated one the inside and out.
Step 3: Correct
Despite all your best attempts to prevent and treat them, signs of allergies may still show themselves, especially in terms of beauty. For most men, this step is more difficult because it does require some camouflage by way of make-up but cosmetic products are very effective. While you might think those yellow concealers at the store look scary, they actually make a lot of sense. Yellow counteracts red, so a light application of a yellow cream or powder can actually neutralize that red nose. If eyes are red but not itchy or tearing, a nude-colored eyeliner can brighten eyes and conceal the telltale signs of allergies (skip this step if your eyes are watering or if you find yourself touching them often). Don’t do a full-on contoured eye, even if you’re headed to the office. Opt for a beige wash across the lid and a slightly shimmery (not glittery) shadow on the browbone. This visually opens your eye, making you look more awake and lifted. As for actual color cosmetics, choose nude or pink-ish tones. A pale pink or even coppery-pink shade of blush and lipstick can help enliven your face. For men, a lightly tinted moisturizer can be beneficial. Many of the latest forms of these moisturizers go on sheer, meaning men (and women) won’t have to worry about looking “made up.”
It seems like there is a day or month devoted to everything these days. (Hello, National Talk Like A Pirate Day.) It’s not surprising, then, that the world celebrates National Sleep Month in March. The funny thing is that given how important sleep is, we don’t really take it very seriously. Really, have you even heard of it? Maybe it’s time that we all begin paying attention.
Ready for some surprising numbers? Did you know that in the average lifetime, most of us spend about 208,185 hours of sleep? That’s 8,674 days just sleeping! As for our bedding products, we spend about 20,000 hours on a mattress in its lifetime. That’s 833 days of sleep on your mattress over the course of about seven years. Factor in that sleep (or the lack thereof) greatly impacts health–both physical and mental–and you begin to see that maybe the most important “awareness” month just may be National Sleep Month.
Throughout the month of March, we’ll be offering tips and ideas for better sleep over on our Facebook page, all in honor of National Sleep Month. We wanted to start the month out, though, with some simple (and often free) tips and steps to create the ideal space for not just your best night’s sleep but a whole year’s worth of best nights. Here’s to your…sleep!
Design your bedroom as a single-purpose space
Bedrooms were meant for one thing: rest and relaxation (sleeping, reading a good book, romance). We’re all so busy that it can be tempting to use the bedroom as an extension of the office or as a family entertainment room full of DVDs, board games, and kids’ toys. Your first step? Clear out the extra “stuff.” Even if it means a mess in the living room for a day or so, move all the non-rest items out of your room. It may take some time to change your own mental image from what the room was to what it should be, but it will be worth the time and effort.
Banish bedroom clutter
After you’ve banished the non-bedroom essentials, it’s time to straighten what is supposed to be there. One of the worst things you can do is make the entire bedroom your closet. Add shelving in the closet, buy some under-bed storage boxes, or get creative with storage ideas throughout the house…but give everything a place and keep it there!
Control dust bunnies
Dust can trigger allergies. Dust mites, those tiny microscopic creatures that live in all bedding–yes, everyone’s bedding!–can even trigger asthma attacks. The easiest way to stop these problems is just simple, routine cleaning. Make sure your sheets are washed at least every week. Dust your furniture and sweep or vacuum. For even better allergen control, vacuum the mattress periodically, as well. Less dust can mean fewer nights spent stuffed up or sneezing.
Darken your windows
If light is infiltrating your room, you may find that you don’t sleep. And we aren’t just talking an early sunrise. Even the security light from your backdoor neighbor can sabotage your sleep. Try buying blackout curtains, or achieve the same effect by layering with blinds, sheers and drapes.
Find the right mattress and pillows
If your mattress is more than 7 years old, there’s a very good chance that it is worn out. For pillows, the lifespan is even shorter…1 year. Besides the fact that bedding–mattresses, toppers, pillows–wear out and become less supportive, they also just become too allergen-riddled to save. Gross? Yes, but worth mentioning nonetheless. Here is one area Spa Sensations can help! Remember that a “good” mattress and pillow is personal choice. It isn’t buying the most expensive that saves the day…it’s the most comfortable for you.
Create a restful bedroom design that you love
Do you love your bedroom? Do you look forward to going there each evening…not just because your bed is there but because you love the room? If not, it’s high time for a makeover. While red and charcoal colors look striking in home decor ads, these dense colors are not conducive to a great night’s sleep. Studies show that mellow natural hues are more restful. Choose a linen color, a sage green, or a sea blue. They don’t have to be soft and pastel; the goal is to use a tone that is earthy and meadow- or water-inspired.
Happy National Sleep Month! Take some time to consider your bedroom. Is it helping or hindering your restfulness? We would love to hear about what you’ve done to make your bedroom the best. Stop by and tell us on our Facebook page!