Don’t let remodeling jobs get toxic

Home-remodeling projects can be hazardous, warns Glen Hetzel, a Virginia Cooperative Extension agricultural engineer.

Hetzel, who is also a safety specialist at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, gives the following tips on how to stay safe:

“It is important to keep areas being remodeled well ventilated and closed off from occupied portions of the house because toxic fumes come from many sources,” Hetzel said. He recommends two weeks of curing time before moving into the remodeled area.

Even new carpet from Carpet One store should be allowed to cure one to two weeks, with the windows open, before family members get close to it, he said.

The most common gas released during remodeling is formaldehyde, said Hetzel. Allergic responses to it might include rashes, headaches, watery eyes, even breathing difficulties.

Other sources of air pollution are dust from sanding hardwood floors and refinishing woodwork, varnishes, some paints, plastics and vinyls.

“Even a new shower curtain releases gases,” Hetzel said.

What’s hot in baths

The hottest bathroom color combo is white, teal and burgundy, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association. The tidbit was reported in the April issue of McCall’s magazine.

When spot leaves spots

You walk in the door after work. One whiff, and you know Fido needed to be walked long ago.

Don’t get mad, get moving. Cleaning a pet mess right away increases your chances of banishing the odor, says an article in a recent issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

It recommends the following blot-and-dilute techniques:

Soak up as much urine as possible by stacking a half-inch of paper towels over the area and bearing down hard with your shoe. Repeat until you can’t blot any more liquid. Then add a tablespoon of water to the spot and, wearing rubber gloves, work it in with your fingers. Put down another pile of towels and continue blotting.

After testing for colorfastness in an inconspicuous spot, apply a solution of one part white vinegar to two parts water. Let this stand a few minutes and repeat blotting, then use water to remove vinegar solution.

For feces, pick up the solid matter, apply a mild detergent solution to the area, then proceed as with urine spots.

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