Recent Posts

Happy National Air Conditioning Day!

7/17/2018 (Permalink)

Try to imagine the world we live in without air conditioning and how uncomfortable it would be!

It was 116 years ago today, July 17, 1902 that the air conditioner was invented. Willis Carrier was an engineer, working to invent a machine that would control air temperature and humidity for a printing plant in Brooklyn, New York. His mission was to somehow create something that would keep the paper from shrinking, wrinkling, etc in the summer heat. What he wound up inventing was the first mechanical, electrical air conditioner and it would prove to be one of the world's most revolutionary inventions to date.

Thank you, Willis Carrier for inventing the Air Conditioner and for the enormous impact it continues to have on all of our daily lives!


Great Uses For Baking Soda

7/16/2018 (Permalink)

The solution to many household cleaning and freshening problems is probably sitting in your cupboard right now—baking soda. Here are some Great uses for baking soda around your home!

  • Clean Floors- Get deep cleaned floors by mixing one-half cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water to make an effective cleanser for no-wax and tile floors. For scuff marks, sprinkle baking soda onto a damp sponge and gently rub until the scuff is gone.
  • Deodorize Carpets- To get rid of unpleasant odor from carpets and rugs, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the carpet and let it sit overnight. Vacuum until all baking soda is removed.
  • Deodorize Everything- We all know that an open box of baking soda can counterbalance odors in the fridge, but don’t stop there! You can use baking soda to chase away odors in garbage cans, dishwashers, and litter boxes. Simply sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the container or appliance, let sit for several hours or overnight, then rinse or wipe clean with a damp sponge.
  • Soap Scum- The infamous soap scum in the bathroom. Sprinkle baking soda onto a clean, damp sponge and wipe down surfaces, then rinse with cool water. For heavier bathroom cleaning jobs, make a paste of baking soda, salt, and liquid dish soap. Spread on the surface, then wipe clean and rinse.
  • Clean Drains- By pouring baking soda down the drain while running warm water, you can help neutralize acidity and odors. Make sure to do it on a regular basis.
  • Extinguish Fires- For small cooking fires, make sure to turn off the electricity or gas to the stove, stand back, and throw handfuls of baking soda at the base of the flame to put out the fire.


Health Hazards Buried in your bathroom

7/12/2018 (Permalink)

Candles, music, and tub filled with bubbles may be just what you need after a long day. But, with all that plumbing, humidity, and other business going on in there, your bathroom is full of unexpected hazards.

  • Soap Scum- Neglecting your tub is not only unsightly - that slimy buildup can lead to slips and falls while bathing or getting in and out of the tub. Aside from keeping your tub clean or shower floor clean, consider adding non-slip strips to the floor or installing grab bars to decrease the risk of injury.
  • Mold- Mold can grow often in the grout between tiles or along caulk lines due to an influx of humidity. Prevent the buildup with proper ventilation, including dehumidifiers, fans, and open windows.
  • Air Fresheners- Some sprays contain VOCs and cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde. Try opting for a fan or opening a window instead of covering any unpleasant scents.
  • Cleaning Products- Although we are tempted to use the strongest cleanser we can find, some commercial cleaners contain chemicals that can irritate the eyes and skin or emit dangerous fumes. Instead, look for cleansers certified as the Safer Choice by the EPA.
  • Hairballs- Overtime, all the hair, products, and dirt you wash down the sink can clog up the pipes. A clog can lead to an overflow in the sink or tub that causes water damage through the rest of the room. To prevent it, run a snake through the pipes anytime the draining starts to slow.
  • Anti-bacterial Soap- Many soaps marketed as antibacterial contain additives like triclosan and triclocarban, which have been linked to afflictions from allergies to hormone disruption. Plus, they don’t actually get your hands any cleaner than vigorous washing with regular soap and water.


Care For Some Cleaning Tips?

7/11/2018 (Permalink)

Care for some cleaning tips? SERVPRO of Western Essex County are here to give you a friendly reminder to clean these unexpected Spots around the house

  • Dust off your ceiling fan’s blades with a pillow case to prevent dust from flying all over the air. Start by sliding an old pillow case over the blade, then slowly slide it off, maintaining light pressure against the blade. Any dust will fall right into the case instead of all over the floor and air.
  • Do you gag every time you take out the trash to the garbage can? Sure, you may say that it will just get smelly all over again, but there's a tolerable level of stench that you can maintain if you just spray it down with a hose and a sprayer attachment. It should be strong enough to push all of that built-on grime.
  • Make a DIY spray for your outdoor furniture. Mix half a cup of vinegar, a cup of club soda, a cup of dish soap, and 15 drops of essential oil in a spray bottle. Spray all over the furniture and scrub with a bristle brush. Wipe off with a microfiber towel. Good like new!
  • Need outdoor cushions cleaned too? Scrub the cushions with a solution of a quart of warm water, a teaspoon of dishwashing detergent, and a tablespoon of Borax. Let cushions soak for 15 minutes, then rinse them with a hose. Stand them on their sides in the sun to dry.
  • I’m sure that dirt and pollen left behind on your windows doesn’t look very attractive. Rub warm soapy water all over the windows with the squeegee, then remove the cover to pull the squeegee across the window from top to bottom. Dry off the rubber blade after every pass and only move in one direction so you aren't pushing the dirt around.
  • Want to learn a neat trick for dusty window screens? You can vacuum the screens from the inside by putting the brush head on your vacuum and gently brushing the screen. No need to take them out of the window!
  • Rusty gardening tools? Spray your gardening tools with vinegar and wrap them in paper towels. Set them off to the side for 2 hours. Use a toothbrush to scrub off the rust, and rinse and dry the tools. Sprinkle baking soda all over the tools and splash water on them for a follow-up scrub. You can store them afterward in oiled sand to keep them lubricated


Pink Mold?

7/3/2018 (Permalink)

Have you noticed discoloration in your bathroom surfaces? Pink mold can be unpleasant to look at but follow these tips and kick this mold to the curb for good!

Unlike Cladosporium, or the notorious black mold, pink “mold” at all. The discoloration that you see comes from a biofilm of Serratia marcescens. It thrives in moist areas like your shower. It feeds on mineral deposits in soap scum and fatty deposits in soap and shampoo residue. Although it may be harmless to some, this mold can cause some illnesses such as a urinary tract or bladder infections if it enters the body through the eyes or open wound. Luckily, the pink to almost red coloring the mold produces makes it much easier to pin point and remove from shower, walls, floors, countertops, shower doors, and curtain liners.

  • The biofilm of Serratia marcescens can be removed through a little elbow grease. Start by mixing a quarter-cup baking soda and a tablespoon of liquid dish soap in a small bowl. Try to limit your exposure to the bacteria by wearing gloves and protective glasses. Vigorously scrub down any visible patches of biofilm on hard surfaces in the shower with a soft bristle brush. Rinse away any loosen biofilm.
  • Make sure to disinfect these same areas. It is not enough just to scrub away the biofilm. You must disinfect to get rid of any lingering bacteria to prevent it from returning. Bleach is your best option for killing any last bit of bacteria left behind. Pour six ounces each of chlorine bleach powder and warm water into a 12-ounce spray bottle. Spray the solution over the hard surfaces and let it sit for 10 minutes. Use a fresh soft bristle brush to scrub down surfaces, rinse down the surface, and dry with a clean towel.
  • Sanitize your shower curtains. It is a popular hangout spot for pink mold since curtains are rarely cleaned and usually riddled with soap and shampoo residue. Run your curtains through the washing machine on a gentle wash cycle preferably with warm water and let it air dry before hanging back up. This will effectively remove any Serratia marcescens bacteria.
  • Serratia marcescens is more likely to spread in damp areas, so make sure to dry or squeegee hard surfaces after every use to remove excess water.
  • Use a damp towel to wipe away soap residue that collects in the shower after every use.
  • Identify and repair leaking shower heads or faucets that may create excessive dampness in the shower.


Happy Holidays

7/3/2018 (Permalink)

As we enter the holiday spirit of backyard barbeques, flag waving, pool parties, and fireworks, we at SERVPRO of western Essex County would like to wish everyone a happy 4th of July. We would like to stress the importance of staying safe of any fireworks. While we use fireworks to mark this special holiday, it is in our best interest to stress the importance of safety. Fireworks cause thousands of burns and eye injuries each year. Most often children and teens are injured while using consumer fireworks. People can still enjoy fireworks if they follow simple safety tips. If you want to see fireworks, go to a public show put on by experts. Keep a close eye on children at events where fireworks are used.  Do not use consumer fireworks. All in all, have fun and stay cool!


Avoid Air Duct Cleaning Scams!

7/2/2018 (Permalink)

As a proud member of NADCA, our staff at SERVPRO of Western Essex County are dedicated in providing the best services for your home when it comes to air duct cleaning. We also want you to be aware of switch-and-bait tactics. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This is certainly the case with some companies offering special offers of $49 or $100 for an air duct cleaning job. We see it all the time. Companies advertising very low prices to lure potential customers in, only to up the price once inside your home. Different tactics these companies are using include offering a free mold test. From here, they might show a test where it looks like you have mold but it can potentially be a false test. This is a way for them to merely extort money. Some simple ways to avoid scams like these are to verify if the company is a NADCA member with certified contractors on staff. Always check customer reviews as they can be extremely helpful when deciding which company to go with. Try to avoid advertisements or “whole house specials” for under $100. Aside from those bad apples, there are a great amount of companies with amazing feedback, staying true to the services they provide. This is not to scare you off indefinite, but simply to educate you of potential scams.


Emergency Guide for Homeowners

6/14/2018 (Permalink)

We at SERVPRO of Western Essex County understand the inconveniences homeowners deal with in their home, whether there is a sudden burst pipe, or a flood in the basement. Here are some emergency guidelines to consider to better prepare yourself for any future common household mishaps.

Animal Invasion

                As homeowners, we are not too fond of uninvited guests. Animals can find their way inside your house causing major chaos. Urine, feces, ripped upholstery, you name it.  These little creatures sure do know how to leave a mark! No pun intended. Try closing all doors and containing it in one area. Open a window so it can find its way outside. Call animal control if this does not work.

Burst Pipes

In a matter of seconds, a burst pipe can cause a substantial amount of damage. If water is gushing out, try closing the valve closest to the link, then shut off the main water valve into the house. We at SERVPRO of Western Essex County are staffed with experienced technicians able to help with any clean up, extraction of water, or drying needed.

Black Out

                Although it seems like an unharmful inconvenience, power outages still pose dangers and safety precautions should be taken. Disconnect all appliances and electronics to avoid damage from power surges when the power returns to your home. Be careful when using candles, and make sure to stock up on flashlights and extra batteries.

Gas Leak

                If you notice a gas odor in your home or your carbon monoxide sounds, evacuate as quickly as possible. Once relocated to a safer area, call your gas company and ask them to send you a technician to check for any leaks.


Common House Fire Hazards you may not be Aware of

5/16/2018 (Permalink)

Many people do not realize it but there are numerous bad habits we tend to ignore that may spark a fire in our homes. Consider the following hazards:

  1. Dirty rags- Sure, we’re inclined to pile up rags in a corner, but be aware! Oil soaked rags thrown and left unattended can potentially oxidized, spontaneously combusting, causing a house fire. Let rags dry flat outside or if disposing, use a metal can filled with water and a tight lid.
  2. Improper use of electric blankets- Yes, even a cozy blanket can go wrong. Never let your pet to snuggle on top, and make sure not to pile extra covers over the electric blanket. Excessive heat build-up can trigger a fire. To stay on the side, keep your blanket on the lowest setting and don’t forget to turn it off when not in use.
  3. Home Appliances Recalls- A significant amount of home appliances caused house fires in the past decade, some being from defective appliances. To ensure that you are on top of your home appliances, register your appliances with the manufacturers or to see if any of your models are on the list.
  4. Dryer Lint- Aside from cleaning your lint screen for more drying efficiency, did you know that lint can become flammable? Be very consistent with cleaning out lint from your dryer vent and exhaust duct.
  5. Excess amount of extension cords- Connecting a large amount of cords for an extensive amount of time can cause a short circuit and ignite a fire. Extension cords are not permanent solutions for a lack of electrical outlets.
  6. Oven Range hoods- While stoves can be a very common source for kitchen fires, range hoods present potential fire hazards as well. Grease builds up inside the vent hood filter and can potentially drip onto the stove, igniting a probable fire.


Is it time to replace your carpet?

5/9/2018 (Permalink)

Any carpet that experiences regular use will need to be replace sooner or later. Carpets usually have 5-15-year life span. Consider the following to determine if your carpet is due for a replacement.

  • Stains on your carpet? Although most carpets come with a stain resistance finish, the treatment fades away over time and leaves the carpet unprotected. If you find yourself covering stains with furniture or rugs, it may be time for a carpet replacement. Fortunately, professionals like SERVPRO of Western Essex County have the skills to remove tough stains.
  • Certain stains such as pet urine or vomit are easily clean but bacteria from such can absorb into the carpet padding, eventually creating mold. Please consider replacing the carpet due to health hazards.
  • Experiencing bad odor? When owning a pet or you haven’t cleaned in a while, you will notice a persisting smell on your carpet. Usually with some proper cleaning, the smell will subside. If it doesn’t, typically the odors have penetrated deep into the carpet padding or subfloor.
  • If you notice that your allergies have increased, one source may be your older carpet. Often, older carpets retain allergens which can cause your allergies to act up.
  • How old is your carpet? color loss, fading, matting, ripples, wrinkles and lack of padding support can be a clear indication that your carpet has reached its end.