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Published: Saturday, October 03, 2015 @ 4:19 AM
Updated: Saturday, October 03, 2015 @ 4:19 AM
When it comes to best practices for washing clothes, there are some traditional rules of thumb. According to some recent insight from the experts over at Consumer Reports, however, the rules have changed.
With all the different options for detergents and machines available today, many people have forgotten how water temperature impacts the effectiveness of washing clothes.
Washing in cold water is a much more effective option than it used to be, according to Consumer Reports experts. Traditionally, detergents required higher water temperatures in order for them to be most effective.
That's no longer the case. Detergents are made differently today, in a way that allows them to be more effective at lower temperatures.
Today, “detergents are formulated with enzymes that kick into action even at 60 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Pat Slaven, a chemical engineer who has worked as a detergent tester for Consumer Reports for 10 years.
So what does that mean exactly?
Cold water works just fine
You can wash your clothes on a cold cycle and the detergent will do its job and clean your clothes just fine. The only exception is for people who live in areas where tap water is typically colder -- places like Maine and Alaska, where tap water can run at temperatures of around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. So if you're one of those people, experts says it's better to have a newer machine "that automatically adds some hot water to your cold cycle or your detergent won’t dissolve properly."
If you're trying to remove a stain, cold water is still a better option, according to the experts. Once the water temperature reaches above 75 degrees, detergents becomes less effective, and the heat can actually help stains set into the clothing. Hotter water can also damage some fabrics and colors.
When to use hot water
Cold water will clean dirty clothes just fine, but it won't sanitize them. And sanitizing clothes and other items is necessary in certain situations, for example, if someone in your home is sick -- and potentially contagious -- or if you use reusable diapers.
In order to properly sanitize sheets, clothes and items like cloth diapers, you need to use very, very hot water. Even the warm and hot cycle settings on new washers don't use water that's hot enough.
According to Consumer Reports experts, “As long as you’re using a decent detergent and a decent machine, almost anything washed in water at 65 degrees Fahrenheit is fine."
Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 4:01 PM
— The “Agony and the Ecstasy” may be a literary classic, but it's also an on-point description of owning a house with a lawn. Yes, it offers a wonderful play space for the kids and a respite from the workaday world for the adults. But when the heat climbs and the brown spots start showing and the lawn guy who signed up in cooler months starts ghosting you, your lawn can turn into real burden.
It doesn't have to be that way, though. If you select lawn care professionals carefully and follow up with the respect that will keep them around, a lush green lawn can be yours− even in August.
Set the standard
According to Sue Silva of Arbor-Nomics, you should think of keeping your grass green the same way you think of having a healthy smile. "Your dentist provides regular care along with advice on preventing problems and warning signs to watch for. In between visits, you floss, brush and follow recommendations for any special care. You want that same kind of relationship with your lawn service. Regular weed killer treatments and fertilization alone won't guarantee a yard you're proud of and enjoy being in. For best results, you need to work with someone who is knowledgeable in what they do and can explain what you need to do."
Avoid the over-the-phone estimator. You'll never get anywhere with a company or individual who can't be bothered to see your lawn and answer your questions before discussing money.
Ask about later. Potential hires should be able to tell you about their refund policy and how their work is guaranteed. Make sure to get it in writing.
Find someone who understands fertilizer. According to Reader's Digest landscaping experts, many bigger lawn companies recommend too much fertilizer. You can save money and possibly avoid health risks if you look for a company or independent contractor who will employ a fertilizer with time-releasing water-insoluble nitrogen and use it only twice a year on a steady schedule.
Consider several options. It's not just price that will vary depending on who does your lawn. You'll also encounter different ways of billing, bundling services and establishing a fee schedule for everything from buying seedlings to paying electronically. Home Advisor recommended speaking to at least three or four lawn care providers before settling on one.
Check their mowing standard. According to LawnStarter, one simple question will weed out low-quality lawn care providers: "How often do you sharpen your blades?" Dull blades make grass look tattered and brown on top. Ask them how many mowing hours they go through before changing or sharpening blades. The answer should be no more than 10 hours. Popular Mechanics adds that a home owner or a professional will get the greenest lawn by letting the clippings fall while mowing. It's also important never to mow unless there's rain in the short-term forecast.
Get personal. "When it comes to the techs themselves, the fewer the better – at least in terms of who treats your property," Silva noted. "You're better served by having the same dedicated technician or tech team visit after visit. That way they get to really know your yard and can stay on top of any problem areas."
Get references. The lawn care industry is tricky, according to LawnStarter, which operates franchises in the Georgia area, because the industry is decentralized. "While Yelp reviews don't provide the whole story (usually only really positive and really negative experiences are written about), it does provide a good glimpse at what you're getting into. In addition, ask your neighbors which company they use and what they think of them." If you expect immediate service and are willing to pay for the privilege, you might want to consider a company that employs an office manager or owner-manager who can respond promptly.
Look for a business license and insurance. Sure, there are high-quality contractors who don't have multiple certifications, but most homeowners want a firm with a business license and proper insurance, so you won't be liable for injuries or damages, Katherine Hutt, a spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau, told MarketWatch.
You're part of the equation, too.
When it comes to hiring the most reliable and competent lawn care professionals - particularly the little guy businesses - you're in competition with other homeowners and renters. Think of it like trying to hold onto a really good babysitter. Sure, you're already paying for lawn care, maybe a king's ransom if you've opted for the manicured lawn approach, but if you want your lawn to be the first serviced by an independent contractor when everyone needs mowing at the same time, being nice goes a long way.
Clear the yard before the mowers arrive. Be sure to pick up toys and dog poop and all the other things that can get in the way of the highly qualified professional you hired to mow your lawn.
Put the pets up ahead of time. Instead of inadvertently wasting a lawn care pro's time (or risking having to pay for a return visit), develop a routine that involves securing all your indoor and outdoor pets out of harm's way on mowing day.
Keep the kids off the clock. It's crucial not to waste a landscaper or mower's time. "We know your kids want to help," one professional told Reader's Digest, "but they're just making our job take longer."
Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 12:38 PM
Updated: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 12:38 PM
— Most people aren't too happy when they encounter a spider, and that's especially true if the creepy-crawly you come across happens to be venomous.
Although it's understandable to be anxious about venomous spiders, it’s important to know the difference between a harmless spider and a dangerous one.
Here are some important tips from experts on dealing with venomous spiders and what to do if you think you’ve been bit.
Identify types of venomous spiders
Even if you think you've been bitten by a spider, most are actually harmless, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Only a few types have venom strong enough to harm you and fangs (yikes!) long enough to penetrate your skin.
Venomous spiders found in the Southeast include:
Black widow – identified by the pattern of red coloration on the underside of its abdomen.
Brown widow – identified by an orange hourglass shape on a brown body
Brown recluse – identified by its brown color and dark violin-shaped marking on its head.
Wear gloves when you're working outside or in the garage
If you stick your bare hand into some brush, you may be bitten by a brown or black widow. Although they usually try to avoid people, they don't have a choice if you accidentally wrap your hand around one, according to UGA Extension. Be sure to wear long sleeves and gloves when you're cleaning in the garage, clearing brush or pulling a log off a woodpile.
Look out for your clothes and shoes
Black and brown widows can also hide in clothes and shoes that have been left outside, UGA Extension advised. The best solution is to not leave these items outside (or in your garage) if you can possibly avoid it, and, if not, make sure you shake them out and check them carefully before putting them on.
Use insect repellent
The Mayo Clinic recommends using an insect repellent containing DEET on your clothes and shoes.
Don't create a habitat your home
Don't store firewood against your house, since it can serve as a haven for spiders who can then find their way inside. The same is true for piles of rocks or lumber near your home.
Clean up spider webs
If you see a spider web inside your home, vacuum it up, put it in a sealed bag and dispose of it outside.
Make it harder for spiders to get inside your home
Make sure you have screens on your windows and doors that fit tightly. Seal any cracks where spiders could work their way into your home.
Recognize the signs of a bite
Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 11:48 AM
— Paddlesport aficionados have hand-picked Dayton as a “(Next) Best Paddling Town,” and we want to brag about that for a second.
Canoe and Kayaking Magazine released an article hailing Dayton and the Great Miami Riverway for not only being one of only 22 National Water Trails, “spanning over 150 miles to its confluence with the Ohio River,” but for the work Dayton has done to give recreational access to the river.
The article says the Wright Brothers unknowingly laid a foundation for Dayton to be a phenomenal outdoor recreation destination.
“With their eyes set on the sky, the Wright Brothers may not have realized the ground they laid to launch Dayton into a future of recreation tourism, from on-water adventures along the Great Miami Riverway to trails across the land and the open sky above,” according to the article.
"It's fun just to watch the kayakers do tricks and flips in the rapids," said Elizabeth Connor, the Great Miami Riverway Coordinator with the Miami Conservancy District, an organization working to protect, preserve and promote the Riverway and its communities. If you're not ready to get wet, join the ranks of spectators on the riverbank to watch the kayakers play.
The magazine goes on to highlight the many amenities that are available on and around the river trail for paddling, kayaking and canoeing alike. They credit Dayton’s outdoor recreational success to excellent communication and marketing of the region’s opportunities— a powerful combination the author traces back to the Wright Brothers.
“On par with their aviation history, the sky’s the limit for the Great Miami Riverway through Dayton, Ohio,” according to the article.
Dayton is known as the Outdoor Adventure Capitol of the Midwest due to recreational opportunities from biking to hiking to water adventures. Here is why Dayton is getting attention for paddling in particular.
1. WATER TRAILS
The Great Miami River, Mad River, and Stillwater River were designated as state water trails in August, 2010 and all three water trails were designated as a national water trail in 2016. Together, they make the largest water trail system in Ohio. The trail collectively offers 265 miles of waterway accessible to recreational boaters, fishermen and wildlife watchers. A water trail is a network of publicly accessible facilities that provide opportunities to fish; launch canoes, kayaks, and other craft; and explore the natural and cultural heritage along the river.
2. PADDLING AMENITIES
The area was already home to Mad River Run at Eastwood MetroPark and the ECO Sports Corridor in Springfield and unveiled the Riverscape River Run in 2017. These are three big destinations for paddlers of all skill levels. But there are many others.
3. BUILT IN SUPPORT
Parks systems and businesses continue to work on ways to facilitate paddlesport recreation in the area, including programming and equipment rentals for beginners to advanced canoe and kayak enthusiasts.
• Twin Creek Kayak & Canoe Livery, 1341 W. Market St, Germantown; (937) 903-8934
Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 @ 6:00 AM
— One of Tipp City’s daughters plays the object of Jennifer Aniston’s son’s affection in a newly released movie.
Carrie Wampler, 21, plays Army medic Jenny Smith in the Alexandre Moors directed film “The Yellow Bird.”
Wampler has appeared in a number of TV shows and in commercials since her family made the permanent move to Hollywood about a decade ago so Carrie and her siblings, Phillip and Christina “Cricket” Wampler, now 19 and 17, could act professionally.
RELATED: Tipp City siblings get their shot at Hollywood fame (July 31, 2010)
“The Yellow Bird” is Carrie’s first big-screen movie.
Her scenes were filmed in Morocco with “Solo: A Star Wars Story” star Alden Ehrenreich as Brandon Bartle and Tye Sheridan as Daniel Murphy.
“Moracco was such a culture shock and fascinating,” said Wampler, the daughter of Holly and Chris Wampler.
The recently released Iraq War action drama revolves around two young soldiers played by Ehreneich and Bartle and their mothers, Aniston and Toni Collette.
Jason Patrick is also in the film released in select theaters on June 15.
It is available on DirectTV and other streaming platforms.
Being part of the movie was an experience she says she cherishes.
“They definitely brought out the best of my character,” Wampler said. “They were the best.”
Wampler had a recurring role as “Brooke” on The Disney Channel's "Austin & Ally." She has guest starred on shows such as NBC's "Parks and Recreation," "Surviving Jack," "Instant Mom" and "Malibu Country."
Many of Wampler’s family members still live in Tipp City, her grandmother Merrily Swisher included.
Wampler said she will always love Tipp City and all of the Dayton area even thought she and her siblings have gone full throttle with acting careers in Hollywood.
It hasn’t always been easy or glamorous.
“It is definitely not a sprint. It is a marathon,” Wampler said. “(People) don’t know how hard everyone is working toward their goals.”
Wampler, who recently appeared with Jason Ritter in the Funny or Die web series “Tale of Titans,” said she’d love to have a role in a TV comedy series.
“I am not comparing myself to other people’s careers,” she said. “I want to climb my own ladder.”
Despite the pressures and temptations that can often come with Hollywood, Wampler said she, her siblings and parents remain tight and focused.
“It is a Team Wampler thing,” she said. We are not competitive. We still root for each other.”
All three Wampler children still live with their parents as they continue to pursue their goals. Cricket is a high school senior.
Carrie Wampler said it has been a slow climb, but one she is enjoying.
“If you are in it for the wrong reasons, it would be disappointing,” she said. “If you love the craft of it, you will never be disappointed.”