5 smart tricks to make cleaning faster and easier

5 smart tricks to make cleaning faster and easierGet a jump on your spring-cleaning with some tips that’ll leave every corner in your home spotless in no time.

Make it part of your routine. If you wait to clean and tidy up once a week, a month or even a season, you’re setting yourself up for a long, heavy chore that you’ll only dread and procrastinate. Instead, try incorporating easy tasks like wiping the kitchen counters, straightening out the living room and freshening up your bed with linen spray into your daily schedule and you’ll have a much easier and quicker time of it when you deep clean.

Choose appliances that tackle the dirty work. You may already have a self-cleaning oven or laundry machine, but that self-cleaning magic is more valuable than ever when you can have it in the bathroom. The new VorMax Plus self-cleaning toilet from American Standard is a huge time-saver that cleans and freshens your toilet every time you flush. Available at Home Depot, it features an innovative design that uses a Lysol fresh infuser that reduces dirt buildup and an antimicrobial surface that inhibits the growth of stain- and odour-causing bacteria.

Set tidying up on autopilot. It’s a lot easier to clean when you have a system that keeps your house clean. Keep your mud room area in top shape by encouraging everyone to sort their coats, shoes and mitts as soon as they set foot in the door with designated hangers and pretty storage boxes. Eliminate unattractive packaging and clutter in the bathroom and kitchen with mason jars and decorative canisters for your toiletries and dried goods.

Have items work double duty. Get creative and think outside the box to find things that can do some of the cleaning for you. For example, your dishwasher can do much more than just clean your plates, pots and pans. Load it up with plastic toys, light fixtures and toothbrush holders and have it run while you work on everything else. Using dryer sheets to prevent musty odours in clothing storage boxes, linen closets and shoes means you won’t have to do extra cleaning or laundry just to get rid of unwanted smells.

Add some inspiration. Sometimes tasks feel like they take forever simply because they’re dull and repetitive. Time flies by when you’re entertained, so listen to a podcast or stream re-runs of your favourite show in the background for cleaning that seems speedier. You can also use the time more efficiently by multitasking and squeezing in a workout while you clean. Make every step count with a fitness tracker and throw in a few exercises like pushups or squats every time you switch rooms and easily meet your daily physical activity goals.


Have fun in the sun safely this March break

Have fun in the sun safely this March breakWith time off around the corner, it’s time to think of sun care. Whether you’re headed down south or planning a staycation, you need to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. In fact, both snow and water can reflect UV rays, making your skin even more susceptible to sun damage. Whether you’re on a ski hill or on a beach, here are a few tips to keep your skin healthy.

Apply sunscreen daily. Choose one with a minimum SPF of 30 to help prevent skin damage due to gradual exposure to the sun. Even if your makeup or skincare contains SPF, opt for a product that is exclusively sunscreen, as the skincare or makeup ingredients dilute the protection.

Use a different sunscreen on your face. Formulas designed for your face and ones made for your body are different in texture and how they perform on the skin. Compared with body sun care, face care products are generally thinner, less greasy and look for ones that are non-comedogenic, as they’re less likely to cause breakouts and sit better under makeup.

Choose between mineral and chemical formulas. Mineral and chemical sunscreens act differently on the skin, so it’s important to know what works for you. Mineral sunscreen is longer-lasting, ideal for sensitive skin and have a better shelf life. However, it is thicker in texture, making it more difficult to blend, and it has a white cast. Chemical sunscreen is thinner in texture and easy to blend, and less product is needed. On the other hand, it tends to be pore-clogging and can irritate sensitive skin.

Choose an appropriate SPF. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, SPF 15 blocks around 93 per cent of UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks around 97 per cent, while SPF 50 blocks around 98. The difference in protection is minimal, but that small percentage can add up over a lifetime. Also, you cannot layer SPF for greater protection. You are only as protected as the highest SPF number you put on. For example, an SPF 10 and an SPF 20 do not equal SPF 30.

Understanding your sun care needs and the best products to meet them can be difficult. Head to a local pharmacy like Shoppers Drug Mart to speak with a pharmacist and beauty expert to make sure you’re protected.


Top home maintenance tips for spring

Top home maintenance tips for springAs warm weather approaches, spring is the perfect season to assess whether your home is in tip-top shape after a long winter. Below are four home maintenance tips every homeowner should consider to help keep insurance claims at bay while increasing the value of your home.

Get those gutters clean. With warmer weather and a greater likelihood of flash rain storms, now is the time to make sure your eavestroughs are clean. Removing any debris like leaves and dirt will prevent gutter backup and reduce leaks when it rains.

Keep the roof over your head. Roof damage — including loose shingles, leaks and cracks — is common during the winter due to the heavy weight added by snow and ice and icicle formation. As winter melts away, inspect your roof and attic to determine if any repairs are required.

Check the drainage of your property. Receding snow and ice may unveil eroded landscapes or pond-sized puddles on your property. Take advantage of the changing season to ensure your property is fitted with appropriate drainage fixes. This may be as simple as extending your downspout to drain into the lowest area of your yard.

Make sure you’re covered. Now is a good time to look at your home insurance plan and make sure your coverage is adequate. Summer weather events, social gatherings and time away can make your home more susceptible to damage or break-ins. You can easily manage your policy online with companies such as Esurance, freeing more time to enjoy all that summer has to offer.