Staying safe during home renovations

The first back-to-school sale catches you by surprise. Where did the summer go?  With the return of shorter days and cooler temperatures, perhaps there are some neglected renovation projects that you can finally tackle.

Even if it’s only painting the kitchen, here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe:

  • Is there asbestos in your house? If you are planning renovations and your home has building materials already installed that you think may contain asbestos — like insulation, exterior siding, floor or ceiling tiles — contact a trained and qualified asbestos abatement professional. They can test for and remove asbestos before you begin the renovations. Never try to remove building materials that may contain asbestos yourself. If left undisturbed, there are no significant health risks from asbestos.
  • Understand what you’re using. Whether it’s paint, caulking or even window cleaner, use chemical products as directed. Follow all safety and usage instructions on the label, including how to dispose of anything left over.
  • Be sure to pick up gloves, a mask and a pair of safety glasses. The label of the product will provide more detailed information on personal safety equipment you should use. This is essential to protect you and your family.
  • Keep all chemicals away from children. Keep all household chemical products safely stored where kids cannot see or reach them.
  • Make sure there is plenty of ventilation during painting or varnishing projects, or when installing wall-to-wall carpets using glues or adhesives.

Tips to remember when revitalizing old furniture

Whether you’re stripping a chair you found in a garage sale, staining a vintage dresser or painting dated kitchen cabinets, be sure to protect yourself and those around you in the process. Here is what to do:

  1. Read the label. Follow all safety and usage instructions on the label, including how to dispose of any leftover products.
  2. Work in an area with lots of ventilation. Refinish old furniture outdoors, if weather permits. If you work inside, open the windows to make sure there is plenty of ventilation.
  3. Do not use sanders, heat guns or blowlamps. This can create dust and fumes that may contain lead.
  4. Use a chemical paint stripper. Ideally, choose one with a paste that can be applied with a brush. Paint strippers also contain substances that may be harmful, so use them carefully.
  5. Keep children and pregnant women away from the work area. This will help ensure their safety.
  6. Always wear safety glasses, gloves, and a good-quality breathing mask. The label of the product will provide more detailed information on personal safety equipment you should use. These are essential to protect you and your family.
  7. Store materials properly. Make sure that you store refinishing chemicals in a dry, cool place. Keep any hazardous material away from children’s reach.
  8. Dispose of refinishing waste materials properly. It can be very dangerous to throw away rags and certain other materials that have been used for refinishing furniture. Aside from potentially starting a fire, they can also cause serious damage to the environment.

How to clean tricky areas in your home

Some nooks and crannies in the home can confound even the most fastidious housekeepers. Fortunately, a little elbow grease, the right tools and some simple techniques can go a long way toward an exceptionally clean home.

Get rid of gunk. When showering or using the bathroom sink becomes an unpleasant experience, it’s time to de-grime. Remove limescale and other gunk with DIY techniques and an ingredient already stocked in many homes — white vinegar. Soak shower tracks and the tub in vinegar for 30 minutes and wipe clean. Similarly, a rub with vinegar-soaked cotton balls on faucets, handles and other areas will leave the bathroom shining without any damage from abrasive scrubbing.

Conquer crevices. The many hard-to-reach areas of your home such as baseboards, vents, around appliances and under furniture might be neglected even when doing a thorough clean. Fortunately, Beam Central Vacuums feature lightweight hoses and ergonomic crevice and multi-tools that make it easy to maneuver and tackle even the most aggravating areas for an ultimate clean.

Freshen the fridge. The refrigerator needs a good cleaning every few months. Decrease the stress on its motor by pulling it from the wall, mopping the floor and vacuuming the coils in the back. Inside, soapy water will keep the shelves sparkling, while a damp cloth will remove smudges on the outside.

Denounce your dirty oven. You need to use some elbow grease to get rid of the actual grease. Remove hood vents, racks and burners, soak in soapy water and rinse twice per year. Wipe down the doors and crevices thoroughly before replacing the racks, then blast away any remaining grit by running the oven’s self-cleaning option.

Learn more about cleaning tricky areas of your home at