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Cleaning Myths and The Facts - SERVPRO of Bethlehem

4/12/2018 (Permalink)

Cleaning Myths and The Facts From Your Local SERVPRO of Bethlehem

When you just want to clean your house after everyday use you want it to be done quick and easy. Not confusing and hard. These 10 myths about cleaning will be explained to help you clean with a more effective product or to show you that the product you are using doesn't work as well as you thought. Enjoy!

Myth: Newspaper does windows well

Fact: Wet newspaper tears easily and the ink can transfer to window trim, leaving more to clean. Use microfiber cloths to clean glass. They’re the best at cleaning without streaking.

Myth: Coca-cola belongs in the toilet

Fact: Coke isn’t “it” when it comes to cleaning your toilet bowl. Coke is acidic, so it could be effective at removing hard water stains BUT soda could actually darken stains and the sugar could encourage bacteria.

Myth: Handwashing dishes is better than using a dishwasher

Fact: If your dishwasher is a decade old, this may be true, but today’s models beat handwashing by a mile. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star website, using a dishwasher that bears the Energy Star label can save some 5,000 gallons of water, more than $40 dollars in energy costs, and 230 hours in personal time over the course of a year, versus handwashing. And, because dishwashers heat the water to 140°F, they’ll sanitize the dishes, too.

Myth: Coffee freshens garbage disposers

Fact: Coffee grounds may act as a mild abrasive, removing gunk from disposer blades, but baking soda is a better choice: It’s also mildly abrasive, and because it’s a base it will counteract all the smelly acids that we put down the drain.

Myth: Vinegar cleans everything

Fact: Vinegar is an acid, so it can cut through dirt and can kill bacteria, but only if you use it at full or nearly full strength. Most people put a capful in a bucket of water, and that doesn’t do much. The acids in vinegar can damage natural stone and wood surfaces.

Myth: Hairspray removes ballpoint ink

Fact: This may have been true years ago, when hairsprays were formulated with more alcohol (which does remove ink) than they are today, but not anymore. Today’s hairsprays are full of stiffeners and hardeners that will just make the stain worse. Just use rubbing alcohol. It’s far less expensive than hairspray, and doesn’t include any extra ingredients.

Myth: Bleach cleans everything

Fact: Bleach actually doesn’t ‘clean’ anything—because it doesn’t remove soil. It can lighten stains, making things look cleaner, and it kills bacteria, so it’s better as a sanitizer than as a cleaner.      

Myth: Feathers make great dusters

Fact: Genuine ostrich-feather dusters do attract dust, but they’re expensive and are generally not as effective as lambswool or microfiber options. Most feather dusters just spread the dust around. Also, they tend to drop feathers which is just leaving you more to pick up.

Myth: Cleaning solutions work instantly

Fact: Nope. We recommend allowing any cleaning solution to sit on the surface for two to three minutes. Always follow the directions on the product’s label. Some solutions, like disinfectants, need a full ten minutes to truly kill bacteria.

Myth: String makes the best mops

Fact: Industrial-style string mops may look impressive, but studies have shown that microfiber mops are about 20 percent more effective at removing dirt and bacteria. String mops are very absorbent, so they’re great at cleaning up big spills, but if you want to make sure you’re not leaving anything behind on the floor, use a microfiber mop.

SERVPRO of Bethlehem proudly serves you and specializes in fire, smoke, mold, water and biohazard damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, SERVPRO is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

Deodorization Powers of Ozone Gas - Bethlehem, PA

4/12/2018 (Permalink)

Many consumers may have heard miraculous deodorization powers of Ozone gas. What is ozone you may ask?  Here is an explanation. “Ozone (O3) is a highly reactive molecule and is very quick to chemically react with particles that it comes into contact with in the air and on surfaces” according to Ozonesolutions.com in an article titled “How Does Ozone Remove Odors.” Since Ozone is a volatile and reactive molecule, it is able to break down bacteria’s, molecules, or molds that are causing odors in homes. The fact that ozone is a gas means it can seek out hard to reach spaces and clean locations that you may not be able to find. Essentially, Ozone is able to clean anywhere that air can reach in a structure.

There are some safety concerns to be aware of. Ozone is deadly to what SERVPRO calls the three P’s, which includes people, pets, and plants. Additionally, Ozone can bleach materials such as carpeting or furniture under the correct conditions. Contact a SERVPRO professional to find out if using Ozone at your home or business is right for you to take care of any unwanted odors.

SERVPRO of Bethlehem – 610-838-0200

Source: https://www.ozonesolutions.com/journal/2009/how-does-ozone-remove-odor/

Vandalism and Graffiti Clean Up in Bethlehem

4/3/2018 (Permalink)

Vandalism and graffiti can be very upsetting. It can range from a minor prank to malicious destruction of property. Often simple acts of vandalism, like breaking a window, can cause significant damages, like that from water, which can cause mold.

Here is a short list of what to do and what not to do if you find yourself a victim of vandalism.

Do:

  • Record all damage and photograph areas when possible.
  • Save containers revealing the ingredients of products used in vandalism damage, when available.
  • Hose or wash egg or other residue damage from building exterior as soon as possible.
  • Carefully vacuum glass particles from carpets and upholstery.

Don't:

  • Attempt to remove ink, paint or cosmetic stains.
  • Operate damaged electrical appliances.
  • Discard broken or damaged pieces from porcelain, furniture or other contents that may be repairable.

The professionals at SERVPRO of Bethlehem will act quickly to remove vandalism and graffiti from home and commercial spaces. In addition to removing spray-painted graffiti from exterior walls, we can also clean your driveways, walkways, asphalt, metals, wood, glass, plastic and masonry. Our highly trained technicians can help to restore your home or business back to its original beauty.

Need Vandalism and Graffiti Cleanup Services?
Call Us Today – (610) 838-0200

Teaching Your Children to Handle the Unexpected

3/20/2018 (Permalink)

Teaching your children to handle the unexpected

Handling the Unexpected

It’s almost that time of year again when schools are out for summer and the kids run free. Sometimes things happen and our children are left to fend for themselves for part of the day and sometimes the entire day.  This can come with some hesitation as we allow our children to grow up and fend for themselves.  Rest assured the more that you prepare them for this phenomenon, the better off you both will be. 

Handling the Unexpected

You can feel more confident about your absence if your child learns some basic skills that might come in handy during an emergency. Organizations such as the American Red Cross offer courses in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in local places like schools, hospitals, and community centers.

Before being left home alone, your child should be able to complete certain tasks and safety precautions, such as:

  • knowing when and how to call 911 and what address information to give the dispatcher
  • knowing how to work the home security system, if you have one, and what to do if the alarm is accidentally set off
  • locking and unlocking doors
  • working the phone/cell phone (in some areas, you have to dial 1 or the area code to dial out)
  • turning lights off and on
  • operating the microwave

Knowing what to do if:

  • there's a small fire in the kitchen
  • the smoke alarm goes off
  • there’s severe weather
  • a stranger comes to the door
  • someone calls for a parent who isn't home
  • there's a power outage

Regularly discuss some emergency scenarios — ask what your child would do if, for example, he or she smelled smoke, a stranger knocked at the door, or someone called for you while you're gone.

Call SERVPRO of Bethlehem at 610-838-0200. We are Here to Help.

Lehigh Valley Technology Company and Disaster Planning

3/13/2018 (Permalink)

According to FEMA “40% of businesses never re-open after a Disaster.” This statistic, paired with the fact that many businesses do not have a plan to properly deal with a disaster means recovering from a major weather event is an uphill battle. While SERVPRO can repair the physical space and contents of your building, there is something that may be lost or destroyed that can be far more valuable. What would happen if you lost your data? Phone numbers, banking accounts, financial records the list goes on and on.

Scott Gingold of the Lehigh Valley Technology Company deals with getting his clients prepared for some of the very real scenarios that can result if you are not prepared for a disaster. Here are some details from a recent article.

“What would you do if you walked into your office and all your equipment was stolen? What if a bad storm causes a power surge that kills your server? Maybe you or one of your employees deletes an important folder of information? How would you react if your personal hard drive crashed and all your family photos and personal files were gone? The truth is, your data is at risk every day.

Would you be able to retrieve all your information, including customer data, financial information and other critical data quickly if one the many risks that threaten your data does destroy your files? Would you be able to get your business back up and running without your most critical information?

Experts say that 93% of businesses that lose their data for 5 days or more due to a disaster, file for bankruptcy or close their business within one year of the data loss.”

Don’t become another statistic. Create a disaster plan to ensure that your business can bounce back quickly and if you need help getting started, call SERVPRO of Bethlehem at 610-838-0200. We provide free disaster planning services through our Emergency Ready Plans.

Spring Cleaning Chore Checklist

3/1/2018 (Permalink)

By Cynthia Ewer, Author of
Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Organized

March winds blow, telling us that Spring is on the way!

Warming breezes scour the last of winter from house and garden. Spring rain awakens the earth and calls forth new life.

Meet the rising sap with a new broom. Spring clean indoors and out to prepare home and hearth for the return of warm weather.

Our Spring cleaning chore checklist will help you take care of important seasonal chores and welcome Spring to an organized home.

Around The House:

·        Schedule a family garage clean-out. Create efficient storage for sporting goods, camping equipment, recreational vehicles, and garden tools. You'll have the jump on summer fun!

·        Inspect, clean and repair outdoor furniture.

·        Tour house exterior and grounds. Make a list of any needed seasonal maintenance.

·        Inspect the roof for winter damage: leaks, missing or broken shingles or tiles. Arrange for any needed repairs early; roofing contractors can be hard to find during summer's construction season.

·        Use a sunny Saturday to scrape, prime and paint peeling spots on trim or woodwork. You'll protect wood against Summer's heat and moisture--and prevent a more difficult paint job come fall.

·        Clear away any remaining dead foliage and weeds from beds and lawn. New growth will be protected from damage or disease.

·        Begin major Spring landscaping projects. Spring's the time to put in shrubs and trees, but check with your local extension office for specific planting recommendations for your area.

The Inside Story:

·        Changing seasons, changing clothes. Hold a family wardrobe check as you bring out warm-weather clothing. Sort winter clothing for discards and donations before you store.

·        Hold a garage sale! Declutter house and garage to turn trash into cash. Build your yard sale savvy here.

·        Pick a weekend and enlist the family for Spring cleaning. Many hands make light work! Reward the team with dinner at a pizza parlor.

·        Wash windows inside and out.

·        While at the window area, check drapes and window treatments. Vacuum any dust; send dirtier drapes to the cleaners.

·        Move furniture and vacuum beneath it.

·        Arrange for a spring inspection of cooling systems. Don't wait for the first hot day! Air conditioning firms will give better service when they're not busy.

·        When the weather warms, deactivate heat system humidifiers. Check the system manual for instructions on how to power down for the summer.

·        Drain sediment from hot water heaters.

CONTACT US

·  Call our office: 800-455-9453

·  Visit us: 860 N Kiowa Street, Allentown, PA 18109

·  Visit our websitewww.SERVPROEBW.com

Carbon Webbing

2/28/2018 (Permalink)

Looks like a dirty cobweb or spiderweb, right? Well, if you have seen something that looks similar in your home or business it doesn’t mean you need to step up your spring cleaning. Unfortunately, it means you have suffered from a fire or puff back. Burning materials causes a chemical reaction that causes carbon molecules to chain to themselves. Once this process occurs long enough the chains then become visible. The most common place to find them is in corners or around doorways. Since spider webs and cobwebs like to locate themselves in the same places the natural thought is that after a fire a cobweb or spider web absorbed the black discoloration from smoke damage. However, these are brand new structures that need to be cleaned to prevent further soot damage.

Call SERVPRO of Bethlehem at 610-838-0200.

Electronics Restoration

2/9/2018 (Permalink)

Electronics are delicate items, as there are many factors that cause them to stop working properly. Since many irreplaceable items are stored electronically, it’s important to be prepared for the worst scenario. In the event of a fire, here is what you need to know about smoke damage and your electronics.

How Smoke Causes Damage

  • When electronics are covered in smoke, they become prone to extreme overheating, which leads to eventual failure. When smoke reaches the inside components of electronics, a black film develops causing insulation on the heat-producing parts. The magnetic charge of smoke causes the circuits to short.
  • Soot is pushed by smoke, causing contact everywhere in its path. Smoke travels to cooler temperatures and continues until its energy runs out. The main cause of damage is the acidity in soot. Acidity destroys metals, which causes discoloration and disintegration inside of your electronics.

Restoration for Electronics

  • After a fire, damaged electronics are a safety hazard. To prevent exposure, do not turn on any of the items before consulting with a professional. The smoke’s corroding acids will immediately cause failure to the device.
  • If you choose to clean the items without turning them on, wipe off the residue with a cloth. Taking immediate action will improve the likelihood of your devices surviving.

Helpful Tips

  • When recovering a computer, the most important part is the hard drive. Every bit of information is located on this, so removing these files as quickly as possible is crucial.
  • Replacing the computer’s battery is the next step in the recovery process. If it’s not replaced, the combustion of batteries can be dangerous.
  • To prevent your computer’s data being damaged from fire or smoke, consider investing in a backup program that stores the information somewhere else. Examples of this would be either and external hard drive or cloud based storage. These two items are essential for keeping those special documents safe. Most external hard drives can be found for under $100, and there are many excellent cloud based storage programs that are free.
  • It is important to make sure your files are backed up weekly, you can never be too prepared.

Common Household Molds

2/1/2018 (Permalink)

COMMON HOUSEHOLD MOLDS

Mold can be found nearly everywhere. This hardy organism survives both indoors and outdoors alike. Despite many of the positive things mold can provide (the original antibiotic - penicillin, a variety of delicious foods like cheese, and acts as a natural decomposition agent of organic matter), mold causes problems for many of us. All molds are not the same, and some varieties are more harmful than others. Most of us have some experience with mold, but do you know which types are common household molds? Below is a short introduction to the different species of molds and where you can commonly find them.

INTRODUCTION TO COMMON HOUSEHOLD MOLDS

Alternaria

Indoors, it is often found in carpets, textiles, house dust, and potentially damp areas like window frames and showers. It can also be found in plant soil.

Aspergillus

Usually found in warmer climates in areas of water damage or extreme dampness. Aspergillus species are also commonly found in house dust. Also found in building materials and in fall leaves and other decomposing matter like compost piles.

Cladosporium

The most commonly identified outdoor fungus, but it can easily enter into the house through the HVAC and other airflow entryways. Cladosporium also has an indoor species that grows on textiles, wood and other porous, damp areas.

Penicillium

Species may be found growing on wallpaper, wallpaper glue, and decaying fabrics in water-damaged buildings or homes. It is also found in carpet and in interior fiberglass duct insulation. Some species can produce mycotoxins.

Stachybotrys

Pronounced (stack-ee-BOT-ris), Stachybotrys requires excessive moisture to thrive (usually running water) and is a slimy black mold. Fortunately, of all common household molds, stachybotrys is found least often in homes.

Have a Mold Problem? Call Today 800-455-9453

If you have a mold problem in your home or business, your primary focus should be safety:

  • Significant mold growth can occur in 48-72 hours.
  • A strong, musty odor may indicate hidden mold behind drywall or under carpeting.

What to Do:

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Contact a SERVPRO Franchise Professional for mold remediation services.

What NOT to Do:

  • Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
  • Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
  • Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
  • Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.

The Water You DON'T See

1/24/2018 (Permalink)

With this cold weather causing plenty of pipes to break, it’s the water you don't see that can cause the most damage. A large portion of the time if you have a water loss you will walk into your kitchen and step into a puddle, although this is not always the case water can just affect behind your walls or between floors so make the right choice. A mop and common household cleaning products may not be enough for the unseen water intrusions.  While the surface may seem dry, the water you do not see can contain bacteria, or cause mold, rot and other unseen damage. Take the right steps at the time of loss to help prevent mold from growing instead of trying to save some money. When the warm humid weather comes your bill will most likely be the same as a water loss.

DID YOU KNOW...The insurance industry estimates that approximately 90 percent of household damages stem from water-related occurrences. The most commonly reported cause is leaky or broken pipes and plumbing fixtures.

AVOID WATER DAMAGE FROM APPLIANCES

Home appliances are considered a leading cause of preventable water damage. By implementing a simple inspection and maintenance program, homeowners can reduce their risk significantly:

  • Dishwasher - Periodically check around the base of the dishwasher, as well as the water supply line under the sink.
  • Refrigerator - For refrigerators with ice makers, periodically check the hose connection attached to the water supply.
  • Washing Machine - Hoses should be inspected regularly for wetness around hose ends, as well as for signs of bulging, cracking or fraying. Hoses should be replaced every three to five years.
  • Water Heater - While the service life of the standard water heater is 10 to 15 years, water heaters should be inspected routinely for signs of leaks or tank rust. Water heaters should be located next to a floor drain or placed inside a drain pan piped to the floor drain.

So before risking the value of your home or further damage by attempting to clean and dry it yourself, or if you want to be sure that a past event is not creating problems today, call SERVPRO of Bethlehem today at 610-838-0200