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How to use the disinfection spray, car waxing, disinfectant sanitizer, best insect Repellent, Mosquito Repellent.


Waxing a Brand New Car

What all the fuss is about

It’s shiny. It’s new. It gleams in the sunlight. Your brand new car. You have done hours of research to find just the right one, and now you have it. It’s yours. How do you keep it looking so nice? What’s all the fuss about waxing a new car? Why is it so important? When should you do it? And how should you do it?

Having the dealer or an auto body shop wax your car is always an option. This article is assuming that you are wanting to wax your vehicle yourself.

Why You Should Wax Your Car

You new beauty will be exposed to all the elements. While you are staying dry and clean sitting inside of it while cruising down the road, it is taking a beating. The elements don’t hold back – rain, snow, road salt, bugs, bird poop, the salty sea air (if you live close to the ocean), the list goes on. Your vehicle’s paint protects the metal body of the car from rust. The last thing you want to see on your new car is premature rust spots. Waxing regularly can prevent this. Applying wax 2-4 times a year is recommended. Waxing is not the same as washing. Down below are the basic steps to effectively wax your car.

How to Wax it Properly

Ask any car lover and they will tell you how they wax their car. With so many brands and products on the market there are several options. However, many will agree with the following basics:

  1. Wash – never use dish washing detergent. You need a properly pH balanced cleaner. Most advertised car washing detergents are suitable. This is a crucial step to remove loose debris and contaminants.
  2. Clean – once the initial wash is complete and your car is dry, it is time to inspect for stuck on debris. Tree sap, bird droppings, pollen, and brake dust may not come off with the initial wash. A good way to check is to rub your hand across the surface of your vehicle. If it feels gritty, grab a clay bar and rub it over the gritty parts. It’s a mild abrasive that is designed to effectively finish cleaning the cars surface.
  3. Polish – not everyone insists on this step and some lump it in with the cleaning step, but it is definitely not the same as applying wax. Applying a polishing coat is what will the paint have it’s shiny, reflective gleam. Some polishes help restore oils to the paint. Be careful not to remove dry polish as this can scratch the paint.
  4. Wax – This step is what protects the sheen, finish, and paint. It’s recommended to use a microfiber, but others may suggest another type of applicator. Apply the wax, let it sit as long as indicated on the bottle you use, and remove it in the order you applied it. Then repeat until the car is completely sealed.

We highly recommend following these steps in a shady area. If the sun is out and hot it can create water spots while washing and make it more difficult to avoid the polish or wax drying too quickly.

 

DIY Natural Disinfectant Spray

 

Ditch the Lysol and antibacterial sprays for good with this DIY Natural Disinfectant Spray. It’s so easy to make and will sanitize without the harsh chemicals.

DIY Natural Disinfectant Spray (Homemade Lysol)

Ditch the Lysol and antibacterial sprays for good with this DIY Natural Disinfectant Spray. It’s so easy to make and will sanitize without the harsh chemicals.

It never fails. With three boys in the house, there’s a constant influx of germs in the house from my kids playing outside and in a creek near our house. They’re always coming home with critters too like geckos, turtles (seriously), crawfish and even birds. I usually shoo them back outside with said critters but not before they get their hands on doorknobs, walls, tables, and other surfaces in my home.

And no matter how many times I tell them to wash their hands… well, sometimes germs just happen. That’s why I’m so happy to have a natural alternative to Lysol and other antibacterial sprays for my home.

The funny thing is that I was THAT mom who had the bleach wipes and cleaned every surface of the house with them. I remember one time I was on my hands and knees cleaning the floor to keep them “clean” for my son (who was a crawling baby back then). I just cringe thinking about it now. I probably exposed him to chemical toxins that were far more harmful to his health than if I just used soap and water to clean the floors.

My kids have definitely been the turning point for me in transitioning to a chemical-free lifestyle. We’ve already gotten rid of all of our household cleaners and now basically use this one for everything.

But here’s the thing… germs still happen and sometimes you just want to disinfect. So what can you use if it’s not Lysol or bleach?

It’s actually pretty easy – it’s just all those TV commercials have us all thinking we need bleach wipes or some toxic spray can to disinfect and get rid of germs when really we CAN use natural alternatives.

Natural Disinfectants

There are a handful of products you can use to naturally disinfect and sanitize your home. You probably already have them in your home: vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide. They are all pretty effective in killing germs and sanitizing surfaces and toys. In fact, I typically like to fill a tub full of water and add about 1-2 cups of hydrogen peroxide to easily disinfect toys. I then drain and voila! Clean toys.

But here’s the thing… vinegar and rubbing alcohol have such a strong scent. I don’t clean often with them because of that. Usually the smell dissipates after a while, but they’re not always the best choice when you want to sanitize AND have the house smell good too.

I’d say of the three, hydrogen peroxide has the most mellow scent but it can’t always be used if you’re spraying fabrics (as it is a natural bleach).

So what’s the other alternative? Vodka. Oh yeah…

The Meaning of Clean: Sanitizers, Disinfectants, and Sterilizers

While the general population may use terms like sterilizer, disinfectant and sanitizer interchangeably, they actually have very specific definitions according to the government agency that regulates them, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These definitions include what percentage of pathogens must be killed, in what specific  amount of time they must be killed, and what protocols must be tested to achieve registration. All of these parameters are defined by the EPA and are not chosen or designated by the manufacturer.

Before delving into these terms, there is one basic term that we have to explore: Clean. There is a formal definition of "clean" when it comes to regulation. Items must be cleaned before they are sanitized, disinfected, or sterilized. Cleaning involves removing surface debris and foreign material using water, detergent, or enzymatic products. This is a necessary step because the high-level disinfection and sterilization processes cannot work effectively when foreign material is present. In the EPA-required instructions for use, all of the following products carry disclaimers about first cleaning the item to be sanitized, disinfected, or sterilized.

Sanitizers

By the EPA's definition, sanitizers must kill 99.9% of bacteria within two hours of exposure. Up until recently, this category was made up of chemicals such as sprays, gels, and topical agents which had similar characteristics:

Toxic chemicals not suitable for extended exposure

Non-continuous kill (must be used regularly)

Must be repeated after recontamination

Since 2012, however, sanitizers now include two hard surfaces: Copper alloys and copper oxide infused hard surfaces. These surfaces had to be categorized as sanitizers as they are the first of their kind - a surface that kills 99.0% of bacteria in under two hours. So even though they are characterized as sanitizers, they do not have the characteristics listed above. Instead, they are:

Non-toxic, safe materials suitable for extended exposure

Continuous kill surfaces (is not a process that has to be repeated)

Effective even after recontamination

Disinfectants

To be categorized as a disinfectant, a product must kill 100% of bacteria, fungi, and viruses within 15 minutes of exposure. Because they are stronger than sanitizers, they are also more toxic and are therefore not approved for any exposure to human tissues. They are only to be used on hard, inanimate objects and are available both for general and medical use. Household disinfectants include bathroom cleaners, water purifiers, and pool chemicals. In medical facilities, disinfectants are used to clean equipment that does not come into contact with mucous membranes or cross the skin barrier such as floors, walls, linens, toilets, IV poles, and doorknobs. Like sanitizers, they do not kill continuously or after recontamination, so consistent reapplication is required. Unfortunately, some bacteria have developed resistance to certain disinfectants, so a combination of chemicals is required in healthcare settings.

Sterilizers

The most biocidal of the three categories, sterilizers must achieve the most stringent protocols. Sterilizers must kill 100% of all forms of microbial life within 2 minutes. This includes bacteria, fungi, viruses, and spores (the term sporicidal is often used to indicate that spores, the most difficult form to kill, are destroyed by a particular product). Sterilizers are used on instruments and materials that come into contact with mucous membranes and cross the skin barrier, including scalpels, IVs, needles, catheters, wound dressings, and any implantable device (such as a pacemaker). Sterilizers can be devices such as autoclaves, which use high-pressure steam, as well as liquid chemicals. Users must have specific training and certification to assure that the required degree of sterilization is achieved. As with most sanitizers and disinfectants, sterilization must be performed regularly and after any contamination as the product does not kill continuously.

Insect Repellent Buying Guide

Lyme. Powassan. West Nile. Zika. The list of insect-borne diseases to worry about seems to get longer—and scarier—every year. Whether you're enjoying the great outdoors in your own backyard or on a tropical island, when you apply insect repellent, you want the best, most effective protection from biting bugs.

Our ratings identify which products work best against mosquitoes and ticks. (We no longer test our products against ticks, but past test results and our research indicate that any product that protects you from mosquito bites is also likely to protect you from tick bites.)

Choosing the right repellent matters: Our top products provided several hours of protection, and some of our lowest-scoring ones failed in as little as 30 minutes.

Check out our picks; they'll help take the sting out of summer.

How We Test

We begin our insect repellent tests by applying a standard dose of repellent to a measured area of skin on our test subjects’ arms. (The standard dose is determined from the EPA product testing guidelines.)

After 30 minutes, these brave volunteers then place their arms into the first of two cages of 200 disease-free mosquitoes for five minutes. Our testers watch closely to see what happens inside the cage, and they count up every time a mosquito lands on a subject's arm, uses its proboscis (its long mouth) to probe the skin in an attempt to find a capillary, or bites the subject’s arm and begins to feed—which the testers can tell by watching for the insect's abdomen to turn from gray to red or brown.

After five minutes, the subjects withdraw their arms, then repeat the process by placing their arms into a second cage of disease-free mosquitoes of a different species, for another five minutes. The subjects then walk around for 10 minutes, to stimulate sweating—this is to mimic a real-world setting, in which users might be active while wearing repellent.

Half an hour later, this procedure is repeated once, and then again once every hour after that until a repellent fails our test, or until 8 hours have passed since it was applied. We consider a failure to be two confirmed mosquito bites in one five-minute session inside the cage, or one confirmed bite in each of two consecutive 5-minute sessions. 

What is the Best Mosquito Repellent?

After more than five years of full-time travel, often visiting mosquito ridden countries, I’ve finally found of what is the best mosquito repellent. When I first wrote this post in 2013, I was about to travel to Africa and planned to put some repellents to the test.

I trialling a DEET based product, Repel 55, and a natural product, Incognito, and this article was originally a comparison of those two repellents. However, over the years I’ve trialled a much bigger range of mosquito repellents, so I’ve updated and expanded this article to give you the low-down on all the products I’ve used, how well they’ve worked and I’ll share with you the repellent I finally found that I’m 100% happy with.

Obviously, this article is completely subjective – what works for one person might not work for another and, ultimately, the effectiveness of a repellent can all come down to how well you apply it.

A little about me and my unscientific testing methodology

I have the blood that mosquitos like: I’ve travelled to many mosquito riddled places from South and Central America to Asia to Africa and the one thing that’s been consistent is my propensity for getting bitten. Whether I like it or not, mosquitos like me. In a room full of people, I’m always likely to report a bite first. In fact, I’m that person you want to sit or sleep next to because the chances are the mosquitos will be so busy feasting on me, they’ll leave you alone.

 

I rarely stay indoors or cloak my body at sunset: What doesn’t help in my bid not to get bitten is that I’m partial to the alluring concept of the sunset cocktail (when mosquitoes are at their most active). I’m also likely to disregarding the sensible advice to cover myself from head to toe in trousers and long sleeved tops – because, let’s face it, sun dresses go so much better with sun downers, I pack too light to include bulky cover-up clothes and, more importantly, I don’t want to be sitting, sweating uncomfortably and dehydrating over my cocktail.

I’m also pretty shoddy at the whole application process – I always miss my ankles and big toes and I wash my hands immediately after applying repellent, so the repellent that actually makes it onto my skin always has to work pretty darn hard to keep the biters at bay.

I hate mosquito nets: ever since I was a child, I’ve always needed to have my feet uncovered while I sleep, which is kind of incompatible with a mosquito net. But not only that, the nets that are small enough to carry seem to create a cocoon of humidity around you… and that’s assuming you can find one that stays up and doesn’t gape while you sleep. In short, I’m not a fan and I won’t use one unless it’s already installed.

I do use anti-malarials: in places like Africa where malaria and dengue are real issues, I do follow the sensible advice and use anti-malarial medication.

 

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disinfection spray

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