Steam Mops!

Dear Friends,

I know I am behind the times, but I have finally tested and fallen in love with our steam cleaner.  Steam cleaners have been around for 10 years, but it took me that long to:

  1. Accept that we did not need chemicals to clean (although my daughter has been telling me this for years).
  2. They are more efficient, get the job done faster, and clean really, really well.
  3. Understand the concept:  steam creates very small vapor molecules that penetrate pores.  The heat of the vapor molecules kills bacteria and other pathogens like mold, fleas, flea eggs, and dust mites.  The result is a surface that is sanitized, deodorized and hypoallergenic.
  4. Works just like a vacuum cleaner.
  5. Will clean carpets, upholstery, enamel sinks, tile and grout, floors, and even on the rims of your car!
Hand held steamer

Hand held steamer

H2OMop3X

and Floor Steamer in One!

So I would love to hear from you – how do you like your steam cleaners?  Ours is the H2OMopX3.

Creative answers could get published in our Fall Catalog or on our web site at QCIDirect.com.

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March Madness – Time to Clean Up!

March always brings with it so much excitement – we get prepared for celebrating the Irish, basketball is everywhere and we can feel spring coming up around the corner.  I’d like to get started on my yard, but its still too cold.  March is the perfect time to do some cleaning and get your house in order, while the weather hasn’t quite broken but the days have become a little brighter and a little longer.  This is when the house needs that high level clean that I always do in a few steps.

1.  Dust!  Step one is always to start at the top.  Dust off those ceiling fans and the tops of the refrigerator.  I know this is the one time of the year that I do the deep cleaning, so I’m sure to get even the areas that I hate doing.  Don’t forget to clean the blinds.  I use our mini blind cleaner to make the job quick and easy.  Just spray on and it does the rest!

2.  Wipe!  Step two is to wipe down walls, the refrigerator, the windows!  I like to do the windows first with our window wax and then by the time I finish the walls the wax is dry and ready to be wiped off.

3.  Sweep!  Next is to sweep or vacuum.  This is that step that I do every week, but now that I’ve dusted and wiped down the walls there’s extra dust on the floor that needs to be picked up.  For a quick pick up without using electricity or switching out bags I used the Hoky.

4.  Steam!  I absolutely love steam mops for tile and hard wood floors.  What could be simpler than cleaning with steam?  Plus, it gets the floors clean with no chemicals.  Our H20MopX3 is a 3-in-1 steam cleaning machine.  You can also switch it from a mop to a hand held steamer.

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How To Clean Your Baking Pans In 3 Easy Steps

pansba

We all have them – those cookie sheets, broiler pans, muffin tins and baking pans that have seen better days. The old way of soaking and letting sheets sit overnight and hope for the best are gone. And, good riddance too, since that method rarely worked. All it really takes for clean cookware is a little persistence, effort and the appropriate products.

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1) First off, assess the damage. Some stains, grime and crusted on gunk are more difficult to get off than others. If it’s a recent stain/burn, a thin layer of vinegar warmed to the bubbling stage may be enough to dislodge the debris so you can scrape it off. However, this option won’t work for cookie sheets and older, set-in stains. If vinegar doesn’t work, it’s time to bring out the big guns – namely a little known secret cleaning weapon called Bar Keepers Friend. This item has been a kitchen cleaning staple since the late 1800s. It’s bleach free and non-abrasive, so you can use it on stainless steel, porcelain and ceramic. Stuck-on food, discoloration and stains disappear in minutes. It now comes in an easy to apply liquid formula too. For really stubborn stains, use Stainless Steel Sponges to apply it, and you’re well on your way to clean cookie sheets! **Warning – do NOT use this method for non-stick cookware **
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2) Another popular method involves using your oven’s self cleaning feature to do the dirty work.  Just place the pan/sheet inside, set on the self clean cycle and, when cool, dry with a damp cloth. Again, do NOT use this method for non-stick cookware.

3) If you really want to ensure your baking sheets and pans stay clean and stain free, consider investing in non-stick cookware. Prices have dropped drastically in the past few years. Non-stick cookware is easier to clean, maintain and allows for healthier cooking since you do not have to oil or grease the pan. The OrGreenic line is one of our favorites, and highly recommended by bakers, chefs and bloggers. Cleaning OrGreenic Cookware is super easy too – simply rinse and dry, no scrubbing required!

A bonus tip
To keep all cookware and baking sheets in good shape, we’ve developed our own “spray on/wipe off” Baking Pan Cleaner that is specially formulated to use on all cookware, including non-stick brands. Cookies anyone? :)

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Thinking of Spring

I spent the holidays vacationing over the holidays in Florida. I am fascinated by which products are attractive to me, even though it is 10 degrees back home in Rochester, NY. ladies-spandex-garden-gloves-6

For example, I actually planted begonias yesterday. Of course, I needed my garden gloves, my spade, and some fertilizer. These are all products that I think of as hibernating until Spring rolls around. However, for our warm weather friends, planting weather is all year long. Could it be that with our snow and ice we have abandoned the needs of all our southern friends and customers?

So, as my husband and I made an attempt to move a large garden pot, I was excited to know that I had previously ordered a Pot Mover from Picket Fence Catalog. perfect-pot-mover-7 Now I am all ready for such projects. Guess what? He took it back to Rochester, NY! He didn’t think he would use it here since we are only in Florida during the holiday week. My apologies to all our friends in warm southern and western states!

Rest assured, we will always have lawn and gardening items in stock and ready to help you with all your planting needs. You can see our selection HERE. Whether you are in the snow belt or not, Spring will be here soon. Here’s to blooming flowers, manicured lawns and digging in the dirt!

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2014 – A Time To Refresh & Renew

Happy New Year!

We know, we know. The new page on the calendar usually means New Year’s Resolutions. Most resolutions revolve around self improvement. It’s great to start off the year taking care of your health with good food and exercise. At the same time, don’t forget about your home. Your home is your sanctuary – a place to rewind and relax. You can’t do that if you’re surrounded by clutter. Make sure the places you eat, relax, sleep and unwind are fresh, clean and welcoming.

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An easy way to do this is to scan your surroundings. Do you make your bed in the morning? If not, why not? It may seem like a waste of time, but it’s not. Experts agree. According to an article in the Huffington Post, “Although it may be minor, you can feel a small sense of accomplishment, which can help start you off feeling confident every morning and affect your self-esteem throughout the day. Additionally, it’s a great habit to pass on to kids, if you have them. Finally, after a long and arduous day, nothing feels better than crawling under a freshly turned bed.” We couldn’t agree more!

Speaking of bedding – what is the status of your sheets, pillows and comforters? We were happy to learn that 78% of people have replaced their pillow within the last 2 years. Why is this so important? Pillows can lose their shape over time, in addition to harboring dust mites and bacteria. So, make sure to assess your pillow situation pronto! January is the ideal time to do so, since white sales are in full swing this month. And, did you know that the white sale is not just for white items? The definition has expanded to include linens, towels and bedding of all colors. One last cocktail party piece of trivia – white sales have been around since 1878!
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Last but not least, we want to stress the importance of self-care. Many people take on too much, too fast, in their effort towards self improvement. It’s great to have goals and resolutions, but start slowly. There’s a reason why gym attendance lags in February. By that point, people have abandoned new routines and fallen back into old patterns. A good rule of thumb is to set goals following the SMART acronym.

Goals should be:

  • Specific   (I will make my bedroom clutter free by Feb 1st)
  • Measurable (Every week, I will spend 30 min. cleaning and organizing in my room)
  • Attainable (I will cross off a checklist of what I clean in my room)
  • Realistic (I will make time on my calendar to devote to bedroom cleaning)
  • Timely (I will have my best friend over on Feb 2nd to check on my progress)

So there you have it -our easy to implement advice to start off the new year right! And to think it all starts with making your bed!

P.S. Below are links to items to help you achieve the goals we talked about.
Pillows     Bedding   Bedding Helpers
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Frenzied Festivities

SantaSnowballMorticeC0512Holidays are great, but they can also be very stressful. There’s so much to do and not enough time to do it in. To avoid getting overwhelmed between now and New Year’s, here are some suggestions to manage the mayhem.

1) Shorten your to-do list. Yes, that’s right. There’s a lot to be said for simplifying. One year, I decided to not send holiday cards. Gasp! You know what? The world did not end and my friends and relatives did not abandon me. This might be the year to cut back your list, buy fewer presents, use gift bags instead of wrapping paper, make 3 dozen fewer holiday cookies (or just buy them). You get the idea.

2) Stop scrimping on sleep. Ok, here’s the deal. You can’t make up for lost sleep on the weekends. It’s tempting to stay up later to wrap gifts, clean the guest room and finish other chores, but you’re going to pay for it with decreased energy and that lethargic, dragged down feeling. If you find your mind reeling with that to-do list, there are products that can help you fall asleep faster. A few we like:
Lavender Sheet Spray – a few sprays on your sheets and you’ll be sleeping like a baby
Sleep Mask-  special curved design allows for freedom of eye movement
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3) Make me-time a priority. It’s easy to abandon exercise routines, healthy food choices and even sitting down to watch a sitcom. Don’t do it! You know you will be overindulging and staying up later to get things done. Sacrificing self-care is only going to drag you down.

4) Heed your health. It’s easy to get run-down, especially after a long day. You might be tempted to go to bed without taking off your makeup to eat one last holiday cookie before bed. Savor those cookies when you can enjoy them with family and friends. And, take care of your skin. Dry indoor conditions and outdoor Winter weather wreak enough havoc. You want to look vibrant and refreshed for holiday parties and get togethers don’t you? We love this green tea and red rose extract enriched Deep Cleansing Cream because it replenishes moisture for soft, dewy skin.

5) Fight Fatigue. The best defense from getting overtired and run down is a good offense. Pamper tired toes and sore hands at the start of the season. A little self care – even if just for 5 minutes a night – is going to help you conserve that energy for the harried days to come. These Therapy Mitts are wonderful to slip your hands into when you come in from the cold. I also love these Pillow Foot Protectors. They’re like little sleeping bags for your feet!

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Hopefully, these suggestions will help you de-stress this season.

holiday

From our family at QCI Direct to yours,

Happy Holidays!

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Ready For The Holidays? 5 Hints That Really Help

It’s that wonderful time of year – friends, family, fabulous food… oh yes, you also have to clean, cook and corral the clutter. Help! No worries – we have some tips to help prepare for the holidays so you can really enjoy the season.

microwave1) Make Your Microwave Merry
Well, let’s be honest – sometimes the microwave is not so merry – it’s a mess! The trick here is to minimize cleaning time by curtailing the spills, stains and baked on spatter. To do that, you want to avoid getting the microwave dirty in the first place. Covering food going in is key! Plastic wraps can melt and be dangerous. We advise using a Microwave Cover. Vented covers are preferred, since they allow air to escape. Don’t forget underneath your dishes either. Place a Microwave Mat below whatever you’re cooking. Then, you can just wipe down the mat, not the entire microwave. If your microwave is a disaster right now – wet a dishcloth and place it in the microwave for 30 seconds. The steam will loosen that baked on mess so you can wipe it down. Be careful though – that heated cloth can be hot!

coffee2) Bye-Bye Bitter Coffee
There’s nothing better than a good cup of coffee after a delicious holiday meal. Many people (and we aren’t pointing fingers here) don’t clean their coffeemaker as often as they should. If this is you or someone you know, we implore you now – clean it with this. It makes a BIG difference in how coffee tastes. Oh, and while you’re at it – clean those coffee mugs too. If they’re stained, a baking soda paste (made with water) can do the trick (along with a little elbow grease).

 3) Stay Sharp
We don’t want to scare you, but over ONE MILLION people a year get injured by knife accidents in the kitchen. Dull knives are dangerous. Keep them sharpened at all times. Every home should have a knife sharpener. Also, if your cutting board tends to move, keep a damp cloth beneath it. And, never try to catch a falling knife that has slipped from your hand. Step back if you can and let it drop. Last but not least, keep knives separate from other utensils in the dishwasher. The banging against forks, etc. can cause the knife edge to become dull.
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4) Stop the Slip-Sliding Away
So, your Aunt Gertie is coming in from Gallup. The last thing you want is for her to slip and fall coming up your driveway. This Non-Skid Walkway is great because you can just place it over steps: no need for last minute shoveling. Besides, who has time for that – especially when that pie is in the oven. If you do have to shovel, spray your shovel with cooking spray beforehand. It stops snow from sticking. Also, don’t forget about the inside of your home. Make sure rugs and mats are secured. This gripper tape makes it easy to prevent movement, while still allowing you to lift your rugs and clean the floor beneath.

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5) Enhance that entryway
The presents have been purchased, the coffee’s brewing and the table is set. Now, you just want to welcome loved ones. How are the foyer and front hall looking? Repair nicks and scratches to your dining table and other furniture with these cool crayon-like Repair Sticks.  If your floor is looking lackluster, Restore A Floor provides an amazing transformation. It works on heel marks, yellowing, spills, coffee stains, and more. For less than 20 bucks, you really can’t go wrong. Also, make sure you leave a place for people to store their shoes and boots on the way in. 70% of the dirt in your home is tracked in through the front door. End the muck and madness!

So there you have it – 5 easy ways to get a head start before the holiday season gets really hectic. We would love to hear your ideas as well. If you want more tips and tricks, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. We’re here to help!

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