Controlling Mold Without Toxic Chemicals

Mold can grow anywhere there are damp conditions – from a windowsill to a
bathroom, to a whole house. While the health effects of most common molds are minimal, the chemicals we commonly use to remove the unsightly growth can harm our health. Mold cleaners can contain toxic chemicals such as pentachorophenol, which can be harmful through skin absorption or inhalation, and formaldehyde, which can cause cancer as well as irritate eyes, throat, skin, and lungs. Many mold cleaners carry the "DANGER" warning label and state that they should be used only in a well-ventilated area (next time you want to clean mold from your shower, look around for the ventilation …)

Fortunately, there are ways to clean and even prevent mold that are natural and safe
for you and your family.

Mold is a living organism that needs certain conditions to stay alive. A moist, dark,
environment with little moving air is perfect. Mold just can not live in an environment
that is dry, light, or breezy. The solution to any mold problem of any kind is to
introduce heat (to dry the moisture), light, or moving air (such as from a fan).

I used to live in an old house in a forest, next to a creek, in an area that has a lot of
rainfall in the winter. One year was particularly cold and rainy and so to conserve
heat, I closed the door on my extra bedroom, which contained books and research
papers, a bed, and out-of-season clothing. By the end of winter, there was so much
mold in that room that was was literally growing on my clothing. My cotton espadrille
shoes and cloth-covered binders were covered with blue fuzz. What to do? Mold was
covering literally everything!

In my situation, I opted to use heat. I put a portable space heater in the room and
closed the door. After several hours I peeked in and steam was rising. It was like a
sauna. After twenty-four hours, however, all was bone dry and I was able to brush
visible mold (now a dry powder) from walls, clothing, and other surfaces. The moral
of the story: if you live in a damp environment that does not get much sun, make
sure your heat circulates completely around the house, and even though it may take
more energy, it's needed to keep your home dry and safe. Mold can do damage to
material possession and human health, so its better to stay warm and dry.

If you have just a small area of ​​mold, use a hand-held dryer to dry it up in just a few
minutes.

You can prevent mold from growing by keeping areas dry. Find the source of
moisture and control it. Mold in an undersink cabinet, for example, may require
fixing leaky pipes. Controlling mold in a bathroom may involve installing a small
space heater to run after a shower to dry out the room, or using a fan for the same
purpose. No moisture – no mold.

In a closet, hang garments with space between them to allow for air-flow and install
a small light, both to dispel darkness and provide a little heat. If you live in a very
humid area, a dehumidifier may be necessary.

To remove mold from shower tile or other hard surface, mix borax and water, or
vinegar and water, in a spray bottle. Spray it on and the mold wipes right off. Borax
inhibits mold growth, so wash down the walls in your bathroom with a borax
solution and just leave it on, or sprinkle borax in damp cabinets under the sink. If
you need something stronger to remove stubborn mold, use hydrogen peroxide.

Steam cleaners – which clean, sanitize, and deodorize using only hot water – also
work great on mold. You can purchase small hand-held steam cleaners in the
housewares department of discount stores for about $ 50 or larger units on the
Internet.

Read more about controlling mold without toxic chemicals in my new book Home
Safe Home, at http://www.dld123.com/homesafehome.html .

London Business Hotels

With London’s global position as one of the most significant cities in the World in terms of business and industry, it’s very important that London has a good level of quality accommodations for the many corporate visitors who travel to the capital on business trips through the year. Particularly with the City of London still maintaining its position as the centre of World finance, there are an abundance of overseas and domestic visitors needing the comfort and facilities of first class hotels in the city.

Since the days of the 70s when perhaps the Park Lane Hilton was seen as the place to stay when on a business trip to London, all the major international hotels have build hotels aimed at the business traveler in the city, in fact most hotel chains have numerous properties throughout the capital (Hilton Hotels now number 34 in total including the airports and the London outskirts!). Holiday Inn, Accor Hotels, Marriott Hotels and Thistle Hotels but to name a few, all have business hotels through London with a high level of comfort and a large range of facilities aimed mainly at the corporate traveler. New players to the London market also boast very good business hotels – H10 for example and the Park Plaza Hotel chain have gone out of their way to provide rooms suited for business people – the Park Plaza Westminster, for example, is an all suite hotel featuring rooms with a small lounge and kitchenette in addition to a generous sized bedroom and fabulous location close to Westminster Bridge. Privately owned up market hotels are also designed with corporate in mind – the Cadogan Hotel near Harrods department store and the Ritz Hotel in London’s Piccadilly street both provide not just good facilities and first class quality but also a discerning service for the more upmarket level of clients associated with such grand business hotels.

Rooms in all these type of hotels have the typical facilities you would expect such as desks with office type chairs, minibars, full room service and satellite TV programmes with pay movies and en suite facilities with a full complement of complimentary toiletries, heated towel rail and power showers (or ‘rain’ showers). Internet connectivity generally via Wifi is also a must nowadays with more and more hotels finding themselves forced through competition (and negative comments from guests) to providing this service free of charge. The business hotels provide the guests with excellent dining facilities – generally a full English breakfast and a choice of restaurants within the hotel for dinner at surprisingly reasonable prices. After a busy days doing business in the city, sometimes a good rewarding drink is required and the hotels accommodate well with their welcoming cocktail bars which, particularly during the happy hour period from 5 – 7pm, can be the place to be if you’re in the right hotel!

Do It Yourself Home Improvement

Many of us are participating in the home improvement thing today. There are a number of great benefits to be derived from doing your own home improvement. We can save money of course. We can also design our own projects so that they typically satisfy our needs and add the personal touch exactly as we envision it.

A number of software packages are available to produce a 3D home design and show us the results before we ever spend a penny on materials. This new home design software has not only become much easier to use, while becoming much more sophisticated in what it can produce, it has also become wider ranging.

Packages are now available that target specific home projects. You will find that these products allow you to fully design a new deck, complete a new landscape design outside, modify your house interior design, or the big one will let you design a new house from start to finish.

The computer and software are great but more help is available today. The big box home improvement stores have come a long way since the original Lowes concept. These big box stores maintain a complete inventory covering every imaginable product you may require in your project. The also carry a large educated staff that is most often quite willing to offer you assistance. That is good but they also appear to be well founded in the knowledge required to provide you with assistance.

If that is not good enough, the big box home improvement stores also conduct routine seminars to educate you regarding specific products. All this assistance comes at no cost to the customer. The intention is to encourage and help you to complete your own home improvement.

Not only will these projects save you money but they will also increase the value of your home. It is quite practical for the average handyman to purchase a fix it up house, do some small improvements itself and then resell the house at a profit.

A wide range of near professional quality tools is available at your home improvement stores. Competition in the marketplace has been beneficial to the consumer. You can now purchase excellent quality tools to complete any phase of the job from preparation of raw, rough lumber to spray painting the completed project. All this is available at very competitive pricing.

One final benefit to this whole experience may be the chance to work together with the rest of your family. It will never be lost time when you pass on some of your knowledge and abilities to children and grand children. A world of opportunity is available.

5 Tips for A Creative Retail Branding and Design Strategy

Quality retail branding is meant to connect businesses with customers in a way that builds trust and desire in the consumer for the brand and their product. Branding has been around since ancient times (from Roman columns to Chinese stamps), but modern commercial branding is a new phenomenon. People are more involved with brands than ever, locally and globally, to the point where two golden arches are immediately recognizable by almost everyone around the world, without any words in the picture.

In the complex world of retail, which is composed of multiple elements and disciplines, a consumer can see connections, or a lack of connections, between all the different aspects of retail at a glance. And that is where design comes in. Retail branding and design aims to create a harmonious and holistic schema out of all of the elements of retail, from personnel to product presentation. Design is not just about looks, but about function. Without a good branding and design strategy, retail stores are a mishmash of unrelated ideas that can confuse and put off potential customers.

Design your layout based on traffic flow:

When customers enter the store, where do they look? Which way do they go? Position your best products in areas where customers are more likely to notice them. Pedestrian traffic is often influenced by vehicular traffic. That is, in areas where people drive on the right side of the road, in-store traffic patterns tend to move in a clockwise pattern. Use these patterns to your advantage.

Create a focal point in your visual displays:

Don’t just bring attention to anything and everything in the store, but draw customers in by featuring one item prominent, whether that’s in a window display or in the middle of your store. Strategically position lights and other items to point to your featured product and avoid distracting customers by putting equal weight on too many items at once.

Make window effects:

Windows make small spaces look larger and more inviting. Creating windows in the walls separating two rooms can give the entire building a more airy ambience, or creating visual illusions of windows such as white panels or drapes around mirrors, can also create a window effect, increasing the feeling of light and movement, especially if you are in a small space.

Avoid clutter:

Clutter feels noisy and uncomfortable for customers. Don’t overload your customer’s visual circuits with signs and patterns and displays galore. Instead, use neutral colors for larger items and accent the space with smaller items with brighter colors, and do not place your merchandise too closely together.

Use lighting to your advantage:

Lighting is important in any shop, and especially so in small corners. Make sure that your store is well lit, or else you will not be making good use of your space – customers don’t usually prefer to wander into dark, shadowy areas, so any merchandise displayed there will not receive a fair consideration. Use a combination of different lights to keep the space illuminated and to add variety and interest to the space.