How to keep your front loader smelling fresh!

When we think of washing machines, we think of clean, fresh-smelling clothes. Laundry is supposed to have a comforting aroma—one that’s so well-loved that there are even colognes designed to mimic its scent.

But what do you do when your front-load washer, well… stinks?

Before you resign yourself to a musty, mildewy, sour-scented existence, consider this: Your washer probably isn’t defective—it just needs some TLC. A few simple steps could help eliminate that stench forever.

That’s right, my friends: It’s all smooth, fresh-smelling sailing from here on out. Grab your hampers, keep your heads high, and scrub stinky clothes from your life for good.

 

How to get rid of that smell

  1. Bring out the baking soda.

Your first inclination may be to reach for the bleach, but we prefer to use something a little gentler. Popsugar suggests mixing 1/4 cup of baking soda with an equivalent amount of water. Add this solution to your machine’s detergent container.

 

  1. Bring out the vinegar.

Pour two cups of white vinegar into the drum, then run a normal cycle at high heat—without any clothes, of course.

The baking soda and vinegar should break up any residue stuck to your drum and kill any mould that might be present. They’ll also help remove any foul odours.

 

  1. Scrub away any remaining grime.

If stubborn spots remain, attack them with the rough side of a kitchen sponge and a mixture of one part white vinegar, one part water. Ta-dah, good as new!

You can repeat this cleaning method once a month for maintenance if you’d like, or try some other odour prevention techniques.

 

How to keep your front-loader fresh

Your washer is finally free of nasty odours, and you want to keep it that way. But how?

 

  1. Break up with your old detergent.

If you own a front-loader, you should always use detergents made for high-efficiency machines. Normal detergents simply produce more suds than your front-loader can handle; less suds means less scum for stinky lifeforms to cling to. Liquid fabric softener is also off-limits for front-loading washing machines, so do yourself a favour and ditch it.

 

  1. Keep the drum dry

Once you’ve got the soap situation under control, it’s time to make sure the drum doesn’t stay damp for long periods of time. Always remove your laundry promptly after the cycle ends, and be sure to leave the door open when it’s not in use, so the moisture can escape.

You can also run a fan in the room where your washer lives to improve airflow and consider investing in a dehumidifier. Remember: You don’t want bacteria or mould to feel at home here, and nothing invites bad smells quite like wet, stagnant heat.

 

  1. Clean the gasket.

Even with the correct detergent and anti-humidity efforts, there’s no guarantee your washer drum won’t develop some mould-friendly buildup. The rubber seal around the doors is especially problematic, so you should regularly remove any debris you see trapped in the gasket and wipe it down with a cleaning solution made of one part white vinegar and one part water.

Finally, be sure to dispose of any lint that may have accumulated in your machine’s drain trap filter. Once a week should do the trick.

TIPS TO IMPROVE AND MAXIMISE AIR CLEANER PERFORMANCE

TIPS TO IMPROVE AND MAXIMISE AIR CLEANER PERFORMANCE

Millions of people around the world rely on room air cleaners (sometimes referred to as air purifiers) to improve indoor air quality and reduce the presence of allergens. They are a valuable tool that can help ease your allergy symptoms and keep homes cleaner. They are a valuable tool that can help ease your allergy symptoms and keep homes cleaner.

Like most appliances, how you operate and care for your air cleaner will affect its performance. Take these steps to ensure that your air cleaner continues to operate at a high level:

Change the filter regularly

Your air cleaner’s use and care manual will recommend how often you should change your air cleaner’s filter. Keep in mind that these recommendations are based on the manufacturer’s testing. How often you should change the filter also depends on how much you’re using the air cleaner and the level of pollutants in the air. If you have your windows open frequently, for example, you may need to change the filter more often. Check your filter regularly. If the filter is changing colour or if you notice that a drop in the level of air coming out of the air cleaner, it’s probably time for a new filter.

No filter?

Some air cleaners don’t require filters, relying instead on an electrostatic precipitator (ESP), which charges particles and attracts them to a plate. Clean those regularly. Check your use and care manual for specific cleaning instructions.

Clean the outside

Some manufacturers recommend using a vacuum to remove dust from the outside of the air cleaner. Vacuum or gently clean the dust from the outside of the air cleaner when you notice a buildup.

Take care of the rest of the room

Air cleaners are only part of the equation if you are seeking cleaner indoor air. Do a thorough cleaning of the area and vacuum regularly to remove particles so they are not kicked back into the air you breathe.

Change your furnace filter

If you change your furnace filter regularly, you might not have to change the filter in your air cleaner as often. However, a furnace filter is not a substitute for an air cleaner because it is designed to trap large particles. In addition, it is common for particles to miss the furnace filter and end up inside the home.

Give your air cleaner room to breathe

It might be more convenient to place an air cleaner against a wall and in a corner, but that sort of placement will restrict airflow and reduce performance. Move it toward the centre of the room and operate it in an area free of obstructions. The more air that goes through the air cleaner, the more pollutants it will remove.

Shopping for an air cleaner? Here’s how to make the right choice

If you are shopping for an air cleaner, you will likely come across models that use different types of technologies to clear the air. More important than the method the air cleaner uses is whether the air cleaner is appropriate for the size room in which it will be used.

HOW TO CLEAN YOUR GAS BBQ

HOW TO CLEAN YOUR GAS BBQ

1 – Check for rust

 

Rust happens when moisture gets trapped inside the BBQ and the metal oxidizes, turns brown, and then starts to flake. Rust is a BBQ killer and very bad for you. Most of the time rust happens on the bottom of the BBQ grill and where the gas lines enter the grill.

To check for rust, remove all briquettes, lava rocks, debris, and any other flame buffers (deflector plates, etc) from the bottom of the BBQ. If you can easily remove any burners, do that also. Use a metal paint scraper to really clean the bottom. Remove debris and look for brown flaking.

Rust can be dangerous if burned. If there’s a great deal of flaking or it is very muddy on the bottom, it may be time for a new BBQ. If there is little or no rust on the parts you can re-use them. But if they are very rusty, you can easily replace the burners, deflector plates. If they are all ok, put back whatever you took out. I recommend replacing lava rocks every 2 or 3 years no matter how they look. Re-connect the gas and go to Step 2.

 

2 – Check to see if the grill starts and run for 5 minutes on high

 

After your gas is reconnected, turn all burners on high using the electric starter and let it run for 5 full minutes. This is an important test because sometimes BBQ’s start and then stop. If it lights and stays on, skip to Step 3. If the flame goes out, make sure there is gas in the tank, wait 2 minutes and try again. Once again, if it works, skip to Step 3. If it doesn’t light and you hear the gas hissing, turn off the gas. Wait a few minutes and try again.

If it still doesn’t light, wait 2 minutes and carefully try to start it with a long match or long gas lighter. If this works, your starter might need to be replaced. If it doesn’t start, do not try it again, turn off the gas and disconnect it.

 

3 – Clean your grates well

 

When your BBQ is working, it’s very important to start your barbequing season with clean grill grates. The best way I found to do this is actually flip your grates upside down and heat on high for 7-10 minutes and scrape the bottom with a grate brush.

Then VERY CAREFULLY, using a grate lifting tool or tongs, turn the grates right side up and scrub them with the grate brush. This should get them clean.

If not, place a sheet of tin foil on the grates with the BBQ on high for 5-10 more minutes. Carefully lift off the foil and scrape whatever is left on the grates. Then, crumple up the same tin foil in a ball, and scrub the grates with the tin foil ball using tongs.

A degreaser is great for cleaning the outside of the BBQ, not the inside. Do not use it nor an oven cleaner on the inside of a BBQ ever.

 

Final Thoughts

 

It is not hard to clean and maintain your grill, and it will extend its life. It will also perform better after following these simple steps. So keep your BBQ working great!

 

MAINTAINING YOUR HIGH END KITCHEN GEAR

When you in invest new appliances for your kitchen, the final look is so amazing and the pieces themselves can do so much, but it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking they are totally self-servicing and there’s no need for any TLC!  Unfortunately, that’s not the case; even self-cleaning kitchen gear needs maintenance, cleaning and love, and the efforts will help you protect the value of your investment.

Not only is this a cosmetic concern, it can be a functional one too!  If some basic maintenance and cleaning guidelines aren’t following, your cooking efficiency can be lowered.  Don’t make the mistake of losing out on the whole reason you made an investment in quality in the first place.

Our first tip is to keep your user’s manuals and follow the directions in them for all maintenance instructions. Also, beyond the manufacturers’ user guidelines, you can also follow these expert recommendations for maintaining your high-end appliances!

 

Think “Polishing” or “Shining” when it comes to stainless steel.

 

Your toughest appliances are often your most sensitive too, ironically.  Steel can withstand some really heavy duty rigours, but it’s also a surface that absorbs oils very easily (which is why your toddler’s fingerprints are so very evident on the surface.)  Because of this, gently wiping the surface with a lint-free cloth or a microfiber sponge with a tiny bit of dishwashing soap is often enough. This method will remove smudges, fingerprints and even grease.

NEVER use anything abrasive, like steel wool or even a soft-bristled cleaning brush.  You can easily scratch the surface this way. If the method I described doesn’t cut out all of the mess, a tiny bit of Soft Scrub may be diluted with water to a 50/50 solution and applied for a few minutes, then rubbed off with a damp sponge.

These same rules apply to newer versions of “stainless steel” that come in muted colours.  Even though they aren’t shiny, they are made of the same material and will have the same needs.

 

Clean Cooktop Spills As Soon as They Happen

 

When upgrading from an electric range to gas burners, you gain pro-chef heat along with an increased commitment to cleaning up messes as soon as possible (make sure the unit has cooled) to maintain the maximum effective cooking level.  Don’t forget to check the tiny holes where the flames flow for blocked in debris. A toothpick is great to use when the cooktop is off and cooled to clean out these tiny orifices. Always ensure the cleaning fluid is fully rinsed and your cooktop is dry before turning the unit back on to cook again too!

If you are in the market for a gas range and cleanliness is a very important factor for you, consider one with sealed burners that minimize spills.  Other great features are seamless corners and edges and porcelain backguards to cut down on messes.

 

Self-Cleaning does not equal hands-off

 

High end, self-cleaning ovens are a great thing.  They take most of the hardest elbow grease right out of the equation. However, other steps are still necessary to keep them at peak performance over the long haul.

If you’re tempted to fit an oversize roaster in the oven by removing the racks and placing it directly on the floor, resist. That’s a good way to damage the heating element or the floor itself, which isn’t designed to hold that much weight. Always cook with at least one rack inside the oven to help support the weight of the pots.

Covering the entire bottom of the oven with foil to catch drips and speed clean up is also inadvisable.  The foil can block the air circulation, which makes the oven much less efficient over time. It will stop giving you the cooking results you expect.

Another no-no: using commercial oven cleaners on a self-cleaning or continuous cleaning oven. They may damage the finish and could even void your warranty.

 

Only You Can Prevent Oven Fires

 

The other way to preserve your investment in gas-fired kitchen equipment is to keep it from catching fire.  Obviously.

Keep flammables away from sources of gas at all times.  For example, don’t keep the day’s mail in a basket on a counter near the oven. It’s a great temptation, but always use a pot holder, not a tea towel, to remove hot pots from the oven. And keep aerosol cans away, even the ones with cooking spray inside.

Never cover the temperature controls, air openings or vents of your appliances and don’t store boxes on top of, or pressed against, natural gas appliances.

For the most part, if you follow the guidelines about keeping flammable items away from the stove and not using abrasive cleaners, you can keep your own gas range in shape without any need for professional.

But there’s one notable exception: A good gas flame on a range is blue, not yellow. Yellow flames on a stove burner mean the gas is not igniting properly. If that happens, do not use it until you’ve had it checked out by a reliable service professional.

 

Not sure what cleaning brand to use? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered!

At Camtec we have partnered with another Australian company Aktivo! All of Activo’s products are septic safe, ultra concentrate, environmentally friendly and are gentle on your skin. All our technicians at Camtec use Aktivo when servicing our customer’s units and we absolutely love it, all the from the modern and beautiful packaging to the effectiveness and ease of using the product.

If you are interested in an Aktivo product then contact us anytime! Or if you want to see their extensive range of products download their catalogue here!

 

KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE AROUND APPLIANCES

To some members of your household, a dryer looks like a good place for a hideout or a nap. They might think the cord from your mixer is a good toy, and the dishwasher or laundry detergent a good target for their teeth or claws.

Of course, we are talking about your pets. Just about everything that could put your pets at risk can be prevented with a few extra precautions. Many of the steps you should take to keep your pets safe are good safety practices even if you don’t share your home with a dog, cat or other furry companions.

 

Keep laundry appliance doors shut, and do a quick safety check

Pets could climb inside a washer or dryer if the door is left open. Keep the doors on your laundry appliances shut, and check inside before you use them, Bierbrier says.

 

Secure your detergents

We recommend storing your laundry detergents out of pets’ reach, such as in a cupboard. If that is not possible, the product should be stored in a bite-proof container, Bierbrier says. This is especially true of detergent pods, which contain highly concentrated detergent and can be easily bitten into. That goes for both laundry and dishwasher detergents.

 

Put the cords out of reach

Keep the cords of your portable appliances out of the reach of pets. If a pet chews on or bites through a cord, they could be burned or electrocuted, Bierbrier says.

 

Look for heaters with covered elements

To reduce the risk of burns to your pets, look for a portable heater with an enclosed element, Bierbrier says. As well, look for a space heater that has safety features like an automatic turn-off for overheating or if it is tipped over.

 

Keep a safe kitchen

Pets should be kept away from hot stoves and ovens, Bierbrier says. The main risk is for pets to get accidentally burned by touching a previously heated element. When you’re not cooking, make sure you store any foods that are toxic to pets, like chocolate and onions, where your pet can’t reach them. If the pet is particularly crafty, owners may consider using locks to keep them out of cupboards, Bierbrier says.

 

Vacuum with care

Pets bring companionship, but also additional vacuuming needs. Consider keeping your pet in another room while vacuuming if the noise startles them, Bierbrier says. If that is not possible, positive reinforcement with treats and distractions may be useful.

 

All of these tips are helpful to not only keep your furry friends safe but are also great tips to protect other vulnerable members of your home. We recommend you always act safely when working with any appliance and have regular services to ensure that they are completely safe to use. If you notice any fault with your appliances we recommend you consult a technical service as soon as possible.

If you need any servicing done on appliances or just want someone to have a look at a faulty unit then just give Camtec a call!

INTRODUCING MIELE KNOCK2OPEN DISHWASHERS!

Wiping down the front of a dishwasher after loading in the dirty dishes kind of goes with the territory. No matter how careful you are, greasy finger marks always seem to spoil an otherwise clean surface. The latest integrated machines from German domestic appliance maker Miele overcome this messy problem with a couple of taps.

 

What are Miele Knock2Open Dishwashers?

“Knock2open makes dishwasher operating a magical experience with its perfect solution in handleless kitchen design. By tapping the front of the fully integrated Miele dishwasher twice, the door opens by about 10 cm completely automatically using a clever opening mechanism. A convenience you will enjoy every day (Miele website).”

Available on the Lumen dishwasher (model G6595SCViK2o) and the Diamond dishwasher (model G6985SCViK2o) in custom wood panel fronts only, you literally knock twice on the front and the door automatically opens. It’s very cool.

 

Why Would You Want Knock2Open Technology?

If you’re going for a modern kitchen design and your cabinetry doesn’t have handles or minimalistic handles, Knock2Open dishwashers ensure that you keep continuity throughout your base cabinets.

Other Features in Knock2Open Dishwashers

As you’ve probably guessed by now, tapping twice on the front of the handle-free door automatically and quietly opens it to the ajar position. Then you can push it down without smudging the front and load in the dirty dishes. The company says that the mechanism won’t accidentally open up if you’re noisily chopping veg on a nearby worktop or slamming kitchen units closed.

At-a-glance monitoring has also been incorporated into the new machines. Its TimeControl feature uses four edge-mounted LEDs that auto switch on when a wash cycle starts, then turn off at timed points in the program. The last remaining light indicates that 20 minutes are remaining before the door is automatically opened and you can safely remove the cleaned and dried dishes.

Besides this cool technology, Miele Knock2Open dishwashers are brimming with features that have made them famous like their 3D Cutlery tray and super-duper, whisper quiet operation (44 decibels for the Lumen model and 42 decibels for the Diamond dishwasher). Both units are packed with cleaning cycles like China & Crystal, Pots & Pans, and Rinse & Hold. In total, the Lumen dishwasher features 12 wash cycles and the Diamond offers a whopping 16 different cycles. Miele even backs up their Diamond dishwasher with a free five-year warranty as long as you register your purchase at Miele’s website. Also, If the Automatic program is selected, water consumption in the new models is a low as 6.5 litres. The unit on show in Berlin is rated A+++ for energy efficiency, the highest grade EU Energy Label.

BEAT THE DRY WINTER WITH AN AIR HUMIDIFIER

If you need another reason to dislike winter, dry winter air is a good one. It can dry out your nasal passages, which can make it tougher to bounce back from a stuffy nose. The dry air can aggravate asthma symptoms and cause dry skin. Over time, it can also damage your wooden floors and furniture and hurt the health of your houseplants.

Clearly, if you can offset the dry air, you should. And a humidifier is your go-to appliance for balancing out the air in your home as you count the days until spring. If you are shopping for a humidifier, there are a few things to consider while you’re making your choice. Some things to consider when you shop for a humidifier are the:

Size of the room

If you have an idea of where you’re going to primarily use your humidifier, it’s important to know the size of your room. If you buy a humidifier that’s too large for the space, you’ll not only make the room uncomfortably humid but also create an environment favourable to mould and mildew. Too small, and your humidifier won’t be able to adequately humidify the space. Humidifiers designed for larger spaces will have larger water tanks.

Check the labelling of the humidifier, which should have information about how big a space the model is made for. Know the square footage of your room and choose the model that’s appropriate for the space.

Warm vs. cool

Appliance manufacturers produce humidifiers that can put out either warm or cool humidity. Your choice is largely a matter of personal preference, but the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a cool-mist humidifier for children who are suffering from colds and the flu. However, both warm and cool-mist humidifiers will increase the humidity in your home.

Filter or no filter?

Filtered and filter-free humidifiers will both humidify the air. A filtered model will remove minerals from water before the water is put into the air. However, the filter will need to be changed regularly, possibly every 1-2 months.

Filter-free models, obviously, don’t require changing filters. But, you may notice an accumulation of minerals, possibly as a fine white dust, on the outside of a filter-free humidifier. However, some models come with demineralization cartridges, which need to be replaced periodically.

You’ll probably also notice a difference in the way filtered and filter-free humidifiers put moisture into the air. Filtered models are evaporative and use a fan to put humidified air into the room. Filter-free models put a visible mist directly into the air.

Maintenance and care

All humidifiers, whether warm or cool, filtered or filter-free, require regular cleaning and maintenance. Before you buy, take a look at the models you’re considering and think about how easy they might be to clean. Do they have detachable parts that can be placed in a dishwasher? Are there narrow openings that might be difficult to clean? You’ll need to wipe down the inside of the tank regularly, so make sure the humidifier you choose has an opening large enough to reach inside. Keep

The cleaning process will vary depending on the model, but in general, it’s a two-step process that involves descaling and disinfecting. Descaling breaks down any minerals that may have accumulated on the humidifier. Disinfecting will kill any germs that have built up. You’ll need bleach for disinfecting, vinegar for descaling, plus a cloth or brush. Follow the cleaning instructions in your humidifier use and care manual.

Keeping the humidifier clean is even more important if you’re using it to ease a cold, allergies or asthma, as a dirty dehumidifier can put contaminants back into the air.

It’s a humidifier, not a diffuser

People sometimes confuse humidifiers with essential oil diffusers. Never put anything but water into a humidifier. Oils or other substances can damage the humidifier tank and mechanical parts. Diffusers, which tend to be much smaller than humidifiers, and are designed to accommodate oils.

WINE STORAGE, THE DO’S AND DON’TS

Did you know that the wrong storage environment can negatively affect your wine after only a few weeks and substantially reduce the life of your wine? Inconsistent temperatures, excessive heat and light exposure all cause undesirable characteristics, such as loss of fruit and floral flavours, unpleasant aromas, or oxidisation.

Check out this list of all the places you might store your wine at home, and which ones you should try to avoid.

Don’ts

Surprisingly, one of the worst places for storing wine is in your kitchen.

This includes near or above your stovetop and oven, or next to your fridge – which dispels a considerable amount of heat during its compressor cycles. Any wine professional will tell you that fluctuating temperature is one of the worst things for your wine.

Similarly, storing wine in a consistently hot environment, such as a west-facing garage or attic, will literally cook your wine, resulting in flabby ‘spoiled fruit’ flavours.

Another disastrous option is storing your wine on racks near a window or glass door in direct sunlight, where your wine will be exposed to excessive light. UV light in particular causes hydrogen sulphide compounds in wine, which affects a wine’s colour and tannins. It strips the wine of the natural fruit flavours and causes it to taste flat and lifeless.

Unfortunately, this category covers a lot of the places we often think are okay for wine storage, such as under the staircase or house, in a basement, or in Styrofoam boxes.

Wine’s ideal cellaring temperature is between 12ºC and 14ºC. Storing wine under 10° will stunt maturation, while above 16° will prematurely age the wine. This isn’t a wide bracket, and constant variation between the two can cause a surprising amount of damage to a wine’s structure and life expectancy.


Indeed, a 2014 study conducted by the Fondazione Edmund Mach Institute in Italy found that wine stored at home ages four times faster than when stored in a proper cellar and tasted blander.

Lead researcher Dr Fulvio Mattivi said, “After six months under domestic conditions, the wine in the bottle was approximately as ‘old’ as a bottle from the same producer stored for two years under cellar conditions. The house-stored wine was ageing approximately four times faster”. The conclusion reached was that even slight changes in storage temperature can severely affect your wine.

On top of this, low humidity environments (below 50% hygrometry) dry out corks, causing them to become brittle and shrink, which allows air into the bottle. You can recognise an oxidised wine through off and unpleasant odours, and discolouration from purple or red to brown.

Do’s

So excluding all these places, where should you store your wine? Though it sounds obvious, the best place is somewhere that has been specifically designed to accommodate the needs of your wines, like a cool natural underground cellar, a purpose-built walk-in wine cellar, or a climate-controlled wine cabinet.

These options prevent wines from spoiling due to environmental stress and allow them to mature at a steady rate. A well-made wine cabinet or walk-in cellar replicate the conditions found in the best natural underground wine cellars by controlling humidity, temperature, and UV light – and can effectively prolong the life of your wine substantially.

While you may assume a regular fridge or wine cooler is a good alternative, unfortunately, these generate intense blasts of cold air, creating large temperature fluctuations, and they remove ambient humidity causing your corks to dry out. In addition, a climate-controlled wine cabinet is typically equipped with a special slow-cycling compressor housed outside the unit on rubber shock-pads, to protect your bottles from vibrations that spoil and prematurely age wine, and ensures frequent air circulation to limit the growth of mould on corks and labels.

If you don’t yet have the right storage solution for your home, you can also look into external cellaring facilities, or only purchase wine for immediate enjoyment. However, you will be missing out on the joys of cellaring, and will only be able to hold a limited amount of bottles on hand at any time.

Money-Notes

WHAT IT COSTS TO REPAIR YOUR HOME APPLIANCES

If you own a home, chances are good that — sooner or later — you’ll need to have an appliance repaired. Most small appliances, such as microwaves, blenders and toasters, should last around 10 years or more. Larger appliances, such as refrigerators, freezers and dishwashers, will need more regular service and maintenance to keep them in optimal shape. Learn more about how much you can expect to pay to repair and maintain your appliances.

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