Elisa Spence Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage


As seasons change, the air inside your home changes. Some seasons bring more pollen and dust, while others introduce wood smoke, and still others mold spores, mildew, and fungi. While you can’t keep them all out, here are some ideas for making your indoor as healthful as possible through every season.

Sneeze defeaters

  • Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter. These High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters collect the tiny particles that other vacuums return into the air. Look for one with a washable filter since these will be less expensive overall compared to that that require regular replacing. Machines that use a HEPA bag work well, but you’ll need to toss the bag and replace it frequently.
  • Cover up your mattresses and pillows. Your mattress collects dead skin cells, dust mites, and other allergens. Use a dust-proof casing on your mattresses and pillows. Made from vinyl and different fabrics with very dense weaves that have pores too small for dust mites to get through, these zippered cases keep the allergens from invading your sleep space. Frequent washings help these barriers stay fresh and allergen free.
  • Along the same lines, avoid excessive pillows, drapes, throws, and the like in rooms of family members with allergies. A great home improvement project to reduce allergens is to replace windows and blinds with between-the-glass blinds. That way, you don’t need to have window coverings to collect dust and allergens at all.
  • The same holds for family areas. Too many thick textiles gather dust mites, mold spores, and pollen. Try to have a minimum of dust-catching decorative items as well. Look for bookshelves and electronics cabinets with glass doors to keep dust out.
  • Exhaust your bathroom. Make sure you run the exhaust fan during and after showers to remove the moisture from your home. Excessive moisture creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow. If something smells musty to you, there’s probably a culprit somewhere in the house. Pay attention to the smells under you sink in the bathroom and kitchen, and sniff behind the washer and dryer every once in a while.
  • Make changing your heat or air conditioning system filters 90-day scheduled maintenance. Do not run your HVAC system without filters since the air intake will draw dust and pollen particles into the system. 
  • If you’ve moved to a new home, don’t just rely on the HVAC filters. Your vents and ducts can fill up with years of dust, pet hair and dander, and pollen. Hire an air duct professional to clean them for you so that you start fresh.
  • On a similar note, keep your dryer vents clean and free of lint. Clear the lint trap with every load and discard it in an enclosed waste can.• Keep your gutters clear of debris since a stopped-up gutter can cause a moisture buildup in your attic, basement, or crawlspace. All of these areas gather dust mites, mold spores, and pollen.
  • Beware of your garden. You can’t do anything about what your neighbors choose to plant, but you can pay attention to your own. Avoid high-pollen grasses and trees.

If you’re looking for a home that is friendly to allergy-prone family members, talk to your real estate agent about newer homes in your area with built-in filtration systems and modern HEPA filtered HVAC systems.


Leather is a costly material, so buying bags, shoes, sofa or clothes in this material can set you back a few dollars. Having paid top dollar for the leather sofa or purse, you logically always want to keep the item in good shape. Sadly, leather is tough to clean. Regardless of their durability, using too much water or washing them with a washing machine can destroy the material. What do you do when you notice a stain on your leather item? Below are effective tips on how to properly clean an article with leather material.

How to Clean Leather Purses or Bags 

Leather purses and handbags are prone to stains as they are often placed on the floor and used outdoors. Some people use soap or detergent to get rid of the stains, but this is wrong - Soap or detergent remains on the leather and may result in cracking and dry patches. If you want to get rid of a stain effectively from your leather bag or purse, follow these steps;

  1. Get a mild facial soap and one part with eight parts of clean water
  2. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle
  3. Spray the mixture on a towel
  4. Use the towel wipe the grain of the leather. Do this gently until the stain removed.
  5. Leave the purse or bag to air dry inside your home. Do not expose to sunlight.
  6. When the purse or bag has dried completely, use a small amount of leather moisturizer. This helps to protect the handbag or purse. 

How to Clean Leather Furniture 

Leather furniture, such as cushions and sofa are standard in most homes, but only a few homeowners know how to clean leather furniture. Some homeowners make the mistake of using strong household cleaners on their cushions, the aftermath of such action is a worn-out cushion. To prevent such, here are some tips on how to clean leather furniture.

  1. Before cleaning, use a vacuum to remove dust and particles.
  2. Using a microfiber cloth, wipe a pea-sized amount of a mild detergent onto the furniture.
  3. Using a separate cloth, wipe the furniture gently with clean water.
  4. Continue wiping with clean water until there is no sign of soap residue on the furniture.
  5. Close blinds or curtains and allow the furniture to dry naturally. 

How to Clean dry stain from leather 

Shoes Whenever you notice a dry stain on your leather shoe, do not clean it off with water. Get an eraser and rub the stain until it disappears. Do this gently, or else you may damage the material.

Caring for your leather items requires some skill and patience. Try some of these tips today and breathe new life to your leather furniture, bags, and shoes.


One of the many challenges of putting your home on the market is keeping it clean!

That task can be even more difficult if you have kids, pets, and a busy schedule. If everyone is always rushing off to their jobs, classes, lunch dates, meetings, practices, or appointments, it's hard to keep your home in a perpetual state of cleanliness and order.

Probably the first step to keeping your house ready for real estate showings is to remind your family to clean up after themselves. While this may require more than one reminder, any amount of cooperation will help keep messes to a minimum. Implementing some sort of reward system or even a competition among siblings, can go a long way toward maintaining a semblance of order in the house. Some parents even post a calendar of assigned chores to make sure everyone does their fair share.

Professional Help May Be Needed!

Getting your home ready for real estate showings can feel like a monumental task, especially if you have a large house and a messy family! The good news is that you can hire some outside help without depleting your kids' college funds! Many households already have a house cleaning person or service that comes in at least a couple times a month to keep things looking civilized. If your house is actively being shown to prospective buyers, however, you might want to consider having your housekeeper clean the house a little more frequently than usual. That way, you only have to do some minor tidying up when your real estate agent notifies you about a scheduled house showing in a few hours or tomorrow morning.

If any of your rooms are carpeted and the floors haven't been professionally steam-cleaned for as long as you can remember, it may be time to hire a carpet cleaning service. Carpeted floors have an unfortunate tendancy of locking in stains, allergens, and ground-in dirt for months, if not years! Although you can often improve the appearance of your carpets by cleaning them yourself, it often requires the services of a professional carpet cleaning service to really get those stubborn stains out. You can often get recommendations from neighbors, friends, relatives, or coworkers, and can look for online reviews of carpet cleaners on social media websites.

Once you've cleaned, dusted, and sanitized the inside of your house, there may be one more area to tackle before you're ready to have your house shown: its exterior! Your home's siding may be covered with filmy layers of dust, grime, splatters, and environmental pollutants -- a condition which thankfully can be reversed by using the services of a local power-washing company. While not all power-washing services are created equal, a reliable one can remove years of accumulated filmy deposits from pollen, birds, spider webs, acid rain, snow blower splatters, rust, smoky emissions from backyard barbeques, vehicle exhaust emissions, and other miscellaneous air pollution.

So even though the environment, your family, and the wear and tear of normal, everyday use will take its toll on the appearance of your home, there are many things you can do to reverse that process and restore many aspects of your home's original freshness, charm, and appeal!




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