Friday, October 28, 2016

6 Common Car Smells and How to Remove Them

6 Common Car Smells and How to Remove Them

Everyone wants to keep the new car smell in their car as long as possible. What do you do when the air turns funky? Here’s a look at 6 common causes of car odors and how you can remove them.

1. How to check for hidden odor sources

Play detective and check around the car for anything that could be causing the odor. Look in pockets, under seats, on floor mats and even in the glove compartment for baby bottles in the back seat, moldy fruit in forgotten bags or unidentified blobs that may have been dragged in on the bottom of someone’s shoe. Immediately remove and throw any of these away and open the doors for a while to let any lingering odor dissipate. Don’t forget that sometimes a funky smell can also be a sign of an overheated car – or you may be in need of an oil change.

2. How to clean car carpet and upholstery

If you can’t find the source, pull out the car vacuum. Many times the upholstery, carpet or fabric interior can trap odors. Work the vacuum all around and down into crevices using the upholstery attachment. If this doesn’t do the trick but you believe this is the source of your odor issue, try steam cleaning where possible. If you have leather seats, you can clean them thoroughly in a few simple steps.

3. How to remove cigarette smell from car

If you’re a smoker or have a passenger who is, remember to empty the ashtrays regularly. Keep in mind smoke has a way of getting everywhere, including into the vents. Spray deodorizer into the vents as well as through the intake valve under the hood. In addition, open all of the windows and doors to air things out.
Keep in mind that smoking leaves behind tar, which is a sticky substance. Wipe down the interior panels with a 50/50 combination of water and vinegar solution. If the odor still lingers, mix in some dish soap as well. Once done, wipe the surfaces dry.

4. How to eliminate car sickness smells

Don’t forget about small children or pets who may have had an accident on the upholstery or who, may have had a carsick moment, . Even if these accidents were wiped up right away, a deeper clean may be necessary to fully get rid of the smell. If it has already dried, use your 50/50 water and vinegar solution to rehydrate the spot and then remove it with a wet/dry vacuum. Spreading kitty litter on the area or sprinkling it with baking soda can also help absorb odors.

5. How to remove mildew from cars

Mildew is another source of unwelcome odors. All you need is one rainstorm and an overlooked partially opened window (or even just a small leak with a buildup of condensation), to experience this. Luckily, removing mildew smells in cars is pretty straightforward. A wet/dry vacuum can help remove remaining water from carpets and upholstery but, in a pinch, even a hair dryer may work. If a small leak is the cause, you may have to hunt around a bit. Check under the mats as well as in the trunk for any condensation, including checking the area where your spare tire is stored.

6. How to eliminate car air conditioner smells

One other possible source of that mildew smell is the air conditioning system. One telltale sign is damp floor mats near the air conditioner. If you find an odor coming from this area, open the front cover and remove the filter. Use a nylon scrub pad to remove any mold growth, then use a cotton swab to dry it. (To finish drying things out, turn on the car’s heater.) When you’re sure the area is completely dry, apply an anti-mildew solution, enzyme cleaner or odor absorber. You could also sprinkle baking soda on the upholstery and leave it in place for a day or so before vacuuming away. By then, the smell should have dissipated. You also may, of course, remove any car mats and let them air out for a while.
After finding the source of car odors and treating them, your car should smell great. With the help of a new car smell air freshener, could almost smell as good as new.

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Trick or Treating Tips Infographic

Trick or Treating Tips Infographic

Halloween is just around the corner, and there are a few things to consider before October 31st. From picking out the right costume to keeping your house protected, Halloween requires some preparation. Check out these Halloween facts and trick or treating safety tips to help you and your family have a great Halloween. 

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Trick or Treating Tips Infographic

6 Tips for Ladder Safety

6 Tips for Ladder Safety

Ladders are a common part of home repair and maintenance. They enable homeowners to complete tasks that would otherwise be difficult to reach. But as is the case for any tool, it’s important to use ladders safely.
Ladder-related injuries send more than 90,000 people a year to emergency rooms throughout the United States, according to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report.
Ladders were also involved in 81 percent of all injuries from falls that sent construction workers to emergency rooms, and 20 percent of injuries from falls that U.S. workers sustained on the job over a 10-year period studied by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Many of these injuries occur because someone did not use the proper-size ladder or used a ladder improperly, says Mark Clement, co-host of the MyFixItUpLifehome-improvement radio show.

Here are Clement’s six tips for proper ladder use:

Ladder safety tip #1: Read the safety label

Everything you need to know about proper ladder use is written on the ladder’s safety sticker, but many people are in too much of a rush or are too tired to read it, Clement says. As is the case with any tool in which safety is an important issue, take your time to read the directions. That can prevent an accident.

Ladder safety tip #2: Make sure the ladder is tall enough

The most popular ladder size, 18 feet, may not be tall enough to get you on and off a roof safely, Clement says. It’s barely tall enough to get to the edge of the roof. While you might be able to get off the ladder and onto the roof, getting back onto the ladder from the roof is another story with a ladder that is too short.
To safely return to the ladder from the roof, the ladder needs to extend 3 feet, or three rungs, above the roof to give you something to hold onto when you get back onto the ladder, Clement says. Otherwise, you will need to lie on your belly on the roof and try to hook the ladder with your feet. Most houses require a 24-foot ladder. If you have a two-story house, a 28-foot ladder is the better option.

Ladder safety tip #3: Don’t lean out too far

One of the most common falls from a ladder comes from losing your balance while cleaning out the gutters, Clement says. Eventually you get tired of going down the ladder, moving it 3 feet, and going back up. So, you start to lean over too far and you lose your balance. A good rule of thumb, is to keep your belt buckle between the rungs and never reach out any farther on either side.

Ladder safety tip #4: Use the ladder for its intended use

Don’t use the ladder as a bridge or scaffolding. Don’t use the shelf on the ladder as a step. People are tempted to step on that shelf because they choose a ladder that isn’t long enough, Clement says. They don’t want to get down and get another ladder, they just want to finish the job. That’s when people get hurt, he says.

Ladder safety tip #5: Make sure the ladder is on a firm, level surface

The ladder needs to be level at its base and on a firm surface to prevent it from tipping over while you are climbing on it. Rocky or uneven ground can destabilize a ladder.  If the ladder seems even a little wobbly, it’s best to adjust your location. Sometimes even just a couple of feet will be enough to ensure a safe base.

Ladder safety tip #6: Plan your route before moving the ladder

Most people store their ladder in the garage or the shed. Before you move it from storage to your work area, plan your route to make sure you don’t bump into any wires, cars or other objects, Clement says. Carry it horizontally and make sure the gate is open if you are moving it from the back yard to front yard.
Knowing proper ladder safety is key to protecting yourself against unforeseen accidents. Make sure your home and property have adequate protection by getting the right homeowners insurance policy. Learn more about Nationwide’s homeowners and renters insurance policies today.

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How to Winterize Your Car: The Official Checklist

How to Winterize Your Car: The Official Checklist

Have you given your car the tender, loving care it needs to survive the ravages of winter? Following our checklist can help ensure it’s prepared to take on the cold.

Antifreeze and Cooling System

  • Before temperatures drop significantly, drain your cooling system and add new antifreeze (draining the car radiator and refilling it with new coolantshould be done at least once a year)
  • Check the owner’s manual for the proper coolant level
  • Make sure the reserve tank or overflow tank fluid levels are sufficient


  • Check tires weekly for proper tread and air pressure (you’ll find the recommended tire pressure inside the driver’s side door, doorframe or in the owner’s manual)
  • Replace worn tires
  • All-weather tires are generally adequate for winter, but some areas require vehicles to have chains or snow tires with studs, so make sure to check local laws
  • If you live in an area prone to snow and ice, consider winter tires, which are designed to better grip icy pavement

Windshield Wipers

  • Replace worn windshield wipers, since sand and salt will be more prevalentafter a snowstorm
  • Replace wiper fluid with a winter mixture and maintain the proper fluid level
  • Consider winter wiper blades to help cut through snow and ice


  • Check brake fluid levels and brake pads for wear and tear
  • Replace worn pads and rotors


  • Make sure battery cables and terminals are secure and free from corrosion
  • Test your battery by turning on the headlights before starting the engine – if they get brighter once you start the engine, schedule an appointment with a mechanic for further electrical inspection
  • If your battery is more than 3 years old, have it inspected by a mechanic

Heater and Defroster

  • Turn your heater and defroster on and off to make sure they are working correctly


  • Make sure all lights are clean and working properly
  • Clean lights off prior to driving in any type of precipitation
  • Replace foggy, hazy or damaged lens covers to improve visibility


Exhaust System

  • Replace or repair leaks and crimped pipes to help keep carbon monoxide out of the passenger compartment

Fuel and Air Filters

  • Replace and keep water out of the system by using additives
  • To keep moisture in the gas line from freezing and for easier cold-weather starts, keep at least a half tank of gas in the tank


  • Prevent road salt from damaging your car’s paint by washing your vehicle periodically
  • Apply a fresh coat of wax to avoid corrosion
  • For better visibility, clear snow and ice from your car’s hood, roof, head and taillights before driving
  • Consider winter floor mats to protect your car’s carpeting
Along with these maintenance tips, make sure your vehicle has a winter emergency kit.

Any of the recommendations should only be done if consistent with the owner’s manual.

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How to Avoid 5 Common Small Business Mistakes

How to Avoid 5 Common Small Business Mistakes

Only about half of all new businesses survive five years or more, and only about a third survive beyond 10 years, according to the Small Business Administration. From not having enough startup money to trying to do it all yourself to not investing in marketing, common errors in planning and management can provide challenges for small businesses when they’re starting out.
Here are a few of the most prevalent business mistakes and ways to overcome them:

1. Not connecting with a mentor or coach

Most small business owners know how to make their products or provide their services, but few know how to run a business, says Linda Murray Bullard, owner of LSMB Business Solutions. Many times a business fails not because the product or service they’re providing is inferior but because the owner isn’t properly attending to the management side of the business.
Connecting with a business expert, mentor or coach will help you strengthen your business knowledge, better identify your target market, build a sales strategy and create a sustainable enterprise. An expert can take many forms including an insurance professional that assists with protection options for your business.
“Sometimes small business owners think they have to do it all themselves and they don’t engage in business networks,” Bullard says.
Bullard suggests attending local Chamber of Commerce events and contacting the Small Business Administration. You don’t have to be a chamber member to go to meetings, she says. Through your local SBA chapter you can qualify for free consultations with an attorney or a business coach, Bullard says.

2. Marketing to everyone

Small business owners often forget they need to find their target market rather than casting too wide a net. Instead of creating a solid sales and marketing plan, they will often try to register on every social media platform to reach everyone. You don’t have to master them all, Bullard says, you just need to know which platform is right for your product.
For instance, if you’re selling something that has eye appeal, such as clothing, artwork or food, try Pinterest and Instagram. If you’re selling a professional service, like taxes or insurance, you will want to be on LinkedIn and Facebook where you can describe your services.
The same rules apply to advertising. If you know your target audience, then you can determine where to advertise. For instance, if you’re selling medical supplies it might make sense to place an ad in a daily newspaper, but if you’re selling home health care assistance, consider advertising through social media.

3. Selling your product or service at too low a price

Many business owners think cheaper prices will get them more customers, Bullard says. Or they mistakenly think if they set their price lower than their competitor’s, they will steal away customers. What happens instead, she says, is you end up having to keep increasing the price to meet your expenses until your product or service ends up being more expensive than the competition.
Start off with a comparable price that covers your expenses and allows you to stay in business, Bullard says.

4. Only considering traditional funding

Many small business owners don’t have a strong enough credit history to support a large business loan. Instead of giving up, business owners should explore other ways of raising funds. For instance, she says, if you need a $10,000 loan, ask 10 friends who believe in your idea to invest $1,000 each. You could also consider crowdfunding your business through Kickstarter or GoFundMe.

5. Assuming you’ll be profitable your first year

New business owners assume they are going to be immediately profitable, but most new businesses typically break even or lose money their first year. That doesn’t mean the business has failed. It could just mean spending more time to find your footing and laying the groundwork to be profitable in the future.

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