Home and Garden

Looking after your marble tiles

Marble is without a doubt a building material that depicts the height of elegance and refined taste. It’s a common feature of luxury in business premises and residential properties. Take a second and imagine the cool crisp effects created by the marble finishes that are found inside the home of your dreams. Whether it glistens off those counter tops as you are creating fantastic pieces of art in the kitchen, or it simply stares up at you as you walk across the corridors. Then, a discouraging thought comes to your mind as to how costly it may be to maintain this dream. Indeed, this is an exceedingly deterring thought.
Well, it may come as a shock to you, but maintenance is not as costly as many people tend to think. The following are a few ways to take care of your marble interiors and keep that stunning look for as long as possible.

Marble Floors

Wiping feet: It is essential to have rugs, mats and runners at high-circulation points and at the entrances leading to the marble floors, for example at the doorway as you enter the house. Their presence is important to remove the small stones and grit which may damage the floors over time by scratching them.
Dust problem: As for dust, dust mops are a valuable to keep the dirt and grit off your floor. The best ones are the soft dust mops that are not treated with chemicals. Regularly cleaning the dust mop also is imperative to keeping your marble floor surfaces dust free. When it comes to vacuum cleaning, brush implements are the most apt. Plastic and metal may damage the finish.
Spillage: Lastly, spills should be blotted up as soon as possible. The reason as to why merely wiping the spill is not advisable is because this may spread the liquid around instead. Once blotted, do a quick flush with dish soap and water. Proceed to wipe the surface dry with a cloth and this should leave your floor sparkling.

Marble Tiles

In the kitchen, it is inevitable that the marble tile finishes, especially those present above the counter may get quite a lot of unwanted spills, splashes and a barrage of flying liquids. Of utmost importance is that these surfaces remain as dry as possible.
Kitchen Backsplashes: You could probably guess from the name that kitchen backsplashes are splatters of food and drinks. A quick blot and flush with neutral pH solution and warm water, followed by a thorough drying is an adequate defense against these projectiles of food and drink.
Especially in showers and baths, marble tiles tend to be exposed to some potentially harmful chemicals which are present in the soaps, shampoos, conditioners and so on. This is however, not a cause for worry.
Shower Floors: For showers, to make sure the lasting effects of these soaps do not stain the marble, be sure to rinse the floors with a spray of clean water and to consequently dry it with a soft towel.
Shower Walls: Soap scum and cloudiness may develop on the shower walls if you do not rinse them often. However, do not make the mistake of using bleaches, vinegar, cleaners, ammonia, scrubbing pads or regular commercial cleaners so as not to risk attrition to the marble surface. Use cleaners with a neutral pH which are fitting for marble.

Marble Countertops

Marble countertops, particularly in the kitchen and less so in the washrooms tend to take quite a fair amount of ill treatment. All one needs to be mindful is to blot spills up when they occur and in a timely fashion. Simple as that.
It is also however useful to repeat that under no circumstances should commercial cleaners be used on these marble countertops. One can make a homemade cleaning solution using mild dish soap; a tablespoon should suffice. Top it up with warm water in a spray bottle. After using the countertops, do a quick spray, clean it off using a damp cloth and dry it with a dry towel and you’re good to go.


Lastly, a crucial tip to take care of your marble surfaces, is to seal them up tight regularly to keep the pores full of a strong coat that is stain-resistant. It could as frequent as you would like, however it would be best to know when they need sealing by checking. You do this by lightly sprinkling water on the surface. You know that it’s time to seal your marble again if the water droplets spread out instead of beading.
In conclusion, when it comes to cleaning marble, dust mops, soft and dry cloths, neutral dish soap and water are all that you need. Therefore, keep your marble in pristine condition. It’s simple and cheap.
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Give the gift of a clean car this Christmas

Christmas is around the corner and with that comes the pretty difficult task of planning what gifts to get who when the festive season rolls around. Face it, some people are just impossible to get a gift for, so sometimes something a little bit more practical can go a long way.
A good clean on the outside, as well as the inside of a care, is definitely a way to show you care and because people use their cars every day, it will be very much appreciated. All of us know somebody whose car looks like a moving trash can. This person probably spends a lot of time on the road commuting, or maybe they’re just a college student trying to pass all their classes.
Then there’s some of us who know a different kind of person and that’s the guy who never has his car washed, so it’s caked with dirt and grime. The final person is the car fanatic that person whose care is their pride and joy, the car that gets only the best treatment and products used it on.
Now, what do these three types of people have in common? The same kind of Christmas gift, that’s what. Surprising someone with having their car washed and cleaned is the perfect gift and something that they’ll enjoy every time they get into their car. It’s definitely a gift that will keep on giving. And if you can’t sneak their car away you can always pay beforehand and then tell them they can take their car whenever they have the time. Like before college starts or over a quiet weekend. Or if you’re really with the time you can have a mobile car wash come to you.
So, while you’re having a family get together or drink with your car fanatic friend, you can have their car washed right outside in the driveway, and you know that the people doing it are professionals. This is perhaps the best way to surprise them with the gift of a clean car for Christmas. Invite them over for an innocent lunch and then have the car cleaners come over while your busy inside. The best part is you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home!
Here are a few different types of services you can choose from:

1.       The Interior Detail and Outside Wash

  • high-pressure spray
  • detergent exterior wash
  • wheels cleaned
  • high-pressure rinse
  • chamois dry
  • vacuum seats
  • vacuum carpets
  • seats and carpets shampooed
  • interior door panels cleaned
  • dashboard and console detailed & rejuvenated
  • windows cleaned
  • boot vacuumed
  • interior deodorised
  • ashtrays cleaned Car Interior Clean
  • door rubbers treated
  • door jambs cleaned
  • mats detailed
  • roof lining spot cleaned


2.       Custom Detail & Polish

  • high-pressure spray
  • detergent car wash
  • chamois dry
  • exterior car polish (paintwork)
  • wheels cleaned
  • exterior plastics and rubbers glossed
  • tyres&mudflaps treated
  • chrome polished
  • windows cleaned
  • interior car vacuum – carpet, seats & boot
  • ashtrays cleaned


3.       Full Detail

  • exterior plastics and rubbers glossed
  • interior door panels cleaned
  • dashboard and console detailed and rejuvenated
  • tyres&mudflaps treated
  • wheels cleaned
  • chrome polished
  • exterior car polish by hand or by machine
  • chamois dry
  • hand wash and chamois dry
  • high-pressure spray
  • windows cleaned
  • boot vacuumed
  • ashtrays cleaned
  • interior deodorised
  • door rubbers treated
  • door jambs cleaned
  • mats detailed
  • seats, carpets, vacuumed and shampooed
  • leather seats cleaned & conditioned

All three of these options correlate with the three types of people you might know. You can decide which would work best for who.
This type of gift is perfect if you don’t know what to get someone. It’s practical and something they’ll see every day.
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Home and Garden


While people up north are gearing up for winter, the party is just getting started down under. People all over Australia are wheeling out their barbeque ovens, camping gear and wood-fired heaters for the cool summer nights. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind as you get ready to fire up your BBQs this summer.


Even the best cooks depend on the capacity of their equipment. Think about getting a Barbeque with a lid on it to make sure your steak cooks evenly by protecting your flames from the wind.


Most wood and charcoal enthusiasts say that their fuels add to the meat’s flavour and authenticity, unlike gas BBQs. However, Weber Barbeque Sydney has come up with a gas BBQ that is fitted with a Flavorizer to infuse the natural flavours you desire. You could also use Weber BBQ briquettes in a normal wood barbeque as they light up faster than wood and charcoal and burn slower.


The main cause of burnt BBQ meat is excess heat. When the heat is too high, the outside of your steak gets charred long before the inside cooks. You can easily control the temperature by using a heat regulated grill like a Beefeater BBQ.
BBQ Cooking Tips


If you don’t have a temperature gauge, try the hand test. Place your hand about 12 cm above the grill and if you can hold it there for up to 10 seconds, you have low heat. 5 seconds classifies and medium heat and less than 2 seconds it high.


Depending on the recipe you are following, it is important to preheat the grill so that you start the roast off at the right temperature. The standard Beefeater BBQ Sydney range comes fitted with a temperature gauge to help you. Preheating also kills off bacteria and helps get your meat ready faster.


Oiling the grill is a smart way to keep the meat from sticking to it. Simply douse the preheated grill with vegetable oil.


Marinating the meat is what sets a good BBQ from a great one. Go through the recipes you have access to and learn how to mix a special blend of the marinade to dazzle your guests.


There’s nothing worse than getting food poisoning after barbequing your own meat. You can prevent cross-contamination by using separate knives and cutting boards for raw and cooked food.


Don’t barbeque frozen food without defrosting it first. Frozen food does not cook evenly and you may find the centre of your steak raw in the middle of your meal.


A chimney Starter is a metal cylinder with a metal basket at the bottom. It helps start charcoal fires quickly by crumbling a newspaper page and lighting it at the bottom of the tube underneath a pile of coals.

Home and Garden

Colours to consider for your new engineered timber flooring

Timber products are a great choice for interiors, as they will not only add value to your home but also natural warmth and ambience to your interior space. This is why you will not be able to go past engineered timber boards if you are thinking about upscaling the flooring of your home. Engineered timber floorboards provide an exceptional stability and durability due to their layers, which are as solid as traditional timber floorboards and can be re-sanded many times. Due to its classic look, homeowners furthermore love the easy installation and low maintenance that comes with such enduring hardwood flooring and interior designers agree that timber will always add character and beauty to any space.
Being the largest surface in your home, choosing the right flooring is extremely crucial, as it will have a big impact on the style of your interior, the mood and atmosphere. It can also turn out to be a daunting task with so many possibilities on the market, but once you have chosen to give your home the classic timber aesthetic we are sure you are one step closer to your dream home.
Flooring is a vital design element of your home and it is, therefore, crucial that you choose a colour and style, which complements the existing interior and does not compete with other statement pieces in a room. When it comes to colour, it is furthermore important for you to think about the overall look you want to achieve with your new flooring and whether you are going to choose multiple finishes to make zones visible in an open-plan home for stunning results or have one colour that extends throughout the house to create a sense of flow.
Furthermore, does flooring have a huge impact on the atmosphere in your house, whether you use lighter colours to create a sunnier and beach house feel, choose grey tones to keep your interior peaceful and cool or want to achieve a natural and rustic feel by going for brown colours. The improvements in manufacturing processes now make it possible for homeowners to access a variety of modern hues in timber flooring. While a classic tone like Sienna is still popular today, the new colours give more freedom and flexibility to create everyone’s dream interior.

We have put together some tips to help you find the perfect colour for your new engineered timber flooring

Blonde floorboards are still traditional in flooring as they match easily with a variety of interior styles. Light floors suit beachy and shabby-chic looks and thanks to the variety of soft shades in each plank, cream-coloured engineered floorboards have appeared in modern homes. Such colours are often chosen for interiors with a contemporary design but can also be found in traditionally furnished homes as the hues emphasize natural lighting and hide scratches well. If you have a room that is rather on the smaller size, just as white walls and large windows will naturally make such room appear larger, so does lighter coloured flooring. To bring a sense of light and roominess to a small space, opt for light or blonde coloured engineered timber boards such as Bistre or Freado.
For a warm and sophisticated look as it is currently the trend in interior design, dark timber flooring in shades of walnut, coffee and mahogany are still in tradition and it is not uncommon to find hues such as Argento or Penza in family homes. A large, wide space usually calls for warmer and darker flooring hues like Otta or Raba. These tones tend to make a big room seem smaller, which makes the space more cosy and intimate. When considering darker shades, be aware that such flooring will possibly show dirt better and will make a tight space feel more enclosed and narrow.
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How Does Cooking Affect Nutrition In Food?

Some cooking methods have always been associated with denaturing nutrients within the food we eat and as such may not be as nutritious as others.
So where did this notion come from?
This idea stems from two main factors: heat and water. Higher cooking temperatures are claimed to break down and even destroys certain vitamins such as Vitamin C. Some vitamins are actually water soluble and as such, larger volumes of cooking water are claimed to cause these vitamins to leach out and be lost in the cooking process.
There seems to be some truth in this claim. However, a bias may present itself in this since the cited studies only examine just one or two specific vegetable species and thus do not give a fair representation on foods as a whole. Furthermore, these studies only test just one or two cooking methods and as such it is difficult to get a good bearing on the effect of cooking on the food’s nutritional value.
These studies conclude that one cooking method is superior to the other but forming general conclusions from these findings can be misleading; this carries the assumption that the same vitamin will behave in the same way in all the other different vegetables.
This assumption was highlighted in a 2015 research paper in the LWT – Food Science and Technology Journal by Sylvie Bureau and others (Are folates, carotenoids and vitamin C affected by cooking?). The researchers analysed the effect of boiling, steaming, pressure steaming and microwave cooking on vitamins on 13 different frozen vegetables to determine the best method of cooking. Interestingly, the best method was dependent on which nutrient one was looking at as well as which vegetable one was cooking. For example, the study found that in spinach branches, carotenoids were preserved best when steaming was used in cooking. However, with hashed spinach, pressure cooking preserved more carotenoids than steaming.
Also, a lot of individuals are wary of the effect that microwaving has on the nutritional value of the food they consume. A Science – Based Medicine research article done in 2014 by Steven Novella concluded that microwave cooking is a safe technology that has a positive net effect on food nutrition. This does not imply that microwaving is the best cooking method but certainly can lay to rest any unease about using microwaving as a form of cooking sometimes.
The most common finding among scientific literature was that boiling seems to do the most damage to nutrients. This is probably because boiling combines high temperatures and large amounts of water. Thus, in the study mentioned by (by Sylvie Bureau) actually found that boiling preserved the least amount of vitamin C across all 13 frozen vegetables. Consequently, due to the lack of general consistent results across all vegetables and cooking methods (save for boiling which was consistently the worst), it is difficult for one to give a simple recommendation on which method best preserves the nutritional quality of the frozen vegetables.
On average, the steaming method seems to do slightly better in cooking whereas boiling may be slightly worse; the difference in nutrient preservation in steaming is not enough to consider steaming as the best method of cooking. In conclusion, the idea that some methods are absolutely better than others when it comes to cooking and especially regarding vegetables is false.
The perfect solution would be to cook different vegetables in different manners so as to maximise on nutrient preservation within these vegetables. Since this is not practical then the best method would be to include a variety of cooking methods in food preparation as well as including different fruits and vegetables within one’s diet. Furthermore, bodybuilders as well as athletes may want to include supplements within their diets. Supplements are substances that isolate nutrients in smaller portions giving the users concentrated doses of nutrients and thus delivering on nutrients that one could not possibly acquire through their diet. A good example of a supplement would be Gold Standard Whey: a supplement that offers concentrated amounts of protein to the athletes. This helps as the amount of protein a normal bodybuilder would require could not possibly be obtained comfortably within their daily diet.
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Personal Improvement

How to build positive body image in our children

There’s a popular Buzzfeed video that shows beauty standards throughout the ages. The video (also available on YouTube) focuses on women, because they generally have bigger body-image issues than men do. Just an example, ‘boxy’ female bodies were admired in Ancient Egypt and again in the 20s. Curvy girls with slightly poochy tummies were hot during the renaissance and in the war years. The 60s and 80s preferred modelesque figures.
These days, curves are in, but there’s a bias towards the kind of tiny waists and ample bottoms that can only be achieved through surgery and Victorian corsets. It’s also worth noting that in some indigenous communities, slim figures were a sign of poverty, so your family would literally fatten you up before marriage (or in-laws would pressure you to fill out soon after). This ensured the neighbours didn’t gossip about your broke home.
In Mauritius, teenage girls are still frequently force-fed to give them the ‘right shape’ while in the west, bulimia and anorexia can literally slim a girl to death. Teenage boys (and young men) are getting caught up in body image drama as well. Boys with slight frames and fast metabolisms feel pushed to over-exercise and use steroids to bulk up. It’s not until their 40s and 50s that the average man embraces his dad-bod (which, amusingly, was popular with frat boys in the mid noughties). Point is … all bodies are beautiful in their own way.

Right body models

That can seem like a pointless platitude, especially because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That said, following ‘popular’ versions of body beauty are risky, because they change over time. Imagine spending two years in the gym getting buff, only to be told the optimal bicep size is now 5 inches. Or struggling to shed fat and becoming medically underweight, then failing your audition because they now want plus-sized participants.
In an ideal world, we would all be happy with ourselves, forming intrinsic measures and not comparing ourselves to others. In the meantime, we can help our kids by giving them different role models. Find out what areas of their body they’re unhappy with. Start with things they can’t change, like height and skin tone. Then actively seek people who look like your kids and are happy with their lives.
If you can find someone in your neighbourhood, it’s a plus, because they can physically meet and engage with them. But if this isn’t feasible, you can find articles and videos – body image is a big thing now, so there are lots of resources. Get a healthy mix – actors, celebrities, sports-people, or even just regular people with body-image related blogs. It’s easier to share these with younger kids, because they still look up to us. Teens and tweens are a little harder to get through, so you could offer them resources and let them explore on their own.

Zoom into their interests

For best results, find something they’re already interested in. The kid that’s perpetually in headphones might prefer a podcast. The sporty kid will connect better to a sample from their sport than a stylista, for example. So as you search for role models, seek within your kids’ niche. A short kid might be inspired by Jada Pinkett Smith, Kevin Hart, or even Mike Myers. A short aspiring basketballer? Muggsy Bogues is 5’3. Non-waify ballerinas? 16-year old Lizzy Howell can dance en pointe.
And remember that for kids, being too small can be just as frustrating as being too big. Google has convenient search metrics, so you can look for something as specific as ‘celebrities who weigh less than 50kg’ or ‘dark-skinned famous people under 4 feet tall.’ Share these stories and images with your kids.Next, you can carefully introduce your kids to make-over shows. Carefully, because they might gain a message of materialism, so watch it with them to guide them along. The ideal take-away is that any body type can be flattering if you wear the right clothes for your style and shape.
Trying on a different cut of jeans could make your ‘too small’ or ‘too big’ child look just right. Also, remind them of their inner qualities. And while physique isn’t the most important thing, we can still use exercise to improve our bodies. Enroll your kids in fun exercise options like boxing training. It’s a high intensity, full-body work-out with quick effects. Plus, it’s a ‘cool’ sport so they’re more likely to stick with it than traditional gym exercises. Boxing trains their mind as well as their muscles, so it will help them shift their attitudes and look at themselves in a different way. It’s good for their health too, which is a highly underrated but crucial focus of any exercise plan.
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Tips For Choosing The Cosmetics Of Your Pizza Oven Set-Up

Think about your favourite pizzeria. You’re probably salivating at the mere mention. Now consider other, less impressive pizzas you’ve interacted with. What did(n’t) you like about them? Maybe it was the thickness / thinness of the crust. Or it might have been the generosity / sparsity of toppings. It could even be their recipe choices. Sometimes, the difference between pizzas isn’t something you can put your finger on. You just know you like one brand and shy away from another.
That distinction could be in the type of oven that was used rather than the recipes themselves. It’s seems like a minor variation, but your taste buds can always tell – even if they can’t communicate as clearly as your tongue. Pizzas baked in wood-fired oven often have a smoky flavour you don’t get from gas ovens. Electric pizza ovens – on the other hand – have a customised ‘burn pattern’ that alters the taste and texture of your pizza. An oven cooks with indirect radiant heat, dispersing it all around the oven.
Not all ovens apply this heat the same way. Electric units usually have heating elements on all sides while gas and wood-burning units release heat from the bottom, so the top and sides of the pizza are mostly exposed to heated air. That has an impact on the finished product, and it might be why you pick one pizzeria over another, even if you don’t know what tools are in use behind their closed kitchen doors. So when you’re shopping for your home pizza oven consider these factors and opt for a wood-fired model.
Tips For Choosing The Cosmetics Of Your Pizza Oven Set Up
Pretty hot!
The cosmetic side of it plays a part as well, and function doesn’t have to be at the expense of style. Many pizza ovens today are DIY projects, but that doesn’t mean you have to bake your own bricks and build a kiln. Instead, you can order a moulded oven. They usually come in pre-cast pieces you can fuse together using recommended plaster and heat-safe food-grade adhesives. Your oven kit will contain the necessary parts and joiners, plus clear instructions and guidelines on dimensions. You can also look up videos online if you’re a visual learner.
Of course if you’d rather not do it yourself, you could ask your supplier to send over an installation team. It costs a little extra, but it ensures safe, hassle-free oven construction. They’ll build the base slab for you, an accessory you don’t get when you DIY. Of course the basic construction of outdoor pizza ovens is fairly standard. You’ll have a cooking dome, a grate to support your pizza tray, and some kind of flue or chimney system. You should also have a cowl at the entrance of your oven, and an optional oven door.
Your cowl can be painted in colours to suit your alfresco décor, so that’s part of your cosmetic decision-making. Some ovens come in specific shades while others allow you to paint it to your preference. Just ensure your paint is non-flammable and heat-resistant so it won’t chip or flake off when the oven is in use. It should also be non-toxic so it doesn’t contaminate your food. It’s helpful if it’s weatherproof, especially if it sits in unshaded areas of your alfresco. You don’t want it crumbling to dust in the rain.
Set the right tone
Painted ovens create a cosy, rustic feel, though some home owners prefer a bare grey concrete look for that Spartan effect. Others may opt for the red ochre shade of unadorned adobe. It produces a raw, outdoor campfire effect. The ochre used to obtain this colour sometimes leaches though, as you’ll know if you’ve ever accidentally brushed up against a freshly laid brick surface. You can reduce the leaching effect by baking the oven bricks themselves in a kiln before you construct your oven.
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Home and Garden

5 Effective Tips to Keep Your Kitchen Pest Free

Pests love the kitchen. It is an ideal place for them to lurk around and sometimes, build nests because they are attracted to food droppings, oil residues on walls and floors, and the cooking smells.
This is a frustrating problem for homeowners but you don’t necessarily need to call a professional pest control service just yet. You can remove pest from kitchen with a few simple hacks and regular cleaning. Doing these will help you keep a pest free kitchen.

Why Are Pests Harmful?

Some people may be too lazy to deal with pests and think that they can just leave them alone. This is not a wise decision. Pests like cockroaches, rodents, and flies can contaminate foods and spread bacteria, putting your family at risk of many diseases. Plus, they are very annoying and if you work from home, it will be difficult to concentrate with flies buzzing around or roaches passing by every now and then.

Common House Pests

  • Cockroaches – They are simply gross and it can cause you anxiety at night, thinking they might crawl into the bed – which happens sometimes. Some may even leave you with a disgusting red and inflamed roach bite that itches and burns for days. Did you know that roaches can leave 33 kinds of bacteria include E coli and salmonella? Their droppings may also trigger allergies which can be deadly to some kids.
  • Rodents – These sharp-toothed disease carriers are small but terrible. They spread salmonella bacteria among many others and may even bring in other smaller pests into your home like ticks and fleas. Rodents can also damage some parts of your home because they chew on wood and electrical wires which can be dangerous. They would make themselves feel right at home as soon as they move in so it’s important to drive them away as soon as possible.
  • Flies – You may have fruit flies or the bigger house flies or both and it is the most frustrating thing in the world. The biggest problem with these pests is that they multiply so fast, laying eggs on moist surfaces like your trash bin and sometimes, in places that you cannot easily find.
  • Pantry Pests – These tend to lurk around the pantry where you store ingredients like flour, spices, and candies. There are various types of pantry pests including beetles, moths, and ants.


Keeping Your Kitchen Pest Free

Here are 5 things you can do to remove pests and prevent them from coming back.

  1. Do a Thorough Cleaning

First, clean your home thoroughly. Vacuum and deep clean your carpet, empty the trash, and make sure to include tight corners and spaces in your cleaning. You should also wipe kitchen walls from oil residues and thoroughly clean the stove and oven.

  1. Find Moist Areas and Dry Them Up

Check for leaks or any stagnant water in the house. These are the areas where some pests breed and lay their eggs. Cockroaches love moist and dark places. So dry them up and sanitize the area with an all-around cleaner.

  1. Use Homemade Solutions to Get Rid of Pests

To eliminate the pests, you can use a homemade solution of equal parts baking soda and powdered sugar. Spray the mixture around the areas where the pests are hiding or directly on them. It’s a great killer and works well.

  1. Seal Holes and Openings On Doors and Windows

Seal any cracks that you find and make sure they are properly caulked. This will prevent small critters from entering your home again.

  1. Schedule Regular Inspections

To make sure that your home does not get infested again, it’s good to have a professional inspection periodically. This will make you aware of any serious problems like termites and prevent them from spreading.
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