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Did You Know?

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Dryer Lint~ Fire Hazard

Clothes Dryer Lint Is a Fire Hazard

By Mary Marlowe Leverette

Updated 10/18/19

How to Clean Dryer Vents
Jodi Jacobson / Getty Images 

A clothes dryer doesn’t look scary or dangerous. Unfortunately, it is the cause of more than 20,000 house fires every year totaling millions of dollars in damage. Regular cleaning and maintenance can protect your family and your home investment.

Get Rid of Dangerous Lint in the Dryer

Whether you use an electric or gas clothes dryer, you will have lint. Lint builds up in the lint trap, as well as inside the dryer vent and ductwork, reducing airflow and drying efficiency. Lint can cause humidity levels to rise around vents causing mildew and mold to develop in walls and insulation. But most importantly: Lint is combustible. Lint causes fires.

The first area to clean after every load is the dryer lint trap by removing the lint from the screen and wiping clean the edges. If the screen seems clogged, that is dryer sheet residue. Submerge the lint screen in a sink of hot water and scrub with a soft-bristled brush to remove all the built-up fabric softener.

Use a long-handled flexible brush to help you reach areas that you cannot get to by hand. Remove the dryer lint filter and use the brush in the opening to gently loosen the built-up lint. Don’t force the brush if you meet resistance but be sure to clean every surface as much as possible.

Remove the big chunks of lint that come out with the brush. Don’t worry about the smaller pieces. Replace the cleaned lint filter. Turn the dryer setting to air only and run for a cycle. This will pull any remaining lint into the filter or blow the loose particles out the outside vent.

How to Clean Dryer Vents

At least once per year, unplug the dryer and check the area where the exhaust vent connects to the dryer. The hose or pipe is held in place by a clip or a steel clamp that can be loosened with pliers or a screwdriver. After removing the pipe, reach inside the dryer opening or use a vent brush to remove as much lint as possible. Use a damp cloth to wipe away remaining lint around the connection. Then look inside the hose or pipe and clean it as well.

Warning

If you still have a white or silver vinyl duct hose, it should be replaced immediately. The material is flammable and if lint is ignited by the dryer the hose will burn and cause a house fire. All national and local building codes now require metal ductwork for clothes dryers.

Ideally, you should use rigid aluminum tubing pieces between the dryer and the outside vent. This type of tubing resists the collection of lint in the duct and cannot be easily crushed. Flexible aluminum ducting is available, however, it is more prone to collecting lint inside.

One last step is to clean the exterior vent. Again remove as much lint as possible using your hand or a brush. You may need a screwdriver or another tool to hold the vent flap open for easier cleaning. If you live in a high humidity area or use your dryer more than twice weekly, you should clean this vent several times per year.

Reduce Fire Hazards by Installing the Dryer Correctly

A clothes dryer should not vent inside your home or attic. The exhaust contains too much humid air and can cause problems with mold and mildew. A ventless dryer should be used if outside venting is not possible.

The maximum length of a clothes dryer exhaust duct should not exceed 25 feet from the dryer location to the wall or roof termination. The maximum length of the duct should be reduced two and one-half feet for each 45-degree bend, and five feet for each 90-degree bend. The maximum length of the exhaust duct does not include the transition duct.

Be certain that you have a 220v grounded electrical outlet available for an electric dryer. A professional should always be hired to connect or install gas lines for gas dryers.

Dryer Safety

  • Clothing that has been soiled by volatile chemicals like gasoline, cleaning agents or even large amounts of cooking oil should not be dried in a clothes dryer. If they must be dried in the machine, wash the clothing more than once to minimize the risk of fire. Use the lowest heat setting and shortest drying cycle possible. Use a cycle with a cool-down period at the end of the cycle to prevent ignition.
  • Never leave a dryer running when no one is at home.
  • Never store volatile chemicals or rags near a dryer. Some liquids emit vapors than ignite. The area around the dryer should be kept free of lint, papers, and stacks of clothing.
  • If you suspect a fire, get everyone outside and call 911. Disconnect the power immediately or turn off the breakers if you can do so safely. Keep a fully-charged fire extinguisher in the laundry room. 

Thank you for reading 🙂

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Did You Know?

Monkeys shouldn’t eat bananas.

If you happen to be around a monkey, you might be inclined to feed it a banana. But the fact is, bananas contain far too much sugar for monkeys to handle. “Giving this fruit to animals is equivalent to giving them cake and chocolate,” according to Dr. Amy Plowman, head of conservation and advocacy at the Paignton Zoo in Devon, U.K. “Compared to the food they would eat in the wild, bananas … have lots of calories and contain much more sugar that’s bad for their teeth and can lead to diabetes and similar conditions. It can also cause gastrointestinal problems as their stomachs are mostly adapted to eating fibrous foods with very low digestibility.”

Slide 2 of 126: If you happen to be around a monkey, you might be inclined to feed it a banana. But the fact is, bananas contain far too much sugar for monkeys to handle. "Giving this fruit to animals is equivalent to giving them cake and chocolate," according to Dr. Amy Plowman, head of conservation and advocacy at the Paignton Zoo in Devon, U.K. "Compared to the food they would eat in the wild, bananas … have lots of calories and contain much more sugar that's bad for their teeth and can lead to diabetes and similar conditions. It can also cause gastrointestinal problems as their stomachs are mostly adapted to eating fibrous foods with very low digestibility." The more you know! And for more awesome animal information, check out these 50 Animal Facts That Will Change the Way You View the Animal Kingdom.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Did You Know These Things About Halloween?

13 Things You Didn’t Know About Halloween

By Caitlin Agnew, readersdigest.ca

You know it’s spooky, creepy, and full of candy, but here are 13 things you might not have known about Halloween.

1 / 13

Group dance around giant bonfire

Photo: Shutterstock

1. The beginnings are murky

With roots in pagan, Christian and possibly even Egyptian rituals, the exact origins of Halloween are murkier than a witch’s brew. The ancient Celtic festival Samhain, where revellers dressed in drag or wore cattle hides to scare off the roaming dead, is thought to have kick-started modern-day costume traditions.

Young girl trick-or-treating

Photo: Shutterstock

2. Trick or treat

When the North American practice of trick-or-treating became popular in the 1920s, disguised youngsters would threaten to pull pranks if they weren’t given candy. An article that appeared in an Alberta newspaper at the time playfully complained about “youthful tormenters” begging for “edible plunder.” The practice became widely accepted in the 1950s.

3 / 13

Mexico's Day of the Dead

Photo: Diego Grandi/Shutterstock

3. There’s more than one way to celebrate

While Halloween as we know it is a Canadian and American tradition, many other countries celebrate the passing of dead spirits in late October and early November. On Mexico’s Day of the Dead, graveyards are flooded with people tidying relatives’ graves and bringing offerings of food, flowers and tequila. Some even stay to picnic and party.

Little girls in Halloween costumes

Photo: Shutterstock

4. Don’t you dare take it away!

Parents raised hell in 2012 when the principal of a Cambridge, Ont., elementary school banned Halloween in favour of a watered-down “black and orange spirit day” because not all children wore costumes to school. After students collected more than 100 signatures to protest the ban, the school board stepped in and reversed the decision.

Halloween cookies

Photo: Shutterstock

5. It’s all in the name

In 2008, WestJet decided to have a little holiday fun and offered free flights on October 31 to fliers with the last names Candy, Orange, Web and Sweet.

6 / 13

Little kids with giant pumpkins

Photo: Shutterstock

6. How to trick-or-treat efficiently

While the American National Confectioners Association reports that 90 per cent of adults admit to taking some of their children’s loot, we’d put that figure closer to 100. To help your kids—and, let’s be honest, yourself—get a premium haul this year, choose a neighbourhood where the houses are close together and the front paths are short, for efficient trick-or-treating coverage.

Ballets en pointe

Photo: Shutterstock

7. The trends in costumes

Shayla Duval of Toronto’s Malabar Limited costume shop says that while there are certain standbys—the store sells a thousand sets of vampire fangs every October—every year there’s a wildly popular pop-culture look. “[In 2011], we sold out of black tutus, more than 150 of them, because everyone wanted to be Black Swan. The year before, everyone wanted to be Justin Bieber.”

Michael Myers Halloween mask

Photo: Willrow Hood/Shutterstock

8. How to scare everyone

Looking for a quick scare? Put on 1978’s Halloween, the slasher flick that launched a genre and Jamie Lee Curtis’s career. If the mask worn by psychotic villain Michael Myers looks familiar, it’s because the low-budget film used a mask from William Shatner’s days as Captain Kirk, painted white.

9. How to carve a pumpkin

  • Pick a pattern before buying a pumpkin so you’ll get the right shape.
  • Cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin big enough to allow you to easily clean out the inside, and keep the top to use as a lid.
  • Remove the pulp by scraping away the insides of the pumpkin until the sides are no more than an inch thick.
  • Use a dry-erase marker to draw on your pattern and follow the lines with a sharp paring knife.
  • Wash, dry and then roast the cleaned-out pumpkin seeds with olive oil for a snack.

10 / 13

Pumpkin carving preparation

Photo: Shutterstock

10. Carve carefully

Tom Nardone, the author of three books on the art of extreme pumpkin carving, recommends using a drywall saw, found at most hardware stores, when removing the top of your jack-o’-lantern. “The stem area is the hardest part of the pumpkin, and using a kitchen knife can be dangerous.”11 / 13

Haunted Fairmont hotel

Photo: Shutterstock

11. Canadian places sure to give you the creeps

  • Axe Point, N.W.T.
  • Hitchcock Bay, Sask.
  • Ghost Pine Creek, Alta.
  • Bone Creek, Sask.
  • Bloodvein, Man.
  • Goblin Bay, Ont
  • L’Île-aux-Fantômes, Que.
  • Dead Creek, N.B.
  • Deadman’s Bay, N.L.
  • Coffin Cove, N.L.
  • Dead  Creek, N.B.
  • Devils Island, N.S.

12 / 13

Pumpkins in the snow

Photo: Shutterstock

12. Suit up!

If you live in Canada, you already know the cardinal rule of choosing a Halloween costume-size up! Snowsuit-clad trick-or-treaters across the Maritimes had to fetch their candy in winter conditions in 2011, after a storm hit the East Coast with high winds and truckloads of snow.13 / 13

David Bowie on car

Photo: 360b/Shutterstock

13. Most popular costumes

1983: Princess Leia from Star Wars, Michael Jackson, David Bowie

1993: Snoop Dogg, Robin Hood, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith

2003: Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, Neo from The Matrix franchise, Arnold Schwarzenegger

2013: The Great Gatsby flappers, Rob Ford, Game of Thrones characters

Thank you for reading 🙂

Aloe Vera~ DID YOU KNOW?

Aloe vera is often called the “plant of immortality” because it can live and bloom without soil.

It is a member of the Liliaceae family, along with more than 400 other species of aloe.

Aloe vera has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years, and studies have linked it to various health benefits as well. For example, the plant is used to treat sunburns, fight dental plaque and lower blood sugar levels.

In addition, aloe vera is rich in nutrients with more than 75 potentially active compounds, including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, fatty acids and polysaccharides (1Trusted Source).

However, you may wonder whether the plant is safe for consumption.

This article tells you whether you can eat aloe vera — and whether you should.

Can You Eat Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera Leaves Are Generally Safe to Eat

Aloe vera leaves are comprised of three parts: the skin, the gel and the latex. They’re best known for their gel, which is responsible for most of its health benefits

While most people apply the gel to their skin, it’s also safe to eat when prepared right.

Aloe vera gel has a clean, refreshing taste and can be added to a variety of recipes, including smoothies and salsas.

To prepare the gel, cut off the spiky edges on the top and alongside the aloe vera leaf. Next, slice off the skin on the flat side, remove the clear gel and dice it into small cubes.

Make sure to wash the gel cubes thoroughly to remove all traces of dirt, debris and residue. Latex residue can give the gel an unpleasant bitter taste.

The latex is a thin layer of yellow liquid between the skin and the gel of the leaf. It contains compounds with powerful properties, such as aloin .

Eating too much latex can have serious and potentially fatal side effects

In contrast, the aloe vera skin is generally safe to eat. It has a mild flavor and a crunchy texture, perfect for adding variety to your summer salads. Alternatively, the skin can be enjoyed by dipping it in salsa or hummus.

To prepare the skin, cut off the spiky edges on the top and alongside the plant and slice off the skin on the flat side. Make sure to wash the skin thoroughly to remove any dirt, debris and latex.

You can soak it in water for 10–20 minutes before eating it if you find it too tough to chew.

It’s very important to choose leaves from the aloe vera plant and not from other aloe species, as these may be poisonous and therefore unfit for human consumption.

Summary It’s generally safe to eat the gel inside the aloe vera leaf, as well as the skin. Wash the skin or gel thoroughly to remove traces of latex, which can have unpleasant and potentially harmful side effects.

Avoid Eating Aloe Vera Skin Care Gels

Aloe vera skin care gels and products are not meant to be eaten.

Instead, they’re manufactured to help soothe sunburns, reduce inflammation, moisturize, relieve itchiness and treat a variety of other

Many commercial aloe vera gels contain preservatives to extend their shelf life, as well as other ingredients to improve the smell, texture and color. Many of these ingredients are not meant to be ingested

In addition, processing methods can strip away aloe vera gel’s active ingredients, which are otherwise responsible for the health benefits that come from eating the gel

Summary Many aloe vera skin care products contain preservatives and other ingredients that are not meant to be ingested. Stick to eating the aloe vera plant and not commercial skin care products.

Potential Benefits of Eating Aloe Vera

Consuming aloe vera gel from the leaf has been linked to potential health benefits. Other parts of the plant have been linked to benefits as well.

Here are some potential benefits of eating aloe vera:

  • May reduce blood sugar levels: In human and animal studies, aloe vera gel helped reduce blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity
  • May suppress inflammatory signals: In animal and test-tube studies, aloe vera extract suppressed inflammatory signals such as TNFα, IL-1 and IL-6 .
  • Reduce dental plaque: If used as a mouthwash, aloe vera juice may be as effective as a regular mouthwash in reducing dental plaque build-up
  • May boost memory: In one animal study, consuming aloe vera gel helped enhance learning and memory while also reducing symptoms of depression
  • Rich in antioxidants: Regularly eating aloe vera gel may raise blood antioxidant levels. Antioxidants help combat the damage caused by free radicals, which are compounds linked to many chronic diseases

Summary Aloe vera has been linked to potential health benefits, such as reduced blood sugar levels, inflammation and dental plaque, as well as improved memory and antioxidant defenses.

Potential Dangers of Eating Aloe Vera

Eating aloe vera latex, a yellow substance that is found inside the leaf, has potential risks.

In small doses, eating the latex may help treat constipation by promoting contractions. However, in 2002 the US FDA banned the sale of over-the-counter products containing aloe vera latex due to safety concerns

Long-term consumption of aloe vera latex has been linked to side effects, including stomach cramps, kidney problems, irregular heartbeat and muscle weakness

In high doses above 1 gram per day, prolonged use may even be fatal

Pregnant women should avoid eating the latex, as it may stimulate uterine contractions, which could cause a miscarriage

In addition, people with digestive disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or Crohn’s disease, should avoid consuming aloe vera latex as it may worsen their conditions

Aside from the latex, consuming aloe vera gel is not advised for people taking diabetes, heart or kidney medications, as it may worsen potential side effects from the drugs

Avoid eating aloe vera skin care gels, as they do not offer the same benefits as the gel inside the leaf. Skin care gels may also contain ingredients that are not meant to be eaten.

Summary Aloe vera latex can be harmful, especially to pregnant women, people with digestive disorders and people on certain medications. You should also avoid aloe vera gel if you take diabetes, heart or kidney medications.

The Bottom Line

Aloe vera gel and skin can be eaten. The gel, in particular, may offer several health benefits.

Be sure to wash the gel or skin thoroughly to remove all traces of latex, which has an unpleasant bitter taste and may cause harmful side effects.

Never eat aloe vera skin care products. They do not offer the same benefits as the leaf and are not meant to be ingested.

Thank you for reading 🙂

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October Religious Holidays

October Religious Holidays

2019 Weeks: (Sorted Alphabetically)

  • Rosh Hashanah – Evening of September 29, 2019 to Evening of October 1, 2019
  • Shemini Atzeret – Evening of October 20, 2019 to Evening of October 22, 2019
  • Simchat Torah – Evening of October 21, 2019 to Evening of October 22, 2019 (Jewish)
  • Sukkot – Evening of October 13, 2019 to Evening of October 20, 2019 (Jewish)
  • Yom Kippur – Evening of October 8, 2019 to Evening of October 9, 2019 (Jewish)

2019 Days: (Sorted by Date)

  • St. Francis of Assisi’s Feast Day – October 4
  • Clergy (or Pastor) Appreciation Day – October 13, 2019 (Second Sunday in October
  • Sunday School Teacher Appreciation Day – October 19
  • Diwali – October 27, 2019 (Hinduism)
  • Birth of Baha’u ‘Llah – October 30, 2019
  • All Hallows’ Eve – October 31
  • Samhain – October 31 (Paganism)

Thank you for reading 🙂

Don’t Use Dishwasher With…

When you shouldn’t use your dishwasher

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/AndreyPopov, iStock/vikif

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/AndreyPopov, iStock/vikif

Ahh, the dishwasher—your kitchen’s most trusted and well-used companion. Perhaps one of the best parts of enjoying a delicious meal at home is knowing that you don’t have to stand there washing each dish, bowl, cup, and mug by hand—your dishwasher will handle that pesky task for you. But not all cutlery and kitchenware is dishwasher friendly. Not all items made for the kitchen can withstand that high temperatures dishwashers have to reach to kill germs and clean effectively. And some are too valuable to risk being tossed around in a gymnasium of other products. To help streamline your clean-up routine and ensure you don’t break Aunt Helen’s treasured casserole dish, here are eight items you should never put in the dishwasher. On the flip side, though, these are the surprising things you didn’t know you could put in the dishwasher.

Aunt Barbara’s treasured casserole dish…

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/AndreyPopov, iStock/vikif

…Or any family heirloom of sorts. If there’s a bowl, vase, or any dish that you love and have had for years, don’t even think about tossing it in the dishwasher. Sure, it might survive a run this time (or several times), but you’ll sorely regret the one time it clinks with a non-important item in there and breaks in pieces. “The dishwasher is not the place to risk it breaking, chipping, or exploding,” says Chantay Bridges, coach, speaker, writer and realtor at Truline Realty. Sorry, but the votes are in on this one—time to get out those rubber gloves and scrub. And the same goes for gold—it’s beautiful, but not meant for the dishwasher. “Any dishware with gold rims and delicate patterns, like the fancy china you got for your wedding is a definite dishwasher don’t,” Bridges says. “That’s why you should always wash your gold plates, silverware, and china by hand to preserve their shine and glitter.”

Take-out containers

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/AndreyPopov, iStock/camaralenta

Sure, they’re great for taking lunches to work or snacks on the go, but when it comes to slipping them into your dishwasher, beware. If an item is not clearly labeled as “dishwasher friendly” by the manufacturer (you can always check online if you’ve already thrown out the box it came in), this means it’s not safe. “The heat from the water or during the drying period can melt or change the chemical composition of the container, making it unsafe to place food in and reuse,” says Bridges. “Try not to reuse any take-out containers and only purchase plastic food storage containers labeled ‘dishwasher friendly.’” Check out the things you should never put in your washing machine.

Wooden utensils and cutting boards

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/AndreyPopov, iStock/photka

Due to the high-heat temperatures of your dishwasher when it’s running, wood is also at risk of altering its consistency. Assuming you’re not a fan of splinters, it’s best to wash by hand. “The hot water can dissolve or alter wooden-made stuff,” says Hristo Rosenov, owner of Exclusive Repairs, an appliance-repair company in London. “In order to maintain them properly, wet a nylon scrubbing pad in a bow of warm soapy water and wash them with it. Then rinse the utensils under warm water again.” And a secret hack to keep them looking like new is to oil them once a month.

Crystal glass and dishware

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/AndreyPopov, iStock/Tarzhanova

You might be scared to clean your precious crystal glasses by hand, but the dishwasher could do even more damage—seriously. “Over time the high temperature in the dishwashing machine, its cleaning cycle and the close proximity to other items might cause your crystal to crack, chip, or take away the shine,” says Rosenov. “To clean your crystal properly, warm up two cups of vinegar and pour it into a larger container. Place glasses or bowls into the vinegar and soak for three to five minutes. Then rinse with clear water and dry with a lint-free towel for a perfect shine. Don’t miss these things you shouldn’t put in your dryer, either.

Dishwashing liquid

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/AndreyPopov, iStock/Anton Chalakov

We have to admit that it kind of makes sense—dishwashing liquid’s for washing dishes after all, right? Yes—but NEVER in the dishwasher—unless you want your lovely home to become a giant bubble bath in a matter of minutes. For those dishes and kitchenware items you have to wash by hand, go ahead and use all the dishwashing liquid you want. Your dishwasher, however, requires a different type of dishwashing solution that is clearly labeled “dishwasher detergent.”

Copper pans

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/AndreyPopov, iStock/KarpenkovDenis

The whole reason you probably bought copper pans is because of their Feng-Shui look, which you obviously don’t want to alter.  We also recommend using copper pans for their superior cooking quality. Tossing those puppies in the dishwasher, however, will change their color to something a little, shall we say, rustier? This also includes those Moscow Mule mugs you love so much. Even if you use them on the daily, wash them by hand if you want them to stay shiny.

Cheese grater

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/AndreyPopov, iStock/Tick-Tock

Don’t be surprised if you place this little trinket in the dishwasher and it looks almost untouched by the time you take it out. “The dishwasher doesn’t have the capability to pick up all of the cheese curdles hidden deep inside,” says Bridges. “You’re better off taking care of this on your own.” Find out some impressive things you never knew your dishwasher could do.

Fancy chef-quality knives

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/AndreyPopov, iStock/Morrison1977

They do all the dirty work when it comes to slicing your food—naturally, you don’t feel like hand washing them. But while you might not want to get nicked by them mid-scrub, your dishwasher won’t do them any good either. “Although some dishwashing machines have a special knife rack, the dishwasher cycles and the abrasive detergents will still dull the sharp blades,” says Bridges. “You’re better off hand-washing and drying them carefully with a towel instead letting them air dry.”

Your pet’s bowl or feeder

Nicole Fornabaio/Rd.com, iStock/AndreyPopov, iStock/GlobalP

You might consider Fido family, but his germs do not mix well with yours or your little ones. That urban legend you heard about how a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s? Not totally true. “Think about where your dog or cat’s mouth has been—it most likely contains bacteria that could make you and your family ill,” says Bridges. “Instead, wash his belongings by hand and let it air dry.” Read on for the mistakes you make when you load the dishwasher.

Thank you for reading 🙂

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