mosquito repellent

The Best Chemical-Free Mosquito Repellent Recipie!

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It’s that time of the year again! It’s nice and warm out, outdoor activities are in full swing, but so are the bugs! Bugs like… Those nasty mosquitos. They make you itch, and scratch and they leave those horrendous bumps.

I’ve always bought the go-to brands like OFF Deep Woods. But the smell made me sick, the chemicals in toxic bug sprays are terrible for your skin and the smell lingers FOREVER.

Why are toxic bug repellents like OFF so bad for you?

 

DEET

  • DEET is one of the most widely used chemicals as a mosquito repellent. While the use of DEET in lower concentrations is considered safe, when used in concentrations greater than 50 percent, DEET can produce skin irritation. Eye irritation is also common. DEET can also penetrate the skin and can, in rare instances, affect the central nervous system. In some individuals, slurred speech, confusion and seizures have occurred. These symptoms are most commonly associated with long-term, excessive exposure or improper use. Whoa! That’s super scary… especially if you are using it regularly.

Permethrin

  • “Permethrin” is another repellent intended for treating clothing and other items, such as tents, sleeping bags and other gear made of fabric. Permethrin can cause eye irritation. While “pyrethroid” chemicals directly affect the nervous system of insects, it’s unknown how these chemicals will affect humans, so care should be taken and you should follow the directions carefully. The Environmental Protection Agency has also classified “permethrin” as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” if ingested. Hmmm…

P-mentane-3,8-diol

  • “P-menthane-3,8-diol” may have some associated health hazards. The Environmental Protection Agency has found that long-term skin exposure produces microscopic kidney lesions as well as skin redness and swelling. Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency states that one study found “p-menthane-3,8-diol”may cause genetic damage. So if you plan on being outside every day, the toxic choice isn’t the best choice.. nor is it the only choice!
 Metofluthrin
  • California Department of Pesticide Regulation Report 2007-6 indicates that there was a possible increase in liver tumors and liver necrosis in rat and mice in toxicity studies. That’s a lot!!!

So how can you stop buying your typical toxic bug repellent?

Well, the good news is that you can make your own at home! The key is essential oils. And lots of them!

Dilute with some distilled water. (Distilled is specific) Do not spray directly on faces. Instead, spray in your hands and then rub onto your face, avoiding your eyes and mouth.
The best protection against mosquito-borne illness is avoidance. If you can, remain indoors during their peak hours (dawn and dusk).
This spray is not waterproof/sweat-proof, so you will need to apply again hourly to ensure continued protection. Citronella is what is commonly used to repel mosquitos as well as peppermint. Once this mix has soaked into your skin, those mosquitos will HATE the smell and won’t even go near you, let alone bite you!

 

This summer, make the right choice! If you don’t want to make your own, there are other natural- in store options you can find! Here are some favorites:

  1. This one is DEET free: Repel without Deet
  2. Without DEET: Herbal Amor
  3. And this one that’s pretty interesting: Picaridin

Keep mosquitos away, the right way this summer!

 

mosquito repellent

Cleaning Bathroom Hydrogen Peroxide

What’s a Magic Eraser, Anyways?

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Magic Erasers have been around for years now. They’re a magical piece of foam that can tackle some weird, unexpected things.

I always wondered what, exactly, made up a magic eraser? So I did so research and uncovered some interesting things about them.

What are magic erasers and what are they originally used for?

Magic erasers are made from melamine foam.  Melamine is usually used in insulating and soundproofing studios.
But one day, someone discovered it can also remove some pretty hardcore marks and stains. Magic erasers ARE abrasive sponges because when melamine resin cures into foam, its microstructure becomes almost as hard as glass — causing it to act like a SUPER-fine sandpaper on stains.

This abrasive foam loosens up dirt and grime, and the open microstructure of the foam sucks it in and traps it there…weird…but cool, right?! Who knew?

The only catch about magic erasers is that they are like pencil erasers. With more and more use, they break down and fall apart.

You get as much use out of them if you cut one in half, then cut each piece in 5ths, as you do with a full one…but that’s a waste.

Are Magic Erasers Safe?

  • Ingredients in Magic Erasers have been safely and commonly used in a wide range of household cleaning products and are considered non-toxic.
  • No ingredients are subject to any health-related labeling laws in North America or in Europe.
  • Formaldehyde is not and never has been an ingredient in Magic Eraser, but one ingredient in Magic Eraser (formaldehyde-melamine-sodium bisulfite copolymer) contains the word “formaldehyde” in its chemical name. However, this ingredient is not formaldehyde and poses no health or safety risks

Where can these awesome “erasers” be used?

My most favorite way to use these bad boys is on scuff marks around the house like on white baseboards and walls.

Here are some other uses:

  • Remove marker, pen, and crayons off the walls and furniture.
  • Remove sticky labels from glass jars so you can reuse them
  • Clean scuff marks and dirt residue from fiberglass tubs
  • You can use it on leather to remove dirt, and pen marks from leather purses
  • Shower soap scum (it helps when used with a good soap scum fighting product
  • Remove coffee rings from a counter
  • Remove scuff marks from white bottom shoes (this works AMAZINGLY) doing this keeps those tennis shoe bottoms nice and white.
  • Use it as an eraser for a dry erase board. (It cleans all the marker residue SO well. It makes whiteboards look brand new again) Also, it removes permanent marker
  • And one last one, polish tarnished silver!

If you’ve never cleaned with a magic eraser, go to a local Wal-Mart or find them online on Amazon! Our cleaners at Alpine Maids LOVE magic erasers for those stubborn, hard to clean tubs.

 

magic erasers

 

magiceraser             magiceraser         magiceraser

A Letter from Our Friends at MSS Cleaning

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Hi,

I’m Andrew, president of MSS Cleaning, and a friend of Chris at Alpine Maids. MSS Cleaning is a locally owned carpet cleaning business based in Lakewood, CO. Carpets are our expertise, but we receive many inquiries about home cleaning services. Alpine Maids happen to receive many carpet cleaning inquiries that are better suited for our truck-mounted carpet cleaning tools. As a result, Alpine Maids and MSS Cleaning frequently refer customers to one another when our customers need something other than the services our respective companies provide. Alpine Maids provides superb home cleaning services, and MSS Cleaning offers powerful carpet cleaning solutions. We’ve always had stellar feedback from the customers we have referred to Alpine Maids.

When it comes to cleaning carpets, it’s important to have a periodic deep cleaning and maintenance performed using truck-mounted carpet cleaning equipment. This will prolong the look and life of your carpet while also reducing or eliminating any bad odors contained within it.

Here’s a few more detailed reasons why professional carpet cleaning makes sense:

  1. While a vacuum cleaner does a good job of picking up general dirt and dust, over time, dirt, mud, odors etc. can accumulate that a vacuum cleaner just can’t fully remove.
  2. Carpet stains, whether they are from mud, grease, food/drink, and especially pets can be hard to remove. The color or odor often remains without a deep carpet cleaning, such as what MSS Cleaning provides. We also have spotting kits and IICRC certified technicians with the right know-how to get spots and stains out.
  3. We fully rinse your carpets with a method known as “hot water extraction”, also commonly referred to as “steam cleaning”. Using powerful truck-mounted equipment, this service applies hot water and solution to your carpet at high pressure. The water is then vacuumed up and responsibly disposed of – the result is a complete rinse of the carpet with fast dry times. You’ll be shocked at both the visual improvement and the general odor improvements following the service.
  4. Carpet acts as a large “filter” in your home – trapping dust, allergens, pet dander, dirt and more. “low moisture” cleaners don’t clean deep into your carpet fiber and down to the pad. They only clean the surface of the carpet. This offers a visual improvement, but doesn’t remove clean deep into the carpet, as hot water extraction does.
  5. Dirt is an abrasive (think sand paper) that over time gets ground into carpet by walking on it. This damages the carpet fibers and reduces the lifespan of your carpet and also damages it’s visual appearance. Periodically removing this abrasive is important to keep your carpet looking is best for as long as possible.
  6. Over time, carpet can stretch or buckle, resulting in an unsightly appearance. Additionally, burns, pet damage, or tears in the carpet can also be unattractive. We can stretch, patch and repair any of these problems for you in addition to providing the best carpet cleaning around.

When used in conjunction with the excellent maid services provided by Alpine Maids, MSS Cleaning’s professional carpet cleaning will bring an added level of cleanliness to your carpets at your home or business. We’d be happy to be your Lakewood or Denver carpet cleaning resource. Expert advice and professional estimates are always free.

Please reach out to me at Andrew@msscleaning.com if you have any questions or if there is anything we can do to help!

How to set and keep a cleaning schedule

How to Keep A Cleaning Schedule

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Having a cleaning schedule when owning a home is very important when it comes to maintaining the sanitation and the overall upkeep of your home. It only takes an hour of free time, either weekly or every 3-6 months. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be wiping counters and doing dishes every day, but some tasks are so easily forgotten they just slip your mind. Adding these tasks to your calendar will help you keep up and feel at ease.

cleaning scheduleToilet Bowl- Once a week, just add a cleaner and let sit. Scrub with a brush. A dirty toilet is not good!

Shower Liner and Curtain- Once a week, it can be laundered or hand washed. No one likes that sour smell!

Lighting Fixtures- Once a week, dust light fixtures carefully that way your room stays bright.

Bathroom Vents and Furnace Vents- Once a month. For bathroom vents, remove the cover and use vacuum tool to vacuum inside the vent. Soak the cover. For furnace vents, get a vent duster to get in between the vent. Air ducts can clog if you don’t stay on top of these things! 🙁

Kitchen and Bathroom Sink Drain- Once a week boil a pot of water and empty it into the kitchen sink. Once a month, use a great drain cleaner with enzymes to keep it unclogged. For bathroom drains including in the shower, use the drain cleaner once a month.

Small Appliances- Once a week(and) once a month. Keeping appliances like your microwave, toaster and, coffee maker can extend their years of life. They should be cleaned outside once a week and cleaned inside depending on how much you use them.

Ceiling fans- Once a month. I like to get on a small ladder, take a pillow case and put it over the blade. Press both hands on the fan and slide the pillow case off. You can also use a duster but being on a ladder will always help.

Grout- Once a month. Now, if you moved into a new home KEEP UP with the grout cleaning. Grout is porous and absorbs oils which will lead to mold and mildew (which smells.) If you have an older home, to prevent it from getting worse start cleaning the grout regularly. The cleaner I use is tea tree Castile soap, tea tree essential 0il, diluted with water. I spray down the area and let it soak for 10-15min. Then I take a grout brush and clean the grout.

Bathtub and Shower Walls (or glass doors) – Believe it or not, this is the easiest task on your cleaning schedule even though you should do it once a week. Take an all purpose cleaner or preferably a tub/shower cleaner. Then, keep some magic erasers handy.  Spray then clean with an eraser sponge. Remember to squeegee the excess water.

Your Backsplash or The Area Behind Your Stove- This makes sense, right? You cook on your stove so grease and food sauce probably splash around. To prevent greasy grime buildup, clean with a de-greaser and a microfiber towel.

Outside cabinets- Once a month. There is so much traffic in the kitchen, not to mention there are a lot of things going on in there. From greasy food to sticky drinks, it makes sense the grime builds up and often times it’s unnoticeable. Spray with a de-greaser  and wipe with a microfiber.

This seems like a lot of work to do on a regular basis, doesn’t it? If you just can’t swing keeping up with this cleaning schedule no need to worry! Hiring a Maid Service provides you with the ease of a clean home when you choose recurring service. House cleaning service, Denver can take care of all these tasks on a regular basis!

cleaning with essential oils

Cleaning With Essential Oils- The Best Essential Oils To Clean With!

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Cleaning with essential oils is a definite game changer when it comes to green cleaning. There are tons of oils that have cleaning properties…but how can you start incorporating them into your home, and which ones are good to use? I’m going to list 8 oils that are my favorite and really work…not to mention they smell AMAZING.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are a natural oil typically obtained by distillation and evaporation, having the characteristic fragrance of the plant or whatever other sources it is extracted from. Lavender, Cinnamon, and Lemon are VERY few examples of where the oils come from. To make these cleaners, I get distilled water and castile soap. Dilute the castile soap and add the oils! Usually, cleaning services Denver, house cleaning Pheonix and many other cleaning companies can’t use essential oils due to regulations.

Like anything, there are thousands of brands. How do you know what works? Here are a few tips:

  • Look for 100% pure. No carrier oils added. Seed to Seal is best.
  • Aura Cacia is the best and safest store bought brand.
  • Test the oil by putting a drop on construction paper, if it evaporates it’s good.
  • Store your oils in a dark place away from sunlight

Lemon Oil

My absolute favorite! Any citrus oils are wonderful. (Like orange, lime, tangerine and grapefruit.)

  • Polishes chrome and helps remove soap scum stains
  • Antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial
  • Great for cutting grease and grime
  • Gives an energizing feeling

Peppermint oil

  • Powerful antibiotic and antiseptic…that makes it great for bathrooms and kitchens
  • Stimulating and revitalizing (increases alertness and performance)
  • Kills dust mites and repels spiders

Tea Tree oil

  • Antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal
  • Gets rid of insects when applied to the area regularly
  • Works the best for mildew
  • If you don’t like the smell, add some orange oil 🙂

Eucalyptus oil

  • Great for killing dust mites, mold and mildew- like in the shower and shower curtain
  • Pairs amazingly with spearmint
  • Mix with baking soda to clean the toilet
  • very antibacterial and antifungal and it can be used in the kitchen and bathroom.

Lavender

  • Antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal actions perfect for a kitchen cleaner
  • Causes relaxation throughout the nervous system
  • Deodorizing and insect repelling

Cinnamon and Clove Essential oil (I paired them together because they both are spices)

  • Cinnamon and Clove are VERY antibacterial and antimicrobial together. Makes for a great all purpose
  • Add orange essential oil and it creates an amazing smell perfect for the holidays-enhances mood
  • Clove kills bacteria, perfect for toilets.

Cleaning with essential oils has drastically improved the health of my own home. Not only because all of these are antibacterial and antifungal, but when you inhale the oils (like when cleaning) the oil releases molecules and enters the body and then traveling to your lungs to make their way throughout your body. It also triggers the limbic system(emotional brain.) So, when I note the part about cleaning with essential oils and them affecting your mood it’s because the limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels.

Comparing this with the old school conventional cleaners, there is NO reason not to start cleaning with essential oils. Inhaling things like Lysol, bleach, ammonia, CLR etc.. cause longer term effects on the lungs and can burn nose receptors. It also causes you to become dizzy and can create dangerous chemical reactions if not handled the right way. Conventional cleaners are always harmful around children, whereas essential oils can actually improve air quality if you use them regularly.

Have you ever thought about using essential oils? If so, do some hefty research and make sure you get a trusted brand of oils. Make sure you know how to use them. And if you’re still skeptical, read here to learn more about how exactly they work for cleaning!

**Book Online, and leave the rest to us!

Bathroom Cleaning Denver Maid Service

How To Find The Best Maid Service in Denver

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Finding the best maid service in Denver is not as hard as you think. If you have never used a maid service Denver, you might not exactly know what you are looking for.

Alpine Maids, a great maid service Denver, delivers all the ideal qualifications you want so it’s worth the time… and money!

  1. A perfect house cleaner is always on time OR notifies you if they are running behind in advance.
  2. One main thing that in my opinion is important, are the cleaning products they use. They care about the product and are knowledgable about what they are using. Here at Alpine Maids you can rest assured knowing our products are up to date with the EWG.
  3. A great maid service should be specialized in residential house cleaning. The equipment they are using (vacuums, mops, dusters, towels etc) should be appropriate for different surfaces.
  4. If you have a newer cleaner, you know the cleaner will be great if they make sure to ask what your specific needs and concerns are. They will make sure the most important things are taken care of and respect your things by not throwing away belongings or damaging them.
  5. The maid service pays close attention to detail. They don’t skip areas. They lift things that can easily be moved or slide them over to vacuum underneath. They don’t just vacuum around.
  6. They make your bed. Any maid service that does this, is a very considerate one.
  7. The maid service takes a little extra time to organize things that may be scattered, making piles of paper or books neat. They pick things up off the floor, fold blankets, straighten couch pillows and wipe knick-knacks free of dust and debris.
  8. If you have pets, your maid service is always considerate to vacuum the couch, cat trees or dog beds to remove hair.
  9. A great maid service is self disciplined. When they start cleaning, they have a start to finish, top to bottom system. They are efficient so time is not wasted. They are thorough every single time.
  10. And finally the most importantthe maid service has GREAT customer service skills, you trust they are honest and can trust them in your home if you are not there. If you do find a maid service you love, they respect your piece of mind enough to give you a heads up that someone new is coming. Along with that, they should stand behind a 200% satisfaction guarantee and when the maid service leaves, you should never feel like they could have done a better job.

So, if you are looking for a great Maid service Denver, you don’t have to look too far! All of Alpine’s Maids have been vetted and trained to provide the absolute best maid service in the area! If you happen to be in the Florida area and are looking for a great maid service in Tampa, check out our friends at Sudsy Buckets Cleaning to get all your cleaning needs taken care of!

Book online and leave the rest to us!

 

 

Before Hiring Any House Cleaning Services, Be Aware Of These 7 Common Cleaning Mistakes

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House Cleaning Services house cleaning servicesIt is safe to say hiring house cleaning services is the most effortless way to keep your home clean. Cleaning  is not the easiest thing to do… if you have never done it. One day when you take a look around the house and notice it could use a good cleaning, be aware of these common cleaning mistakes that can either ruin your things or cross contaminate surfaces.

1.You can use vinegar on everything

Tread carefully! Vinegar is acidic. Keep it away from granite/stone/marble. Sealed and waxed wood furniture is also a big no-no. The acid from vinegar strips the seal right off.

2.  Dusting with a dry cloth

Have you ever dusted something and it just keeps flying around?! Well there is nothing to pick the dust up. I like to use a wood polish. Just fold a VERY DAMP dust cloth in half, then fold again…spray a very light, non-greasy wood polish onto the towel(disperse evenly) and wipe! I like to have a dry cloth as well.

3.  Using the wrong tools

Using something too abrasive on the wrong surface can be irredeemable. You can easily have scratched stainless steel and a scratched stove top, so before you try to clean a surface you have never cleaned and are unsure how to, do your research.  Also, floors are a common thing people get wrong when cleaning and end up with too much water beneath the cracks. Just Google how to care for whatever surface floor you have and abide accordingly.

4.  Not letting the product do it’s job

Don’t just spray and wipe right away. Especially in areas like the bathroom and kitchen. When spraying off that chopping board, or cleaning the tub and shower make sure you spray and let the cleaner sit for a few minutes. It will be more antibacterial and cut grime easier.

5. Forgetting to clean notorious germ-filled areas

Professional house cleaning services always remember to get the details. Door knobs, light switches, outlets, the toilet flush handle…the list can go on! When you have little ones, their hands are on everything everywhere and then into their mouths. Make sure you keep light switches, toys, and other surfaces wiped down with an anti-bacterial cleaning product.

6. Giving yourself a break once in awhile

 house cleaning servicesSure, getting your house cleaned professionally can be very costly. If you are a person that keeps up with their cleaning well for the most part then you don’t need to hire a regular housekeeper. When you need a more thorough cleaning and you just can’t find the time or energy to do the whole house in a day, hire a house cleaning service. This house cleaning service Oklahoma City is the perfect example of hiring a company that is worth the help – at least every once in awhile!

7.  Aaaand finally..your stained carpet cleaning habits

Spill something that’s going to stain? DO NOT spray a ton of product and scrub! Take a white terry cloth or paper towel (preferably Bounty) and soak up AS MUCH of that spill as possible. Scrubbing damages the fiber and forces the stain deeper. Use a light but effective carpet cleaner.

Cleaning doesn’t have to be rocket science. With a little research and following the directions of a product, you can clean anything!

 

 

Don’t Clean Your House This Weekend: Best Oktoberfests around Denver

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Denver Colorado Oktoberfest girls holding beers

With so many Oktoberfest celebrations in the Denver Metro area, you could easily go to three in one weekend!  Here is a list of our favorites that we have visited over the years.

  1. Denver Oktoberfest
    • Obviously this is the biggest and the best.  Six whole days loaded morning to night with things to do.  It all begins September 23rd.
  2. Breckenridge Oktoberfest
    • Are you ready for an entire town of Oktoberfest?  Breckenridge more or less shuts down the entire town for this event.  It is followed in the evening for a huge Oktoberfest dinner.
  3. Colorado Springs Oktoberfest
    • While it doesn’t span two weekends like Denver’s celebration, there is still plenty to do.  It may be worth the trek if you have little ones as there are way more kid friendly events than some of the other fests.
  4. Castle Rock Oktoberfest
    • If you’re still looking for something to do next weekend (maybe while you have our cleaning company occupying your home for the day 🙂 ), the Castle Rock festival will be going.  Get away from downtown Denver, and head out to a less crowded celebration.

5 Ways You Are Ruining Your Denver Hardwood Floor

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dirty and damaged wood floor in a Denver apartment

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We get a lot of requests from customers asking us how clean we can get their wood floors.  Cleaning wood floors is what we do every single day at Alpine Maids.  We put plenty of elbow grease into our work and often make multiple passes over wood floors.  Most of the time your floor comes out looking great, but sometimes it is already too late.  At the end of the day, all any maid service should do is damp mop with safe neutral pH floor cleaner.   We use one of the things in the pic below.  They’re the best!

microfiber mop system for cleaning wood floors

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If you are keeping up with your floor maintenance, you should be sweeping daily, vacuuming weekly, and damp mopping monthly.  You are sweeping daily, right?  I know if sounds like a lot of work, but it really is necessary to keep your wood floors in good condition.

Sweep daily, vacuum weekly, and damp mop monthly with water, Bona, or a Neutral floor cleaner.

Want a good shine?  Picture yourself walking through a forest…. See any shiny trees?  No! Wood doesn’t shine the finish shines.  Unfortunately, if the finish is no longer shining it may be time for a new finish.  A wood floor specialist will be able to help you with this.  It may not even be necessary to sand and refinish the entire floor.  There are products that will take off the top layer of finish so that new coats can be applied at a cheaper price than sanding and refinishing the entire floor.

Murphy’s Oil

OK, this stuff is awful for wood floors!  The reason is contained in the the name itself.  Oil.  Murphy’s Oil is an oil based soap.  Bellawood Prefinished Hardwood Floors Certified 50 Year Warranty expressly states, “Do not wash or wet mop the floor with soap, water, oil-soap detergent or any other liquid cleaning material. This could cause swelling, warping, delamination, and joint-line separation, and void the warranty.”  Even if you don’t do explicit damage to the floor, the oil will build up causing streaking and eventually attract more soiling than if you had just cleaned your floor with water.

Vinegar

Remember when I mentioned a pH neutral floor cleaner above?  The reason for this is that you are not cleaning the wood.  You are cleaning the finish on the surface of the wood.  Vinegar is acidic with a pH of about 2.4 (7 being perfectly neutral). Vinegar will slowly eat through the finish leading to a dull finish.

Mopping

Even simply mopping your floor could be doing damage.  Wood floors are supposed to be damp mopped.  Emphasis on damp.  This is part of the reason why sweeping and vacuuming often is so necessary.  Mopping your floors with too much water will lead to warping.  The wood will absorb any water left on the surface.  Worse yet, water will seep between the planks and pool under your floor.

Steam Mopping

The use of water in all its forms, including steam should be limited to the smallest possible amount.. Furthermore, the high heat from steam mops can break down the protective finish dulling it in the same way that vinegar can.

Living in Denver

Unfortunately Denver’s dry air is overall inhospitable to all wood flooring.  The lack of humidity causes wood floors to dry out and crack.  You can counter this by installing a whole home humidifier.  Swamp coolers also help to keep some humidity in the air.  Beyond keeping your home slightly humid, there is not much that can be done.

4 Non Crowded Hikes Near Denver

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Are you frustrated by how crowded trails are getting in the Front Range?  *all of Denver raises their hand* Being that we are Denver’s Alpine Maids, we love alpine activities, and I have been tallying my favorite less crowded and all around lesser known hikes surrounding Denver.  So next time you have our maid service in to clean your home, grab your kids and get out to one of these spots.  I’ll see you there!

Castlewood Canyon State Park

Castlewood Canyon State Park Parker, CO

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If you live in Parker, then you have plenty of time to take off to Castlewood Canyon State Park.  It is about 15 miles South of Parker, CO.  While everybody else in Denver is headed out to the mountains on the weekend, you can find this hidden gem to the Southeast.  Combining Rim Rock and Creek Bottom trails make for a 4 mile hike that will have you following a cool stream then climbing out of the canyon to the top of the overlying plateau.  It also takes you by the Castlewood Canyon Dam that sent a 15 foot tall wave of water straight through downtown Denver in 1933.  Don’t forget to observe the strata prominently displayed in the canyon walls.  This area has gone through a few notable geologic changes.  It was at one time a marshy forest, then blanketed by hot volcanic ash, and later found itself as a river bed.  It may only be preserved as it is today for a few million more years!

Mount Falcon Park

Mount Falcon Park Denver, CO

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Alright, the maids are getting to work house cleaning in Littleton and you want to bag some 14ers this season.  Mount Falcon Park’s Castle Trail offers a 2,000′ relief hike that provides invaluable 14er training.  It is a great early season hike to do while you are waiting for the snow to melt off before venturing further West.  The good news is that is nestled right near Morrison, and it is never crowded (especially compared to any of the Front Range 14ers).

Roxborough State Park

Roxborough State Park Denver, Colorado

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While people are waiting in line to hike red rocks, you can see the same amazing fountain formation here with half the crowd.  Ok, so maybe this isn’t exactly a hidden gem, and while it is crowded, it is not half as bad as Red Rocks!  The carpenter Peak trail is a 6 plus mile out and back trail to… you guessed it, the top of Carpenter Peak. It is pretty traveled, but it gives you a chance to see the amazing Front Range uplift geology that Denver and Boulder are known for and it’s definitely worth the crowd.  From Denver, head South down Santa Fe to Titan Road.  Titan road will change names a few times, but you take this all of the way to Roxborough Park Road and you are there!

South Table Mountain

South Table Mountain Denver, CO

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For some reason, the closest hikes are often the most ignored.  Just to the west of Denver, Colorado lies Golden.  Only half a mile from Downtown you will find South Table Mountain.  I have rarely ever seen more than 5 people in a day hiking South Table Mountain.  The loop comes in a just over 9 miles, but it is more than worth it for the amazing view of the Denver skyline once you get to the top.

Pro tip: If you really want to enjoy nature without the crowds, look into 13ers.  You won’t be able to tell your friends you bagged a 14,000′ peak, but you can get the same experience with no crowd.

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