Coping with Elements
- September 6th, 2012
- in Yachting
In the Virgin Islands, our homes overlook some of the most stunning scenery in the world. However, when it comes to maintaining a house, it can be a very harsh and difficult environment to contend with. Depending on where your house is situated, you could be dealing with a number of conditions that can be destructive to your precious collectibles and furniture. However, there are a few small tricks, mostly for minimal cost, that can help protect against these elements.
Reducing moisture in the air: Despite the constant sunshine, mould and mildew can still be a real issue, especially if your home is closed up for any length of time. The key to a mould/mildew free house is keeping it clean, dry and well ventilated. Small silicon sachets (found in packaging) can be stashed in drawers, picture frames, wardrobes and under sofa cushions to absorb moisture. Hardware stores sell products like DampRid that also absorb moisture in the air and prevent mould spores from forming. By far, themost effective device is the electric dehumidifier, which totally strips the air of excess moisture. These work best in small rooms like walk-in closets or bedrooms. Heated towel rails in bathrooms can keep your towels fresh and dry. For new builds, we always recommend anti-mould paint. Important papers and photos should be stored in airtight containers.
Keeping your fabrics looking like new: In our experience with interiors in tropical climates, we see first-hand how the sun can literally disintegrate fabric. Upholstered furniture, curtains and rugs can be severely affected by harsh sunlight. We always recommend outdoor fabric, such as Sunbrella. These fabrics are specially designed to prevent fading and breakdown and to withstand repeated washing. Regular use of a spray-on fabric protector (like Scotchgard) can help prevent stains and fading on furniture, curtains and rugs.
Keeping dust under control: It’s impossible to keep dust out, especially after long periods without rain. Regular sweeping and vacuuming will keep the worst at bay, but it is important to cover any unused furniture with dust cloths when the house is not being used. Keep special occasion clothing in hanging dust protectors.
Maintaining metals: The combination of moisture in the air and salt spray is the perfect breeding ground for corrosion. The most affected metal is chrome. It is always best to buy stainless steel if possible (preferably 18/10), which will withstand corrosion. Spraying items with corrosion inhibitors and cleaning with products like Nevr-Dull will help keep rust at bay.
Keeping things fresh: We have found scented oil diffusers really effective in keeping the house smelling fresh and clean. They diffuse into the air and last between 6 months and a year depending on the size of the room. Fabric softener sheets, bars of soaps and drawers liners are all great for keeping clothes in drawers smelling fresh. Alternatively, you can spritz your favourite perfume/cologne onto cotton balls and stash them with your clothes and linens.
Natural is always better: We recommend using as few chemicals as possible to protect furniture and fabrics and keeping your house fresh. Baking soda has a multitude of uses throughout the household; from keeping closets, bathrooms and fridges fresh, removing stains and removing harsh smells in laundry. A mix of vinegar and water is the best window cleaner and also prevents mildew and removes stains. Natural scents such as lavender, citrus and cedar keep mosquitoes and moths at bay. Not only are these the most environmentally conscious choices, but they will also keep your fabrics and furniture looking new without risk of staining and fading.
We are very fortunate to live in such a beautiful place. These precautionary tactics are a small price to pay for protecting your household, leaving you free to enjoy the more attractive elements of our tropical climate