Keep Your Home Clean: How to Prevent Infection at Home

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The repercussions of an unhealthy, unsanitary kitchen seem to be universally known. When eating out for dinner, most of us care (at least a little, if not a lot) about the cleanliness of where our food comes from that night. We inspect meals and double-wipe silverware. We feel uncomfortable if our cashier or server has a noticeable cough or cold, and we stay on the lookout for bugs. A single fly buzzing around an indoor eatery can be enough to send up red flags—all of these gut instincts are for good reason, as the kitchen’s potential for contamination and infection spread is exceptional.

Not only do some raw and contaminated foods present a significant grouping of bacteria, viruses, and parasites if not handled and cooked properly, there is also the important issue of human contact working against kitchen cleanliness. These threats together make sanitizing the kitchen to prevent contamination and infection crucial, even at home. Illness can be caused and spread within any kitchen, and residential kitchens are just as affected by touching, sneezing, improper food handling, and germ spreading like any other.

Keeping ourselves and our home-families safe and healthy relies on our food safety habits and a regular effort towards both cleaning and disinfecting.

When it comes to food, there are many potential sources of contamination. Foodborne illness can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, cramps, nausea, fever, fatigue, dehydration, gas, headaches—and that’s just to name a few of the unpleasant options. Mishandling of food can also spread inter-household illnesses from one person to another, which may have their own unique and terrifying symptoms.

E.coli, the most serious of the bacteria that can be contracted from raw fish, chicken, and other meats such as ground beef, is the top cause of foodborne illness. Bacteria, such as salmonella, can come from chicken, turkey, and other poultry. Seafood presents its own bacteria as well, along with potential hepatitis A contamination. Fruits and vegetables are also at risk, with E.coli also often presenting in cases of tainted lettuce. Regardless of whether the source is carnivorous, vegetarian, or even vegan and organic, all foods need to be washed, handled and prepared properly to eliminate the risk of spreading these illnesses.

Being clean is at the top of the contamination prevention list. It is critical to wash our hands before and after we touch food, as well as after dealing with germ-ridden tasks like using the bathroom or helping someone in need with using the bathroom, playing with and touching pets and their toys, taking care of sick people, and any of your own coughing, sneezing, or nose or eye touching. Use plain soap, warm water, and count for at least 20 seconds while scrubbing all over the front and back of hands in between fingers and around fingernails.

You can use hot, soapy water to clean cooking prep surfaces, paying special attention to those areas that come into contact with raw meats, poultry, and seafood, along with any raw egg. If you use non-disposable rags or towels for cleaning, do not forget that they, too, can become a source for bacteria. After using them to thoroughly clean, be sure that they get their own hot water cycle through the washing machine.

Note that cleaning is not the same as disinfecting, both of which are important when it comes to maintaining our kitchen’s tools and surfaces. This maintenance is the other key element to health and safety, beyond food handling. Some bacteria may be cleaned up, along with residual cooking grease and debris, but disinfecting is what will truly eliminate bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

Disinfecting is the “sanitization” part of the process. Once your kitchen looks clean (surfaces are wiped, items are put away, and the floor is clean), some items may also need to be disinfected with a disinfecting spray, wipe, or home solution. Items to consider disinfecting include: can openers, countertops, floors, sink drains and basins, any handles and buttons on the microwave and refrigerator, and cutting boards.

With cutting boards and wherever else possible, try to keep meats separate from your fruits and veggies. While cooking, never use a utensil that has touched raw meat on anything else. Be sure that the cleaners you select for any purpose are appropriate and non-damaging to the material they will be applied to. The wrong cleaner might cause damage to the surface, actually creating greater potential for bacteria to deposit there.

When it comes to dealing with dishes in general, keep in mind that sponges and towels can become thriving grounds for lots of bacteria and germs, so it is a good idea to keep potential sources of contamination and infection separate, even in the washing process. Overusing sponges and towels without cleaning them will reduce the effectiveness of dishwashing, as well. In fact, using a dish towel to dry clean dishes has been proven to be the least effective way to maintain sanitization.

Thankfully, there is no advantage or disadvantage to household size when it comes to contamination and infection, so long as safety precautions are taken. A two-person household is equally at risk for foodborne and person-to-person illness contraction as a six-person household if they are not cleaning and disinfecting regularly. Obviously, it is much more difficult for a single person to be in charge of this responsibility. However, with increased household size, so be sure to get everyone involved!

Create a sanitization station with easy access to alcohol-based hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. Ask kids to sanitize their hands (or, if possible, wash with plain soap and warm water) when entering and leaving the kitchen space. If they eat or work on a craft, have them use a wipe to clean the area they utilized, and teach about germ prevention and proper handwashing. Utilize disinfecting sprays and keep tissues on-hand during cold and flu seasons, as the kitchen is typically a very high-traffic area, perfect for passing these germs around.

When handling raw meats, cleaning, and disinfecting, be aware of your surroundings; sprays and spills often go a lot farther than we imagine, and no one wants to bite into the skin of an apple and taste glass cleaner. To ensure a deep, sanitary clean without any collateral damage, remove any food, silverware, plates, and other materials out of the potential line of fire while cleaning and replace them when surfaces are dry.

With these tips, you can enjoy a happy, safe, and sanitary kitchen, year-round!

5 Tips for an Awesome Backyard Birthday Party

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Having a backyard birthday party for your child is one of the delights of childhood. You can fill them full of sugars and cakes and then make sure they jump it out in a bouncy house. However, before you get the rental or even begin looking for what kind of bouncy castle you’d like, you have to think of a few things. First, consider how many people will be present. Second, consider how much space can you spare in your yard. Thirdly, what is the theme of the birthday party? Fourth, how can you protect your yard? And, finally, will you have a wet or dry party (depending on the season, it can make your choice either)?  

After you begin to think about these things, the next step will be renting a bouncy castle of your child’s dreams. Make sure to think about decorations and how long it will take to set up your bouncy castle—an average-sized castle takes about 10 to 30 minutes to blow up completely. 

1. Safety first.

As with everything, safety should always be first. Make sure when you are blowing up the bouncy castle, you notice the safety instructions posted to one side of the unit. Reading them will help you let other parents and the children know what they can and cannot do. 

Remember always to put the bouncy castle on flat ground, if you don’t have room in your back garden, see if the size will fit on your front grass. 

If you have any questions or would like more instruction asking the attendant who drops off the castle should be able to give you verbal cautions as well. 

2. Protect your yard.

It turns out that bouncy houses won’t ruin your yard unless you do a few things like, add a tarp down before you blow up the castle. The material a bouncy castle is made from is light-weight and usually light in color to repeal heat as much as possible. 

It is the sun that damages your yard. Adding a tarp under your bouncy house will usually absorb the sun and heat due to its dark color. Once it does that, your grass begins to suffer, mainly because most children’s parties are thrown between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., which are peak sun times. 

3. How much space can you spare?

Knowing how large your yard is and how much space you’d like to use up will help determine what size bouncy castle to get for your back-garden. Measuring the yard will be helpful, but you won’t want the house to take up too much room in case the guests would like to sit or walk around somewhere that isn’t bouncy. 

Bigger-sized bouncy castles will cost more, so if a budget is set in your mind to make sure to research price as well as size. 

4. Facts and Figures.

Wattage: small to big bouncy play areas can use from 863 watts to 1,600 watts. Most of the standard outdoor outlets can hold this amount of electricity. If you are worried about some form of outage due to electricity use, purchasing a small generator can eliminate the fear. 

Surfaces: bouncy units can be added to grass, concrete, and wood chips. While it is recommended that the bouncy house be put on grass, any flat surface can work. When the house is set up on a hard surface, add a soft cover around the perimeter of the bouncy house. They should not be used during rain or when winds have reached twenty mph (or higher). If you want to use the house indoors, make sure there are at least two to three feet of space between the top of the house and the ceiling of the room. Lastly, each bouncy house you set up should have a soft surface at the entrance and exit. Sandbags will anchor your house correctly when setting it up indoors or on a hard surface. 

Overinflation: happily, you cannot over-inflate a bouncy house. The way that all bouncy houses are made provides the unique set up where centrifugal blowers allow air to not over-inflate. Bounce houses are also not sealed 100%, and air passes through the seams.

Deflation: just as with the inflation, it depends on the size of your bounce house as to how long it will take to deflate. The bouncy house sizes do have an average of ten minutes to deflate. If your bounce house does not have a zipper, deflation time may take longer and even require manual help when flattening the house.

Weight Limits: all bouncy houses have a weight limit. Checking the safety sticker on your bouncy house or asking the rental company will help you decipher what the weight limit is and what size bouncy house to get.

5. Themes.

The theme may not be an essential part of the party, but it is up there on the list. Having a theme for a child’s birthday is all the rage, and when you go to rent a bouncy castle, you will see that there is no shortage of houses to match any theme your child can think of. Aliens, pirates, and popular cartoon characters are big sellers, and if you want one of the popular cartoon characters to make sure to rent the house in plenty of time in advance. 

If you find that the theme you are looking for is out of stock on your chosen day, remember that any house will do. Most of the time, kids are only looking to jump on the inside and will only pay attention to what the outside looks like if they are pointed to it. 

Lastly, if the season permits it, you can get water slides or bouncy pools as well. These will come with other forms of safety hazards, so make sure everyone at your party knows the rules. They will also be great for a mermaid or a pirate-themed party. 

Keeping Your Child’s Room Clean and Safe

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Do you have kids between the age of 2 and 12? Are you concerned about how messy and untidy their rooms might be? Are you finding it challenging to clean their rooms? If the answers to any of the questions are yes, reading this article till the end is very important. It is an undisputed fact that kids are naturally overactive. They care less about picking up things themselves or keeping their room tidy. However, regardless of the self-discipline stage, your kids are, cleaning and organizing the bedroom is one of the things you might have to do yourself.

The next set of questions you might begin to ask yourself include: where do I start the cleaning from? How should I organize the toys and clothes? How can I ensure the room is safe? There is no need to worry about the answer to those questions. This article will explain in detail how to keep your kid’s room clean and safe.

The importance of maintaining a clean and safe room is invaluable because the kids prefer to spend most of their time using their hands and knee while playing. This means they must always touch clean things. This is why it is not just about keeping the room clean; it is crucial to keep the room safe.

The first stage of room cleaning is to tidy up.

Kids generally put most things away and become lazy to return it to their perfect position. The first thing you need to do is to pick up everything that has been scattered around before you start cleaning, ensure you put everything back to their usual place. Keep their toys and other objects away too to avoid trip over.

Make use of eco-friendly cleaners.

Remember, you are cleaning the kids’ room, and they spend most of their time playing with their hands and knees. This is why you need to minimize the number of chemicals you will expose them to. After you have chosen chemical-free toys for them, ensure the cleaning product you are using is environmentally friendly and child safe. The alternative method: make use of natural homemade cleaners that will work correctly in cleaning the kid’s room.

Use the antibacterial spray in cleaning the furniture.

There is a funny connection between kids’ hand and their mouths. They also like putting anything that gets to their hands (including their toys) in their mouth. Instead of making use of cloth and ordinary water to get rid of dust when wiping the furniture, you should use an antibacterial spray to sanitize every surface in the room. The bedside table, the bed frames, the doorknobs and study desk as well as other items that draw their attention quickly and are frequently touched.

Vacuum the floor and mop, clean the wall and upholstery.

The typical routine is to vacuum the floor and mop. After vacuuming the floor, most people tend to neglect the part of cleaning the walls and upholstery (it is a must to do this to keep the room safe and clean). The reason why cleaning the walls and upholstery is essential is because dust collects on their surface. Dust can trigger asthmatic attacks or allergies in children. If you have a vacuum with the right attachment head, use it to clean the corners of the room, the curtains, the walls, and upholstery. 

It is best advised to clean when the kids are not around.

The best time to tidy up the kids’ bedroom is when they are in school or when they are not around. This is because you will be able to do more, even at a faster pace. However, it is also essential that you teach your kids how to organize and clean their rooms themselves. You can supervise them while they do it on weekends.

Tip to keep the room tidy:

  • Create a play area for the kids
  • Keep the necessary cleaning tools in the room so the kids can clean themselves too
  • Create a temporary storage area using a trunk

To arrange their toys and shoes

  • Keep their toys under their bed or in a locker
  • Create a shelve for stuffed toys
  • Hang shoes neatly

Photo by Katie Emslie on Unsplash

7 Futuristic Appliances For A Smart Way of Living

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Technology moves forward every single day. From a room full of processors to a phone that fits perfectly in your pocket, technology has made every aspect of life more comfortable and easier. Now, you can get home appliances that are smarter and perform better, and you can control them from the comfort of your phone.

1. A Wi-Fi kettle

First of all, the wi-fi kettle can remotely heat water to 1000C and it can be controlled from your phone or tablet or a simple voice command. This kettle boils 1.7L of water and lets you know how many cups you can get out of it.

There is a specific app you install on your phone, so you can control the kettle from anywhere you are. The app has a very user-friendly interface where it shows how much water is in the kettle, the number of cups it can make, mugs or baby bottle size, the temperature, the amount of energy being used and a timer.

2. A Smart Smoke Detector

A smoke detector is an essential device in your home. They are loud, piercing alarms that will notify you when there is a sudden rise in temperature in a room or if the air feels a little stuffy than usual.  The smoke detectors have water outlets that put out fires.

A smart smoke detector sends an alert to your smartphone immediately, and it senses something amiss. Sometimes, it might falsely alert you, and maybe you were cooking flambé, so you can silence it using your smartphone.

3. A Smart Fridge

Well, the fridge is the reason why most siblings fight because you cannot find what you left. With the smart fridge, you get to set a password for every family member. The intelligent fridge looks up recipes for you and reads them out as you cook, which is pretty impressive. It also creates profiles for every family member in case another person wants to leave them a message.

The most exciting part is, it has cameras on the inside, so if your food goes missing, all you do is check the footage. The interior cameras will also notify you when you are low on something or if something is about to spoil. They have sensors that you can use to increase or decrease the temperature in the fridge from your phone.

4. A Smart Television

A smart television may be the most famous futuristic device, but it is worth its popularity. A smart television is similar to the traditional ones, but it has internet integrated into it. Smart televisions allow users to stream videos and music, view photos, and browse the internet.

Smart televisions have apps already installed in the set-top box, so all you do is preload, install, and update the apps. A smart television can be integrated into smartphones and tablets for you to view programs on your phone if you cannot access your television.

5. A smart washer

To benefit from an intelligent washer, you need to find the right detergent for your clothes. With the right cleanser, you will know the proper speed to set your washer. The washer connects to Wi-Fi, allowing you to control the washing machine through your phone, whether you are in the house or not.

Smart washers determine the correct amount of detergent automatically and store a month’s worth of detergent, auto-filling itself before a wash. It adjusts the amount of detergent depending on how heavy or dirty the clothes are. All you do is install the app on your phone and register. A smart washer will clean up to twelve kilograms of laundry in one washing. The washer comes with a dryer that works the same way as traditional dryers but integrated with the internet.

6. Automated trash can

This is no ordinary trash can because it is elegant and highly efficient. The automated trash takes up to three times more rubbish as it compresses everything down than a regular bin. The smart trash can sort your trash depending on the decomposition rate of the items.  It is voice- and motion-sensitive.

Regular trash cans have a pedal that you step on, but with an automated trash can, all you do is put your hand near the lid, and it opens. You also use your voice to command it as well.  It is metal-cased, meaning that it can last longer than regular trash cans. What makes it special is the fact that it absorbs the odor in the trash. This bin will notify you when it is almost full by sending an alert to your phone or by beeping. 

7. Motion sensors

Motion sensors are integral futuristic devices that you need in your home. Furthermore, they are inexpensive, providing you with no excuse not to buy one if you’re looking to live smarter. Motion sensors are helpful because they automate every action in a room. If you walk into your living room, motion sensors turn the lights on; if you need to turn on the air conditioner, you use your voice.

Motion sensors perform a bevy of functions, as well. They can turn the lights on and off, flush the toilet, turn the coffee maker on, and heat the water in the shower before you even get into the bathroom. Having motion sensors in your house is like living in the future.

Futuristic devices might be a little costly, but they are worth every single dollar. They make life very easy, convenient, and enjoyable. Who knew they could watch their food from the inside of a fridge? Get these remarkable devices today and improve the quality of your lifestyle. 

Resources- Metro, CNET, Smart Living Mop

Different ‌Types‌ ‌of‌ ‌Grass‌ ‌for‌ ‌Your‌ ‌Lawn‌ ‌

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Did‌ ‌you‌ ‌know‌ ‌that‌ ‌most‌ ‌lawns‌ ‌contain‌ ‌a‌ ‌mixture‌ ‌of‌ ‌greenery?‌ ‌There‌ ‌are‌ ‌several‌ ‌types‌ ‌of‌ ‌yard‌ ‌grass‌ ‌available‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌market ‌to‌ ‌plant‌ to have  ‌a beautiful-looking‌ ‌yard.‌ ‌Everybody‌ ‌loves‌ ‌to‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌healthy-looking‌ ‌lawn.‌ ‌Some‌ ‌lawn‌ ‌types‌ ‌are‌ ‌low‌ ‌maintenance,‌ ‌while‌ ‌others‌ ‌need‌ ‌a‌ ‌lot‌ ‌of‌ ‌tender‌ ‌loving‌ ‌care.‌ ‌There‌ ‌are‌ ‌a‌ ‌few‌ ‌factors‌ ‌to‌ ‌consider‌ ‌that‌ ‌will‌ ‌make‌ ‌sure‌ ‌your‌ ‌lawn‌ ‌looks‌ ‌amazing.‌ ‌Like‌ ‌any‌ ‌plant,‌ ‌grass‌ ‌species‌ ‌have‌ ‌distinctive‌ ‌characteristics‌ ‌, therefore,‌ ‌they need‌ ‌specific‌ ‌conditions‌ ‌and‌ ‌care‌ ‌to‌ ‌thrive.‌ ‌Climate,‌ ‌soil‌ ‌, and‌ ‌the geographical‌ ‌area‌ ‌play‌ ‌a‌ ‌huge‌ ‌part‌ ‌in‌ ‌lawn‌ ‌health.‌ ‌ ‌

All‌ ‌lawns‌ ‌fall‌ ‌into‌ ‌two‌ ‌categories‌ ‌and‌ ‌regions.‌ ‌Warm-season‌ ‌grass‌ ‌grows‌ ‌better‌ ‌in‌ ‌regions‌ ‌that‌ ‌experience‌ ‌warm‌ ‌weather.‌ ‌Whereas‌ ‌cool-season‌ ‌varieties‌ ‌prefer‌ ‌regions‌ ‌that‌ ‌display‌ ‌extreme‌ ‌temperature‌ ‌fluctuations.‌ ‌The‌ ‌‌ ‌consensus‌ ‌is‌ ‌that‌ ‌grass‌ ‌that‌ ‌falls‌ ‌under‌ ‌the‌ ‌cool-season‌ ‌does‌ ‌a‌ ‌lot‌ ‌better‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌northern‌ ‌regions‌ ‌and‌ ‌warm-season‌ ‌variants‌ ‌thrive‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌southern‌ ‌parts‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌country.‌ ‌ ‌

Bahiagrass‌ ‌‌

Appears‌ ‌coarse‌ ‌and‌ ‌produces‌ ‌durable‌ ‌sod‌ ‌that‌ ‌tolerates‌ ‌a‌ ‌lot‌ ‌of‌ ‌foot‌ ‌traffic.‌ ‌It‌ ‌grows‌ ‌quickly‌ ‌from‌ ‌seed‌ ‌and‌ ‌is‌ ‌drought‌ ‌resistant.‌ ‌Another‌ ‌advantage‌ ‌that‌ ‌makes‌ ‌Bahia‌ ‌grass‌ ‌popular‌ ‌is‌ ‌its‌ ‌ability‌ ‌to‌ ‌withstand‌ ‌pests‌ ‌and‌ ‌most‌ ‌diseases.‌ ‌A‌ ‌disadvantage‌ ‌of‌ ‌this‌ ‌grass‌ ‌is‌ ‌that‌ ‌it‌ ‌requires‌ ‌a‌ ‌moderate‌ ‌amount‌ ‌of‌ ‌lawn‌ ‌maintenance‌ ‌and‌ ‌grass‌ ‌care.‌ ‌

Bermuda‌ ‌Grass‌

Warm-season‌ ‌grass‌ ‌that‌ ‌makes‌ ‌a‌ ‌good‌ ‌home‌ ‌lawn.‌ ‌It‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌creeping‌ ‌grass‌ ‌which‌ ‌means‌ ‌it‌ ‌spread‌ ‌by‌ ‌above-‌ ‌or‌ ‌below-ground‌ ‌runners.‌ ‌It‌ ‌has‌ ‌a‌ ‌dark‌ ‌green‌ ‌color.‌ ‌To‌ ‌make‌ ‌this‌ ‌grass‌ ‌an‌ ‌exceptional‌ ‌thriving‌ ‌and‌ ‌healthy‌ ‌beauty‌ ‌requires‌ ‌extra‌ ‌tending.‌ ‌However,‌ ‌if‌ ‌you‌ ‌don’t‌ ‌have‌ ‌time‌ ‌to‌ ‌give‌ ‌the‌ ‌lawn‌ ‌special‌ ‌pampering,‌ ‌it‌ ‌will‌ ‌still‌ ‌look‌ ‌great.‌ ‌Bermuda‌ ‌Grass‌ ‌needs‌ ‌full‌ ‌sunlight‌ ‌to‌ ‌reach‌ ‌its‌ ‌full‌ ‌potential,‌ ‌so‌ ‌if‌ ‌your‌ ‌yard‌ ‌has‌ ‌a‌ ‌lot‌ ‌of‌ ‌trees‌ ‌then‌ ‌this‌ ‌grass‌ ‌isn’t‌ ‌suitable.‌ ‌Another‌ ‌point‌ ‌to‌ ‌remember‌ ‌is‌ ‌that‌ ‌Bermuda‌ ‌Grass‌ ‌doesn’t‌ ‌tolerate‌ ‌cold.‌ ‌If‌ ‌the‌ ‌area‌ ‌you‌ ‌live‌ ‌in‌ ‌is‌ ‌prone‌ ‌to‌ ‌cool‌ ‌evenings‌ ‌your‌ ‌Bermuda‌ ‌lawn‌ ‌won’t‌ ‌survive.‌ ‌

Centipede‌ ‌Grass‌ ‌‌

Another‌ ‌low-maintenance‌ ‌yard‌ ‌grass‌ ‌that‌ ‌thrives‌ ‌in‌ ‌warm‌ ‌tropical‌ ‌weather,‌ ‌relying upon on both‌ ‌sun‌ ‌and‌ ‌rain.‌ ‌Its‌ ‌color‌ ‌ranges‌ ‌from‌ ‌medium‌ ‌to‌ ‌dark‌ ‌green‌ ‌and‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌short‌ ‌low-growing‌ ‌yard‌ ‌grass.‌ ‌It‌ ‌can‌ ‌grow‌ ‌in‌ ‌acidic‌ ‌soils‌ ‌and‌ ‌tolerates‌ ‌the‌ ‌pests‌ ‌found‌ ‌in‌ ‌areas‌ ‌with‌ ‌this‌ ‌type‌ ‌of‌ ‌soil.‌ ‌One‌ ‌disadvantage‌ ‌of‌ ‌centipede‌ ‌grass‌ ‌is‌ ‌that‌ ‌droughts‌ ‌are‌ ‌hard‌ ‌on‌ ‌it,‌ ‌so‌ ‌watering‌ ‌this‌ ‌lawn‌ ‌continually‌ ‌is‌ ‌paramount.‌ ‌ ‌

Buffalo Grass 

The ideal time to sow buffalo grass is in April or May. You may start it from seed or sod. Sod is commonly made up of female plants to have the spiky male seed heads from getting an appearance. Seeded lawns will have both male and female shrubs. This is a low maintenance lawn and over babying it will cause it to lose vitality. Fertilize in spring with 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Feed the grass again in June or July at the same rate. Water demands are minimal. The grass requires just a balanced amount of moisture per week. Trim once per week to a height of 2 to 3 inches for a healthy lawn. Because buffalo grass is not a thick grass, it tends to get weeds. Use a weed and feed at fertilizing time and hand weed if needed to remove competing bug plants.