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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived General Blog Posts

House Cleaning Check List

4/23/2021 (Permalink)

Master House Cleaning List

SERVPRO of Tracy has this checklist includes all of the essential chores to tackle, according to the pros. 

Follow this house cleaning schedule and you will be pleased with the progress and you'll enjoy a cleaner home every day....

Dust all furniture, shelves and decor. Dust window ledges and blinds. Dust lamps, light fixtures, and ceiling fans. Dust baseboards. Wipe down doors and doorframes.

Wipe clean all surfaces in the home, including tables, countertops, appliances, chairs, dressers, window sills, sink basins and faucets. 

Spend extra time in the bathroom, cleaning the bathtub, shower, mirrors and toilet. Light fixtures, picture frames and baseboards and dust them all

SERVPRO of Tracy is here to help you with the clean up your property needs. Call 209-834-0200..

Scope of our Services

4/19/2021 (Permalink)

YES! WE'RE OPEN 24/7..

Many people know SERVPRO of Tracy as the Water Restoration company. Although we handle Water Restoration better than anyone else in the industry. 

We are the industry leader in the following areas; Fire Soot & Smoke Damage, Mold Remediation, Catastrophic Storm Response, Pack-Outs and Contents Restoration, Document Drying and Electronic & Equipment Restoration. 

SERVPRO of Tracy serves Tracy, Mountain House, Lathrop, Manteca, French Camp, Ripon, W. Manteca, Holt, Vernalis even Turlock and surrounding areas.

We are certified by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) and understand the details that go into being the best in the industry!

Our goal is to serve our customers "Like it never even happened."

For more information call the Professionals at SERVPRO of Tracy on 209-834-0200 to find out more..

Sanitation Lesson from History: 4 Thieves Blend

4/13/2020 (Permalink)

essential oils

A lesson in Plague History from SERVPRO of TRACY. Call us for your modern sanitation and cleaning needs. 209.834.0200

Four Thieves: Historic Anti-Plague Remedy

by Ingrid Naiman

During the dreadful years of the Black Death, a few people found the way to survive the plague that was decimating the population. Among the more colorful of these were four thieves from Marseilles who while plundering for treasures protected themselves with garlic and a concoction of herbs extracted in vinegar. The tale is a fascinating exploration of herbal lore, but there are so many versions of the story that it is up to you to choose which to believe.

Nostradamus, 1503-1566, was a famous doctor and prophet who not only survived the plague but cured many others with what came to be known as the famous "rose petal pills." In fact, we do not know very much about the lozenges. They might have included rose hips, a rich source of natural vitamin C, as well as sawdust from green cypress, iris of Florence, cloves, odorated calamus, and perhaps some lign-aloes. Nostradamus owned a perfume manufacturing enterprise, which in his time meant distillation of plants to make essential oils. People who worked in these facilities did not succumb to the plague . . . and we are just now emerging from our skepticism in such a way as to enable us to understand what is so effective about these highly concentrated aromatic oils.

This formula is so popular in herbal circles that some people have organized "Four Thieves" parties where groups of people produce big batches of the formula during times of epidemics. There are, as one might imagine, many versions of the formula, all, of course, claimed to be authentic.

The famous French aromatherapy doctor, Jean Valnet, has two recipes in his book. He claims the original recipe was revealed by corpse robbers who were caught red-handed in the area around Toulouse in 1628-1631. His story is the more credible of the many one can find. Given the virulence and deadliness of the plague, the judges were astonished by the indifference of the thieves to contagion. Valnet quotes the archives of the Parliament of Toulouse:

During the Great Plague, four robbers were convicted of going to the houses of plague victims, strangling them in their beds and then looting their dwellings. For this, they were condemned to be burned at the stake, and in order to have their sentence mitigated, they revealed their secret preservative, after which they were hanged.

Given the source, I choose to believe the Valnet account, but there have obviously been many spins of the tale. Here is the recipe stated to be the original:

Original Recipe for Four Thieves Formula pints

white wine vinegar

handful wormwood

handful meadowsweet

handful juniper berries

handful wild marjoram

handful sage

50 cloves

2 oz.elecampane root

2 oz. angelica

2 oz.rosemary

2 oz.horehound

3 g camphor

Dr. Valnet has a variation of his own described as an antiseptic vinegar:

Marseilles Vinegar or Four Thieves Vinegar40 g.

 greater wormwood, Artemesia absinthum

40 g.lesser wormwood, Artemesia pontica

40 g.rosemary

40 g.sage

40 g.mint

40 g.rue

40 g. lavender

5 g. calamus

5 g. cinnamon

5 g. clove

5 g. nutmeg

5 g. garlic

10 g.camphor (do not use synthetic camphor)

40 g.crystallized acetic acid

2500 g.white vinegar

Instructions: steep the plants in the vinegar for 10 days. Force through a sieve. Add the camphor dissolved in the acetic acid, filter.

Valnet says this remedy, i.e., his formula is useful in the prevention of infectious diseases. He says to rub it on the face and hands and burn it in the room. It can also be kept in small bottles that are carried on the person so that the vapors can be inhaled.

Dr. John Christopher had a slightly different story and a variation of the formula that is clearly American, not French. His "Four Thieves" story is that there was a man named Richard Forthave who developed a remedy for the plague that was marketed under his name, a name which was corrupted to "Four Thieves." There might indeed have been grave robbers who used this remedy to protect themselves while they divested corpses of treasures they would no longer need. The King of France had the thieves arrested and they bought their freedom with the remedy they had been using. Thus, the remedy did not fall into obscurity and has been used for centuries since to protect against contagion.

Dr. John Christopher Plague Formula8 parts

 apple cider vinegar

5 parts glycerine U.S.P.

5 parts honey

2 parts garlic juice, fresh

2 parts comfrey root concentrate*

1 part wormwood concentrate

1 part lobelia leaf and/or seed concentrate

1 part marshmallow root concentrate

1 part oak bark concentrate

1 part black walnut bark concentrate

1 part mullein leaf concentrate

1 part skullcap leaf concentrate

1 part uva ursi, hydrangea, or gravel root concentrate

Mix the ingredients well!

*Due to new restrictions on comfrey for internal use, it is suggested that slippery elm be substituted for this ingredient.

How to make the concentrates:

Each concentrate should be made individually. Start by soaking the herb for four hours or more in enough distilled water to cover it completely. After soaking, add more distilled water so that the total added equals 16 oz. (.5 liter) water per 4 oz. (113 grams) herb. Use a multiple of these amounts for a larger quantity of formula. Using these amounts approximately one gallon (3.75 liters) of the formula will be produced.

After adding the appropriate amount of distilled water to the soaked herb, simmer the herb on very low heat in a covered pan or double boiler for thirty minutes. Then strain the liquid into a clean pan. Put the liquid into a double boiler or on very low heat (uncovered) and simmer (steam) it down to one fourth of the original volume (4 oz. 1256 ml). Only after all ingredients have been prepared should the liquids be mixed.

Do not use aluminum, Teflon, or cracked porcelain. Glass, corning ware or stainless steel or whole porcelain are best.

Dosage: 1 tsp. 3 times a day; or 1 tablespoon every 1/2 hour if infected.


Here is another version, much simpler to make, offered by one of my colleagues, Karen Vaughn, Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist.

1 pint unpasteurized apple cider vinegar

5 drops rosemary oil

5 drops oregano oil

5 drops lavender oil

5 drops sage oil

5 drops peppermint oil

5 drops clove oil

4 drops lemon oil

3 drops black pepper oil

1 drop capsicum oil

1 head garlic finely diced

3 oz ginger finely sliced

4 oz echinacea tincture

8 tips for managing your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic

4/13/2020 (Permalink)

woman working out

1. Find ways to socialize

Even if it's a phone call or stepping outside to see a neighbor, Bishop said social connections are important for mental health.

"Find time, even virtually, to spend time with people that you enjoy," Bishop said.

Bishop also encouraged people to reach out to folks they know who are missing out on a celebration — like birthday or graduation — because of the coronavirus. Those people might appreciate that someone is thinking of them.

2. Keep working (if you can)

Bishop said humans have an ingrained desire to do work that contributes to the betterment of their community.

She encouraged people to keep up with their work, even if the setting has changed and they are now forced to work from home.

Unfortunately, many people have and will lose their jobs because of the coronavirus. On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve predicted that 47 million Americans would end up losing their jobs.

For those who are not employed, Bishop said there might be some volunteer opportunities — like bringing food to an elderly person — that could provide fulfillment.

3. Exercise

A jog or long walk can do wonders after a stressful day. Research has found that physical exercise can help people feel more energetic, sleep better at night, feel more positive about themselves and reduce their risk for major depression.

4. Stay positive for the kids

While all the changes brought about by the coronavirus have been stressful for adults, Bishop said it's important to recognize that children have had their routines uprooted as well.

Bishop said the best way to guide children through this new reality is to be straightforward and positive.

"Kids take their cues from us as parents," Bishop said. "If we act like this is something that we can handle, then they are going to feel like it's something they can handle, too."

5. Pick up a hobby

With stay-at-home orders in effect in Springfield and Greene County, many people in the area have more free time than usual.

Bishop encouraged folks to stay active during their idle time by picking up a new hobby or renewing an old one — like knitting, writing or woodworking — rather than constantly refreshing Twitter for the latest news on the virus.

The goal, Bishop said, is to reach a state of "flow," where you are fully absorbed in an activity and lose track of time.

6. Don't neglect your spirituality

During these uncertain times, Bishop said it's important for people to stay connected to their spirituality.

That could mean religion for some, or simply a recognition that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, Bishop said.

Participating in online church services or just going outside to appreciate nature could be ways to maintain one's spirituality during the isolation.

7. Unplug from social media

Bishop said it's important for people to try to remain in the present and not get too caught up worrying about the future.

"Anxiety is about the future and it robs us of the present," Bishop said.

She said learning to appreciate all of the positive things in our lives, no matter how small, will go a long way toward being able to thrive during these next several weeks.

8. Seek help if you need it

The Betty and Bobby Allison Ozarks Counseling Center is remaining open and shifting its focus toward video conferencing.

Bishop said the counseling center is taking new clients during this time if people feel like they need help maintaining their mental health.

Appointments can be scheduled by calling 417-869-9011, and clients pay based on a sliding scale that takes into account annual income and household size.