These offers are often free of charge

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These offers are often free of charge

Your recipes are not balanced enough, says Konrad Giersdorf, project manager for goods test. The agents would have problems either with the cleaning performance, with rinsing or with material protection. The wish of Stiftung Warentest for strong multitabs with good environmental properties that rinse gently and cleanly remains unfulfilled. Sources used: test results Stiftung Warentest

Bonn (dpa / tmn) – No pet is like the other. Nevertheless, a few basic tips can be given for all those who are thinking about getting an animal companion.

Does an animal need a lot of space?

Dogs, for example, need plenty of exercise and space to run around. So a large garden would be great, but you can also do without it. "Even a larger dog, such as a boxer, can be kept in the dormitory, as the apartment is the place where the animal can find peace and quiet – and that doesn’t require much space", says Udo Kopernik from the Association for German Dogs. The following applies to all animals: Your resting place should not be in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the family.

For cats, Detlef Nolte from the Pet Supplies Association recommends a darker dwelling. It is also important for indoor cats to be able to attend to some of their natural needs such as climbing and scratching around the house. A scratching post is suitable here.

This also helps maintain the facility. Because: If there is no scratching post, the cat looks for other objects such as the sofa or a chair leg, explains Nolte. In principle, however, it doesn’t hurt to look for a robust fabric when buying a sofa. "Leather is not suitable as a cover because it is difficult to repair and you can clearly see the claw marks"says Wieczorek.

What else do I have to look out for in my facility?

"The floor covering should be able to be wiped with a damp cloth in the room where the pet is most of the time", says Elke Wieczorek from the DHB household network. She recommends tiles or sealed cork. Parquet and laminate are also possible. "But if a dog is in a hurry and has a quick start in the apartment, a few scratches can land in the wood. You have to endure that"says Kopernik.

A smooth surface is not yet suitable for a puppy. "This slips because the joints and muscles are not yet fully developed", explains Kopernik. A carpet can help temporarily. He recommends a painter’s fleece as an inexpensive method. A permanent and more appealing solution is a velor carpet. Claws are less likely to get caught on it, explains Sophia Gelderblom from the Institute for Soil Systems at RWTH Aachen University.

Should the feeding station be set up in certain places?

Fixed locations for water and food bowls are a good orientation for dogs and cats. "A corner in the kitchen is usually used for this, as the floor is easy to wipe", explains Nolte. The bowls should also be placed on a non-slip surface.

Also important: "For hygienic reasons, the litter box should not be in the kitchen", emphasizes Wieczorek. A corner in the bathroom is more suitable, the floor can also be wiped there easily.

Do I also have to pay attention to something with rodents?

"You should be there with all rodents when they roam freely in the apartment"says Nolte. They are not house trained and nibble on cables. To protect the floor, there should be a mat under the cage that can absorb moisture. "The location should be chosen so that it is not drafty there, because rodents can also catch cold", adds Nolte.

What dangers are domestic pets exposed to?

Tilt windows can be risky for cats, a balcony promises a leap into freedom. Nets prevent this. Kopernik also advises securing the sockets and installing a grille on the stairs so that young animals in particular do not get injured.

Plants pose a danger to all pets. "A common problem are cats that eat lilies. This can lead to kidney failure", gives Moira Gerlach from the German Animal Welfare Association an example. The Animal Welfare Association provides a list of poisonous houseplants online.

We Germans not only generate little waste, we also separate the most diligently: We are number 1 in Europe. This is shown by a new ranking.

Nowhere in Europe is so much waste recycled as in Germany. On average, every German sends around 415 kilograms of recyclable materials for recycling every year. This is shown by an evaluation by the auditors BDO and the Hamburg World Economic Institute (HWWI).

This puts Germany in first place in Europe, followed by Switzerland (382 kg), Denmark (372 kg) and Austria (326 kg).

According to the evaluation, Germans produce around 213 kilograms of residual waste per capita every year. Only Poland (196 kilograms) and Belgium (172 kilograms) produce less residual waste.which statement best describes the introduction of an argumentative essay? In the lower ranks are Norway (468 kg), Cyprus (532 kg) and Malta (584 kg).

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Despite the relatively high total waste volume in Germany, comparatively few important resources were finally lost to the economic cycle, said the director of the HWWI, Henning Vöpel. "However, households should pay even more attention to ensuring that waste does not arise in the first place – especially that which cannot be recycled."

Sources used: dpa

Two thirds of all consumers have problems connecting and setting up technical devices – especially older people. But there is first aid – also online. 

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While just under half of 14 to 29 year olds consider themselves sufficiently competent to usually manage installations on their own, older people face significant problems. This was the result of a study on behalf of the IT industry association Bitkom. Where can you find help setting up your smartphone, computer and other technical device?

Product manual, service hotlines and chats

The first point of contact is the product manual. "An instruction manual must explain the functions of the device and the corresponding use", explains Katharina Grasl from the Bavarian Consumer Center. It must also provide sufficient information about possible dangers and safety risks. "If a device does not come with any instructions or only insufficient instructions, consumers may be entitled to subsequent performance." This means that the dealer or manufacturer must submit adequate instructions. If this is not possible, the buyer can withdraw from the purchase contract.

However, the instructions for use supplied do not always help. According to the Bitkom study, only every second person finds it helpful when commissioning a new device. Of course, you still want to use the new device. It makes sense to then contact the manufacturer’s customer service. The company’s website can be a first point of contact. Frequently asked questions (FAQ) are answered there – sometimes with easy-to-understand step-by-step instructions. The manufacturer’s service hotlines and chats offer another option.

These offers are often free of charge. On hotlines, for example, this can be recognized by an 0800 area code. If, on the other hand, a hotline is chargeable, according to a ruling by the European Court of Justice, a call must not be more expensive than a normal landline call, explains Georg Tryba from the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer center.

Problems with hotlines

However, such service offers are sometimes only of limited help. For example, Stiftung Warentest has examined the quality of service hotlines and chats from several telecommunications companies. The result: chat robots almost never understood the questions, only responded to keywords. And chats with real employees also performed poorly. Advice from employees on telephone hotlines was somewhat better. Nonetheless, all tested hotlines scored well "Troubleshooting" just with the notes "sufficient" or "inadequate" from.

The consumer advice center in North Rhine-Westphalia also tested the support offers from companies: When there were questions or complaints via Facebook or the website, customers received no answer in every seventh case. However, half of the inquiries via Facebook were processed within an hour – so if you are hoping for quick help, you can definitely try it there.

Ask explanatory videos or friends

There are also offers for self-help elsewhere on the Internet: forum posts, step-by-step instructions on the pages of technology magazines or explanatory videos on YouTube & Co. "For smaller concerns, it can be useful to look for help on the Internet"says Georg Tryba. However, you should not overestimate your abilities. Because if you accidentally break something, the damage will not be reimbursed. "A YouTube tutorial does not yet make a computer scientist"warns Tryba.

Those who prefer to receive personal help can also find advice offline. Anyone who bought their device in a shop can hope for help there. Tech-savvy friends are also good contacts. There is also a large number of offers, especially for senior citizens, such as open question-and-answer sessions at charities. The municipal senior citizens’ offices also offer courses and meetings. As part of the action "Consultation hour internet" For example, experienced volunteers pass on their technical and internet knowledge. And many adult education centers also offer introductory courses on using smartphones and the like.

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Hire professional helpers

Anyone facing major technical problems can of course also turn to commercial helpers. "The involvement of technical service providers can be useful, for example, if several components from different manufacturers or several systems are to be linked with one another"says Katharina Grasl. However, you should inform yourself about the costs beforehand and check the seriousness of the provider by researching the Internet.

Sources used: dpa news agency

Most of the time, the price shows whether a piece of furniture is made of pressboard or solid wood – if it is very cheap, it cannot be made of solid wood. For cases in which you are unsure, we have a tip for you here.

Wooden furniture does not necessarily have to be made of solid wood. The carrier materials can also be covered with wooden sheets, called veneers, or deceptively real plastic coatings. How do you recognize this in retail if the lettering is missing?

Furniture made of solid wood can be recognized by the annual rings

With a look at the front, you can see what type of wooden furniture it is. Front or end grain shows the annual rings of a tree. With a solid layer of wood, these can be seen on the sides. An example: on a long table, this is usually the front side. The wood for the furniture is cut this way for a reason. The fibers run continuously over the entire length of the table, which makes the wooden disc particularly robust and stable, explains the initiative. In the case of the longitudinal front wood edges, there would have to be several plate parts in order to obtain a similarly long and stable table surface. Because very few trees are wide enough for this type of cut.

Veneer is also wood, more precisely it is wood sheets with a thickness of around 0.45 to 6 millimeters. They are peeled from the trunk, sliced ​​or sawn, then dried, cut to size and put together to form a deck. These decks come on carrier materials such as solid wood chopsticks, chipboard, MDF panels, multiplex panels or plywood, explains the Veneer + Natur initiative.

Veneer – just like solid wood – can be identified by touching it, explains Ursula Geismann, spokeswoman for the Furnier + Natur initiative. "Real veneer, like wood, is always pleasantly warm, whereas foil is rather cool."

And for furniture made of solid wood as well as with veneer, it is also true that they are unique: no tree bears the same pattern as another. If you have the opportunity to examine several fronts of cabinets, shelves or table surfaces from a production, this can be noticed. Individual features include special grains, small knotholes or interesting discoloration.

But Geismann reports that film manufacturers are now also producing different decors. She therefore advises to be on the safe side when choosing a retailer: it is best to always ask.

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You can find out how to properly care for your valuable furniture here.

If you don’t have a permanent place for your keys, you will always find yourself searching. This can be remedied by a key board that you can easily make yourself and decorate.

Many design options

With an individual key rack, every key chaos comes to an end quickly. It no longer has to be a simple model made of wood. Key racks can be made of plastic sheets or picture frames, can be covered with fabric or even made of slate. There are no limits to the design options, so that everyone can make the key board with the right decoration according to their taste.

Do it yourself key board: tips

Choose one of the materials and start making your own key board. In terms of the basic principle, the selection of accessories is always the same. For example a decorative picture frame, a thin wooden board in the desired size and color and a couple of nice hooks for the keys. Hook? How about the usual hooks from the hardware store with bent cutlery? Take forks or spoons – preferably decorative pieces with embellishments – bend the stems upwards, and then attach the cutlery to the key holder with all-purpose glue.

Depending on whether you also want to paint the plate or cover it with colorful wallpaper, either use spray adhesive or the color of your choice.

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