Dishwashing liquid good for mold
Trying hard to get rid of mold and mildew with expensive treatments? According to a test done by Folksam (a Swedish insurance company), you might as well use dishwashing detergent. In the test, the expensive mold and mildew treatments received low marks: None of them kept mold away for even a year. In trying to clean mold off wood surfaces, the best (and cheapest) solution is to use a regular dishwashing detergent. “It’s a little strange that expensive special treatments don’t do more than a cheap dishwashing detergent,” says Jan Snaar, environmental director at Folksam. It is recommended that home owners buy the proper paint to begin with, since that’s what’s really effective when it comes to keeping mold at bay. Only 7 out of 45 paints had the quality recommended. “You can’t with one wash only keep an already moldy façade free of mold during a longer period of time. The best thing is to repaint after a wash; then it will last longer. And if you pick a better paint, you have an even greater chance to keep the mold away longer,” Snaar concludes.

No vacation trip for 1 of 5 kids
Talk about a problem for industrial countries! Every fifth child in Sweden, aged 10-18, did not go away on a long vacation last year, nor does that one in five have a family with access to a summerhouse. All in all, that's 400,000 children, according to Statistiska centralbyrån (Statistics Sweden). More than six of ten children went on vacation with the family, in Sweden or abroad, and the same number of children live in a family with access to a summerhouse.

Stuff increases popularity
Most children have both pocket money and their own cell phone. And “stuff” like a cell phone means a lot when it comes to the child’s popularity among her peers. A study from Statistiska Centralbyrån (Statistics Sweden) shows that almost all Swedish children have their own room at home, their own cell phone and a bike. Over 60 percent also have their own computer. The differences between contrasting families are relatively small. “If the parents are in a financially poor situation they tend to compensate by giving what they have to their children,” says Elin Olsson, a doctoral candidate at Stockholm University. Olsson points out that owning a computer and a cell phone makes it easier for a child to communicate with friends. What does differ between families of varying financial means, is vacation: Traveling and access to summerhouses is something that’s more common among the well-educated and those living in big cities, and less common among children to single parents. In her doctoral thesis, Olsson shows how the family and the child’s own economy influence the child’s relations with friends, and how popular they are among their friends. “Financial resources isn’t the most important explanation to why a child is popular, but there are differences between the children who have few things and little money and those who get a lot,” she adds.