Category Archives: Green Cleaning

How to clean your reusable grocery bags

Reusable grocery bags are good for the environment but not so good for your family’s health and safety. Baring in mind that we use these shopping bags to hold from food to clothes or anything that comes in hand, reusable bags become the perfect place for cross contamination and bacteria growth.

Have you clean your grocery bags recently?


Here are some ideas on how to properly use your grocery bags:

  • Have separate bags for meat, cleaning supplies, vegetables…
  • Do not fold and store your unwashed bags if they are dirty to avoid bacteria growth.
  • Double bag any items that may leak before putting them on the reusable bag.
  • If you have cotton/canvas bags: Put them on the washing machine after every use (hot water and regular detergent).
  • If you have man-made fibres (such as non woven polypropylene) bags: Wipe them with a damp soapy sponge after using them and leave them to air dry (if you are in a hurry, wipe them with a baby wipe!).

4 cleaning products to avoid during pregnancy and their substitutes

Pregnancy always make us aware of our surroundings while we try to create a calm and safe environment for the new baby. At the same time as we think about the nursery and the baby safety around the house, we can’t forget about the cleaning. Most of the cleaning products we buy on supermarkets are made of harmfull ingredients that can cause anything from a mild reaction to more severe health problems.

Here are 4 cleaning products that you should avoid if pregnant and what you could use instead:

1- Bathroom cleaners: We tend to use very strong products to clean our bathrooms, specially to get rid of lime scale and dirt in the toilet bowl. These cleaners are made of toxic chemicals that can, apart from damaging your bathroom surfaces, be a danger for your future baby.

What to use: Have a bottle of 50/50 solution of water and vinegar ready to use after your daily shower as a preventative method to avoid lime scale. And use a baking soda paste to clean the surfaces and get rid of mildew.

2- Oven cleaner: There is no mystery on this one. Most of us have felt dizzy while using oven cleaners and ended up with a headache. The chemicals in oven cleaners can cause skin burns, irritation on eyes and lungs and acute poisoning from ingestion.

What to use: Sprinkle baking soda (a lot) all over your oven; then spray water on the baking soda until it starts to make some foam and leave it to work (spray some more water later on if you see that it is getting dry). Wipe the paste and dirt with a sponge.

3- Polish: Chemicals on furniture polish (specially perfum) can cause irritation and allergic reactions.

What to use: A good feather duster or micro fibre cloth and opened windows will do the trick. But if you are looking for a nice odour after doing the dusting, then you can use some scented candles or a home made air freshener like these ones.

4- Window cleaner: A lot of the window cleaners available have ammonia as one of their ingredients. The fumes can cause health problems on lungs and skin.

What to use: Use a spray bottle with a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of washing up liquid. Spray your windows and wipe with a cotton cloth.

Poisoning from house cleaning products is a serious matter and more common than we think. Having some alternatives on hand is always something pregnant mothers should have in mind to protect their health and their new baby’s health.

Health risks of perfume

Last month we talked about toxins in cleaning products and how to avoid them. Although having a clean environment is very important for most of us, there is a tendency these days of people worrying also about which chemicals we use when we clean our homes and how dangerous they are for our health.


In this sense, I think it is important to talk about the perfume we find on our household chemicals.

Before 20th century perfumes were made from natural ingredients (e.g. lemon, lavender,…). As soon as fragrances started to spread and popularised they were started to be made of synthetic ingredients to make them more affordable.

Did you know that 95% of the chemicals used to make only one fragrance are synthetic nowadays? They are usually derived from petroleum, including toxins capable of causing health problems, from allergy reactions to cancer.

Perfume can be found in lots of our regular household products, from cosmetics to cleaning products. And many of the ingredients used to create that perfume are harmful to our health. Here are some of the products that you will need to be concerned about:

– Phthalates: These are used in perfumes and air fresheners; they are endocrine disruptors and can cause hormonal abnormalities, thyroid disorders and reproductive problems.

– VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds): These again can be found on perfumes, air fresheners, disinfectants and deodorizers. Common names for these are: propane, ethanol, formaldehyde. These are reproductive toxins, neurotoxins, liver toxins and carcinogens.

The symptoms of exposure to this toxins can include: headache, nausea, asthma or allergy attacks, dizziness and many more.

If you would like to avoid products containing these toxins, the best course of action would be to inform your self. Read your cleaning products’ labels and avoid chemicals with fragrances; a clean home doesn’t need to smell of anything in particular.

How to reuse your old newspaper

Baring in mind that an average person in the UK gets through about 83 pounds of newspapers per year, I wonder how many of those people are actually recycling their papers.

I found a great article about the re-uses of your old newspapers that could make you click with your more natural self.


Here are some of the best tips:

1- Newspaper is great to clean windows and glass around the house as it helps leave the surfaces without smears (just remember to get those really old-yellowy newspapers as the new ones will leave ink marks all over).

2- Newspaper is a good deodoriser; if you put a a sheet of crumbled newspaper inside wardrobes or suitcases they will absorb any bad odours.

3- Damp a sheet of newspaper to clean up broken glass; you will easily take those small particles of glass that usually gets shuttered all over the floor.

Check this to find more ideas on how to use your old newspapers!

How to eliminate toilet smell

Bad odour in the toilet is a problem that every one finds appalling; no matter how much or how good you clean the smell of urine is still there!. A lot of our domestic cleaners at have shared with us the different methods they use to get rid of any smell in toilets and bathrooms; from strong chemicals to lime-scale removers to green cleaning methods.


Here is the green way to get rid of that nasty smell on the toilet:

Put a paste mix of baking soda and lemon juice around the bottom of the toilet seat and let it sit for about 15 min. Then spray with vinegar (the chemical reaction will make it look like a fizzy drink) and wipe it clean with a damp soft cloth.

Remember to spray with vinegar all around the toilet, including walls and floor, as urine can be sprayed everywhere.

This is a quick an easy way to make your toilet cleaner than ever!

Have you got any other tips for an odour free toilet?

Christmas here I come!

christmas_treeI don’t know you, but I can’t wait for Christmas this year! There is still one month to go but I can already hear the singing of Christmas carols and the smell of cinnamon and cookies!

If you are like me, here is a very simple recipe of a Christmassy air freshener that will put you in the mood in no time!

Just bring to the boil a cup of water, a cup of white vinegar, 1 cinnamon stick, a tsp of cloves and a tbsp of vainilla extract. Simmer on a low heat for a couple of minutes and leave to cool. Take the cinnamon stick and the cloves out and put on a spray bottle.

Baby safety

baby_sleepingThose with children will understand the need to keep our homes safe from hazardous chemicals when cleaning. The safety of our babies come as a priority on everything we do.  Many cleaning products contain ingredients that, if inhaled or ingested can cause serious problems. Chemicals such as bleach or air fresheners are the most dangerous ones and they have been linked to and increase on childhood asthma.

To keep your baby’s nursery (and your house!) up to standards you can always turn your head to the so called “green products” you have on your cupboard, that is vinegar, baking soda and tea tree oil. But if you don’t have time enough to make magic concoctions then check on your local supermarket for non-toxic, bio-degradable chemicals.

I can think about some easy steps that you can follow to keep your baby’s room pristine:

Check the crib/bed regularly: wash the bed clothing and wipe the waterproof mattress when changing sheets.

Wash toys: warm soapy water will be enough to keep them clean and get rid of the grime.

Air the room daily: about 10/15 minutes will do; the breeze coming in will get rid of any odours.

Dust the room regularly: no chemicals needed, just a damp cloth; and you can use some drops of lavender oil to make the room smell lovely.

These are just a few examples of how to keep you home clean when there are babies around. Let us know if you have any other ideas!

Spring cleaning checklist

901029_mopSpring has arrived and there is no better time for deep cleaning your home than now. Everyone knows the term “spring clean”. For most it means torture, for few it means joy or for the lucky ones it may mean few extra pounds for experienced, agency trained cleaner who will carry out all the hard work for you.

To help you or your cleaner out we have set up an “Amy Cleaning checklist for spring clean”.
Before starting, you must remember that spring clean is all about reaching out for those places that you would normally miss on a regular clean so keep your eyes wide open and roll your sleeves up.

Kitchen: Defrost and thoroughly clean fridge and freezer. Place a dish of bicarbonate of soda in the fridge to remove odors. Clean oven and microwave. Reach out not only inside but also the top of your kitchen cabinets. Clean surface of your kettle and descale it; get rid of breadcrumbs in your toaster.
Bedroom: Strip the bed and launder winter bedding ready for storing; vacuum and flip the mattress. It would be ideal if you would give your bed a preventative treatment against bed bugs to avoid any possible future problems. Reorganize and de-clutter your wardrobes; store winter clothes; shine and protect wood furniture.
Living room: Declutter and organize your shelves; clean fireplace and electronics.
Bathroom: Throw out expired hygiene and cosmetic products, wipe surfaces and frames of mirrors; give a thorough clean to bath tub, toilet basin, sink. Make sure you reach out hidden sides and behind where possible.

Clean windows and cob webs everywhere. For eco friendly window cleaner, fill an old spray bottle with half vinegar and half water. Clean and change ventilation filters, wipe down dirt from doors, light switches, pendants and shades.

Open all windows to allow spring air in and save your air fresheners. Essential oils such as tea tree or eucalyptus are great for purifying the air too and also act as a natural disinfectant. Dab some on a piece of tissue and leave it in the bottom of your rubbish bin.
Donate your clutter and help others too or if that cleaner is charging extra for spring clean why not sell all the unnecessary things in car boot sale?

A cleaner house will give you a boost of positivity even when those rainy days will come back.

How to clean silver

1218128_silverThe beauty of silver is also its curse. Although we love silver items for their ability to withstand time, we find ourselves disappointed when after opening that expensive box of silver cutlery we are greeted with stains and discoloring. There is no need to invest in expensive products and silver polishing creams. The contents of your kitchen shelve will do just as well.

You will need: sink or glass pan, hot water, baking soda, salt, and aluminum foil.

• Line the sink or a glass dish with foil.
• Fill it with hot water.
• Add 2 table spoons of salt and 2 table spoons of baking soda.
• Place the silver items into the dip. Position the so that they are touching each other and the foil.
• Allow up to 5 minutes for heavily tarnished items.
• Rinse the silver with water and dry with a soft towel.

Do not forget to store your silver in a low-humidity environment. You can place a piece of chalk in the storage area to minimize future tarnish. Only clean silver when needed as over cleaning may cause damage. And use it…it is not mean to stay locked in boxes.

Disinfect or not to disinfect?

1147668_question_iconThere is a lot of debate at the moment about the importance of disinfectants in cleaning and whether they are used correctly. Here at Amy Cleaning we noticed that clients always request for the obvious: clean and disinfected toilet bowls, sinks, kitchen surfaces. Every professional cleaner will know the bearing of these, however not everyone is aware that things that may look like they need less attention are actually the biggest hot spots for bacteria.

For example, we all know that dangerous bacteria can be present in toilet bowls and therefore these must be disinfected regularly. However, we fail to realize that the only people that will come in contact with it would be those doing the cleaning itself and they will surely use protective gloves to avoid any possible risk of cross contamination. It may not be necessary to use strong chemicals for this type if cleaning.

On the other hand, how many of us would look twice at the products we use for cleaning our chairs, tables and kid’s highchairs? These are the items that are used by numerous people throughout the day and can easily become covered with dangerous bacteria. The best approach to cleaning such items and areas would normally be disinfectants and conventional cleaning products. Unfortunately these are normally very dangerous to the environment and unless labeled as “eco friendly”, will always leave toxic footprint.

Disinfectants are normally evaluated by their performance in cleaning germs and not by their friendliness towards environment so do avoid using them where it is not necessary. There are ways to disinfect without chemicals and new products are pushing their way through to the market, but it will probably be a while until it will reach domestic sector. Until that happens, think twice before reaching for disinfectant spray and be sure that it really is necessary. This does not mean skipping cleaning of our toilet bowls just because they are not touched but that we should have a second look around the house and decide what places and things attract the most bacteria and carry the biggest risk of contamination and then use disinfectants accordingly.

Know the difference between disinfectant and sanitizer too. Disinfectant is designed to completely destroy all organisms on surface while sanitizer reduces bacteria on the surface to a safe level. Do not mix these two and make the right decision about where and when each of those should be used.