How to do a spring cleaning on your plants

plantWarm weather is at our doorstep and we are already thinking about giving our homes a good shake. You hear about spring cleaning tips everywhere but, what about your plants?

When you do deep cleaning at home, don’t forget about your plants, they may need to be cleaned on a regular basis also.

Dust is not good for plants. Dirty leaves cannot photosynthesise;  this means that leaves cannot absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide to make food for the plant. In one word, the plant cannot “breathe” properly.

The easiest way to get rid of dust and make your plants shinier is to give them a good shower. Put your plants on your bath and give them a quick sprinkle of tepid water; just a couple of minutes, do not overdo it, as too much water is also not good for certain plants.

Cactus and hairy plants cannot be put in the shower. Just brush them with a soft brush (e.g. paintbrush) to get rid of dust.

What other tips do you have to clean your plants? Share with us!

The good and the bad of all-purpose cleaning products

all purpose cleanerAll-purpose cleaning products are good; they are so versatile that help us do our cleaning job in less time (and who doesn’t like that!). We all have a favourite all-purpose cleaner that we use for quick “cleaning arounds” in our house.

But there is always good and bad on everything in this world. Let’s have a look at the positives and the negatives of our all-purpose cleaning products.

The positives:

  1. They are ideal for a daily cleaning routine. If you like to sanitize surfaces on a daily basis it is always quick and easy to get the all-purpose spray cleaner and wipe clean.
  2. Most all-purpose cleaners can frequently be used to mop, clean work tops, bathroom surfaces and more. So you can easily clean your house from top to bottom with the same cleaning product!
  3. Easy handling: only one product to worry about (that is a thumbs up for anyone that doesn’t like cleaning!).
  4. Space saving on cupboards.

The negatives:

  1. All-purpose cleaners cannot clean every single surface in your house. Check the label and you will see that certain all-purpose products cannot be use on surfaces such as stainless steel or marble.
  2. All-purpose cleaners cannot clean any type of dirt and grime. You will need more elbow grease for very dirty surfaces and even then, sometimes that will not be sufficient.
  3. They are not as mild as they look like. Them being all-purpose does not mean they are just soapy water; they may contain strong chemicals such as ammonia, so it is better to check the label if you are concerned about this.

Tell us, what is your favourite all-purpose cleaning product?

How to clean bath toys

rubber_duckBath toys are amazing for keeping your baby entertain during bath time  But, how many times did you look at your rubber ducky, mould all over, and didn’t have a clue how to clean it? Keep reading then, we have the solution!

Although bath toys spend most of their “lives” immersed in water, we still need to clean them once in a while to keep them hygienically fit for children use.

Soak bath toys for about 10-15 minutes in a bowl of 50% hot water, 50% white vinegar and a couple of drops of washing up liquid. Use an old toothbrush to scrub all around. Finally, rinse thoroughly with warm water.

If you find that some of your squeeze toys have developed mould and grime inside them, it would be always more appropriate to discard them.

Don’t forget to always store bath toys in a well ventilated area and to empty squeeze toys after each use.

The best carpet stain remover

I came across a research from Wich? yesterday regarding carpet stain removers. It is quite interesting and it proves that sometimes a little can go quite far.

Experts conducting the research found that in most cases using washing up liquid to clean fresh stains on the carpet works better than any costly cleaning product we have on the market.

Washing up liquid diluted in water proved to be as good as any other cleaning product to remove most of the stains (fresh or dried) except chocolate and coffee, being as effective as 13 out of the 17 products tested by Which?

But if you still put your hands up for specialized cleaning products for your carpet stains you should know that there is no need to spend a fortune on them. The Which? research showed that the best carpet stain removers are the ones from your supermarket brand; so forget about the big brands!

At the end of the day the key on removing stains from a carpet is on the elbow (check our previous article on this).

Do you have any trick to get rid of nasty stains on your carpet? Share with us!

How to use electrostatic cloths

Most of us have used or have heard about electrostatic cloths. But what is the truth about them? Are they as good as companies claim? Are they “magic” dusters? Let’s have some insight into what electrostatic cloths are and how we could use them.

Electrostatic cloths are made of very tiny polyester fibres. They rely on electrostatic forces to lift the dust off a surface; these cloths create a static charge (imagine your pet’s hair when you rub a balloon on them) that will attract any dust or particles on the surface and will get stick to them.

Although manufacturing companies claim that these electrostatic cloths can be used almost anywhere, these cloths will not work the same way in all surfaces.

Here are 4 simple facts to have in mind when using electrostatic cloths:

  1. Electrostatic cloths work better when doing light dusting. They are able to pick or attract fine dust but not heavy dirt as the static forces are too weak.
  2. Electrostatic cloths do not work on greasy surfaces. Avoid getting these cloths in contact with grease as this can damage them permanently.
  3. Electrostatic cloths have to be used when they are completely dry. Moisture can interfere with electrostatic forces, so make sure that neither the surface nor the cloth are wet.
  4. Air humidity affects the efficiency of the electrostatic cloths.

And here are 2 things to avoid if you have electrostatic cloths at home:

  1. Do not clean your electrostatic cloths with strong soaps or detergents as some ingredients may not rinse well and will interfere with the cloth’s static force.
  2. Do not put your electrostatic cloths in contact with heat. If the cloths get close to a temperature of 79C the microfibres in them will start to melt and this will reduce the capacity of generating static force. So avoid tumble dryers and ironing!

Have you tried electrostatic cloths before? What do you think about them? Share with us!

How to clean your blender in 5 steps

We love our smoothies and creamy creams. We use our blender constantly and it saves us on our many ventures in the kitchen. This small appliance is the king of the mixing in the kitchen and the king of the mess as well!


Here are 5 easy steps to clean your blender (with a magic touch):

1- Add 2/3 of warm water to the blender.

2- Add 2 drops of washing up liquid and half a lemon (this is where the magic comes…).

3- Put the lid on, plug the blender and push the low speed bottom; leave it for 5 to 10 seconds.

4- Pour the “lovely” concoction” down the sink and rinse well. Thanks to the grinding of the lemon your blender will have no food particles adhered to the blades and no nasty smells!

5- Always leave it upside down for drying.

Try it out and let us know!

How to clean limestone floors

Do you have limestone floor at your home? Here are a few tips to help you keep your floors  looking beautiful:

  1. Use floor mats to remove dirt from shoes.
  2. Vacuum or sweep the floor on a regular basis.
  3. Clean up any spillages as soon as they happen to avoid any major stain on the floor.
  4. Mop the floor regularly with a neutral cleaner. Use warm water on the bucket and add a couple of drops of washing up liquid; this will do the job for the regular cleans. But remember to change the rinse water frequently to avoid any streaks on the floor.
  5. Quarterly, do a deep clean of the floor, using a high quality alkaline limestone cleaner.
  6. Do not use acid cleaners (including vinegar) or any ammonia-based cleaners that will leave the floor looking dull.

Enjoy your limestone floor with this easy tips!

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!).

Myths about bleach

1- Bleach is the “miracle” cleaner

The strong smell of bleach and the fact that it can remove all colours from surfaces have made people think that bleach is the cleaning product we can’t live without. But don’t be so quick on your judgement!

Bleach is very effective on killing germs and removing stains, but it doesn’t actually clean; it is not a good product if you want to clean grime and dirt. Bleach is an oxidizer and has no detergent on the ingredients; what it does is change the molecular structure of certain substances making them look lighter, but it doesn’t remove them (it looks clean but it’s not!).

2- Bleach will kill all mould in the world!

Well, stop there. As we said before bleach is not a miracle, so you can clean mould stains (not the actual mould spores) but only on hard non porous surfaces. This means that if you have a mould problem somewhere else, bleach will not be an effective cleaner.

3- Bleach has no expiration date

Believe it or not bleach has an expiry date! It looses up to 50% of its strength and killing power on the first 90 days after manufacturing, even in unused/unopened bottles. So forget about those bleach bottles bought 2 years ago as they won’t have any effectiveness when used.

4- Bleach is a good disinfectant and bacteria killer

OK, this is not completely wrong… as we said before bleach is a good product for killing bacteria. But there are two “ifs” on this sentence: First, bleach looses its power very quickly (see myth 3); if you use a bottle bought long time ago most probably it won’t do the job. Second, bleach works well when in contact with the affected area for 10-15 minutes; if you spray a wall, bleach will immediately run down, so the area won’t be in contact with bleach for more than a second (unless you keep spraying for 10 minutes till you faint due to its vapours, which isn’t a good idea!).

How do you feel about bleach now? We do not want to say that bleach is useless, it is the fact that we need to think twice about what cleaning products we buy and how/where we use them to make the cleaning as effective as possible. Let us know your thoughts!

4 tips for getting the best from your domestic cleaner

Clean as you go

As silly as it sounds, if your house is in order before the domestic cleaner arrives, she will have more time to do a thorough job and even do some extra deep cleaning if need be.


Communicate with your domestic cleaner

Domestic cleaners are not mind readers and they will not know that you want things to be done in a certain way. Tell her your priorities and expectations.

What the domestic cleaner needs from you

– Good quality cleaning products and equipment. if you want a good job you will need to provide enough cloths, enough chemicals and a good vacuum cleaner and mop.

– Hours. To do a good job, your domestic cleaner will need time. Make sure you arrange enough hours with her so the end result is what you are expecting.

And if something does not go well?

If your domestic cleaner proves to be unreliable, look for another person. Sadly, unreliable cleaners will not change; instead of getting weekly headaches, look for someone that will take their job seriously.

What other tips would you add to this list? Share with us!