Tag Archives: cleaning products

Tips on how to use your laundry detergent

Following our last post about cleaning detergents, find some ideas on how to use your laundry detergent, either powder one or liquid.

Let’s start with powder detergents:

  1. Dilute them yourself, to avoid residues on clothes. And also as a way to pre-treat stain on clothes.
  2. Use less than you think you need and that will make it last longer.
  3. When shopping, check for a brand formulated for use with cold water, to save energy.
  4. Put half a cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle to clean pipes from possible detergent residues.

What about liquid detergents?

  1. Buy a brand that comes double concentrated, as they use less water and packaging.
  2. Try to avoid capsules and buy detergent in bottles; this way you can measure the right quantity when doing half loads on the washing machine.

Do you have any other tips on how to use your detergent efficiently? Let us know!

pH level of house cleaning products

1193877_clean_home_2A common misconception about cleaning products suggests that a bigger pH means superior cleaning. But this is not always the case. The pH of a cleaning products does not relate to its cleaning performance or strength; it just indicates the concentration of hydrogen or hydroxide ions.

Understanding the importance of pH is essential when choosing cleaning products for a particular job. The pH scale goes from 0-14, 7 being considered neutral. Anything below 7 is considered acidic and anything above 7 is considered alkaline.

Alkaline products are better at cleaning dirt, grease, oils and other organic items. Acid products are better for removing calcium, rust and other mineral non-organic items.

Here is a list of the most common used cleaning products and their pH levels:

– Chlorine bleach (pH 11-13): At the top of the alkaline level, therefore corrosive and to be use with caution and not in all surfaces as these can be damaged.

– Oven cleaner (pH 11-13): The same as bleach, so ideal to cut through grease and grime, but protect the kitchen floor and worktop when using it as they could be damaged.

– Baking soda (pH 8-9): It has enough alkalinity to clean grease and dirt but not enough to label it as a corrosive product, so it is a great option to use at home.

– Washing up liquid (pH 7-8): The neutrality makes this cleaning product ideal for daily cleaning. Most surfaces will not be damaged and it can be used in hundred places around the house, not only to do the washing up.

– Natural stone cleaner (pH 7-10): Most natural stone surfaces can be easily damaged with cleaning products that are too alkaline or too acidic; hence the neutrality on these stone cleaning products.

– Vinegar (pH 3): As a natural product, most would think vinegar is safe to use almost everywhere in the house, but it is not the case. Vinegar is quite acidic so it can damage some delicate surfaces (e.g. wood or limestone). On the other hand, it is great for removing mineral deposits (e.g. lime scale).

– Lemon (pH 3):  Like vinegar, lemon is very acidic. Some surfaces, like drains, will benefit from a good scrub with lemon, but this product can damage other surfaces, so be careful where you use it.

– Toilet bowl cleaner (pH 1-3): Very acidic product, so ideal to remove minerals and other non-organic substances. As it is at  the end of the pH scale, you have to be careful when using it.

So, what cleaning products do you have at home? Have you ever checked their pH level?

How to clean your home avoiding cleaning products toxins

All of us love a clean house and when we get in the mood of cleaning, we do it with such an energy that sometimes we end up cleaning too much. Yes, you heard it right, too much. There are several experts these days warning us of the “dangers” of a sterile environment; houses that are clean top to bottom, with no sight of dirt, can make your immune system non responsive; therefore there are more possibilities of developing allergies.

What can we do to make sure our home is clean without converting it into a sterile bubble?

1- Clean often: Do you remember how long it took you to get rid of that tomato sauce stain? If you leave dirt for later chances are you will need to use strong products to scrub it out. If you wipe clean as you go, in most situations a damp cloth would be enough to clean the area in question.

2- Do not use antibacterial products: These are linked to allergy reactions if used in excess. Antibacterial chemicals contain triclosan, which is a pesticide and an endocrine disruptor. So in fact, you could be causing more harm than good when using them.

3- Use chemicals with no fragrance: Perfume on cleaning products is made of hundreds of chemicals, some of them dangerous to your health. If you want to freshen your home, open windows, buy fresh flowers or bake a cake!

4- Do not over do it: When you clean, use only as much cleaning product as you need, no more. The less you use the less toxins you will spray into the air.

These are simple steps to help you take care of your family’s health while cleaning your house. Like with everything, go step by step, try to clean with a mild detergent; if it doesn’t work then try something stronger, but if it works your job will be done with no harm caused.

What would be the cleaning product you can’t live without?

For us it has to be Kilrock descaler gel. It even comes with a small brush! Wipe it around tricky places, such as a shower head or the tip of a tap, leave it for some minutes et voila! magic! no more limescale.

It is OK to use on stainless steel, plastic and ceramic, but be careful with enamel.

Try it and let us know what you think or share with us your best ever cleaning product!

“Home fever” or indoor allergy

Indoor Allergy Week runs from 14th November to 20th November. As the new research from charity Allergy UK shows, “home fever” is on the increase, with an estimate of over 12 million people in the UK allergic to their own homes.

The common symptoms of “home fever” or indoor allergy is a runny nose and sneezing, easily mistaken for a flu or cold.

As the research says dust mites, mould and pets are the major cause of allergic reactions. But over 35% of allergy sufferers react also to chemicals in cleaning products.

With these results, it is even clearer the need for a clean home. The work a professional cleaner can do at your home is invaluable and will put your mind at ease leaving your house free of any allergens, but here are some easy to follow tips to avoid any allergy reaction:

– Dust regularly with a damp cloth.

-Ventilate your home every day, at least for 10 minutes.

– Wash bed linen once a week at 60C.

– Buy new pillows every year.

– Replace your mattress every 8/10 years.

– Hoover your carpet regularly and steam clean it once or twice a year.

Are you an allergy sufferer? Check http://www.allergyuk.org/ for more advice.

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!

Cleaning products for your kitchen

Here you will find the basic cleaning products you will need to keep your kitchen up to standard.

Multipurpose cleaner

For the daily cleaning. There are eco friendly cleaners with lovely smells that you can use safely on any kitchen surface.


You may find this useful to get rid of the grease on cupboards, worktops, walls and any other kitchen surface. Mix one part of white vinegar with two parts of water on a spray bottle and use it regularly.

Disinfectant chemical

This is specially formulated to clean kitchen worktops after preparing raw meat or fish. It will kill most of the germs, thus avoiding the spread of illnesses.

Lime scale remover

For that hideous grime and lime on the kitchen sink. Use the vinegar solution regularly and the lime scale remover once you see the lime scale building up.

Floor cleaner

Check on the market for a specific chemical depending on which material your floor is made of; you can find cleaning products for tiles, wooden floors, laminate… This will give you a truly professional finish.

Check http://www.amycleaning.co.uk/blog  on the next few weeks for more information on essential products to keep your house clean!

How to choose cleaning products

1193877_clean_home_2The quality of cleaning, whether done by you or a professional cleaner, depends highly on the products used. It is easy to get confused in the current market as there are so many options to choose from. Bellow you will find a list of basic cleaning products created by Amy Cleaning to help you out.

It may be very tempting to buy multipurpose products for the house, but this is not the route to take for best results. Remember that products orientated to specific target market and specific surfaces in this case, will always work better. If you have wooden surfaces, invest in a good polisher for wood; if you have marble, look out for sprays designed to clean marble. Multipurpose cleaners may even damage your surfaces in some cases so always keep an eye on something designed for sole purpose.

List of recommended cleaning products:

*Rubber gloves
*Kitchen surface cleaner and oven cleaner
*Dishwashing liquid
*Cleaner for bathtubs and sinks
*Window and glass cleaner
*Wood polish
*Upholstery/carpet spot remover
*Microfiber or feather duster
*Toilet bowl cleaner
*Toilet bowl brush
*Cloths and paper towels
*Mop and bucket
*Broom and dustpan
*Vacuum cleaner and vacuum cleaner bags

Here at Amy Cleaning the most common problem that cleaners come across is that they do not have enough cloths. Please make sure that you invest into cloths and sponges on a regular basis as that is something that can only be used for limited time before it has to be disposed off. Bear in mind that your cleaner will be using separate cloth for each room and each area of your house. Always discuss with her what she needs and follow her advice.

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.

Deadly Bleach

Bleach has been used in households for ages and is still enjoying popularity amongst other cleaning products. In fact, some claim that it is irreplaceable. However recent studies and experiments proved that bleach is a very dangerous chemical and one that should not be used at all. Unfortunately, nowadays it is often used mixed with chlorine or sold under different labels.

Around a quarter of emergency calls from household accidents epicenters are chlorine and bleach related. While chlorine isn’t toxic to the body, the chemical reactions that often happen while using it produce extremely toxic products. These build up in the environment, cause dangers to the water supply, kill fish, harm animals, and enters our bodies through the food chain.

Bleach is also the cause of serious health problems. It is especially dangerous for people with allergies and asthma but can be the cause of respiratory problems, burned skin, and even damage to the nervous system. Often, the danger occurs not from the bleach or chlorine directly but from chemical reactions that occur when those are mixed with other products.

Many people unknowingly mix chlorine with dish soap while cleaning the kitchen. This produces mustard gas, the same gas used to kill many people during World War I.
Chlorine is also easily mixed with ammonia. The results of this cocktail is a toxic gas which may even stop lungs functioning in severe cases. Generally you will be able to see the fumes, but be aware as sometimes, they will remain invisible and you may not realize your are breathing in a potentially life threatening gas. We can carelessly create this reaction by mixing cleaning products or even cleaning toilet as our urine contains ammonia too.
Chlorine also mixes with organic matter creating chloroform. This can happen in the house, while cleaning, but also outside of the house when mixed with organics in the environment. These reactions build toxin beyond your doors, neighborhood or even state borders.

There are always safer alternatives to bleach so follow our blog to find out more about this and for the time being, throw away that so familiar bleach bottle and turn away when you see it tempting you from supermarket shelves.