Tag Archives: cleaning products

Wooden Toilet Seats

toilet seatAn investigation at John’s Hopkins Children’s Centre has found an increase on skin irritations caused by toilet seats.

The comeback on wooden toilet seats, mixed with the regular use of strong cleaning products, has caused an increase on the number of children developing skin irritation which can lead to serious infections if not treated properly.

To prevent toilet dermatitis, doctors at the Centre recommend the use of paper as seat cover, the replacement of wooden toilet seats with plastic ones and avoiding the use of strong chemicals, specially those containing phenol or formaldehyde.

International day for the preservation of the ozone layer

I would say that today is an important day for the cleaning industry. The 16th of September is the “International day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer”.

It was proved some decades ago that human-made chemicals are highly responsible for the damage on the ozone layer. We all know that products which contains CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) destroy ozone through a complex catalytic cycle.

There are a lot of household chemicals that could be damaging the ozone layer. Many common cleaning products, such as air fresheners or aerosols, may contain ingredients that are not good for the environment. We have to remember that although most of the cleaning products are free of CFCs now (thanks to The Montreal Protocol 87), they may contain other chemicals responsible for ozone damage.

What can we do in our homes to prevent ozone depletion?

-Buy cleaning products that use a pump-action instead of aerosols.

-Use cleaning products that are labelled “ozone-friendly”.

-Make sure any repair on your refrigerator/air conditioner is handle properly and the recycle of old CFCs is done.

If you are really into saving the planet… then go green and pass the word! There is nothing better to prevent damage than to let other people know!

Recipes for home-made cleaners

Here are some recipes for home-made chemicals that will help you keep your home sparkling clean!


1 teaspoon borax

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoon vinegar

1/4 teaspoon washing up liquid

2 cup hot water

Mix all ingredients and use on multiple surfaces when needed (you can use lemon instead of vinegar to leave a nice fragrance).


2 teaspoon baking soda or lemon juice

1 cup water (on a microwave-safe bowl)

Heat for five minutes or until the liquid boils and condensation builds up inside the microwave. Wipe down.


1 litre water

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon washing up liquid

Mix all ingredients and add to a spray bottle. Use when required.


1 cup vegetable oil or olive oil

1/2 cup lemon juice

Put ingredients in a spray bottle, mix well and apply a small amount to a cloth.


1 cup baking soda


1 teaspoon washing up liquid

Sprinkle the oven with water. Cover with baking soda. Sprinkle with some more water. Let the mixture work for a while. Wipe with a cloth and finish cleaning the oven with a little bit of washing up liquid and a sponge.

Household chemicals and pets

Which chemicals can you use when having pets at home? Is there any household chemical that can cause damage to your pet?

We surely know of a lot of people that have cats or dogs or other pets at home. Maybe even you have one! We always need to be worried about the chemicals that we purchased to minimize the danger around our house when having our loving pets around.

It is true that any chemical that you may have in your household could be extremely toxic, not only to animals but to us as well. But it all depends on how we make use of them.

Let us see some chemicals that could be a potential danger for your pets:

1-Pine oil based products: It is well known that cats are very sensitive to phenol based products. So before buying any disinfectant double check the label to make sure there will be no harm.

2-Pest sprays: It takes only a mouse to touch the still wet spray and your cat to catch the mouse to have a serious accident. Make sure that when you use this sprays, you wait until it is dry to let your cat into the room.

3-Chlorine bleach based toilet cleaner: We know that a strong chemical will be great to clean the lime scale on the toilet. But if your dog is used to drink on the toilet bowl from time to time, this kind of chemicals can caused him really strong stomach-aches and diarrhea. The same will happen if you use toilet cleaning tablets.

4-Carpet deodorizer: It is fine to use it, as long as you keep your pet away from the room until it gets dry.

5-Febreeze: There have been a lot of rumors about this product. A lot of people will agree that this chemical can cause serious illnesses to our pets, from liver problems to even death. But nothing has been proofed yet, and still there are many veterinaries that do not consider Febreeze stronger than any other household chemicals. On this one, I leave the decision with you. I do not consider myself a “green” person but I always thought that opening the windows is better than using chemicals to hide unwanted odors…

You can see from this small list that it could be very easy to put the health of our pets in danger without even being aware of it. How can we change this? Well, the key to success in this matter is to read and follow the labels for proper use. Every chemical is a potential danger if we do not follow instructions of use.


The chemicals list: what do I need to have in my house.

Here you can find some advise on the necessary chemicals and utensils to have in your house for the weekly cleaning. Whether it is your domestic cleaner or yourself doing the house work, there are always some essential tools to get the best results.

We can make a difference between “the essentials” and “the advance option”, depending on your preferences. If you are not a cleaning maniac and consider other parts of your life more important than having your silver cleaned every week, then the “essentials list” would be enough for you. If, on the other hand, you take care of your house as if it was a golden chamber, then it would be better to add some extra chemicals/tools that will add up sparkle to your cleaning life.

Let’s go with the “essentials list” first:

  1. Gloves. Do not expect your domestic cleaner to brush your toilet without them; it is not only disgusting but a health and safety risk. If you do not want your house cleaner to use your washing up gloves, buy another pair for her.
  2. A vacuum cleaner. This will not be used on carpet only, but all floors around the house. It is quicker than the broom, thus saving time for the cleaner to do other things around the house. Remember that every vacuum is a different world so do not leave your cleaner to explore it without you; give her some tips on how to use it and how to change the bag!
  3. A broom. It is always advisable to have a back up plan in case the vacuum cleaner breaks down.
  4. A dustpan. If you have a broom you will definitely need a dustpan.
  5. A mop. Cleaning the kitchen and bathroom floor on your knees is not easy. Having a proper mop and bucket will ease the job enormously.
  6. Several dishcloths. We are again talking about Health and Safety. Your domestic cleaner will need to use different cloths for each task and room (it would be better if they are color coded), otherwise we can create cross contamination, putting your health in danger.
  7. Yellow duster. It is the cheapest cloth you can buy on the market, and the best one to do the dusting and polish the furniture. You can wash them and re-use them with no problem.
  8. Nylon cleaning pads. They work much better than sponges to clean stubborn stains but they do not scratch the surfaces.
  9. Bin liners.
  10. Kitchen towels. They absorb the water extremely well and are great to clean glass and shiny surfaces. It will help your domestic cleaner and will leave your house like you have never seen it before!
  11. Wood or laminate floor cleaner.
  12. Glass cleaner.
  13. Toilet cleaner.
  14. Oven cleaner.
  15. All purpose anti bacterial cleaner. You can buy bathroom and kitchen cleaner if you prefer.
  16. Furniture polish-wax free.
  17. Limescale remover.
  18. Hob cream cleaner.

What about the “Deluxe” list? Apart from the chemicals and utensils listed above you will need to add this ones:

  1. Micro fibre cloths. The best thing about them is that you can clean your windows with no chemical at all! They are a little bit more expensive but they are re-usable, so at the end you are saving money.
  2. Lambswool flick duster. It attracts dust the best and you can reach high corners and top of wardrobes and doors.
  3. Silver cleaner.
  4. Granite and marble cleaner.
  5. Wax polisher. For wooden furniture and antiques.
  6. Degreasing cleaning spray. Very useful for the kitchen; it does not only clean but takes the grease out of wardrobes and surfaces.

Every house is different and people’s preferences change with time, so do not take this lists as a must have. It is always advisable to share the list with your domestic cleaner and see if she is comfortable with the list.

Cleaning products: what to use

You just joined a Domestic Cleaning agency and they have told you that you will need to provide the cleaning products yourself. Where do you start?

Everyone can get a little bit paranoid on the supermarket shelves trying to decide if the citrus-super-lime scale remover is better than the paradise-ocean-fragrance-bleach. All those chemicals with ammonium quaternary compounds or phthalates or who-knows-what that look like mini atomic bombs in colourful bottles.

It is always good to start thinking about what it is more important for you: sparkling clean or environmentally friendly? You actually have three choices in regards to cleaning products: conventional cleaning products, green or environmentally friendly products, and traditional products.

Conventional cleaning chemicals are available to customers with almost no information about their potential consequences for human health. Still there are thousands of customers willing to buy those products so they can have the most glimmering house at all costs. Some of these cleaning products have been proofed to cause occupational asthma as well as other allergies and derived illnesses.

This may be the main reason for a growing number of people willing to switch their cleaning products for a better alternative.

Still indecisive? Let me give you some facts.

 The only chemicals that green or environmentally products cannot match in terms of strength are those that contain chlorine, such as bleach. In those cases, the green products need a little bit more of manual help (yes, scrubbing).

Another fact: You do not need chemicals to clean (not kidding). These cleaning products that we often buy make the domestic cleaning task easier, but not better. In fact, the well known e-cloth will leave your windows even more sparkling than a conventional window cleaner.

Last fact (an old one): My grandmother used to say that “a person is not cleaner because they clean a lot but because he or she tries not to make everything dirty”. What a truth! Obviously it will take you longer to clean the cooker if you leave it full of sticky grease, debris and rests of food for one month instead of wiping it every day.

The good news are that to change your domestic cleaner into an “environment freaky”  you do not need to force her into mixing up pastes and solutions to clean the toilet bowl. You can always switch to the environmentally friendly chemicals we mentioned before.

Still not convince about the prices of those so called “green products”? Then maybe you can think about buying conventional cleaning products on a more conscientious way. Let us see how.

Just a bottle of washing up liquid will do the trick, at the end of the day we do not have our daily showers with bleach and antibacterial soap! Why do we need to do differently for our house?

If you feel  that buying only washing up liquid is too drastic a change and still find the need to buy more than one bottle of don’t-remember-the-name super cleaning chemical, then go with the basic ones: general cleaner, lime scale remover and a polisher (if needed). This way you will reduce your exposure (and your domestic cleaner’s exposure) to unnecessary strong chemicals.

Your domestic cleaner can help you a lot on deciding which chemical is the best, as she has the knowledge of years of house cleaning. Most probably if you ask her she will choose, by experience, the softest chemicals on the market. At the end of the day deciding which chemical to buy is not about which product is the best but how we use it.

How to get the best of your cleaner on the interview

Choosing a good domestic cleaner is not easy. There are always potential problems that need to be addressed from the start. Using a domestic cleaning agency will be an advantage for you in terms of quick replacements in case your regular cleaner is ill or resigns unexpectedly; but still, there is always some tips that you, as a customer, can follow during the interview with your prospective domestic cleaner to get the best of it (and her!).

Thinking of a domestic cleaner that can, magically, guess your cleaning requirements and get them done with a touch of a magic wand is not at all realistic. Every person has different priorities and expectations and it is important that you communicate them to the domestic cleaning agency as well as the domestic cleaner.

So, before the interview is arranged, make a plan and prioritize your needs. At http://www.amycleaning.co.uk we recommend that, when doing this, you consider: a) What tasks require equipment or supplies you don’t have; b) what tasks you prefer to do yourself; c) what items or areas in the house are of special importance.

When interviewing the cleaner that the domestic cleaning agency has allocated to you consider these easy to follow points so you can get more information about your new cleaner at the same time that you give her all the information she needs to provide a high quality cleaning service:

  1.        The length of the interview will depend on you; it is usually  between 5 and 30 minutes (but do not be afraid if it takes you longer than this! At the end of the day she is going to be your regular cleaner!).
  2.    Check the domestic cleaner’s appearance and non verbal communication. Someone that is looking down to the floor when you are explaining where the chemicals are kept won’t be very willing to work!
  3.      Ask a variety of questions including those relating to training, experience, cleaning times and days…
  4.      Show her your priorities: Which room is more important for you? How often do you want the blinds to be dusted?…Make sure she understands your needs; it will be easier to get what you want if you make it clear at the start.
  5.      Ironing: This seems to be a very obvious task to do. Nothing further from reality; everyone has specific preferences. Explain the domestic cleaner how you would like your shirts to be ironed (creases on your sleeves for example) or what would be the essential clothes for you to be ironed.
  6.      Laundry: It would be fine to ask your cleaner to organise the laundry and change the bed linen but it would be better for you to leave very clear instructions to avoid any pink socks in the future!
  7.       Rubbish: There are a lot of councils that issue fines if the rubbish is placed in the wrong place at the wrong day. For this reason, make sure you let the domestic cleaner know on the interview about the correct procedure.
  8.   The task sheet: Some people feel more comfortable writing a task list for the cleaner. It is in fact very useful for the domestic cleaners as it enables them to follow your requirements more easily (remember that the first days on your house will be the hardest ones for your domestic cleaner as she needs to get used to a “different way of doing things”). The domestic cleaning agency will have the possibility to give you an easy to use task sheet, making your life easier.
  9.      Cleaning products: You know by the domestic cleaning agency that you will need to provide the chemicals yourself. The interview is a good time to go through the chemicals you have in your house and also get to know the knowledge the domestic cleaner has on the different chemicals and cloths used.
  10.  The keys and the alarm: No one wants to get called in the middle of an important meeting because the cleaner has turn on the alarm by mistake or maybe she cannot open the door! It is better to make sure the cleaner knows how the alarm works from the beginning (make her practice a little bit) or any other “tricks” to open the door to the house.

Hiring your cleaning services from a domestic cleaning agency not only saves you time; it can also reduce your stress level. The domestic cleaning agency can always communicate your cleaner any changes on your priorities or needs to make sure that the information shared on your interview with the cleaner is accurate and up to date.

We can say that proper communication on the interview with the prospective cleaner is the key to a successful relationship with her. You have to get to know her at the same time that you need to assess her suitability; but it is important to make the effort at the beginning and avoid any stressful situation afterwards.