Tag Archives: domestic cleaning

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!

Too lazy to do house cleaning

I’ve recently red about the new Dettol HABIT study and I have to say it is quite scary. The poll was done on 2000 people in the UK and questions ranged from personal hygiene to house cleaning; and let me tell you, we fail on both!

People are slipping in personal hygiene standards as well as a list of household cleaning jobs. The sad thing is that most of the times this happens because of laziness or people not caring to much.

10% of adults polled said that the last time they cleaned their toilet was two weeks ago. 1/4 of people usually change their bedsheets once every month.

Looking at the kitchen, 1/5 of people haven’t clean or disinfected their fridge in over a year. And 50% do not clean work tops in the kitchen until they are really dirty.

It is true that in a way “not so clean” spaces will make us stronger (our immune system will have the chance to fight back), but a little bit of hygiene doesn’t hurt anybody I guess!

Domestic cleaning with a twinkle and some magic

This week a woman in the USA has been accused of entering a home, doing some light house cleaning and leaving a bill for $75 for her work. Apparently it is not the first time that this woman, called by some residents “The Cleaning Fairy”, does this and now she is facing burglary charges in the case after being arrested Tuesday night.

Of course this is something to condone but have you ever dreamed of having a sweet Cleaning Fairy going into your jungle-house and find it spotlessly clean at the end of a hard day work?

Would you want one? Which house cleaning task you hate the most that you would love the Cleaning Fairy to do for you? Share with us!

Domestic cleaning, a little bit of history

Domestic cleaning has been one of the oldest jobs in history; a task usually done by the women in the household.

Just before the “housework revolution” in late 19th Century and early 20th Century, domestic cleaning was a harsh physical task.

The job of bringing water from the pump was exhausting by itself and it needed to be done at least 8 or 10 times a day, so families could have enough water for any household tasks, from cleaning to cooking.

The smoke from coal or wood burning stoves would make walls black and leave carpets full of dirt and debris. So, on a daily basis, all walls and floors and windows had to be washed and scrubbed.

Before the invention of washing machines, doing the laundry was the “monster” task; one that all housewives would hate the most. Clothes needed to be soaked the day before, boiled, starched, rinsed… Homemade lye soap was used, which would irritate women’s hands considerably.

Hard and exhausting domestic cleaning chores started to see light at the end of 19th Century. Do you know that the carpet sweeper was invented in the 1880s? and the mop in 1893? The electric iron was invented in 1903 and the electric vacuum cleaner in 1907. The use of these appliances didn’t extended to all households at the beginning, being only rich families the ones enjoying the improvements. It wasn’t until 1920s and 1930s, when the use of these commodities started to spread, that we could talk about a real revolution in domestic cleaning.

What do you think? Have you find a new love in your washing machine after reading this article?


What can I tell my cleaner on the first day?

Here at Amy Cleaning we consider quite beneficial to always arrange a meeting with your domestic cleaner before s/he starts cleaning on a regular basis. Your requirements and expectations as a client can be very different from those of your neighbour, friend or any person you cross on the street; and this is the main reason why it is essential that you pass on this information to your cleaner before the work starts on a regular basis.

Here are some ideas on what to talk about with your new domestic cleaner on the first visit:

1- Explain what needs to be done in the house. I know, some people may think “it’s just cleaning what s/he has to do”; but it may be that you don’t want your domestic cleaner to clean the fridge every week or do the washing up. Explain her/him what you expect  to be cleaned and how often; this will avoid confusion on a later day. Check the task sheet on our web to help you out.

2- Show cleaning products, and most importantly, where you keep all the stuff. So, domestic cleaners are not magicians. They know how to use a hoover, but they don’t know where you keep yours; so it would be better if you can show them around the house and tell them where and how to keep everything after each use. And if they will need to use your washing machine or iron, just give them a quick lesson on how to use it (we all remember how crazy we got the first day we used our state of the art-do-it-all-digital washing machine!).

3- Rubbish collection. It is part of a domestic cleaner’s job to get all rubbish out at the end of the cleaning job, that we know. But you will need to explain her/him where to put it, if s/he needs to do recycling, on which day your council is collecting the rubbish and so on.

4- Keys and alarms. We all have our tricks to open the main door to our home and we may need to show this to our new cleaner if we don’t want her/him to get stuck outside the house on her first day of cleaning. So show her and let her try her new set of keys and let her practice with the alarm code while you are beside her; that will give her confidence and you will avoid major problems in the future.

5- Specific requirements. We talked about the “What to do” but here at Amy Cleaning we believe the “How to do” is even more important. If you want your domestic cleaner to take her shoes off when entering the house, tell her; if you are an organisation freak and don’t want her to touch the papers you usually leave on the desk, then tell her; if you want her to start by cleaning the bedrooms instead of the kitchen, tell her. Explain your new cleaner what you like and dislike with no fears; believe me, they will appreciate the honesty as it will make their jobs easier.

Share with us! what other information you would consider essential to communicate to your cleaner on the first meeting?

Valentine’s Day

I remember when my uncle bought my auntie an iron for Valentine’s Day; I remember the cataclysm that followed. I can only say that he only buy her flowers and diamonds now…

It is supposed to be one of the most romantic days of the year (at least for the ones that buy into the spirit), so don’t expected your beloved to cry of joy if you buy a new hoover as a present.

Instead, a gift card to get the house cleaned by someone else would be a nice gift, specially if your partner is one of those who live a hectic life. Even nicer would be if you clean the house instead; but let’s be honest, it will make more “romantic” sense to spend the day with your loved one while a domestic cleaner leaves your home spotless.

What other present ideas do you have for next week’s Valentine’s Day?

The mystery of client-cleaner relationships

friendshipMost of us, when we think about employing a cleaner, we have the image of a happy human being who will polish every corner of our lives and leave our home silently on a trace of fresh lavender and citrus cents. But the reality is not as sweet as it looks. A major part of people employing a regular cleaner find the relationship difficult.

I recently red an article from psychologist G McMahon regarding this issue and found that there is, somehow, an explanation for this uncomfortable relationships with our cleaners :

-You feel guilty: Most of us have been taught by our parents and grandparents to clean up our mess. Having a cleaner to do that can make us feel like not only couch potatoes but guilty couch potatoes who know we should be the ones scrubbing the lime scale in the bathroom.

-Cleaner = Mother relation: Sometimes we tend to see our mum on our domestic cleaners, specially as cleaners are usually older women. This makes us feel judged when we see a cobweb on the ceiling or the bed not done.

-Standards discrepancy: We all have different ideas on how things should be done; that includes cleaners. They are human beings as us so they have their own opinion on how to clean, and this can clash with clients.

-Where is my privacy?!: Your cleaner will have access to the most private areas in your home; some people does not like this idea and feel uncomfortable if their cleaners do the laundry or find some dirty pants underneath the bed.

-Loss of control: The job of a regular cleaner is to organise the mess you have left, to put right what you did wrong. This can make some people feel vulnerable, thus losing the control of the relationship.

After what it looks like a little bit of psychoanalysis, the answer to a more positive relationship with your cleaner is simple:

From the beginning, estate what you want to be done at your home and how you want it to be done. At the same time “re-visit” these points if you feel your cleaner is not following your requirements.

How to clean your washing machine

washing_machineCleaning your washing machine is as important as doing the weekly laundry and it should become a regular task in every household.

The inside of the washing machine goes through a lot of dirty water, detergent deposits and limescale; every time you wash your clothes there is a build up of residues on the washing machine making it work harder and reducing its ability to perform adequately.

The best option to leave your washing machine ready for hundreds of more washes is to run an empty cycle on hot water along with two cups of white vinegar (to remove lime scale).

You will also need to remove the detergent dispenser and soak it on hot soapy water. for those hard to reach corners on the dispenser, where mould easily builds up, the best thing to use is a small brush (like one of your old tooth brushes).

As a way of preventing any leakage, check the water hoses regularly for any sign of wear.

Also, do not forget to clean the door and outside of the washing machine with a soft cloth and a little bit of vinegar with water to leave it sparkling!

How to teach your child to clean

1331085_babyChildren bring rays of light into our lives and chaos into our household. After teaching them to crawl, walk and talk, there is one more essential task that they have to learn – clean. Generally kids like to copy what grown ups do so they will be very interested in purpose of your mop or vacuum cleaner from early days. They will also imitate you and with time and the right teacher will become great help around the house.

Letting them help from early age will even improve hand-to-eye coordination, dexterity, and develop a sense of accomplishment. They can help you sort out silverware, snap the lids on plastic containers coming out from dishwashers, help you organize laundry. They will enjoy running around your house with a feather duster or cloth initially just playing around but eventually, by following you, learning the real purpose of these things.

The problems usually come once your child is a little bit older. Once their rooms are already jammed with toys and their clever heads are already full of ideas on how to get that extra time for games rather than cleaning up. They will try it all. They will ignore you, they will shout at you, they will beg you but unless you are planning to pick up after them until they move out well into their twenties or even thirties, all this should be ignored and you must teach your child the importance of cleaning from the early age.

Their room should be their territory in all aspects. Cleaning up there should be their task too. Sometimes though you will find that they are simply confused and don’t know where to start. It will take some guidelines and lots of patience from you.

First, try to keep it simple. They should be able to open and close all the drawers and storage boxes. Do not overload your child with toys. Kids who have too many toys usually get overwhelmed and play with your umbrella instead. Lots of low shelves and baskets that they can have easy access to may be good idea. Do not expect all to be in perfect order. As long as things are back in their places and your child realizes that you will not be picking up after them each time your job is already half done.

Secondly, guide them. Tell them where to start from. For example tell them to start from making the bed, then picking up their laundry and finally organizing the toys and clutter before moving on to dusting and vacuuming. Do this together first.

Thirdly, don’t forget patience. You may have to relax your standards a bit while your child learns. The key is to assign regular responsibilities for your child’s age, teach them how to do the chore a few times, and then let them try on their own. There will be tears and tantrums along the way but the rewards will get you through these.

How to burn calories while cleaning

1241736_fun_steakWith Christmas around the corner and dining tables covered with succulent turkeys and cakes it is easy to forget what your daily calorie intake should be or what is the meaning of the word calorie in general. To top that bloated next morning feeling, it is more than likely that you will have to wake up to a house full of dirt, leftovers and unwashed dishes. Don’t despair, you can make your house spotless and burn calories at the same time.

Begin cleaning from bathroom. Scrub the tiles with long sweeping motions. Exaggerate the movement up and down until you feel the burn. When scrubbing the bath get into the squat position and hold it. Keep yourself suspended to burn more calories. Get on your knees to scrub the tub, and use long motions back and forth to work the arms and shoulders. Shake the rugs outside up and down several times. Use round circular movements with your arms to clean toilet bowl and sink. Swing the mop out way in front of you making sure that your knees are bent to protect your back when sweeping the floor.
Hover taking long swift moves. If you feel even more festive, you can even do some dance moves while cleaning your carpets. Hover can be brilliant dancing partner, just don’t let your neighbors see you. Use circular motions for all the furniture when dusting and don’t be afraid to put some pressure where possible. This is great for firming the arms. When bending down to reach hidden places, take some time to do deep knee bends. Step up to the cob webs. Stretch on your toes or use a small ladder. Get the duster and step up, dust, step down and repeat.

Remember that half an hour session of hovering will burn between 75 and 125 calories, mopping floor-112 , cooking and food preparation-100 calories per hour, making beds-70.

So don’t rely on Brussel sprouts to get you through Christmas dinner, but explore the hidden gym in your house and you will be amazed at the results.