5 Quick Recipes for Natural Cleaners

natural cleanersWe recently wrote about the toxicity and harmful side effects of harsh chemical cleaning products used in the home and the dangers they present to children and pets. Instead of keeping a chemical lab in your broom closet, did you know that there are lots of healthier alternatives?

Not only are natural cleaners less harmful to your family, they improve indoor air quality and are so easy to make and much easier on your wallet. Plus, you probably already have most of the required ingredients to whip up at least 5 natural cleaners — and what you don’t already have is inexpensive and easily sourced. Below are some quick recipes.

Let’s start with the basics of natural cleaners

The backbone of just about all natural cleaning recipes is baking soda and white vinegar.

This combo can clean just about anything, as you’ll soon discover.  It’s used in pretty much every quick natural cleaner formula.

#1 – General All-Purpose Cleaner

This all-purpose cleaner is terrific for all kinds of hard surfaces, like counters, sinks and walls.

In a clean spray bottle (12 oz.), mix the vinegar and essential oils (lavender, tea tree or lemon, etc.) first. The oils add a nicer smell and have disinfectant properties. Add the baking powder and slowly top up with water, the baking powder will make it fizz up a bit. Gently shake the bottle and spray where and as required, wipe with a clean cloth and allow the surface to dry.

#2  – Oven Cleaner

This combo is so effective that you’ll wonder why you bought those super toxic cleaners before.

In a small bowl pour in ½ cup of baking soda and stir in 3 to 4 tablespoons of water to make a spreadable paste, add water as required. Spread the mixture on the walls and floor of your oven, rub it in a bit, especially on the tougher spots.

Let it rest overnight. Next day, spritz vinegar wherever you see the baking soda mixture, it’ll foam up. Wipe clean with a damp cloth until – presto! The job’s done.

#3 – Drain Cleaner

It couldn’t be easier to clear a clogged or smelly drain, which proves what we said at the beginning – baking soda and vinegar can fix just about any cleaning problem.

Sprinkle ¼ to ½ a cup of baking soda into the clogged drain, then pour about ¼ cup of white vinegar down, it’ll bubble up and settle, let it sit for about an hour. Then pour a kettle full of boiling hot water down the drain. If the problem isn’t fixed right away, repeat the process, but usually it only takes the one time.

#4 – Furniture Polish

This is a super easy and economical alternative to commercial furniture polishing products.

Take 1 tablespoon of Castile Soap, 15 drops of essential lemon oil and 2 cups of water, pour into spray bottle and mix by gently shaking. Use as you would any  furniture polish. Spray and wipe with a clean cloth. (Test on a small area first to make sure it doesn’t stain or leave a mark.)

#5 – Carpet Freshener

This combination of ingredients will leave your carpeted areas smelling clean and fresh, as well as killing moths, fleas and flea eggs. It also acts as a deterrent against rodents.

Mix the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl. Sprinkle over the carpet and let sit for about an hour or so, then vacuum it up and it’s good as new. You can store the unused mixture in an airtight container and use it again.

We’ve only just begun

These are just a few of the many quick recipes for natural cleaners that can be easily made, saving you not only a lot of money but also the health of your family and furry friends.

At Allcare we care about you and your family’s well being and, of course… we care about clean.

Why not give us a shout to find out more about how green cleaning practices can improve the health — and the bottom line — of your organization?

 

 

 

 

Hey, kids, let’s science! The Magic of Microfiber

nylon molecule
(Photo: Michael Ströck/Wikipedia)
Microfiber packs a big punch

Fun fact: the average person spends about 20 hours per month on household cleaning.

But there are tools to make the job easier and science has given us so many labour-saving inventions, it’s easy to take them for granted. (Just think about how laundry used to be done!)

Microfiber cloths are so eco-friendly, effective and efficient they’re a must-have for any green cleaning kit. But how do they do what they do? Read on for the lowdown on this “magical” fabric.

She blinded me with science

The story of microfibers goes all the way back to 19th century Holland, when Johannes Diderik van der Waals laid the foundation for modern molecular physics. Building on that knowledge, chemical engineers of the 1950s and ’60s began experimenting with ultra-fine filaments for industrial applications.

By the 1970s, Ultrasuede hit the market and expanded the possibilities for new applications of the material. Not only was the ersatz suede used for making groovy pantsuits but also for interior, automotive and aircraft design applications.

But it wasn’t until the ’90s, when Swedish materials scientists began to develop the technology further, that microfiber cloths revolutionized green cleaning in both industrial and household applications. Today, microfiber cloths are widely used in Europe where environmental awareness is greater, but the technology is still catching on in North America.

So, what’s so big about tiny?

Microfiber is a synthetic combination of polyamides (aka nylon) and polyester. This substance is used to create super-fine strands with a diameter about 10 to 50 times thinner than a human hair. The strands are then split even further creating tiny fibers which are about the size of the average bacteria. Germs, begone!

microfiber versus cotton
Microfiber versus cotton

Thanks to this micro splitting process the surface area of microfiber is roughly 15 times greater than that of cotton fabrics, allowing it to trap more dust, dirt and bacteria in its million tiny edges. More surface area equals more efficiency — you get big results from those teensy fibers.

Another benefit of microfiber cloths is that they won’t scratch or mar even the most delicate surfaces because they attract debris instead of pushing it around. That’s why microfiber cloths are used for lens cleaning and other precision applications.

Remember that 19th century Dutchman van der Waals? He was the first scientist to describe the properties of molecular attraction. The “van der Waals forces” inherent in the plastic microfibers are what give these mighty cloths their ability to attract grime and germs, hence the nickname “dirt magnets.”

But is it green technology?

You bet it is. Microfiber technology virtually eliminates the need for paper towels and toxic cleaning chemicals.

Using these cloths will even reduce your water usage. A microfiber mop weighs far less than a traditional string mop and uses about half the water to get the job done.

Added bonus: microfibers are lint-free, making them ideal for glass and other shiny-surface cleaning. No more harsh window cleaners, which can be damaging to your lungs with repeated use.

Show me the money

Microfiber cleaning products can tolerate between 100-200 washings. That’s a long life for a cleaning product. So, you’re not only getting a more thorough, more environmentally-friendly result, but you’re also reducing your budget. Gotta love science.

At Allcare, microfiber cloths are just one of the products we use to make your facility shiny and germ-free. Get in touch today for more information on our Green Housekeeping practices.

We care about clean.

Top 5 Germ-Laden Things You Touch Every Day

We all get up every day and go about our business. We have things to do, places to go and people to see. Most of us do all of this without thinking too much about the germ-laden things we come into contact with – until we encounter a gritty park bench or a greasy handrail on public transit.

But, surprisingly, some of the creepiest crawliest things are in our homes and workplaces – and some are even right there in our pockets and purses.

So, without further ado, let’s pull back the curtain and take a look at what we deal with every day. Ready?

#5 Sponge Bob is Not Your Friend

Your kitchen is a hot spot for cross-contamination of many different types of bacteria, and guess what interacts with just about all of them? That’s right, your kitchen sponge — one the dirtiest things in your house. Sponges are very effective for cleaning pots and dishes because they’re full of tiny holes that hold soap and water. Those warm, damp crevices are also the perfect environment for germs to propagate. So let your sponges dry out — germs hate dryness — and wash or replace them regularly.

#4 On the Throne

Let’s face it, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go — and there’s probably nothing grosser than a public bathroom toilet seat. Roughly half of all North American women won’t sit on a toilet seat in a public bathroom. But covering the seat with a barrier of toilet paper isn’t the answer either and, in fact, might actually be worse. Toilet seats are designed to repel germs, (hard plastic deflects bacteria and germs). Adding a layer of absorbent paper can soak up those nasty microbes and pass them to your body much more efficiently. Bottom line, pun intended, your best bet is to always wash yours hands with soap after you’re done.

#3 Talk Dirty to Me

By now everyone knows that cell phones are not the cleanest things in the world. To put that into clearer perspective, your toilet seat is actually cleaner. In fact, every square inch of your phone has about 10 times the number of germs than your toilet seat has. Bacteria thrive in warm places, the phone itself generates heat and so do your hands. It’s no wonder that smartphones are prime breeding grounds for microbes. Think about that the next time you’re texting at the dinner table.

#2 Let There be Light

It’s something we do every day, at home and at work we turn on the light. And light switches are one of those rarely thought-about germ-laden hideaways. They’re often overlooked when cleaning. Recently researchers did a study of hotel rooms, looking for hidden germ locations. They discovered that light switches, especially on bedside lamps, are crawling with bacteria. So the next time you’re cleaning a room, flip the switch – then clean it.

#1 Money Laundering

Talk about dirty money. The stuff is rife with germs… and cocaine, especially American money. Which is one of the reasons the UK and Canada have switched to plastic-based notes. Plastic acts to repel bacteria and is easily wiped clean. Paper money has tiny crevices that allow bacteria to grow — it can even transfer a live flu virus for up to 17 days. Just like our cell phones, money has more germs  than an average toilet seat, including staphylococcus aureus — the bacteria that causes staph infections. Again, always wash your hands after handling money… or send it to us.

Don’t Freak Out

In the end, it’s best not to obsess too much about the germ-laden things around us every day. But with a few simple changes to your routine, you can keep yourself, your family and your staff healthy and safe from harmful bacteria and viruses.

Get in touch today to find out how we can keep your workspace not only looking clean, but also healthy and germ-free using eco-friendly cleaning products and practices.

We care about clean.

4 Reasons to Remove Dirt and Dust with Microfiber

Small things often make a big difference. And this is certainly the case with microfiber, a synthetic textile made from microfibers with a diameter approximately 1/16 the thickness of a human hair.

At Allcare, we use these microfiber cloths and dusters to clean surfaces better and more efficiently than conventional rags and dusters. In this post, we explain some of the reasons why we use microfibers.

1. Microfibers Capture More Dust and Dirt Particles

Microfiber materials are densely constructed out of microscopic polyester and polyamide (or nylon) fibers. These microfibers, which are so small, have more surface area for cleaning than traditional textiles. The pockets between fibers help hold dirt and liquid, and these tiny fibers are able to penetrate the microscopic surface pores of most flooring materials.

In comparison, dry dusters (including feather dusters) do a poor job of trapping dust and dirt, and often simply move it around.

Dust, dirt, hair and lint are also all attracted to microfiber cloths. Without getting too much into the science, positively charged microfibers have a pull, so to speak, on negatively charged dust.

2. Microfibers Reduce Waste

Microfiber cuts back on waste by lasting longer than other cleaning textiles. While microfiber mops initially cost about twice that of traditional loop mops, a microfiber mop’s lifespan is about 10 times as long. Microfiber, unlike paper towels or cotton rags, can be used hundreds of times after laundering. This means that materials can get reused, and less is thrown away.

3. Microfiber is Easier on Cleaning Staff

Microfibers make cleaning easier because they can be slid over surfaces smoothly and easily. And since microfiber is more effective at removing dirt,  cleaners don’t have to put as much effort into scrubbing surfaces to clean them.

Also, since microfibers require a smaller volume of water and chemicals to be effective, it’s easier for staff to transport equipment easier to the job site. In fact, microfiber dusting wands can help pick up dust without any water or chemicals at all.

Because they’re not weighed down and slowed down by their equipment, our staff can clean more area, more quickly and more easily.

4. Microfibers Require Less Water and Fewer Chemicals

Microfiber is able to absorb more liquid than conventional textiles. Because more water is retained (and less is dripped on surfaces), microfibers require less water overall.

And because they more efficiently clean surfaces, they can also reduce the amount of chemicals needed to clean. Microfibers have been found to reduce the use of cleaning chemicals by two-thirds. Reducing the use of chemicals (even the eco-friendly ones we use) helps us be greener, and save money.

 

At Allcare, we use microfiber technology to make sure that our clients have the cleanest surfaces as possible. Microfibers make the removal of dust and dirt from desks, countertops, and other surfaces easier, less expensive, and more sustainable.

Do you use microfibers for cleaning? Please let us know why you chose this method in the comments!

Is your office mold-free? Here’s how to deal with this health-impacting problem

mold

Concern about indoor exposure to mold has increased along with public awareness that it can cause a variety of health effects and symptoms, including allergic reactions.

In the workplace, just like at home, mold growth needs to be strictly avoided.  Significant problems can arise if the growth is left unchecked, affecting the look and smell of your facility — and possibly even causing structural damage.

How does it grow?

Mold can grow on virtually any surface, as long as there is moisture or water, oxygen and an organic source.

These tiny toxic organisms reproduce by creating spores that are too small to be seen by the human eye — and these spores continually float throughout the indoor and outdoor air.  Exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose and throat in certain individuals, especially those prone to asthma or with weakened immune systems.

Don’t let the mold take hold

Moisture control is key to mold control.  When leaks or spills occur indoors, act promptly.  Any moisture problems should be addressed and cleaned properly.

Here are some key steps to avoid an overgrowth:

  • repair leaky plumbing or leaks in the building structure as soon as possible
  • look for condensation and wet spots, and fix the source of the moisture immediately
  • perform regular HVAC and roof inspections
  • maintain indoor relative humidity below 70%
  • be sure to properly vent moisture-generating appliances
  • provide adequate drainage around the building and slopping
  • pinpoint areas where leaks have occurred, identifying the causes, and taking preventative action to ensure that they do not re occur.
Get in touch

We can take care of any existing mold or mildew problems and show you how to avoid them in the first place.