Clean Computer

Here are Tools & Chemicals you need for have a clean computer CPU casing.

Soft cloth, Computer cleaning fluid, compressed air, safety glasses, pre-treated computer wipes, vacuum cleaner, and special cleaning attachments.

Technique:

It is best to store the CPU off the floor, on a solid surface to minimize dust and permit proper cooling (carpet will not allow for airflow beneath unit). Vacuum all cooling slots. Do not use compressed air on these openings, as it moves large amounts of dust inside the CPU, which is akin to pouring fine sand into the processor. Conversely, if you are trying to kill your computer, this, water, and blunt impacts are the quickest methods.

Keeping the vents clean maximizes airflow for cooling, which is very important for the longevity of the CPU. Processor failures are most commonly associated with the expansion and contraction of connections and components. By keeping the overall operating temperature low, the extremes between operating and shut down temperatures is reduced, lowering the magnitude of the cycles, and increasing life span. Wipe down the casing with a soft cloth dampened with a specialized computer cleaning fluid or plain water. Never spray any cleaner directly onto your office equipment. Always spray the cloth and wipe the equipment.

Clean Computer
Clean Computer

If you feel you need to remove the casing and clean inside, use compressed air only.  Take care to direct the air out and away from the casing so you don’t drive the dust deeper into cracks and crevices. A slightly errant brush, cloth, or vacuum can cause permanent damage, and without even touching the boards, a zap of static electricity can destroy a processor. Check your warranty before taking any office equipment apart.  If you remove the cover for the casing you can wipe down the inside of the casing before closing the and securing CPU etc.  These are some basics for having  a clean  computer.

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Professional Carpet Cleaning

Professional carpet cleaning is the most misunderstood of the professional cleaning industries.  Often referred to as steam cleaning, professional carpet cleaning has evolved of the years and there are five methods being used today to professionally clean carpets.  “Steam cleaning” is not a good way to describe any of the commonly used methods for cleaning carpets today.

There are many reasons for professional carpet cleaning, one it will increase the life of your carpets to have them cleaned regularly.  The dirt embedded in the carpets rub together to prematurely wear out the carpet fibres.  The appearance is better with clean carpets; health is improved with less soil and or dust in the home etc.

Professional Carpet Cleaning
Professional Carpet Cleaning

Hot Water Extraction

The method commonly referred to as steam cleaning is better referred to as Hot water Extraction.  This is where you apply a pre-spray and use agitation and a hot water rinse to remove the soap and soil.  The agitation can come in the form of a machine applying pressure with brushes or simply using the wand which vacuums up the hot water sprayed on to the carpets to rinse out the pre-spray.  There are different chemical requirements depending on whether or not the carpet is a synthetic or natural carpet fiber.

Extraction is by far the most important step in this process. Since the hot-water extraction method uses much more water than other methods like bonnet or shampoo cleaning, proper extraction and air flow are critical to avoid drying issues. Drying time may also be decreased by extra use of fans, air conditioning, and/or outdoor ventilation.

Older surfaces, such as double jute-backed carpets and loose rugs with natural foundation yarns, could shrink after a wet treatment. Newer carpets, such as with synthetic backing and foundation yarns, do not shrink, and they smooth easily. The variety in carpet types and situations make a good argument to always use a professional carpet cleaner who has been trained and certified.

Wet-cleaning systems naturally require drying time, which has led to customer fears and concerns about very slow drying, the risk of discoloration returning during drying, and odors, bacteria, fungi, molds, and mildews. Balancing the need for rapid drying (attributable to lower flow rate through the cleaning jets of a spray system) and the need to remove the most soil (attributable to higher flow rate) is a key technique that must be mastered by carpet-cleaning technicians.

Dry compound

A 98% biodegradable cleaning compound may be spread evenly over carpet and brushed or scrubbed in. For small areas, a household hand brush can work such a compound into carpet pile; dirt and grime is attracted to the compound, which is then vacuumed off, leaving carpet immediately clean and dry. For commercial applications, a specially designed cylindrical counter-rotating brushing system is used, without a vacuum cleaner. Machine scrubbing is more typical, in that hand scrubbing generally cleans only the top third of carpet.

Encapsulation

In the 1990s, new polymers began literally encapsulating (crystallizing) soil particles into dry residues on contact, in a process now regarded by the industry as a growing, up-and-coming technology working like “tiny sponges”, the deep-cleaning compound crystals dissolve and absorb dirt prior to its removal from the carpet. Cleaning solution is applied by rotary machine, brush applicator, or compression sprayer. Dry residue can be vacuumed immediately, either separately or from a built-in unit of the cleaning-system machine. According to ICS Cleaning Specialist, evidence suggests encapsulation improves carpet appearance, compared to other systems; and it is favorable in terms of high-traffic needs, operator training, equipment expense, and lack of wet residue. Encapsulation also avoids the drying time of carpet shampoos, making the carpet immediately available for use.

The use of encapsulation to create a crystalline residue that can be immediately vacuumed (as opposed to the dry powder residue of wet cleaning systems, which generally requires an additional day before vacuuming).

Bonnet

After a pre-spray is applied onto the surface as mist, a round buffer or “bonnet” scrubs the mixture with rotating motion. This industry machine resembles a floor buffer, with an absorbent spin pad that attracts soil and is rinsed or replaced repeatedly. The bonnet method is not strictly dry-cleaning and involves significant drying time, and usually only addresses the top third of carpet, making it a quick solution rather than a deep cleaning of dirt or odor as considered suitable for valuable carpet. To reduce pile distortion, the absorbent p ad should be kept well-lubricated with cleaning solution.

When there is a large amount of foreign material below the carpet backing, extraction with a wet process may be needed. The spin-bonnet method may not be as capable of sanitizing carpet fibers due to the lack of hot water, but a post-cleaning application of an antimicrobial agent is used to make up for this. Compared to steam cleaning, the small amounts of water required with spin-bonnet carpet cleaning favor water-conservation considerations.

Professional Carpet Cleaning
Professional Carpet Cleaning

Shampoo

Wet shampoo cleaning with rotary machines, followed by thorough wet vacuuming, was widespread until about the 1970s, but industry perception of shampoo cleaning changed with the advent of encapsulations. Hot-water extraction, also regarded as preferable, had not been introduced either. Wet shampoos were once formulated from coconut oil soaps] wet shampoo residues can be foamy or sticky, and steam cleaning often reveals dirt un-extracted by shampoos. Since no rinse is performed, the powerful residue can continue to collect dirt after cleaning.  This method is not commonly used today by professional carpet cleaners.

There are many factors to consider when cleaning and maintaining your carpets in most cases carpet cleaning is not a do it yourself type job and there are many good reasons to proceed with a professional carpet cleaning when you are looking to get your carpets cleaned.

Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Your hardwood floor is installed. There is no flooring that looks as comfortable or luxurious as a beautiful hardwood floor.  How do you care for and clean Hardwood flooring? It is an investment you certainly want to protect. Most major stores will have hardwood floor basics for equipment and supplies for cleaning hardwood floors.  You may find some specialty pieces of equipment at flooring stores.

Floor mats are essential when it comes to cleaning hardwood floors. Tiny particles, like dirt, can act like sandpaper and scratch your wood. A floor mat at each entryway and having family members and guests to wipe their feet, the majority of dirt and grime will remain on the mat. Having a good mat before and after you go in your home goes a long way to trap the dirt before you enter the house.  Try and use over sized mats where you can and regularly sweep or vacuum them as well.   Also put a floor mat or rug in any area where water could be splashed — like near the kitchen sink. This will hinder any possible water damage.

Note that rubber-backed or non-ventilated floor mats or rugs can damage your floor. Instead use floor mats or rugs made especially for hardwood floors or use hardwood floor pads under the mat.  It is pretty important to keep under the mats clean as well a build up of dirt and the movement of the mat will cause damage to the floors.

Cleaning Hardwood Floors
Cleaning Hardwood Floors

 

The more frequently you clean the easier it is to keep your hardwood floors clean, and the better care you take, the longer your floor will maintain its original beauty. Step one is to purchase a high quality broom so that you can sweep your floor regularly of dirt, dust and other particles.

Second step is a vacuum cleaner without a beater bar, to get in between the boards and other hard to reach areas.  Be sure your vacuum tool is always in good repair and the brushes are good, once they wear you don’t want the actual tool to start scratching the hardwood floors.

Deeper cleaning techniques vary depending on the installation and finish of your hardwood floor. For “Finish in Place” hardwood floors, using an 8”x14” terrycloth mop with a rotating head that makes cleaning corners, under cabinets and along base boards as simple.  In any case always use very little water this is why standard mops not recommended to clean hardwood floors.  A flat hardwood floor mop leaves little space for water and is always best.

Professional cleaning products recommended by your flooring retailer can be used to remove tough stains and spills without dulling the finish of your wood floor. Makers of “Pre-finished” floors recommend their own specific products for routine maintenance. Check with your retailer for details.

Do and Don’ts

Don’t wax a wood floor with a urethane finish

Do use cleaners that won’t leave a film or residue

Don’t use ammonia cleaners or oil soaps on a wood floor — they’ll dull the finish and affect your ability to recoat later.

Do use a professional hardwood floor cleaner to remove occasional scuffs and heel marks (just spray some cleaner on a cloth and rub the stained area lightly)

Don’t wet mop or use excessive water to clean your floor (wood naturally expands when it’s wet and can cause your floor to crack or splinter). 

Do clean sticky spots with a damp towel or sponge

Do minimize water exposure and clean spills immediately

 

If and when your hardwood floor begins to look like it belongs beneath the feet of gold miners in an old western saloon, it’s time to consider screening and re-coating.

Screening is the process used to abrade or grind down your floor’s polyurethane finish. Next, fresh coats of urethane are applied. The result is a rejuvenated floor that looks as good as the day it was installed!

If the damage to your hardwood floor is severe, then you may require sanding and refinishing. This process involves sanding your floor down to the bare wood and refinishing it. Only go to this effort if screening and re-coating doesn’t solve your problem. Replacement boards may be available so you don’t have to refinish the entire area. Be sure to go pro whenever you have work done on your hardwood floors!

Final Thoughts

All hardwood floors fade or change shades over time. Like our own skin, wood’s exposure to sunlight may greatly increase this process and cause permanent damage.

Window treatments are recommended to shade your floors from the sun’s harsh rays. We also recommend rotating area rugs and furniture regularly, allowing wood floors to age evenly from UV exposure.

To avoid permanent marks and scratches, it’s a good idea to cover furniture and table legs with flannel protectors. Be careful when moving heavy objects across your floor to avoid scuffing.

Ladies — your stiletto heels may be fashionable, but what’s not in fashion (or covered by your warranty) are the dents and scratches they cause to wood floors. I had a friend who held a big dinner party after installing new hardwood floors only to wake up to hundreds of little dents in his brand new (and now not so perfect) hardwood floors. So have a dinner party but keep it casual, nothing fancy. Likewise, trim your pet’s nails regularly and keep any and all other sharp objects (don’t walk with scissors is a good rule always) away from your floors.

Follow these basic tips for clean hardwood floors that stand the test of time for years to come.

Tile Cleaning

 Tile Cleaning

Tile cleaning can be a chore and the techniques you would use can vary depending on the type of tile you have.  I will list several types of tiles here and discuss some basic tips for tile cleaning of the various types of tiles.

With many colors, textures, tiles sizes, and materials of excellent durability qualities available, in most cases tiles are easy to maintain and clean.  The bigger challenge in most cases is the cleaning of the grout. http://www.howtocleananything.com/general-cleaning-tips/grout-cleaning/

 

Tile Cleaning
Tile Cleaning

 

 

 

Marble, Travertine

Smooth, hard, cool to the touch and beautifully patterned, marble flooring, travertine and limestone offer the classic look of elegance and create a very luxurious effect.

Available in a wide variety of colors, especially earth tones, and often imitated by other types of tile like ceramic and porcelain.

Marble, limestone and travertine are calcite-based stones and have similar properties when it comes to care and cleaning. Marble is relatively simple to maintain once you know how.

Most problems are simple to solve, however, sealing may be necessary to protect against staining. Using the proper cleaning products requires a little more care and work, but it is a must… the results is a terrific looking floors

Extremely durable and versatile, marble, travertine or limestone floor tile can be used anywhere in your home, even your patio, but are particularly suitable for bathrooms, showers, hallways and formal living areas…

Etching in marble may be a concern, and when it comes to cleaning, using the proper product for marble is a MUST! Taking care of marble requires a bit more work than other types of tile flooring, but the beauty it adds to your home will be worth it… Bear in mind that counter tops are more susceptible to etching than flooring. These types of tiles are cleaned using neutral pH cleaners, no acidic cleaners should be used. Also quickly remove spills like orange or tomato juice for example since they are acidic.  Using soft cleaning cloths and or mops are best when cleaning marble and abrasive cleaning equipment is not recommended when cleaning marble.

 

Granite tile is basically indestructible if you choose the right variety… It can be used in any room with no concern, including an entry way or outdoor patio.

Unlike marble, limestone and travertine, this type of tile does not etch the same way and rarely is staining a problem. There is basically an endless array of patterns and magnificent colors for you to choose from and tile cleaning is pretty easy but it is best to avoid acidic chemicals.

Like most floor tile, granite has maintenance requirements… Depending on the degree of use and wear, polished granite may require periodic re-polishing just like any polished stone floor will.

To help reduce the chance of staining, some types may need to be sealed to may tile cleaning easier.

Slate Tile

Rugged and rustic looking, this tile is definitely unique and loved by many. The distinctive characteristics are easy to spot and adds to its allure, but the up-keep can be over-whelming and is therefore not for everyone.  Slate is more porous and usually uneven so regular cleaning is a must, or using a stone sealer to may tile cleaning is also recommended.  Since slate is more porous it will stain easier and stains can be stubborn.  Grease stains for example are difficult on a floor like this which is unsealed, and you will likely have to resort to using a poultice to remove this type of staining.  For general maintenance neutral cleaner is best and using less detergent is better leaving soap residue behind will only attract the dirt fast and make tile cleaning ore difficult.

Not all slate is alike and the quality can vary widely from soft and crumbly to hard and dense. The more expensive the slate the easier it will be to maintain,

Slate is usually thought of as gray, but it comes in colors, too. You will find green, blue, black, gray, rust and multi-color.

Most slate must be sealed to prevent staining. The cleft (ridges) finish slate is noted for collects dirt easily. Also, any element that is acidic will cause etching (corrosion) if it comes into contact with slate tiles.

Slate may not be the best choice for large flooring areas because of the the up-keep it requires. Having it honed (smoothed) will reduce the time and care needed to keep your flooring looking its best…

Cleaning Natural Stone Flooring

The main factor in cleaning natural stone is the initial treatment of the floor, for easy tile cleaning using a stone sealer is best and if you desire a unfinished look that is not sealed then frequent tile cleaning is necessary.  Consider a wet vacuum so you can use a combination of water detergent and by vacuuming with a wet vac will help keep the tiles cleaner.  Use as little detergent as possible; remember excess soap will attract dirt faster.  Always use a Ph balanced soap or detergent.

 

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain is steadily gaining in status as an alternative to stone or ceramic tile. Its characteristics are equal to natural stone tile without the price.  Also, it is more durable, longer wearing and more damage resistant than ceramic, which make it suitable for any area in your home.

Full-bodied porcelain carry the color and patterns throughout its thickness making it virtually impervious to wear and suitable for residential, commercial and industrial highest traffic application.

If you like the stone tile look, but fear the price porcelain tile comes closer to duplicating the look of natural stone tiles.

Nearly maintenance free and cleaning is a breeze with just soap and water and is highly resistant to stains.  There are some porcelain tiles with matte finishes which are designed to reduce the slipperiness or just because the desire is to not have a shine floor.  Thee matte finished floors can be a challenge and can trap the dirt easier, in which case more frequent or specialized tile cleaning is necessary.

Ceramic Tile

Popularity has greatly increased for ceramic flooring as an alternative to natural stone tile. It wears well in light to moderate traffic areas, but is more prone to chipping and wear than is porcelain tile.

Of all the hard tiles, ceramic offers the most choices in colors, shapes and patterns. It’s suitability for any room makes ceramic a versatile tile floor covering.

The finishing glaze may give it a plastic or wet “look” (depending on your choice of color & pattern). None-the-less, it has great eye-appeal and style.

It provides better traction than most stone tiles and is resistant to water and stains. No special cleaning agents are needed; diluted household detergent will work just fine.

Saltillo Tile

Saltillo tile captures the rich yellow-orange colors of the South-western desert clay it is made of. In a class by itself, each tile is made by hand and no two tiles are the same…

Its uniqueness and color cannot be compared to any other floor tile and is what people are drawn to and love…

The downside, clay is very porous and stains easily. In colder climates it may crack and scratch more easily. NOT the best choice for kitchen or bathroom.

Lack of uniform tiles makes them difficult and consequently expensive to install. Saltillo tile should be sealed before, immediately after and every six months thereafter once installed.

 

Cork Tile

Growing by leaps and bounds cork tile is quickly becoming the flooring of choice over other types of tile, and especially so for kitchens and bathrooms.

Long-wearing, affordable, rich and warm looking, easy to take care of and easy to install are just a few features why it has gained such popularity!

It’s natural insulating and sound proofing properties, resistance to friction, impact, moisture, dust, bacteria, mold and rot make it suitable for any room!

With so many incredible colors, patterns and designs available, there is something to fit any life style and the creative mind… just imagine.

Cork floor tile require very little maintenance… once installed apply a coat of acrylic varnish sealant, and re-apply the sealant when the tiles begin looking dull.  Otherwise a good neutral pH cleaner is best for cleaning this tile.

Rubber Tile

Made from synthetic materials rubber tiles are square and available in many sizes, thickness, colors, simulated stones, patterns, textures and finish. They are hard-wearing and resistant to most flooring issues, but can mark easily. These tiles are better suited for wet areas like the kitchen, bathroom, utility room or garage, but work well in a child’s bedroom or play room too. They are affordable, practical and very contemporary, with minor drawbacks compared to other types of tile.

Dirt can accumulate in raised or dimpled textures and light colors show the dirt more easily. Special products are needed for polishing the surface and sealing.

Rubber tiles are not difficult to install, but are heavier and harder to handle than cork, vinyl or linoleum tiles.

 

Summary

To summarize there are some consistent things you should be looking for and doing when performing your tile cleaning.  Look at the best way to seal both the tiles and the grout after the tiles have been installed.  Maintain that sealer based on the recommendations of the manufacture, but the basic rule of thumb is when the finish is looking dull you need to re-seal.  This alone is the largest factor in keeping your tiles clean.

Always use a neutral pH cleaner, avoid acidic or alkaline cleaners both will remove floor finishes.  Acidic cleaners will damage some natural stone like marble etc. Some examples of acidic cleaners are CLR, vinegar while bleach is highly  alkaline etc.  The pH of orange juice is 3.0, while baking soda has a pH of 9.0

The speed of cleaning up spills and stains are also important when cleaning tiles.  Don’t let that grape juice take hold and soak into the tile and or likely the grout, clean up as soon as the spill occurs.  Take the time to cleaning your tile really well before attempting to seal, you may have to go as far as using a poultice for removing stains when cleaning natural stone tile.  Going the extra mile before sealing will go a long way to make tile cleaning an easy maintenance task for the life of your tiles.

Golden Rules for Stain removal

What are the golden rules for stain removal? Scrubbing and rubbing is the first thing most are inclined to do when cleaning a stain, but it is not the correct way to go.  This will only spread or drive the stain deeper into the fabrics and or carpet or surface you are working on cleaning.  You want to gently lift the stain out by using techniques like blotting, flushing or tamping. Some golden rules for effective stain removal are as follows.

 

1. Act quickly; speed in which you attempt to remove the stain is a huge factor in success.

2. Use the simplest method first, try to physically remove as much of the stain as you can by scooping, sweeping, lifting, or vacuuming before dousing it with chemicals.

3. Don’t use water or any chemical until you know what the stain is and don’t forget to pre-test if you are using a spot cleaning chemical.

4. Never apply heat until the stain has been completely removed, heat sets stains. When cleaning clothes or fabrics you are laundering always inspect before using a dryer to dry.  The heat will set the stain, you are better off letting the item air dry and re-try to remove the stain.  Follow this and other golden rules for your best success when removing stains.

Domestic Cleaning

Domestic cleaning is a part of all of our lives.  However, the time may come when you have a large house or a busy schedule and you cannot handle all of the cleaning yourself and would like to hire a domestic cleaning company.  Before you do so, be sure you know what to expect from a housekeeper.

Domestic CleaningA housekeeper is responsible for the removal of litter, dirt and stains.  A housekeeper does not generally pick up toys, clothes, or other clutter, though.  Talk with the house cleaning company to determine what is considered clutter and what isn’t.  For example, some charge extra for cleaning dishes, but not for putting dishes in a dishwasher.  Dusting, sweeping, vacuuming and mopping are standard responsibilities for a housekeeper.  Cleaning tubs, showers, bathroom counters and mirrors are also usually included in the cost.

For an additional charge, you can add on just about anything you want to:  washing windows, TV screens, cleaning blinds, dusting baseboards, watering plants, folding laundry and changing sheets. Prices vary depending on the types of services done, the size of your house and how often you have a housekeeper come out.  Most domestic cleaning companies require payment at the time of services in the form of cash or check.

You can have a housekeeper come while you are home or while you are away.  Homeowners often leave a key with a housekeeper or under the mat, when hiring a company, since the housekeeper may change from week to week.  Housekeepers should bring their own supplies and you have the option of choosing eco-friendly products or more mainstream products.

Domestic cleaning service is a great idea for families that are busy and have the extra income to pay for it.

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Cleaning Products

Levels of chemicals in the indoor air can be hundreds, even thousands of times higher than the outdoor air in the most polluted of cities. In fact, indoor air pollution levels would be high enough to trigger an inspection by health and safety authorities in any workplace setting. (The Nature of Things, CBC-TV 2002). Many chemicals contained in household cleaning products are the same as those used in industrial settings. Many scientists are now becoming concerned that long-term low-level exposure to chemicals may be just as dangerous as short-term high-dose exposures. They also worry that we do not understand the impact of exposure to the cocktail of chemicals found in household air and dust.  Testing for human health effects is normally done on single chemicals. But in the real world, we are all exposed to a variety of chemicals every single day.

Cleaning Products
Cleaning products

Prior to WWII most household cleaning tasks were accomplished using relatively safe ingredients commonly found in most homes. With the proliferation of petroleum-based chemicals after the war, corporations began to manufacture ready-made cleaning products.  Today, most people are accustomed to buying a wide range of products custom-designed for the many surfaces, materials and rooms in their homes.

Most cleaning chores can be easily handled without these toxic products. Everyday ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, salt, lemon juice, vegetable oil, soap, borax, hydrogen peroxide and washing soda can do the job as they did in olden days. Consumer demand and recognition of the hazards of many chemical ingredients are leading more companies to manufacture less toxic cleaning products.

The ingredients contained in conventional petrochemical-based cleaning products are not usually listed on labels.  Many, but not all, less-toxic products will have ingredients listed on their labels.  Following is a list of some of the most common toxic chemicals found in household cleaning products; however there are many others.

Common Ingredients in Cleaning Products

Acetone – A neurotoxin, acetone may cause liver and kidney damage, and damage to the developing fetus.  It is a skin and eye irritant.  Found in spot treatment cleaners, mark and scuff removers, and other products.

Aerosol products– Aerosol propellants  may contain propane, formaldehyde, a carcinogen, neurotoxin and central nervous system depressant, methylene chloride, a carcinogen,  neurotoxin and reproductive toxin, and nitrous oxide . Products applied with aeresol sprays are broken into minute particles, which can be more deeply inhaled than larger particles, which may increase their toxic effect.

Ammonia – Undiluted, ammonia is a severe eye and respiratory irritant that can cause severe burning pain, and corrosive damage including chemical burns, cataracts and corneal damage.  It can also cause kidney and liver damage. Repeated or prolonged exposure to vapours can result in bronchitis and pneumonia.  Found in a wide range of cleaning products.  Ammonia will react with bleach to form poisonous chlorine gas that can cause burning and watering of eyes, as well as burning of the nose and mouth.

Bleach: see sodium hypochlorite

Diethanolamine (DEA) – Listed as a suspected carcinogen by the State of California, this chemical is a skin and respiratory toxicant and a severe eye irritant.  Used in a wide range of household cleaning products.

D-limonene – This chemical is produced by cold-pressing orange peels. The extracted oil is 90% d-limonene. It is a sensitizer, a neurotoxin, a moderate eye and skin irritant, and can trigger respiratory distress when vapours are inhaled  by some sensitive individuals.  There is some evidence of carcinogenicity.  D-limonene is the active ingredient in some insecticides. It is used as a solvent in many all-purpose cleaning products, especially ‘citrus’ and ‘orange’ cleaners.  Also listed on labels as citrus oil and orange oil.

Ethoxylated nonyl phenol –  Nonyl phenols are hormone disruptors and some contain traces of ethylene oxide, a known human carcinogen.  They are eye and skin irritants.  Used in laundry detergents and other cleaning products.

Formaldehyde – In lab tests, formaldehyde has caused cancer and damaged DNA.  Formaldehyde is also a sensitizer, with the potential to cause asthma. Several laboratory studies have shown it to be a central nervous system depressant. Exposure to formaldehyde may cause joint pain, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness and loss of sleep.  While formaldehyde naturally occurs in the human body in minute amounts, it is estimated that 20 per cent of people exposed to it will experience an allergic reaction. Used in a wide range of products, including some furniture polishes. Formaldehyde may be released by other chemicals, eg.quaternary 15.

Fragrance – Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients, most of which are synthetic. Many compounds in fragrance are human toxins and suspected or proven carcinogens. In 1989, the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health evaluated 2,983 fragrance chemicals for health effects. They identified 884 of them as toxic substances. Synthetic fragrances are known to trigger asthma attacks. The US Environmental Protection Agency found that 100% of perfumes contain toluene, which can cause liver, kidney and brain damage as well as damage to a developing fetus. Symptoms reported to the FDA from fragrance exposure have included headaches, dizziness, rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing and vomiting, and allergic skin irritation. Clinical observations  by medical doctors have shown that exposure to fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes. Fragrance is a common skin irritant.

Methylene chloride – Methylene chloride is a carcinogen, a neurotoxin and a reproductive toxin. On inhalation, it can cause liver and brain damage, irregular heartbeat, and even heart attack. It is a severe skin and moderate eye irritant. Used in stain removers.

Monoethanolamine – This chemical may cause liver, kidney and reproductive damage, as well as depression of the central nervous system.  Inhalation of high concentrations – when cleaning an oven for example – can cause dizziness or even coma.   The chemical can also be absorbed through the skin.  It is a moderate skin irritant, and a severe eye irritant.  Found in many cleaning products, including oven cleaners, tub and tile cleaners, laundry pre-soaks, floor strippers and carpet cleaners.

Morpholine – This corrosive ingredient can severely irritate and burn skin and eyes, and can even cause blindness if splashed in eyes.  It can cause liver and kidney damage, and long-term exposure can result in bronchitis.  It reacts with nitrites (added as a preservative in some products, or present as a contaminant) to form carcinogenic nitrosomines.  Morpholine is a moderate to severe eye, skin and mucous membrane irritant. Used as a solvent in a number of cleaning products, including some furniture polishes and abrasive cleansers.

Naphthalene – This registered pesticide is listed as a suspected carcinogen in California and is most commonly found in mothballs, and some other pest repellants, as well as in deodorizers.  As a reproductive toxin, it is transported across the placenta and can cause blood damage.  It can cause liver and kidney damage, and corneal damage and cataracts.  Skin exposure is especially dangerous to newborns.

Parabens – Parabens are hormone disruptors. Widely used in cleaning products as preservatives, paraben is usually preceded by the prefixes methyl-, ethyl-, butyl-, or propyl.   Parabens may cause contact dermatitis in some individuals

Paradichlorobenzene – This highly volatile registered pesticide is in the same chemical class as DDT.  It is a suspected carcinogen, and may cause lung, liver and kidney damage.  It is used in mothballs and some washroom deodorizers and urinal blocks.

Phosphoric acid – Extremely corrosive, it can severely irritate and burn the skin and eyes.  Breathing vapours can make the lungs ache, and it may be toxic to the central nervous system.  Found in some liquid dishwasher detergents, metal polishes, some disinfectants, and bathroom cleaners, especially those that remove lime and mildew.

Sodium dichloroisocyanurate dihydrate – This corrosive chemical is a severe eye, skin and respiratory irritant. It may cause liver and gastrointestinal damage, and may be toxic to the central nervous system.  It will react with bleach to form poisonous chlorine gas that can cause burning and watering of eyes, as well as burning of the nose and mouth. It is found in some toilet bowl cleaners and deodorizers, as well as industrial detergents and some institutional dishwashing detergents.

Sodium hypochlorite (bleach) – A corrosive chemical, sodium hypochlorite is an eye, skin and respiratory irritant, as well as a sensitizer.  It is especially hazardous to people with heart conditions or asthma, and can be fatal if swallowed.  It may be a neurotoxin and toxic to the liver.  Found in a wide range of household cleaners.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate  – Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is used as a lathering agent.  This chemical is a known skin irritant. It also enhances the allergic response to other toxins and allergens. The U.S. government has warned manufacturers of unacceptable levels of dioxin formation in some products containing this ingredient.  SLS can react with other ingredients to form cancer-causing nitrosamines

Toluene – Exposure to toluene may cause liver, kidney and brain damage. It is also a reproductive toxin which can damage a developing fetus.

Turpentine – This chemical can cause allergic sensitization, and kidney, bladder and central nervous system damage. It is an eye irritant.  Found in specialty solvent cleaners, furniture polish and shoe products.

Xylene – Xylene has significant neurotoxic effects, including loss of memory.  High exposure can lead to loss of consciousness and even death.  It may damage liver, kidneys and the developing fetus. It is a severe eye and moderate skin irritant.  Used in some spot removers, floor polishes, ironing aids and other products.

Sources:
The Safe Shoppers Bible, David Steinman & Samuel Epstein
Cleaners and Toxins, Labour Environmental Alliance Society, Vancouver BC
Home Safe Home, Debra Lynn Dadd, Tarcher Inc, 1997 includes hundreds of “make your own” recipes.
Non-toxic, Natural and Earth Wise, Debra Lynn Dadd, Tarcher Inc, 1990, includes many “make your own” recipes.
Less Toxic Alternatives, Carolyn Gorman with Marie Hyde, Optimum Publishing,  2002.

The more you know about cleaning products the better, read the many posts on this site on good home cleaning remedies.

Oven Cleaning

 

Here is a good home remedy for oven cleaning, if you have the patience and don’t want to use harsh oven cleaning chemicals.  I do find that the typical store bought oven cleaners are very effective when using them correctly, although they are harsh chemicals that require care when using, you must wear gloves etc. So if you have the patience then maybe a good home remedy might be a good alternative.

Use an empty spray bottle and mix three or four table spoons of baking soda in the bottle and mix with plain water.  Use about 1 litre or pint and a half of water. Baking soda is a good all purpose cleaner and can be used for cleaning your stainless sink as well, just sprinkle and wipe.

Oven Cleaning
Oven Cleaning

Shake the water and baking soda mixture until the baking soda dissolves. When the oven is cool spray the solution on the blackened build up in the oven, do this at least once per day or more. Use your oven like normal applying the baking soda solution between uses, the wet baking soda will break up the build up which will settle on the bottom of the oven as a black power which can be easily wiped up. This will make the oven look messy, but like I say it requires more patience to clean the oven this way.

As the build up breaks down and the oven is cool wipe with a wet or damp cleaning cloth.  Depending on the amount of build up this can take more or less time. Using the baking soda mixture works over time and can be used on other pots/dishes with carbon accumulation.

This technique a green and inexpensive way to clean an oven. You’ll notice that the main ingredient in many commercial oven cleaning products is baking soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate).

One disadvantage to this approach is that it takes time for the baking soda to chemically react with the carbon. Time and repeated applications of the spray bottle solution are your keys to success.

A clear advantage to this approach is that it is not very labour intensive. But you have to remember to spray the carbon stuck to the interior of the oven until it all flows to the bottom of the oven. Then wipe it all out with a damp cloth.

One more thing to consider: It takes a lot of baking soda to remove a lot of carbon. Be sure to apply a significant quantity of baking soda before giving up on the project. Significant quantities of wet baking soda and the passage of time are your keys to success. Remember! The baking soda does not react with the carbon unless it is wet.

On particularly difficult spots, you may want to dampen the baking soda in a bowl and apply it directly on these spots as a wet paste. If you do this, keep the baking soda wet for an extended period of time by coming back often and spraying it with your spray bottle.

If the accumulation of carbon is particularly heavy on the bottom of your oven, you can sprinkle baking soda on to the bottom as a dry powder and then dampen it with your spray bottle.  For those of us who don’t have the time to invest in the slow but sure way to clean an oven a conventional store bought chemical is the best method for oven cleaning.

Cleaning Grout | Fast Tips

Cleaning Grout|fast tips

Cleaning grout can be a tedious task; one trick I have used in the past is to spray the grout after a shower using a homemade mixture of bleach: Dilute the bleach with water – 1 part bleach to 3 parts water – before cleaning with it. Bleach is especially good for removing mold and mildew. It kills the mold and disinfectants too. It also removes stains and discolorations from white grout. Do not use beach on colored grout – it can discolor the grout. Be careful when using bleach and any other cleaners, never mix cleaning chemicals especially those containing ammonia.

I also keep a plastic squeegee in the shower and do a quick squeegee of the walls and door to reduce the amount of hard water staining on the tile and grout.

Another quick option is to buy a Grout Pen which basically paints on a color to replace the dirty looking grout, but you have to clean first anyway before you can color the grout.

Cleaning Grout
Cleaning Grout

Cleaning grout can be a pain but by doing some of the work on an ongoing basis it can make the task easier.

 

Steam Cleaning

What is steam cleaning? Here is some basic info on the details of steam cleaning.

Steam cleaning is a term often mistakenly used when referring to carpet cleaning. Typical commercial carpet cleaning machines use wet extraction often using heated water, not steam.  Steam vapor machines advertised these days on late night TV use water heated to a vaporwhich uses far less water than conventional carpet cleaning machines.  The steam vapor machines use very little water measured in quarts per hour compared to carpet cleaning machine measured in gallons per minute.

A steam vapor machine is a cleaning system that uses steam to quickly, clean, and sanitize inanimate surfaces. This method of steam cleaning uses so little water items cleaned dry very quickly. This process is effective enough to disinfect or even sterilize the surfaces. The steam is produced in a boiler that heats tap water to high temperatures (240-310F/115-155C) to produce low-pressure, low moisture (4 to 6% water) water vapor (steam).

Steam Cleaning
Steam cleaning

There are many companies that make vapor steam cleaners, with products ranging from higher-end industrial products to inexpensive consumer models.

Vapor steam cleaners are sold as examples of green cleaning since they do not require the use of chemical cleaning solutions. They are growing in popularity because of steam vapor’s ability to kill germs and in some cases disinfect without the use of chemical disinfectants.]Steam vapor has also been cited as effective in killing dust mites in carpet, bedding, and upholstery.

Vapor steam cleaners are often used in hypoallergenic environments because they do not require the use of additional cleaning chemicals, which results in better indoor air quality. Steam has been shown effective in combating mold, bacteria & viruses.
Steam cleaners are relatively new tools used for cleaning that do not require any chemicals. Here we have gathered some useful information for people wanting to know more about steam cleaners or people who are looking to buy one.

Two types of steam cleaners
There are basically two types of steam cleaners. The difference is based on how the steam is created in the apparatus.

Cooler but more humid steam cleaner, without a boiler.
This type will generate the steam without actually boiling water. This means that the steam will not be as hot as real steam but a bit cooler. On the other hand it will hold more water and therefore the steam will be more humid/contains more water.

Hot and dry steam cleaner.
The second type is a system that boils the water and thus creates a very hot steam, above 260 degrees Celcius usually. A boiler fed system creates a very low humidity steam, a so-called dry steam. These steam cleaners are therefore sometimes referred to as dry steam cleaners.

What kind of vapor steam cleaner should I choose?
The boiler fed system is likely best

  • The steam leaves less moisture on the surface. This means that the surfaces you clean dry much faster.
  • Boiler fed systems create much more heat than the non-boiler steam cleaner – steam temperatures over 300 degrees. Due to this excessive heat you need to scrub less and further the heat will sanitize as the high temperatures effectively kills germs and bacteria’s.
  • A little water goes a long way with a boiler fed system; one quart of water produces about a thousand gallons of steam.
  • Less moisture is left in the indoor environment, far better for those suffering from allergies.
  • No chemicals needed.

Portable steam cleaners (hand held steam cleaners)
Portable steam cleaner are made as smaller and more handy devices. The hand held steam cleaners are less powerful than the regular steam cleaners but also cheaper. The applications vary, but are generally for smaller jobs such as cleaning a stove for example.

There are many options for steam cleaning systems on the market today, truthfully I am not convinced it is worth the expense overall. It seems like it just adds a piece of complicated machinery to your cleaning kit when the cleaning really can be done using tried and true cleaning methods.  But no doubt steam cleaning is an environmentally friendly way to clean.