Christmas Cleaning Tips – How to have a Sparkling Christmas!

The task of getting your home ready for Christmas may be daunting, but we’ve put together some tips to help you make the most of the festive period – by getting ready now, you’ll be able to put your feet up more often and enjoy a glass of mulled wine without panicking about the washing up!

It’s not just cleaning though; here are Valley Industrial Products top 5 tips for a sparkling Christmas…

1. Pay close attention to the room’s people will spend the most time in
There’s no point spending your precious hours labouring over rooms that people will only sleep in. Focus most on areas like the lounge or dining room. And of course, get that kitchen sparkling so you can have a relatively stress free day when it comes to cooking. Use our VIP Multi-Surface Spray Cleaner  to get all your surfaces germ free and sparkling this Christmas.

2. Get your oven cleaned!
Nobody likes to open the oven on Christmas day and realise that it’s full of grease and needs a good scrub – get ahead of the Christmas day panic and clean your oven beforehand with our effective Valley Oven & Grill Cleaner.

3. That goes for cooking equipment too
You’re not going to be pleased if you’ve only got greasy baking trays to use in your new sparkly oven, so to make sure all your bake ware and glass ware is prepared Christmas day, using the popular Luxury Green Velvet Washing Up Liquid. Even if it means it all being out on the dining room table beforehand, it’s worth making sure that you’ve got enough of everything (we always forget the gravy boat!) and that it’s all in tip-top shape.

4. Stock up on kitchen roll
Christmas is prime time for spillages and sticky fingers making a mess everywhere, so to avoid a big clean up post-Christmas, strategically place kitchen roll around your home, so there’s no excuse! People can soak up any spilt bevies, plus catch any crumbs from those late night mince pies! View our popular super absorbent Nicky Kitchen Towels today.

5. Plan in advance
If you’re lucky enough to be hosting the whole family this year, get prepared! Even if you have to create a spread sheet to track your cooking, arrival times of distant relatives, or washing up rota, it will help minimise stress on the day (and hopefully less arguments over the traditional game of Monopoly!).

And voila, hopefully you’ll have a stress-free festive period!

Merry Christmas from the Valley Team!

How office cleaning has changed for the better over the years

We have been slowly integrating new forms of technology into the office for many years now, so it’s no surprise that we have adopted new methods of office cleaning to ensure the workplace is in a splendid condition on a regular basis, for both commercial and health and safety purposes.

So how exactly has the shift taken place and what could we have expected from an office environment back in the 70’s and 80’s?

A lot of office furniture was recycled back in the old days so that expenditure was cut upon relocating; so many workplaces were seen as dull, drab and unpleasant places to work effectively in. In recent years we’ve seen offices develop into brighter, vibrant and much more enthusiastic environments that encourage a more pragmatic commercial business. The open plan concept has really taken off over the last decade and more people and treating their work space with respect in order to enjoy themselves a little more.

Here’s how new recycling methods and the introduction of technology over many years has contributed to a far more practical approach to office cleaning and ultimately a much improved working environment.

New technology
Vacuum cleaners are now as efficient as they’ve ever been. They offer enough suction to leave any type of flooring in the best possible condition and compact dust and debris enough so that you wouldn’t need to change the vacuum bag at all during the shift.

Many cleaning companies take advantage of the vacuums that can be carried rather than dragged to improve efficiency and get the job done much faster. Even the smallest of cleaning products has received a much needed technological boost, with cleaning rags and dusters now incorporating microfibers that kill germs once they’ve been trapped, meaning you won’t be helping superbugs spread around the office at all, costing your business time and money.

There’s nothing worse than staff shortages at the most demanding of times, so this is one reason why modern cleaning techniques have benefited businesses immensely.

Recycling
I don’t mean recycling old workplace furniture; instead I’m talking about recycling waste products. It’s important that businesses recycle as there are often plenty of employees stationed at one premises, so a build-up of waste products is to be expected.

Bins need to be sorted out nowadays to separate waste that can be recycled from stuff that can’t. By separating up recycling from everything else, you make the cleaners’ job a whole lot easier.

In the old days, most used items, food wrappers or products would be chucked away and forgotten about. Modern cleaning techniques encourage recycling in the workplace to contribute to a healthy environment and to keep your workplace in the healthiest possible condition all the time.

As far as the environment is concerned, there are other ways the modern office can promote health and safety besides recycling. Many cleaning agents used over 30 years ago would have contained harmful chemicals, so modern offices almost always use safe, environmentally-friendly cleaning agents.

Modern offices also use automated lighting to prevent lights being left on, subsequently wasting electricity. You will also find many modern offices helping the environment by recycling paper towels and ensuring any pest control methods were suitable and humane.

Reasons to stick to ‘Green Cleaning’ methods

It wasn’t that long ago that people kept sticking to the same old tried and tested cleaning supplies and chemicals that have been used for years during office and business cleaning. We used them for cleaning floors, toilets, carpets, upholstery and more, but despite their effectiveness some can be fairly dangerous if we don’t pay attention to their negative impact.

Many of these products today can be easily replaced by more eco-friendly alternatives, such as our ‘Green Valley’ range which get the job done just as well, but don’t have the side effects of their predecessors.

There are many reasons why you would want to keep those away from your office environment or business, starting with the following examples:

Chemicals used in products may be hazardous to your health
When you happen to use cleaning products sold commercially, you may end up inhaling their fumes that could be a health hazard you’re not even aware of. The main suspects here remain the time-honored ammonia and bleach, which are pretty unpleasant on their own, but become potentially lethal when combined due to the subsequent chemical reaction. You need to be aware of the properties of such chemicals and what they have to offer in terms of toxicity, so you can avoid them as much as possible in your future cleaning projects, regardless of what they may be.

Sodium Hydroxide, Ammonia and other suspects
If you were working with a good number of older cleaning products, then you are likely already aware of the loyalty some people feel toward brand name products. We really do need to ask ourselves the question about what they really contain and what we can do to mitigate it and see what other alternatives we can use to make it all work out in the long run. There are some substances we would do well to avoid at all costs, such as chlorine, triclosan, 2-Butoxyethanol, sodium hydroxide, ammonia and so forth, as they can not only trigger allergies, but they can also become a potential health hazard.

Keeping ground water safe
A lot of the chemicals we use in cleaning have long-lasting ecological effects on the environment and its groundwater supplies, especially petroleum, ammonia, phosphorus and alkylphenol ethoxylates as well. Every time we use such dangerous chemicals to do a task and we wash them down the drain, they will return to haunt us further down the line, slowly poisoning the area and wildlife around in it. Avoiding this at all costs is something we not only owe to nature, but to ourselves as well in the end.

Keeping allergies away
A lot of the harsher chemical cleaners used on the market today can easily become asthma triggers, as well as creating an allergic reaction in more sensitive people. You can do your best to mitigate that effect by ensuring you don’t use any level of toxic cleaners around your business, keeping your employees safe and sound.

Our Green Valley range of cleaning and hygiene products balances a number of core factors and delivers a fit for purpose range of products with the highest standard of environmental performance.

All products comply with EC Detergent Regulations EC648/2004 and are manufactured under ISO9001 & ISO14001 compliant systems.

We promote the use of concentrated products with high dilution rates that utilise re-usable trigger sprays, reducing packaging waste and delivery impact.

All packaging waste is offset through association with Valpak within the UK.

We only promote the controlled use of fragrances and biocides where necessary and formulations are designed to be highly effective at in-use strength, whilst remaining highly biodegradable.

For more information and to purchase environmentally friendly products view our ‘Green Valley’ range of products.

How to unblock a sink and other tips for regular Kitchen Cleaning

When it comes to your kitchen, hygiene is essential – food should never be prepared in dirty or bacteria-ridden environments. Regular cleaning is the only way to ensure good hygiene, but this is easier said than done, with so many different appliances becoming staples of the 21st century kitchen.

Obviously, the more you use an appliance to prepare food, the more frequently you should clean it. But here’s a quick guide to the different parts of your kitchen and how often they should be cleaned:

Kitchen Sink
Even with all the water and detergent that it comes into contact with, your kitchen sink still needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. Every time you use it to wash raw meat, you should disinfect your sink afterward. If your sink gets a lot of use, it’s a good idea to wipe it down with dishwashing detergent at the end of every day. Otherwise, treat it to a thorough scrub every week or two. Helpful webpages can tell you how to unblock a sink, but to prevent this from happening, use a drain unblocker to keep your drains clean and odour-free.

Refrigerator
A dirty refrigerator breeds bacteria and mould, so it’s important to go through your fridge weekly and toss out any expired food. Also, wipe away any spillages immediately. A more thorough cleaning should be performed every month or two — this involves removing the trays and shelves, wiping them down with a spray detergent, along with the interior of the fridge, most importantly: don’t forget to disinfect your fridge door handle on a weekly basis!

Blenders, Slush Machines, Coffee Machines
Some people thrive on these appliances, so if you use them often, it’s also important to clean them often. Slush machines should be at least rinsed after every use, but given how sticky they can get, a more thorough cleaning with dishwashing detergent should be done monthly. Likewise, blenders and coffee makers should be washed or rinsed with every usage, but a thorough monthly cleaning is necessary to get rid of hard water deposits.

Dishwasher
Check your dishwasher frequently to clear away any food particles. A more thorough clean should be done every month: use a dishwasher cleaner to keep your dishwashers clean and in tip top condition. You should also wipe down the door with a spray and wipe cleaner.

Oven
For those ovens that aren’t continuously cleaning, it’s a good idea to clean your oven at least every other month with our Brawn Oven Cleaner. If a heavy duty oven clean is required you can also soak and scrub the racks until they’re free of any burnt-on grease.

Floor, counter, surfaces
For very busy kitchens, the floor, counter, and other surfaces should be wiped down and disinfected daily with a Catering Degreaser to dissovle and float away the toughest grime. Otherwise, you can get away cleaning the floor once a week, but counters and surfaces should still be cleaned every day.

Microwave
Remove and wash the glass trays, and wipe down the microwave interior with a spray detergent at least once a week. And remember to clean the outside panels and door handle too.

Freezer
For maximum efficiency and cleanliness, freezers should be emptied and defrosted once a year, or once half an inch of ice crystals builds up on the interior surfaces of your freezer.

Toaster
This should be emptied of crumbs once a month. Wipe down the exterior while you’re at it.

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What’s in your Cleaning Cupboard?

Over recent years we have seen an increase in asthma and allergies, which has triggered concerns over the chemicals in products we use on a daily basis, such as cleaning supplies.

Whether you share these concerns or not, it’s worth finding out more about the ingredients in average household cleaning products and how they could affect you. There are many chemicals used in traditional products, but below you’ll find a list of the most common:

Perchlorethylene

Perchlorethylene can be found in some carpet and upholstery shampoos as well as in paint remover formulas.

Dangers: Is said to be bad for the kidneys, liver and is a nervous system depressant. Repeated exposure also causes symptoms such as headaches and dizziness.

These dangers occur with repeated or chronic exposure.

Perchlorethylene has low toxicity.

Ammonia

Ammonia is mainly used in agriculture as a fertiliser, but can also be found in both commercial and domestic cleaning products. Commercial or industrial products use approximately 25% ammonia in their formulas, whereas 5-10% ammonia can be found in household products.

Dangers: Inhaling low levels of ammonia can cause symptoms of coughing and nose and throat irritation. The chemical can also cause irritation when it comes into contact with skin and eyes.

NEVER MIX AMMONIA AND CHLORINE BLEACH – this will release the poisonous gas, Chlorine gas.

Phosphates

Phosphates are found in laundry and dishwasher detergents, but primarily used as a water softener.

Dangers: Phosphates are also fertilisers and so when this chemical is washed away, it dissipates into rivers, promoting algae growth andthus polluting the natural ecology of the water.

Triclosan

Triclosan can be found in cleaning products and other household goods.

Dangers: Triclosan is suspected to have damaging effects to human health. Statements made by several major British retailers have said they hope to phase it out of their available products. It is dangerous due to it characteristic to kill friendly bacteria.

Chlorine

Chlorine is in bleach, but originates as a poisonous gas used in the Great War.

Dangers: Low levels of exposure are considered safe as chlorine is present as a disinfectant in water. However, it has been argued that consistent low levels of exposure can weaken the lungs.

NEVER MIX OTHER CLEANING PRODUCTS THAT COULD CONTAIN CHLORINE – this can produce toxic fumes consisting of chlorine gas, chloramine and nitrogen trichloride.

To accommodate those who are environmentally conscious take a look at our ‘Green Valley’ environmentally friendly range.

How to Clean a Carpet

If there is one thing that infuriates people it’s unearthing a stain on the carpet that no one will own up to. So if you’re tired of seeing your carpet in a less than desirable state and hate smelling stale odour, this carpet cleaning guide will show you how to be rid of those unsightly stains and regain that just fitted look.

One thing that we will ask of you is to bear in mind that this process may take some time, but we assure you the results you will receive will be well worth the effort.

Step 1: A GOOD VACUUM

Empty your vacuum bag and begin to clean the carpet, ensuring all the loose particles are collected. However, when it comes to tackling the stain use a blunt knife or spatula and remove as much solid matter as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: BLOT AND PRE-TREAT

If the stain is fresh ensure you pick up much liquid as you can by using the blotting technique. However, please steer clear of coloured kitchen roll or tissue as this colour can transfer onto the carpet and add to the problem. Before you come to pre-treating the stain it is advisable that you test the product on a leftover piece of carpet or inconspicuous area to see how the carpet reacts to the chemicals; if there are no adverse reactions proceed using the CARPET STAIN REMOVER and apply it directly onto the stain, leave for about five minutes until it’s soaked in and then lift the stain with the help of a hand brush.

Step 3: REMOVING THE UNFORGIVING STAIN

For normal domestic stains (non-oil based)

  • Once you have pre-treated the stain create a mixture of CARPET AND FABRIC DETERGENT and water and apply following the instructions;

Prochem Multi Pro 5litre (S709)

  • Lay down a few towels on the carpet where you have applied the removal mixture so it soaks up any additional soap;
  • Go over the carpet with water and allow it to dry naturally;
  • Vacuum once more.
  • Applying a CARPET PROTECTOR once you have vacuumed the carpet for the last time will defend your carpet from future stains and prolong its life.

Pre-Christmas Cleaning Tips: How to Prepare Your Home for Christmas

Christmas is almost here! If you’re hosting a party or celebration at home, find out how to prepare & get your home clean & tidy beforehand.

Christmas is almost here! It’s a good idea to prepare for Christmas by cleaning and tidying the different areas of your home. Dividing up the tasks into different areas will make it easy for you, so here are our best Christmas cleaning tips for the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and living room.

Bathroom

One of the most important things you can do during the pre-Christmas clean up is to get your bathroom as clean and hygienic as possible, and try to maintain this level of cleanliness all throughout the festive period. Not only will your bathroom be used more as you entertain family and friends, but maintaining a clean bathroom area is vital to prevent the spread of germs. Use Bathroom Spray and a toilet cleaning products to ensure that your bathroom is clean and hygienic. Just follow the directions on the label and test any product in a small area first.

Living Room

Vacuuming is important over Christmas to keep your home looking clean and fresh. Prior to the big day, it’s also important to get your carpets clean before your kids sit on the floor opening and playing with their presents from Santa. If you’ve got rugs, flip them over and vacuum the undersides to remove as much dust and dirt as possible.

When you do the big Christmas tidy up is entirely up to you, but many homeowners prefer to clean in the few days leading up to 25 December, as this means they don’t feel rushed to get everything done in just one day, and it also means they can then spend Christmas and Boxing Day relaxing, drinking mulled wine, and eating mince pies, without having to worry about chores.

Kitchen                    

If you’re hosting a big family Christmas dinner this year, the kitchen really will be the heart of your home. However, the kitchen isn’t just about cooking – it’s also about safely and hygienically storing food; it’s about keeping your glassware, cutlery, and crockery clean and shiny; and, if you keep your washing machine in the kitchen, it’s also about staying on top of your laundry. Here are some kitchen tasks you may wish to tackle during the pre-Christmas tidy-up:

  • Try to reach the bottom of your laundry basket before the festive period begins in earnest. There is nothing worse than getting ready for a Christmas party and finding that your favourite little black dress is still stuffed in the bottom of the basket waiting for the wash. Take yourself shopping and stock up on Persil small & mighty laundry detergent and Comfort fabric softener to ensure you don’t run out at a vital moment.
  • Clean your oven before Christmas so that it’s all ready to cook that turkey to perfection. If your oven is covered in small bits of cremated food, it could not only affect the taste of your meat, but it could also start to smoke, leaving a nasty, lingering smell in the house. Use oven cleaner to get your oven clean again, making sure to follow the directions on the label and taking any necessary safety precautions. Always make sure that the oven is cool before you start to clean it.
  • Clean your fridge, removing any out-of-date food (and recycling the packaging where appropriate). Emptying out your fridge also means you’ve got plenty of room for things like wine and trifle!

Guest Bedrooms

Even if you’re not expecting guests over the festive period, you should always expect the unexpected at Christmas. Whether it’s family turning up unannounced, or a friend who pops over and gets talked into opening a bottle of festive cheer with you and is unable to drive home, you may end up with more guests than you bargained for. This means you should make sure that your guest bedroom is ready to receive guests at a moment’s notice. Here’s how to get your guest room up to scratch:

  • Change the sheets so that they’re clean and fresh. Bedding – sheets and duvet covers – can be washed in the washing machine with Persil small & mighty bio detergent, but try to wash them separately from other clothing, as smaller items like socks can get caught amongst the sheets and might not be cleaned properly.
  • Vacuum and polish the guest room to freshen it up, which is particularly important if you don’t tend to use this room very often. Rooms that are left unoccupied for long periods can gather dust, making them quite musty. You may wish to move a house plant into the guest room to make it feel more welcoming and ‘lived in’ to make your guests feel more comfortable.
  • Make a space in a wardrobe, or in a set of drawers, that your guests can use. If they are planning to stay for a few days, your guests don’t want to be living from a suitcase. Make sure you check the wardrobes first, as these can be ideal breeding grounds for mould.

Hope you found our home cleaning blog useful – wishing you all a lovely Christmas and New Year from everyone at Valley Industrial Products.

9 Surprising Office Germ Havens

Sure, germs are everywhere, and being paranoid about them won’t keep you from getting sick. But considering the amount of time we spend at our desks and in our offices, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the places where germs tend to congregate. Here are the nine germiest zones in most offices and what you can do about them.

Germ Haven #1: Computer Mouse and Keyboard

Barring an occasional visit from your company’s tech guy, you’re the only one who touches your mouse and keyboard, so how dirty could things get? In a word: very. “According to data, these are the worst offenders,” says Donna Duberg, assistant professor of clinical laboratory science at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. The reason is simple, she says: People rarely clean them and it’s unheard of for cleaning crews to go to that level of detail. So, take matters into your own hands and give your keyboard and mouse a weekly wipe down with disinfecting wipes after you turn your computer off. The key word here is “disinfecting,” not sanitizing. Look for products that say “Kills 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria” on the label. This is an indication that they will get the job done.

Germ Haven #2: Top of Desk

Research shows that women spend more time at their desks than men. Our hardworking nature, however, is rewarded with bacteria—and lots of it. “Women tend to be at their desks longer than men, and they tend to keep a lot more things on their desktops, too,” says Duberg. Lunch, snacks, a stash of chocolate, magazines, photos of the kids, flowers, plants, candles—all reasonable things that are commonly found on women’s desks—can end up being a germ playground. And when a desktop is rarely or never cleaned, Duberg says, it can become a “buffet for bacteria.” What to do? You guessed it: Clean! Wipe down your desktop frequently—daily if you eat at your desk—with disinfecting wipes or with a disinfecting spray cleaner.

Germ Haven #3: Office Doorframe

Of course, you already know that the door handles or knobs are germ magnets, but the doorframe? Just think of all the people who pop into your office and stand in the doorway, says Duberg. Next time, notice how they lean on and run their hands along the edges. Everyone does it! This, she says, is why the humble doorframe can be a hidden germ zone. Wipe yours down yourself every week or so, or talk to the person who supervises the office cleaning crew to see if they can include doorframes on their list of things to disinfect.

Germ Haven #4: Phone

If you can’t remember the last time you cleaned your phone, it’s probably due for a scrub. If you share a phone, stop reading this article and go wipe yours down this second. Even a personal phone can be a vector for bacteria transmission. Don’t believe us? A study from researchers at the University of Arizona found that there are more than 25,127 germs per square inch on the average office phone receiver. Now, think of what you do when you’re talking on the phone. Are you rubbing your nose? Your eyes? People tend to do mindless, repetitive motions while talking on the phone. But follow Duberg’s advice and after you’ve touched your phone, “don’t touch your T-zone—eyes, nose and mouth.” If you share a phone, see if your boss will invest in a headset that only you can use when you’re talking on the phone, or wipe down the shared one frequently.

Germ Haven #5: Books

Nobody ever thinks that books carry germs, but surprise: They do! “Most of them are harboring mold spores, dust mites and bacteria,” warns Duberg. While it’s impossible to thoroughly clean all of your books, you might consider wiping down the covers of frequently used books at your desk with a little disinfectant on a cloth, suggests Duberg. Better yet: Wash your hands after handling them, especially if you’re an allergy sufferer. This could cut back on some of the microscopic allergens that can travel from your hands to your face.

Germ Haven #6: Candy Dish

Are you tempted by the dish of M&M’s or chocolate-covered espresso beans that your office manager keeps at the front desk? As good as they may look—especially during the 2 p.m. slump—most health experts will warn you: Step away from the candy dish. “I wouldn’t eat anything from a communal dish,” says Duberg. “Just think of where people’s hands have been.” Better idea: If you have a sweet tooth and frequently make your way to the communal candy dish to kill a craving, consider keeping a personal stash at your desk instead.

Germ Haven #7: Copy Machine

Duberg says it surprises many people to hear that a copier could be a germy place. But just think of how often this machine gets used and how many people share it. One push of a button can leave behind countless germs and bacteria that could make you sick. While you can’t walk around the office wearing plastic gloves (nor would you want to), you can remember not to touch your face after handling shared office equipment. Better yet: Wash your hands after using the copier—whether it’s just one quick copy or a stack of sorting and stapling.

 

Germ Haven #8: Fridge

Moldy sandwiches, condiments that expired in 1993, and a petrified carton of half-and-half that nobody will touch—office refrigerators can get out of control fast. Take the incident at an office complex in San Jose earlier this year: The break-room refrigerator situation got so out of control that when a cleaning crew was called in to toss rotten food and sanitize the situation, the fumes made employees so sick that seven people were hospitalized and 28 sought medical treatment for nausea and vomiting. Avoid refrigerator-induced health drama by instituting an office-wide toss day, where unmarked and expired food is thrown out every week, or every two weeks. In addition, adds Duberg, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after touching the fridge door handle or suspicious-looking food.

Germ Haven #9: Conference Room Table

Think about the chain of events for the average conference room table: breakfast meeting at 9 a.m., creative brainstorming session with doughnuts at 10 a.m., team powwow at 11 a.m., followed by a staff birthday party luncheon at noon. Does the table get wiped down between sessions? Not likely. Instead, germs and viruses left behind from previous meeting attendees begin to multiply, eager to hitchhike onto your hands and arms as you sit around the table. The best way to take a conference room table from a breeding ground for bacteria to a clean surface is to institute an office-wide cleaning policy, advises Duberg. If food was served and eaten on the table, the table needs to be wiped down with a cloth and disinfecting spray.

Keeping your House Safe for Children

The average baby learns to crawl at eight months. It doesn’t take long until they start pulling themselves up onto tables, chairs and other surfaces that were previously beyond reach. And let’s not forget the curious nature of toddlers.

Babies and small children can get from one place to another in the blink of an eye, and in seconds could be exposed to dangers that could have very harmful consequences. It takes years for children to become self aware to the point where they can recognise potential hazards; therefore, ensuring your home is safe and secure is of paramount importance.

Child proofing consists of much more than inserting plug protectors, installing baby gates and picking up small objects. Chemicals left in the kitchen and bathroom are very often disregarded, yet they can pose a very serious threat if touched or ingested.

Child Safe Storage

Cleaning products are responsible for over 10% of all toxic exposures. Of this figure almost a quarter of them involve children under six who have ingested liquids that have been left on display.

Leave Child Safety Locks on Cabinets

Even after your children figure out how child locks work, leave them on. While they are generally only useful for protecting children between six and 25 months of age, they will serve as a constant reminder of areas that are “off limits”; therefore, the habitual element will stay with them for much longer.

Store Cleaning Products in a High Cabinet

Keep detergents, pesticides, household cleaning products and any other harmful substances locked away in a high cabinet. Do not keep them in cupboards under the sink or anywhere that your child can reach. The same rule also applies to any cleaning equipment.

Change your Cleaning Products

Change hazardous products to non-hazardous cleaning products. For example, swap chlorine-based bleach for non-chlorine bleach or consider making your own organic homemade products instead. Even if you exchange hazardous products for non-hazardous products, you should still keep them out-of-reach.

Always Remain Vigilant

Supervising your child is the best way to keep them out of harms way; however, it’s not always possible. When you’re cooking or doing something that hinders your attention span, place your children somewhere safe, such as a playroom.

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Do not store cleaning products under the sink.

Image Credit: Rev. Al Deaderick

Buy Products with Child Resistant Caps

If possible, buy products that have child resistant caps. Never transfer harmful medications over to food containers or a storage device that doesn’t have a lock.

WARNING: Child resistant doesn’t mean child proof. Children can still take off child resistant caps and open child resistant locks, etc., it simply makes it more difficult for them.

Keep the Lids on your Bins

Keep the lids on your bins and make sure cans, containers and empty bottles for recycling are stored out-of-reach. Just because something is empty it doesn’t mean it’s not harmful. Cleaning residues may still be present.

Create a “Safe Cupboard”

Set aside one cabinet for your child to explore, but make sure it’s not too close to the oven. Fill it with safe, yet interesting looking containers and bottles, such as yogurt pots. This will distract your children when they are curious. It could also be a good idea to change the contents every now and then to keep it stimulating.

Close your Dishwasher

Close your dishwasher when it’s not in use. It’s easy for knifes and other sharp objects to fall into the bottom tray, and any leftover dishwasher detergent could be highly toxic if your children eat it.

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Never leave your dishwasher open in the presence of children.

Image Credit: Joanna Bourne

Don’t Store Cleaning Products in Food Containers

Never store cleaning products in containers or bottles that were once used for food. Even if the liquid is a completely different colour, children may not be able to tell the difference.

Don’t Use Poisons for Rodents

Never place roach, mouse, rat, or any other rodent poison on the floors of your home, even if they are under the kitchen worktops.

Store Auto and Gardening Products Somewhere Else

Do not store automotive or gardening products in the house. Place them out of sight in a locked shed or garage.

Remove Toxic Houseplants

A surprising amount of common houseplants are highly toxic, such as lily of the valley and English ivy. If you have any poisonous plants or flowers in the house remove them.

Over time it’s easy to become lazy with storage procedures. Even if your children know that they shouldn’t touch certain products, it’s never worth taking the risk. Children can find it very difficult to gauge danger and curiosity will often get the best of them.

Child-Safe Cleaning

Childproofing your home isn’t all about selecting the right products and storing them in a safe place. The time and way you clean can also have a significant impact.

Don’t Play When Cleaning

Do not play with your children when you’re cleaning. You may have harmful substances on your hands or gloves that could cause illness. Always make sure to use cleansing hand towels after cleaning any surfaces with chemicals.

Never Leave Cleaning Products Unattended

Don’t leave cleaning products unattended. It can take seconds for a child to swallow hazardous liquids.

Discard Old Batteries

Discard old batteries – even if they are inside electronic goods – and make sure any new batteries are out of sight and reach of children. Alkaline substances are highly poisonous.

Dilute Household Cleaners

Remember that less is more. Most household cleaners can be diluted with water, and will still clean just as effectively. Diluting is a quick and simple way of the making the harmful chemicals less harsh.

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Diluting your cleaning solution with water could make the chemicals less harmful.

Image Credit: Bark

Establish your Cleaning Routine

Make sure other people – such as babysitters and cleaners – understand your routine and approach to child safe cleaning.

Use Water when Possible

You don’t always have to use chemical cleaners. Sometimes water will do the job. For example, if you accidently spill something on the carpet, household cleaners may remove the stain, but the chemicals could become locked inside the fibres. In these circumstances water or steam may be just as effective.

Choose the Right Time to Clean

Pick the right time to clean, such as when your children are sleeping or away from home. Toxic exposure usually happens between 4pm and 8pm as that tends to be the busiest time in the average household.

Remove Mould Immediately

Mould can be very harmful to the respiratory system; therefore, it should always be removed immediately. First clean the area with soap and water, and then wash it with a solution made from one part bleach and ten parts water. Remember that bleach is highly dangerous, even in small quantities. Never conduct cleaning with bleach in the presence of children.

When you buy commercial cleaning products you expect them to do one thing; clean. Unfortunately, while these products may kill harmful germs and bacteria, they could contribute to other forms of pollution that could be harmful to inhale, ingest or touch. Make sure to keep any potentially harmful substances outside of the cleaning area in a refuse or rubble sack.

Prepare Yourself

Problems will often occur when you least expect and learning a little first aid could mean the difference between life and death if there’s ever an accident.

Keep Important Phone Numbers with You

Keep important phone numbers with you or within easy reach at all times. Place a note by your landline and store numbers on your mobile for poison control and your local doctor. In emergencies every second counts, and you don’t want to waste precious time looking for contact details.

Keep a First Aid Kit in your Home

Keep a first aid kit with up-to-date instructions in your home at all times. If you ever use anything replace it at the earliest possible convenience. In addition, check all of the use-by dates. Antiseptic creams, medication and even bandages can go out-of-date. Make sure bulk toilet rolls are kept handy for any quick solutions.

Learn Basic First Aid Procedures

Learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the Heimlich manoeuver. Having basic first aid knowledge could save your children in life threatening situations.

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Having a basic understanding of first aid procedures could save a life.

Image Credit: Pete

Check your Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that can build up in your home when household appliances use open flames. It is particularly dangerous because it doesn’t have a smell or taste. Make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted near flame burning appliances.

Take Suspected Poison Containers to the Doctor

If you ever find an empty bottle, packet or container and suspect that your child has consumed the contents, take it with you to the doctor or hospital.

Do  Not make your Child Sick

Do not give your child salt water to make them sick, or anything else to drink if they have consumed a harmful substance or are burning up. Simply wet their lips with cold water and dial 999 immediately.

Hopefully you will never find yourself in a situation where you’ll have to use any of these procedures. Learning them, however, could save a life in desperate circumstances.

Common Problems

While cleaning products are an essential part of our health and wellbeing, remember that there are a wide array of options, each containing different chemical compounds. Therefore, if you encounter problems with one, there’ll always be something else available.

Airway Irritation

Strong fumes from household cleaners, air fresheners and other fragrant liquids can cause airway irritations and induce asthma-like symptoms.

Eye Irritation

Strong fumes may also induce eye irritations and hay fever symptoms. Redness, heavy watering and inching are very common, especially among babies. Some cleaners can cause serious long-term damage if they are splashed directly into the eyes.

Skin Irritation

Babies have sensitive skin and products in certain household cleaners and detergents may cause skin irritations such as eczema.

Allergies

Having a home that’s “too clean” can induce allergies. Children need some exposure to germs in order for their immune systems to develop, otherwise they could become hypersensitive to allergens that should be harmless.

Poisoning

Poisoning is without a doubt the most harmful problem of all. Each year over one million children accidently poison themselves, sometimes with fatal consequences.

Everyone’s body reacts to chemicals in different ways; therefore, it can be difficult to determine which chemical compounds are problematic. Always remain vigilant and if you notice a problem – no matter how small – consult a doctor.

Toxic Chemicals

Most household cleaners will contain some form of toxic chemical; therefore, moderation is key. Even though most solutions are heavily diluted, always exercise caution and ensure you make changes if your child suffers from minor problems.

Air Fresheners

The chemicals used in air fresheners can coat nasal passages with and oil-like substance that can destroy the nerves. Toxic chemicals include formaldehyde and phenol, which can burn, peel and break the skin.

Ammonia

Ammonia is a highly volatile gas that has a sharp and pungent odour. It is often a key component of domestic cleaning products and can be highly damaging to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract.

Bleach

There are various forms of bleach on the market, each with different active ingredients (chemicals used as a cleaning agent), such as hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite and chlorine.  Bleach can irritate and burn the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. If ingested it can be fatal.

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Bleach is one of the most harmful household cleaning products.

Image Credit: Orin Zebest

Carpet Shampoo

Chemicals used in carpet shampoo are designed to power over the stain; however, they are often toxic and include ingredients such as percholrethylene, which can harm the nervous system; and ammonium hydroxide, which can cause respiratory problems.

Dishwasher Detergents

According to Poison Control, dishwasher detergents contribute to more child poisonings than any other cleaning product. Most dishwashing solutions contain chlorine, which is highly toxic if ingested.

Drain Cleaner

The majority of drain cleaners contain lye, which can cause oesophageal damage if ingested; hydrochloric acid, which can harm the skin, kidneys and digestive tract; or trichloroethane, which can irritate the eyes and skin.

Furniture Polish

Furniture polish and floor polish is highly flammable due to its petroleum distillate content. In addition it contains nitrobenzene, a toxic chemical that can be absorbed through the skin; and phenol, which can induce the same toxic effects as air fresheners.

Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergents usually contain either sodium or calcium hypocrite, which is highly corrosive and can cause skin and eye irritations. It may also contain linear alkylate sulfonate and sodium tripolyphosphate, which can be absorbed through the skin and cause liver damage.

Mould and Mildew Cleaner

Mould and mildew cleaners usually contain sodium hypochloride. If swallowed it can inhibit reflexes and cause serious tissue damage. Some cleaners also contain formaldehyde, which can induce nausea, headaches and shortness of breath.

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Mould and mildew can be harmful to the repertory tract if left alone.

Image Credit: Thomas Anderson

Oven Cleaner

Oven cleaner often contains sodium hydroxide, which can irritate the skin and eyes. If swallowed it can inhibit reflexes, cause serious tissue damage and have fatal consequences.

Toilet Cleaner

Toilet cleaners usually contain hydrochloric acid and hypochlorite bleach, which is highly corrosive and can burn the skin and eyes. If ingested or combined with other chemicals to it could result in vomiting, comas and even death.

Fundamentally, almost every household cleaner will contain some form of harmful substance. Even if they are ecological and non-toxic, always remain cautious and ensure that they are out-of-reach of children.

It doesn’t matter how much you prepare, when you have children there’ll always be worries stirring about your mind; and rightly so. Never let your guard down as dangers often come from the most unlikely places. While you can’t predict everything you can certainly reduce the chance of problems occurring.

5 Unusual Fun Facts – About Toilet Paper!

Toilet paper is used every day by most people in America. Understandably, it isn’t something that we tend to talk about.

But, as with almost anything, when you start to think about it you realize that it is really interesting.

Here are ten of the most unusual and fun facts about toilet paper – and there’s a poll at the end so you can join in!

1. Who Invented Toilet Paper?

Well, it was the Chinese who invented paper so it is little surprise to discover that they were the first to use it in their personal hygiene practices.

The earliest recorded use of paper as a toiletry comes from China in the sixth century AD but it only became really popular from the fourteenth century when the Imperial Court of the Ming Dynasty started having it manufactured for the purpose.

In 1393 the Court ordered no fewer than 720, 000 sheets to be made to keep the royal seat clean. The astonishing thing is that each sheet measured the equivalent of 60 cm by 90 cm. That’s nearly 26,000 square miles of paper!

The Emperor Hong Wu was particularly delicate in his habits and ordered 15, 000 sheets to be made especially soft and perfumed for his personal use.

2. So What Did Folks Use Before Toilet Paper?

Well, what you used for your personal bathroom needs before the invention of toilet paper depended to some degree on your social status and your geographical location.

If you were wealthy then you might use wool, or a soft – and washable – rag. The Ancient Romans used sponges on sticks and then soaked in water.

If you were not so well off, then the most common thing to do was simply to grab a fistful of grass, leaves or straw to do what needed to be done.

In some parts of the world, going to the toilet always meant just going to the nearest river or stream and letting the current carry the waste away. Any wiping was done just by hand. That is why in India and some parts of the Middle East it is considered offensive to eat or pass food at table with your left hand – because that’s the one that you would use in the river.

In many European countries today, the use of toilet paper is considered dirty and unhygienic. In these countries the most common practice is a thorough, soapy wash and rinse afterwards using a ‘bidet.’ This is a sort of low basin with hot water tap and soap that you sit on and is usually placed next to the toilet for convenience.

3. How Many Sheets on a Roll of Toilet Paper?

In fact, the number of sheets on a roll varies depending on the manufacturer and the type of paper being used. It also depends on if it is one-ply or two-ply.
One-ply has a single layer of paper per sheet. Two-ply has a double layer for added strength and softness.

The average number of sheets per roll can vary enormously from as few as two hundred up to a thousand. In general, there will be more sheets if it is one-ply and fewer if it is two-ply.

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4. Toilet Paper Wedding Dress

This was a surprise to me!

There have actually been hundreds of wedding dresses made out of toilet paper – and many of them have really been worn to actual weddings.
It turns out that toilet paper can be a very adaptable and resilient material with special qualities that make it an interesting challenge for dressmakers to use.

There is even an annual competition in New York for the best wedding dress made from toilet paper. The prize is a lot of publicity for the designer and $2000.

5. Toilet Paper in Space

It may not be something that you thought about before but even astronauts need the bathroom.

The toilets that they use are different to earth toilets because there is only a very small pull of gravity (known as microgravity) and so a special vacuum and suction device is used for disposal of the voided matter. But toilet paper is still the wipe of choice for American astronauts when using the facilities in The International Space Station.

The paper is disposed of in special, sealed containers where it is compressed and destroyed on return to earth.

The End of the Roll…

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