Harmful Cleaning Products to Avoid in Your Home
Many of today’s modern cleaning products are effective at cutting through dirt and grime. However, there’s a downside to some of these powerful cleaning products. Many contain toxic ingredients that are potentially harmful to people and animals. These harsh cleaning products can irritate the skin and eyes, and may cause breathing difficulties if you inhale the fumes. It’s particularly important to be aware of these harmful substances if you or anyone in your family suffers from skin conditions like eczema or dermatitis, if you have asthma or other breathing difficulties, or if you have young children at home.
Ammonia is commonly found in glass cleaner and polishes designed for use on taps and bathroom fittings. As it evaporates quickly and doesn’t leave streaks, it’s a popular ingredient for cleaning products. However, ammonia has an incredibly pungent smell and can irritate the lungs. Those suffering from asthma and breathing conditions will be particularly affected, and people being exposed to it regularly may even develop chronic bronchitis. Ammonia is also highly dangerous when mixed with bleach as it creates a poisonous gas.
Chlorine is a common bleaching agent. Many people have it in their homes in the form of chlorine bleach but it’s also a standard ingredient in scouring powders, mildew remover, and even tap water. In small amounts chlorine isn’t dangerous, however, at concentrated levels, it will irritate the skin and airways. You can cut down on your exposure to chlorine by switching to vinegar and chlorine-free bleach.
3. Sodium Hydroxide
The active ingredient in many oven cleaners, sodium hydroxide is highly caustic and will burn skin on contact. Exposure to the fumes can also burn the eyes and irritate the lungs and airways, causing sore throat and coughing. Instead of toxic oven cleaners, you can make your own healthier oven cleaner by mixing a paste out of baking soda and vinegar.
4. Air Fresheners
You might think a quick spritz of air freshener helps your home to smell and feel cleaner but you’re actually polluting the air inside your home. Air fresheners contain a cocktail of chemicals and toxic ingredients that can trigger asthma and breathing difficulties. Many scented products also contain phthalates – substances known to disrupt the endocrine system and reduce sperm count in men. For a healthier alternative in your home, use baking soda to eliminate bad odours and essential oils for a natural pleasant fragrance.
5. Dry Cleaning Solutions and Spot Removers
Spot stain removers and dry cleaning solutions often contain Perchloroethylene (PERC) – a neurotoxin and possible carcinogen. People with frequent exposure to PERC often experience headaches, dizziness, and other worrying symptoms. To avoid exposure to this dangerous substance in your home avoid dry cleaning clothes and curtains and use castile soap or normal dishwashing detergent as a spot stain remover.
6. Antibacterial Detergents
The active ingredient in most antibacterial soaps and dishwashing liquids is Triclosan – a highly aggressive antibacterial. While Tricolsan does indeed kill off harmful bacteria, it also destroys beneficial bacteria and is thought to promote the growth of drug-resistant microbes. Effective and safe natural anti-bacterials to use instead include tea tree oil, white vinegar, alcohol, and hot water or steam.
7. Fabric Conditioners
Fabric conditioners may make your clothes soft and smell nice but they have the same problem as other types of artificial fragrance – they can irritate the airway and trigger asthma symptoms. Clothes washed in fabric conditioner can also cause rashes and skin irritations, particularly in babies and those with sensitive skin. Adding vinegar to your wash is an effective natural softener and removes soap residue. You can add a few drops of an essential oil such as lavender for an equally pleasing fragrance.
8. Window and Multipurpose Cleaners
Many window and multipurpose spray cleaners contain 2-butoxyethanol – a solvent that can cause sore throats when inhaled and is also thought to contribute to more serious medical conditions including liver and kidney damage. Avoid using these cleaners in unventilated areas, or even better – replace with a natural cleaning spray made with vinegar and essential oils.
Must-Have Cleaning Products to Help You Tackle any Cleaning Task
Visit the cleaning aisle of any supermarket and you’ll find hundreds of cleaning products designed for various cleaning tasks such as stain removal, polishing, dissolving grease, and eliminating mould. Sometimes these products can be effective but they’re not always necessary – you can also achieve a great clean with just a few multipurpose cleaning products. As long as you make sure you have the basics on hand, you’ll be prepared to clean up any mess with minimum fuss.
1. Microfibre Cloths
Microfibre cloths are effective for all kinds of cleaning tasks and can be used wet or dry. Their tiny fibres get inside and pick up even the tiniest dirt particles that normal cloths might just wipe over. You don’t even need to use a detergent with a microfiber cloth as they clean so effectively on their own. Use them wet for general cleaning and dry for dusting and polishing.
2. Vacuum Cleaner
A vacuum cleaner is, of course, essential if you have carpets but it’s also the most effective tool for picking up dust and dirt from non-carpeted areas. You can use it to clean out cupboards and drawers, remove cobwebs and dust from the ceiling and hard-to-reach areas, and to dust and clean furniture.
A broom doesn’t pick up as much dirt as a vacuum cleaner but it’s quicker and easier for sweeping up larger debris, spills of dry ingredients like rice or dried beans, and to clean up broken glass.
In a pinch, you can get down on your hands and knees and clean your floor with a rag, but it’s much quicker and easier on your back to use a mop. Mops are essential for all homes with timber, tiled, or laminate flooring. Some mops include a reservoir for cleaning fluid so you can spray and clean as you go, and steam mops are an effective way of cleaning stubborn dirt.
5. An Old Toothbrush
Forget fancy cleaning equipment – an old toothbrush is one of the most effective tools you can use to get into small areas and scrub away stubborn dirt. It’s particularly useful in the bathroom where you can use it to clean tile grout and around taps – just make sure to keep your cleaning brush separate from your normal toothbrushes!
Many people consider a dishwasher a luxury appliance and it’s certainly not an essential. However, if you have the budget and space for one, a dishwasher will not only make it easier for you to clear up after dinner but also provides a convenient and effortless way to spotlessly clean and sanitise small items.
7. White Vinegar
Plain old white vinegar is a highly effective cleaning product that can be used all over your home. It dissolves grease and hard water deposits, kills germs, eliminates odours, and cleans glass without streaking. Use it neat or dilute it in a spray bottle to use wherever required.
Bleach is toxic and so should be used sparingly. But, you can’t beat its power for killing germs, removing stains, and cleaning white surfaces. It’s particularly effective for cleaning in the bathroom, including the toilet, and keeping tile grout looking like new. Avoid using it on coloured surfaces, or do a test first in an inconspicuous area, as it might cause white spots.
9. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a light abrasive and so is highly effective at removing stubborn stains without scratching. It can also be combined with vinegar for a fizzing solution that removes water deposits and soap scum and clears out blocked up drains. Try leaving an open container of baking soda in your fridge to neutralise any unpleasant odours.
10. Dishwashing Detergent
Dishwashing liquid is of course effective for cleaning pots and pans but it can also be used for any general cleaning around the home. Dilute it in a spray bottle with water and vinegar to create a multipurpose cleaning spray. You can also use it alone on greasy spots and small areas of laundry to remove stubborn stains and smells.
10 Great Cleaning Hacks
Like it or not, cleaning is a necessary task for most of us. However, it doesn’t always have to be a dreaded task that takes hours. With the help of some clever tricks and hacks, you can speed up your cleaning routine and make the whole process more efficient and enjoyable.
1. Use vinegar to remove hard water scales and limescale build-up
Vinegar is a miracle cleaning product for all around the house, but it’s particularly effective at removing hard water deposits. Just apply it to a soft cloth and buff away the spots. For thicker deposits around your taps and other difficult areas, soak a cloth in vinegar and leave it on the affected area overnight. In the morning, simply scrub away the loosened deposits with an old toothbrush and rinse.
2. Use a lint roller to pick up dust and crumbs
An easy way to dust your lampshades or to pick up dust and dirt from fabrics or the inside of drawers is to use a sticky lint roller. Just roll it over the surface to lift the dust instantly.
3. Magic erasers make a great multi-purpose cleaning tool
Magic erasers are advertised for removing marks and stains on walls, but they’re actually really effective at cleaning all sorts of things. You can use them to:
- Clean shoes
- Remove scuff marks from paintwork and walls
- Get rid of sticky label residue
- Polish stainless steel
- Remove soap scum
- Clean tile grout
- Remove coffee and tea stains
- And more…
4. Clean your toothbrush holder and soap dispenser in the dishwasher
These bathroom accessories get dirty quickly and are often neglected when it comes to cleaning. Make them shine like new again with no extra effort on your part by running them through a cycle in the dishwasher.
5. Clean your blender without elbow grease.
Blenders can be difficult to clean thoroughly as there are lots of nooks and crannies that collect food residue. Instead of spending ages scrubbing, just fill your blender with warm water and a drop or two of dishwashing liquid, before turning it on. Then simply rinse and your blender will be sparkling again.
6. Restore burnt pans and baking trays with vinegar and baking soda
Want to make your pans look like new again? It’s easier than you think. Sprinkle on baking soda and pour white vinegar on top. Heat the mixture on the stove to speed up the process. After a few minutes, the burnt on mess will wipe right off. You can also use this method to clean inside your oven – sprinkle with baking soda, put neat vinegar in an empty spray bottle and spray evenly inside. Leave overnight before wiping clean.
7. Make a vacuum attachment for cleaning out small areas
Next time you finish a roll of paper towels, keep the cardboard tube. You can then tape this to the end of your vacuum hose and flatten it to get into the smallest nooks and crannies around your home like the filter vents in your clothes dryer.
8. Use coke to clean your toilet bowl
Coke is acidic, making it a surprisingly effective cleaning product. To get rid of rings inside your toilet bowl, push as much water as you can out of the toilet bowl with a toilet brush and then pour down a bottle of coke. Leave it as long as you can (preferably overnight), flush, give a quick scrub with the brush, and it should be looking as good as new again.
9. Sterilise your kitchen sponge in the microwave
Sponges are a great breeding ground for bacteria and can actually be one of the dirtiest things in your kitchen. However, it’s easy to clean off the bugs daily. Just wet the sponge and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds to kill off any lingering bacteria.
10. Use lemon to eliminate a smelly bin
Kitchen bins can start to smell quickly, especially in the summer. To neutralize and cover up unpleasant smells, put a few lemon slices in the bottom of your bin when you change the liner.
After months of development WHIZZ is proud to announce we are now on Android!
We promised that making a booking for a WHIZZ clean would be easy and convenient — with just a few clicks on your mouse or phone, you’re done! The Android app is the latest piece in the WHIZZ story.
WHIZZ Android App design
“The features and design of our WHIZZ Android App are on par with our award winning iPhone App, awarded gold in 2015 App Design Awards for Best App Startup. With the WHIZZ Android App now in the Play Store, many more Australians can use their smartphones to enjoy the WHIZZ experience!” says Neil Grusd, Chief Tech @ WHIZZ.
Like our award-winning iPhone app, you will enjoy a user-friendly and clean interface that lets you specify the cleaning services you require, select your date and time and then a quick and easy payment. Keyur Thakkar, who leads the Android development says that an “Android flavour” was added to the iPhone version, and the least used features removed so as to simplify the booking process and provide customers a seamless experience.
“The WHIZZ design team revisited the business requirements to create a streamline UI with the single goal of making a WHIZZ booking even more intuitive to our new Android users. It had to be short and simple,” says Keyur.
After 3 months of design, development and testing, the WHIZZ Android App was quietly released internally to identify and address potential technical issues before going ahead with a public release on Australia Day 2016. “Going ahead, having both Android and iPhone Apps enables WHIZZ to now rapidly extend our offering across AU’s mobile marketplace for on demand home services.” says Grusd.
Commitment to quality and convenience
The Android app development and design reflects Whizz’s commitment to details and constant endeavour to get things right. WHIZZ has combined the convenience of technology with a one-to-one personal touch.
“Some key updates were introduced to the WHIZZ platform start of this year which allows our customers to better communicate their personal needs to their WHIZZ cleaner. You can now customise your clean accordingly,” says Mark Bernberg, WHIZZ CEO. “We are driven by your experience as the customer. Everything from START TO FINISH is clean, simple and delivers on our WHIZZ brand promise – A HAPPY HOME.”
Download the WHIZZ Android App
Download the WHIZZ iPhone App
For more information about WHIZZ, go to whizz.com.au
© 2016 Whizz Technologies Pty Ltd
Do you have relatives or friends staying over the holidays? We’ve put together these tips that turn you into the Hostess with the Mostest. Impress your house guests, give them the vacation of their lives, with no stress… and no mess! (That’s the Whizz way.)
Give them a Five-Star bathroom
What do you love most about the best five-star hotels you’ve been to? The bathroom, right? No need to buy them their own pricey: salon shampoo: save the toiletries from the hotels, or fill a jar with beauty and skincare samples. They will probably appreciate shampoo, lotion, sunscreen, soap or shower gels, relaxing foot lotions or soaks. You can line these up on the counter, or place them in a large, clear jar. Another beautiful spa touch: roll handtowels and lie them up on a bamboo or wicker tray. If you book a Whizz before your guests arrive, you can show off our trademark toilet seals and toilet roll stickers.
Teach the temperature controls
Everyone’s got their own idea of what’s too hot, too cold, and what’s juuuuuust right. Give them an extra throw blanket and show them where you keep extra linens. Teach them how to use your airconditioner or heater. And just in case they need a warm cuppa, leave a small water pot and a box of assorted tea bags, instant cocoa, and the other warm comforts of home.
All the fluff and no bother
Lay out fluffy towels (easy laundry tip: wash them with a tennis ball!) on the bed. On a more practical note, give your guests colored wash cloths so they can keep track of what’s theirs. You can also have these monogrammed and give them as parting gifts – a souvenir of their stay in your five-star home.
Light the way
This is your home, you know every nook and cranny, and can probably find your way through your home in pitch dark. Your guests, on the other hand, will need small key lights at night so they can get through the corridors without bumping into something. Leave on a lamp or corridor light, and show them where they can find Life’s Greatest Essentials – like the TV remote, the microwaveable Mac and Cheese, and (in case the Mac and Cheese doesn’t agree with them) the toilet plunger.
Ask about their food preferences
Are they allergic to any food? Do they have any dietary needs? Make a meal plan before they arrive, and Google for restaurants that can meet any special requirements (or, for the times you’re both too tired from sightseeing to cook, the restaurants that deliver!). It’s also best to stock up on small, single-serve snacks that they can find and nibble on between meals – especially if they’re coming from a different time zone and get hungry in odd times of the day!
Set up a charging station
All guests will appreciate a place where they can charge their phones, laptops, camera and video cam batteries, etc. Show them the sockets or be extra awesome and lend them a power bank. And needless to say, they’ll want to know how to access your home WIFI – print out the access codes on a card next to your charging station.
Give them local maps and guides
You want to entertain guests, but you also want to let them explore on your own. Provide street, bus and subway maps so they can move around. Clip the entertainment sections of your local paper or collect brochures and links for local sights, concerts and events that are running during their stay.
Print out emergency contact info
Aside from the usual fire, police and standard emergency numbers, give them your mobiles, office numbers, and alternative contact information. Other useful numbers: local cab companies, reservation numbers of nearby restaurants and takeout joints – anything that will make their life easier in case they can’t reach you.
Book a Whizz
You’ve got guests coming over. You want your home to look amazing, but why waste time cleaning when you can spend time with them? Leave the cleaning to us: we’ll prepare your home for their arrival, maintain it while you sight see, and clean up the mess when they leave.
Imagine a perfectly organized home — everything in its place, all pretty and easy to find. No rummaging through drawers to find the extra batteries. No Monday morning panic as you toss out half your closet searching for the jacket you really want to wear. NO MESS. These 3 cleaning resolutions can make it happen.
1. “I will only keep what I use and love.”
This is the only step that actually takes work, but it makes the rest of your life easier.
We only really use a fraction of the stuff in our homes. The rest is crammed into cabinets, leaving no space for what we really need. (Perfect example: we know exactly where to find Grandmother’s fine china, but take 5 minutes to find the wine corkscrew.)
Make it easier: get rid of anything you haven’t used in the last year, because if you didn’t need it then, you won’t need it now. Make three piles: throw, give away, or store. Feel guilty for tossing something expensive? Consider the price of real estate in Sydney – and how much that item is costing you in square inch of clutter.
You can keep some things for sentimental value, but curate your collection. And if you store something, label the box and place in higher shelves. Save the easy-access cabinets and shelves for stuff you use every day.
2. “I will create storage that works for me.”
Sick of rummaging through several drawers to find that one little thing you need? Aside from the usual office supply trays, boxes and pouches, you can get interlocking dividers that let you customize your spaces. Small boxes and pouches. Try thinking out of the box (pardon the pun): use ice cube trays to store earrings or extra buttons, or hanging shoe organisers for craft or kitchen tools.
Shopping tip: don’t buy organizers until you know what you’ll keep and where to keep it, and go to the store armed with your shelf or cabinet dimensions.
Make it easier: you know how they say the secret of a successful store is “Location, Location, Location” – well it’s the same for storage, too. Place extra batteries in the drawer near the TV remote. Keep a “catch-all” basket near the front door where you can empty pockets and drop keys, coins, ID cards, or whatever you’re likely to look for when you’re on your way out again.
3. “I will clean as I go.”
Instead of waiting for clutter to pile up, just do little “mini cleans” as you walk across the room. Sort out and toss the papers on your desk while waiting for your computer to power up. Wipe the kitchen sink while soup simmers on the stove. And while you’re dressing up and discover a shirt you hate or doesn’t fit, toss it into a ready box labeled “For Giving Away” instead of shoving it back into your closet.
Make it easierTo help you with your mini cleans, keep cleaning tools accessible! Don’t store all your mops and rags in a cabinet, only to be opened on dreaded Cleaning Day. Make it easy to spot-clean areas. It can be as simple (and as pretty) as three small wicker baskets, each filled with two rags and watered-down cleanser or disinfecting solution in small clear spray bottles. Keep one in the kitchen, the living room, and the bathroom. So, you can spritz or dust an area as you pass through it, or after you use it. Or, you can fill a tin pail with smaller bottles of your favorite products, rags, and a pair of gloves – easy to pick up when you’ve got a cleaning emergency.
Entertaining guests at your home this holiday? Whether you’re hosting a grand reunion or just having a few friends over for drinks, Whizz is here to make entertaining clean and simple. Here are some tips so you can get through the pre-party decorating.
Concentrate your decorating on key areas
Your guests’ experience begins at the front door and foyer. A few tasteful lights and seasonal decorations welcome them with Christmas cheer. Party planners say you can use your existing home décor, with a few elegant holiday touches like berries and sprigs. Inexpensive fruits like green apples and lemons, or fresh flowers in bowls decorated with a bit of ribbon already add focal points to a side table or guest bathroom. Try decorating existing home plants, like hanging a keepsake ornament on a sturdy plant like an orchid.
Make a table centerpiece in minutes
You don’t need an elaborate table centerpiece. It won’t take 10 minutes to break off a few large roses and placing them in your existing crystal glasses, or use small Christmas tree décor to hold napkins together. You can also place pinecones and Christmas balls in hurricane glasses – they’ll catch the light from the lamps in your dining room. Another great impromptu centerpiece: candles or small wrapped boxes on cake stands!
Every child (at heart) loves candy
Fill glass apothecary jars with candy like colored taffy, chocolates and gummies. You can also place scoops and small bags on the table so guests can bring some home with them after the party.
Dress up the candles
Use holiday ribbon scraps to decorate plain candles. You can pin the ribbon directly on the candle with small stick pins or use a more elegant, decorate pin for extra flair!
Let Whizz make it even easier!
Book a Whizzard and have your home ready for guests! We leave five-star touches like stickers on the toilet rolls and a signature scent. You can also schedule an After Party clean so you won’t have to worry about anything at all (except eating the leftover cake!)
Before he joined Whizz, Jin Longquan had already been running his own small Sydney cleaning service for two years. But he saw Whizz as a chance to expand his horizons and meet different people. A real estate agent passed his contact details to the team, and he’s been Whizzing with us ever since.
Jin is a thorough, efficient cleaner who takes on the toughest jobs with 100% commitment. No grime is too great, no spot is too stubborn – he’ll work at it until she meets her own incredibly high standards of sparkling.
Making cleaning magic
Jin always goes to each booking preparing. “I bring a microfiber cloth and a good spray can and make the magic happen!” he says. And what is this very special spray can that cuts through all the dirt and sets all messes right?
No, the secret isn’t in the can, but the belief that “You can!” Jin says it’s all about attitude. “Good attitude, good jobs; bad attitude, bad jobs,” he summarizes. It’s a philosophy he applies to everything. Let’s face it, life gets messy too, and not all problems disappear with a spritz of bleach. But Jin says just have to roll up your sleeves and tackle it. “If you do not like something, change it. If you cannot change it, change your attitude.”
No place like home
After a hard day’s work, Jin likes to sit down to a good meal (he loves Chinese food and coconut water), watch movies, or play the guitar. His favorite place in the world is a mountain skiing resort in his hometown of Haerbin. There really is no place like home!
And that’s the feeling he hopes to give to every Whizz customer. When you come home after a long day at the office, he wants you to open the door and feel the relief and comfort of knowing every corner is clean, every surface is shiny, and all of you have to sit back and relax.
That’s the magic.
Our Whizz app has won Gold in the 2015 Australian [app] design awards! Organised by Design 100, the award recognizes applied design – the technical term for “things that should work as well as they look, or get thrown into the rubbish bin.”
Honestly, we’re proud of the award, but even prouder that we’ve made YOUR life easier. “We wanted to create an app where people could find and book a cleaner in a few quick clicks. It needed to be as simple as adding a picture to Instagram,” says Marc Lipsitz, Whizz’s creative director. He took charge of design and user experience, working with iOS developer Denis Butelitsky into the wee hours of the morning. They drank a lot of coffee. They sent files back and forth. They used up a lot of Post-its.
“We got started by doing quick sketches on post-it notes and sticking these on the walls to work out the best way and simplest way to book a clean. Once we settled and refined these steps we then set about designing the app and making it fun and easy to use,” Marc explains.
The biggest challenge was developing a way for customers to describe their home without going into specific dimensions. They narrowed it into 3 inputs – number of rooms, bathrooms, and floors/storeys – and said it with playful icons and one-click fields. “My benchmark was if my mum – who isn’t tech savvy – could use it without having to ask, ‘How do I do this?’”
The team designed the booking experience to be fresh and clean — just like a home after a Whizz. We’re happy to get an award, but our reward is this: knowing we’ve saved you stress and cleared your mess.
Mum would approve.
If you’ve ever requested a Whizzard, rescheduled a booking, or called in about a less-than-perfect Whizz, then you’ve met Reece. He’s the guy who sorts it all out and pulls all sorts of miracles to grant customer requests. Like Santa, but with better abs.
Reece Turnbull is the Head Whizzard for Customer Service. He joined the company in September. “There is limitless potential with this company and I wanted to be part of the process,” he said.
Life before Whizz
Before Whizz, Reece worked in the health and fitness industry for 10 years. “I took lots of different roles from Management and running my own business, to Personal Training and Group Fitness Instructing,” he says. “I grew up in rural NSW and enjoy keeping fit and healthy.”
But Reece felt it was time for a change. “Let’s face it, there are only so many grapevines you can do until you decide you need to change careers!”
All in a Day’s Whizz
Reece can get as many as 80 calls and 100 emails a day. “The perfect day would be to get nothing but positive feedback for Whizz!” But when something happens – and Reece’s unofficial job description is The Person To Call When Something Happens – he’s ready to fix it. ‘My biggest challenge is mediation, just trying to make everyone happy.”
But even on the toughest day, Reece is happy he’s joined Whizz. “I’ve always said that a workplace is all about whom you work with and I think we have a great team.”