A chemical free fortnight with e-cloth

When e-cloth got in touch and challenged me to take part in a chemical free fortnight I was interested. I'm the person that finds walking down the cleaning aisle in the supermarkets overpowering and tend to agree that we're over reliant on using chemicals for cleaning, where often some old-fashioned elbow grease could work equally well. Don't get me wrong we use chemical cleaners here because often they're easier but I do wonder if we need to, all of the time.

So after reading that a Norwegian professor - Jan Vilhelm Bakke - confirmed that research had found that chemical cleaning sprays were harmful to health, I thought we'd give it a go.  Note the use of we'd there, as MOH does the majority, but not all of the cleaning here - yes, I know, I'm lucky.

Bakke even went as far as to say that chemicals designed to effectively clean dirty surfaces, should not be breathed in. And as someone that struggles to breathe in the supermarket cleaning aisle, I can see his point. So we were in.

A TRADITIONAL LOOKING DUSTER

A TRADITIONAL LOOKING DUSTER

The multi-pack of e-cloths, one for every occasion it seemed, plus a mop for cleaning the floor arrived. There were cloths for the bathroom, the kitchen, a hob & oven cloth, a stainless steel cloth, one for windows, another for use on glass & polishing as well as a traditional yellow duster. Thankfully, each one was labelled.

The blurb on the box says that by using these cloths you'll 

  • save time
  • save money
  • get better results and 
  • be kind to your family and the environment.
AN E-CLOTH FOR EVERY OCCASION

AN E-CLOTH FOR EVERY OCCASION

But did they work?

Well I had plenty of places to test these cloths, let's start with the induction hob. This is my area of expertise - I'm expert at making it messy, usually just by cooking dinner and am quite particular about how it's cleaned. I can't cook on it when it's dirty or if it's been cleaned by MOH and left smeary, so I have plenty of experience (and views) about how this should be cleaned. 

hob

The cleaner than I'd found most effective had recently run out and so I was looking for something to take its place. Wiping the hob with a damp cloth removes the grime - I knew that - but where I was struggling was to get a smear-free finish.

So up came the glass & polishing cloth. It worked really well and left me with the streak-free finish I was after.

cleaning the hob

Next up was the sink - definitely one for MOH, he cleans the sink way better than me and he too gave the stainless steel cloth the thumbs up. Once again the glass & polishing cloth was used to give the tap an extra bit of shine.

cleaning the tap

I used the kitchen cloth to clean the worktops - you wet the cloth, wring it out, form it into a pad and off you go. We've a quartz worktop and while it was damp using the glass & polishing cloth to dry it off and bring out the shine worked really well.

Already I was impressed with that glass & polishing cloth - I suspect many people are as there were two of them in my pack.

Spurred on by the results I set off to find more things to test these cloths on - most unlike me! I also persuaded MOH to use them to clean his pride and joy, the shower. He took some convincing, but more on that later as I'd remembered our bedroom windows needed a clean.

The frames had been attracting dirt and dust from the busy street outside and fluff from the curtain lining, and it was building up. So it was time to try the window cloth, which the pack said removes dirt and grime from windows and frames.

dirty windows

My windows gave this cloth a good workout and the results were good. Just with a wet cloth - and my already trusty glass & polishing cloth - I got fantastic results. I was tempted to carry on and clean the windows in the rest of the house (which aren't as dirty as these) but managed to curb my enthusiasm and went to check to see how MOH was getting on cleaning the shower without chemicals.

clean window
along the window sill

He was convinced the cloths wouldn't give as good a clean - or shine - as with the chemicals he usually uses, but reluctantly agreed to give it a go. He couldn't see how one glass cloth would stay dry enough to cope with our large shower screen.  

cleaning the shower

Well even the doubter was impressed. The bathroom cloth worked well, but once again it was the glass & polishing cloth that exceeded expectations. And tellingly one of the glass cloths now has a permanent home in the bathroom, alongside the bathroom cloth - I think that tells you what you need to know.

The technical bits

The e-cloths have 480,000 fibres per square centimetre. By combining their unique fibre technology with water they break up and hold grease, dirt and bacteria which normal cloths leave behind.

To clean the cloths the advice is that a warm rinse is usually enough in day-to-day use and regularly machine wash at temperatures between 30-60 degrees, with a small amount of detergent. The cloths will, it says, benefit from an occasional hot wash at 90 degrees. 

I haven't washed the cloths yet, but once I've finished cleaning the windows in the house that cloth will be the first I wash - and while I haven't tested it, I fully expect the manufacturer's claims to stand up.

The best bit

Well other than my favourite cloth - which I think you'll've worked out by now. The next best bit is how each cloth is labelled with its intended use. This is a handy reminder but even better than that I can see it putting a stop to those frustrating conversations we seem to have all too often where MOH asks which cloth he can use to clean this, despite us having quite lengthy discussions about which cloth should be used where on what seems a regular basis.

THE KITCHEN E-CLOTH - WITH A HANDY SCRUBBING CORNER

THE KITCHEN E-CLOTH - WITH A HANDY SCRUBBING CORNER

So going chemical free was much easier than I expected and MOH was impressed with them too, which I didn't think I'd be writing. Infact we're so impressed with the glass & polishing cloth that we'll be buying a couple more. One will stay in the bathroom, we'll keep another solely for use in the kitchen and we'll have one to use on our new glass table which we're already regularly cleaning our fingerprints from!

 

This is a collaborative post and I was provided with these cloths for the purposes of this challenge, however all views and opinions are my own.

Our kitchen installation is technically finished which means...

...so is our kitchen!

It's been a long journey having our kitchen replaced but this week we finally got there. When I posted this "I'm not sure I was ready for this" post last July as they started work, I can truly say I never believed it would take us until the middle of March the following year for the work to be complete.  

We weren't helped by the Installation Manager that was assigned to us, which is ironic given his job title. There were whole months when he just didn't reply to emails or would reply to say "he'd look into it" then when I emailed again we would need to start the conversation again as he couldn't remember or wasn't up to speed.  Most frustrating. It seems he has left the company now though and when I set about tackling the kitchen with new resolve in the New Year I dealt with a new project manager. 

In the past few months we've made progress on

  • Realigning the boiler cupboard door so it's flush with the line of cupboards

  • Fitting a filler underneath the units to disguise the gap between wall and wall cupboard (which I'm assured is there "by design" but to us looks odd)

  • Repairing and then replacing the silicone for the glass splash back.

Which just left the additional shelf for the small (300mm) cupboard. This caused lots of air to be sucked through teeth by both the new project manager and the kitchen fitter as they assured me the shelf would be as good as useless given the pre-drilled shelf "holes" in the cupboard. 

However as I'd approached this with my trusty tape measure I knew it would work for what I wanted so I persisted. MOH collected the shelf this week from their showroom in Docklands. I was happy to fit the shelf myself, I mean how hard can it be to put four brackets in the right holes and slide the shelf in above!  

You couldn't make it up, but the shelf arrived with just three brackets. Thankfully the kitchen fitter had the forethought to leave me a set of shelf brackets in case they were missing or If there were any mishaps...

Anyway the shelf is in:

And the contents of the cupboard are back where they should be. Here's a closer look at the shelf the kitchen company told me wouldn't work:

It looks like a functioning shelf to me. Yay!  Finally!  I guess they'll want their final instalment of the payment schedule now too...  I am now happy to pay this so I won't be surprised to receive their final invoice, but without having that retainer I couldn't see how we would persuade them to finish at all. 

In celebration of having the kitchen company complete their work I also unwrapped the fish and stuck a strip of draught excluder foam in front of it so it didn't just slip off the shelf.  Having carried the fish around Dublin for the day, back in 2001 I wasn't keen for it to dive into our new quartz work top, as I believe there would only be one winner. 

So finally, we can say our kitchen is finished!  

A COOK for my kitchen

Over the past few days I've started to decorate the COOK I bought back in the autumn of last year. I'd already persuaded MOH to paint them white as I wasn't sure the paper mâché brown they came in would be completely covered by the lighter decoupage papers I'd also bought. 

As we started to unpack the items for the shelves above the sink the white COOK was beginning to take up residence, and we were beginning to get used to seeing them as white, so I knew it was time to make a start on these. 

I decided to start on the K (and forgot to take a picture with a white COO). I was looking forward to seeing how the spotty pattern would work out, and it looks ok. I tore the decoupage papers and I can see the tear marks if I look closely, so I think I'll go over this again before I seal it. 

As you can see I progressed to the second O and was really pleased how this one turned out. The pattern helped I think as it wasn't uniform. Each time I decorated a letter I had the Winter Olympics on the TV in the background, so for me I really did have the best of both worlds!

Next up was the first O and The Big Decision, which was what colour. I'd bought four different but complementary papers and my original plan was to decorate each letter using one of these designs. However putting the decorated letters back in situ I knew fairly early on that I wanted the C to have some red in it, whether that was the spotty red or the white with red of the already decorated O. 

The paper choices left were a crackled gold pattern in a white background or a newsprint design. You'll see that I chose the newsprint design for the first O and again I'm pleased with this lighter background paper. 

For the C I decided to go bold and use the red spotty paper again! learning from the K I'd cut the paper into strips rather than tearing it and this did work better. I still think I want to touch up the C and the K but I'm pleased with the overall result. 

I also don't think that these will come under a great amount of scrutiny from everyone else, but you know how when you've done something you're often just a little bit more critical than others - I think that's what's happening in this case. The other reason is because they are level with the top of our kitchen wall cupboards and we don't know very many tall people!!

These were easy to do - even the curves - and I found them quite therapeutic. I'd definitely tackle some more in the future but I'm wary about going OTT with these as I imagine having them in every room would be a bit twee... 

But where is the line for OTT-ness?