Norwegian study states how lung conditions like COPD are caused by cleaning chemicals

Cleaning Chemicals Image
Bad news for lung functioning: some cleaning chemicals can irritate the respiratory system, with professional cleaners most likely to be affected. Image by Iakov Filimonov (via Shutterstock).


If you wish to duck out of the household chores, this week’s story should give you a valid reason. In a Norwegian study, it was revealed that certain cleaning chemicals could trigger respiratory diseases like COPD. From a survey of 5,000 women over a 20-year period, it was revealed that:

  • Professional cleaners saw a 17% decline in lung function compared the average woman;
  • Lung function dropped by 14% over the 20-year period with women who did most of the household chores.

Cleaning chemicals like ammonia can irritate the airwaves and other substances that are likely to cause an allergic reaction. Due to the increased potency of today’s cleaning products, they are more likely to cause respiratory disorders like COPD, bronchitis, and emphysema.

The study was conducted by Oistein Svanes, from the University of Bergen in Norway. His response to the findings: “Cleaning your home is a regular activity, and that’s why this concerns so many people.

“We need to start being much more aware of the chemicals we’re releasing into the air we breathe when we use things like cleaning spray.”

Dr. Gareth Walters, of the West Midlands NHS Regional Occupational Lung Disease Service, said: “It is a concern because it’s the first evidence that there’s some long-term damage to lungs due to exposure to cleaning agents.”

With concerns over MRSA and superbugs, domestic cleaning chemicals are using the same substances of their industrial equivalents. Though these make for more effective cleaning, the smaller space of a family home have made the chemicals bad for asthma sufferers.

Possible allergy triggers

Be aware of the following cleaning chemicals:

  • Methylisothiazolinone (MI/MIT): you will find this chemical in kitchen and floor sprays. Some beauty products also contain MI/MIT.
  • Benzalkonium chloride (Quaternary Ammonium Compound): popular as a disinfectant in household cleaners (for floors and hard surfaces).
  • Chlorine-based agents (Sodium Hypochlorite): used as the active
    ingredient in bleach.
  • Isothiazolinones: these are used in some washing-up liquids and laundry washing liquids.

Some scents within cleaning agents (for example, limonene) can also trigger allergies.

As with any cleaning chemicals – home or industrial – make sure your room is well ventilated. Some extra protection, like gloves and a face mask, could be a good idea. Also, consider purchasing products where the cleaning agent can be applied with a cloth, instead of aerosol-based products.

Clean Hire, 31 August 2016.

See how Sierra Blair-Coyle scales a 33 storey skyscraper – with two vacuum cleaners

Songdo Two Vacuum Cleaners Blog Post Image


On both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, you may have seen the Oreck adverts with David Oreck. In each of his adverts and product demonstrations, Mr Oreck uses the vacuum cleaner’s suction abilities as a selling point. For his vacuum cleaners, he uses a tenpin bowling ball as a demonstration prop, differentiating his cleaners from the Dysons, Kirbys and Electroluxes of this world.

If you never got to see the ads on British television (they were usually on UK Living between a rerun of Crosswits), you may be more familiar with The Wrong Trousers. In Nick Park’s follow-up to A Grand Day Out, Wallace invents a pair of Techno Trousers. They have suction controlled feet. With some modifications, they were controlled by Feathers McGraw, a rogue penguin. Asleep, Wallace was ushered to a museum, where he was accessory to a plan to steal a diamond.

Twenty-three years after BBC One’s premiere of The Wrong Trousers, we see real life mirroring art (well, almost). Using two vacuum cleaners, we see Wallace’s climbing feat mirrored by Sierra Blair-Coyle. With the aid of fall arrest equipment, she scales a 33 storey skyscraper in Songdo, South Korea.

The method of this madness? It is part of an advertising campaign by LG for their CordZero Climber range of vacuum cleaners. The selling point is similar to David Oreck’s: the cleaner’s suction abilities. Interestingly, the CordZero’s motor is 28% smaller, 24% lighter, and 13% more efficient than its competition’s vacuum motors. This clip below shows Ms. Blair-Coyle scaling the tower block.

“We wanted to demonstrate that today’s vacuum cleaners include sophisticated technologies that can undertake extraordinary challenges and thanks to Sierra, I think the message came through loud and clear.”

Who needs bowling balls to sell vacuum cleaners? We think LG have pulled off a cracking stunt.

Clean Hire, 19 August 2016.

Meet the Canadian window cleaner duo behind Saskatoon’s kilted window cleaning service

Saskatoon skyline window cleaner post image
The Saskatoon skyline: Also the preserve of the Lesser Spotted Kilted Window Cleaner. Image by Scott Prokop (via Shutterstock).

They are men, they’re men in kilts. Yes, window cleaners in kilts. Plus they do a host of other things like pressure washing, carpet cleaning and gutter cleaning. Since 2002, parts of Canada and the USA have had their windows cleaned by kilted window cleaners.

The company, Men in Kilts, was formed in 2002 when Nicholas Brand, an exiled Scotsman living in Vancouver decided to add a kilt to a window cleaner. Gradually, the business grew. Their first franchise was in Victoria, British Columbia. The business really took off when they entered a partnership with a Calgary-based window cleaners.

Today, the company has gone beyond its window cleaning roots and have added other services to their roster. Gutters, sidings, and driveways are cleaned by the kilted crusaders. Some franchises also offer blind and carpet cleaning, moss and snow removal, and lawn care. For time-pressed households, Happy Holidays become Happier Holidays, as Men in Kilts can install your Christmas lights. No more National Lampoon style cack-handedness.

Two recent converts to Men in Kilts are Mark Brosinsky and Sergey Zametalin. This June saw the twosome, and Ardiena Schatz, set up Men in Kilts’ Saskatoon franchise. Both Mark and Sergey are seen on the streets of Saskatoon with kilts and “No Peeking” T-Shirts.

Mark wanted a break from the stultifying corporate world. His interest in Men in Kilts marked a career change for the window cleaner. Sergey emigrated to Canada to join his family this March. He was drawn to the idea of kilted cleaning by a billboard sign. The looks that Mark and Sergey received from the public was amazing, to say the least. Ardiena Schatz has previously worked in the gas and oil industries, so her knowledge of working at height comes in handy.

So, where next for the Men in Kilts? New York? Chicago? St. Helens or Wigan even? The site of kilted cleaners in Peasley Cross would be a sight to behold. Onwards and upwards we say.

Clean Hire, 11 August 2016.

5p plastic bag charges see a drastic drop in single use carrier bag usage

A clean street, especially one cleaned by one of our hired industrial cleaners, brings us great joy.  In the last year, you would have noticed a few things in our towns and cities.  Most tangibly, fewer plastic bags littering the pavements.  It has become the in-thing to buy a ‘bag for life’ and uses the same bag for months or years.  Some people plump for canvas tote bags that are fashionable and functional. Continue reading “English Plastic Bag Use Plunges 85%”