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Four Magical Green Cleaning Products Every Home Should Have

Some of the modern cleaning materials around are seriously scary. Many contain heavy-duty antibacterials and poisons with fumes that are enough to get you in the back of the throat and make you cough and splutter. Just imagine what they’re doing to your children? Or your elderly parents? And your pets?

There are four simple and safe “green cleaning” ingredients that will work hard for you and keep your home smelling clean and fresh — and leave you with a clear conscience.

1. Bicarbonate of Soda

Available at supermarkets and chemists, ‘bicarb’ is a white powder that is fantastic for removing odours, and cleaning surfaces, loos and drains:

  • Keep a small open pot of it in the fridge to soak up old food smells.
  • Sprinkle on carpets, let it stand for about 15 minutes, then vacuum up.
  • sprinkle down drains, pour a little vinegar over … and watch it fizzle up, then wash down with hot water for a few minutes
  • Use dry on surfaces, then wipe down with a damp cloth
  • Make a paste with a little water for stubborn stains on surfaces, leave for a few minutes and buff with a dry cloth

2. Vinegar

White spirit vinegar is cheap and easy to get.  It’s a hard-working, all-round cleaner:

  • Use with bicarb in a spray bottle with water for an all-round, all-purpose cleaner — eg: 500 mls water, 2 cups vinegar, 2 teaspoons bicarb (put in first, then water, then vinegar to minimize fizz!) – and a few drops of your favourite essential oil.
  • Use neat on a dry cloth to wash down pet cages to keep smells at bay.
  • One part vinegar to three parts water will clean floors, mirrors, windows, showers with ease. You can use it neat for stubborn stains.
  • It’s a great water softener – use in your rinse cycle for softer towels, cleaner whites and fresher clothes.  Also prevents mildew.

3. Dishwashing liquid

A good quality dishwashing liquid works wonders – you can use it to clean floors, walls, tiles, bathrooms, surfaces or even to wash the dogs.

4. Lemon Juice

  • Rub some non-iodated salt on your brass and silver, then rub over with a slice of lemon before buffing with a soft cloth.
  • Add a few drops of lemon to your washing up water to help cut grease and leave dishing feeling super clean.
  • Make lemon water: cut one lemon into quarters and steep it in a litre of boiling water overnight.  Strain with cloth or paper towel and add to cleaning spray bottle for a fresh smell.  Rub over your pets coats to make them smell fresh, condition their skins and deter pesky fleas.

Four simple green cleaning solutions.  Safer. Environmentally friendly. And a whole lot kinder on the pocket, too.


Cleaning Africa’s Year-End Bosberaad

As 2012 draws to a close, it’s time for reflecting back on the challenges of the year gone by … and putting all the right steps in place to kick start 2013. And that’s just what Cleaning Africa Services plans to do.

The company recently held its annual bosberaad* at the tranquil Luiperdskloof Lodge on the Wilge River from 21st to 25th November. The lodge is in a natural, bushveld setting that fits in perfectly with Cleaning Africa’s 100% conversion to green cleaning.

New Areas, New Area Manager

The main topics for discussion at the bosberaad were the introduction of a new area manager, and the splitting up of the service regions into four. This way, each manager will have a more geographically-efficient area to service; allowing less traffic hassles and quicker response-time to customers: a major win-win situation.

Preventative Maintenance

Another innovation was to introduce a preventative maintenance plan, which will see all on-site equipment serviced on a monthly basis, eliminating down time.

Accredited In-House Training

Cleaning Africa also intends head-hunting a Service Seta SDF (Skills Development Facilitator) to employ full time. It will become a fully-fledged, accredited training provider and all learnerships will be done in-house, giving more training opportunities to all existing staff, and many new ones too.

“It was a good, exciting and fruitful bosberaad – we have a solid, passionate team,” said Midge Wood, Cleaning Africa’s CEO. “And of course, we managed to enjoy some well-deserved downtime and good laughs, too,” he chuckled.

Here’s looking at a brighter, cleaner, greener 2013!


* bosberaad (Afrikaans) = strategy meeting held outdoors, for example in a game reserve [Source: Wikipedia]

It’s Official – Cleaning Africa is greening Africa!

Friday, 26 October 2012 marked a very important day on the Cleaning Africa calendar. It’s the day that completed Cleaning Africa’s changeover to purely green cleaning products and practices – like the exciting new “waterless” car wash system.

To get to this point, Cleaning Africa had to provide on-site “re-training” to over 400 staff at more than 60 sites in and around Johannesburg.

The search for the Best Green Cleaning Products on the Planet

Delphis eco logoAfter thorough investigation of all “green” cleaning products, Delphis eco products were chosen by Cleaning Africa to partner its move towards ecologically-friendly, sustainable cleaning.

“Our clients want real change in the cleaning industry. Proven, effective products that aren’t harmful to Earth and her people. They don’t just want lip service,” said Midge Wood, CEO of Cleaning Africa. He recently attended two global cleaning industry expos in China as part of this quest.

“These products are awesome. They’re fully EU Ecolable accredited (not easy to get!), very cost-effective and biodegradable. They’re also derived from totally sustainable resources. We couldn’t be happier to use them”, Midge confirmed.

Waterless Car Saves!

Using the latest technology, waterless car washing is now a reality. The special formula ‘encapsulates’ the dirt, which is then wiped off with microfibre cloths – without any scratching.

The savings are astronomical. Conventional methods use over 40 litres of water per car wash (you probably use around 90 litres if you wash your car with a hosepipe, or at least 10 litres using a bucket and cloth). With the new waterless system, less than one litre is used, half of which is just to rinse out the cloth!

Besides dramatically cutting down on water and electricity costs, (serious considerations today!), this waterless car wash system is much kinder on the environment. No more harmful detergents and surfactants being washed into the drains, which ultimately poison rivers and marine life.

SO Worth It!

“Changing over to green cleaning has been a long and hard journey, but every one of us at Cleaning Africa believes it’s been worth it – every step of the way!” said Midge enthusiastically.

If you’d like to find out more about these eco friendly cleaning products and waterless car washes, please call us now on 011 794 6665 or contact us.

First FM Expo a Winner …

Cleaning Africa Services was recently a first-time exhibitor at the Facilities Management Expo held at the Sandton Convention Centre, 29 – 30 May 2012.

The expo showcased a host of innovative new products and ideas and enabled visitors to see a range of suppliers offering unique products all under one roof.  The show also included a business conference where leading facilities managers had the chance to share and discuss the latest trends and challenges facing their industry.

Delphis eco logoAt the 2012 expo, the emphasis was on “Go Green, “Sustainability” and “Health and Safety” – all boxes ticked by Cleaning Africa’s’ new range of Delphis eco cleaning products.  Fully EU Ecolable accredited, these products offer better cost-efficiency, are readily biodegradable and derived from totally sustainable resources.

“It’s heartening to see so much interest for these eco-friendly products by facility managers and procurement managers alike,” said Midge Wood of Cleaning Africa.  “Clearly, the move is towards greener, healthier, more sustainable products – especially in the cleaning industry”.

Visitors to Cleaning Africa Stand at FM Expo 2012
Visitors to Cleaning Africa’s stand

For Cleaning Africa, the FM Expo was a great success: providing extensive networking opportunities, a captive audience and the chance to attract many new contracts with customers seeking greener cleaning options.

If you didn’t manage to make the FM Expo this year, but still want to find out more about cleaner, greener options, call Cleaning Africa now on 011 794 6665.


Greening Cleaning

For the past two years, Cleaning Africa Services has been researching ways to become more “green”.

At its annual Bosberaad (Indaba) in February 2012, the company proudly announced that it has made a commitment to reducing its Carbon Footprint on the environment .

As of 1st July 2012, Cleaning Africa is going completely ‘GREEN’.

      How green is ‘green’?

  •         Only 100% Green chemicals will be used
  •         Dramatic water savings through the new ‘Waterless Car Wash’ systems
  •         Huge electricity savings with low-pressure hand pumps
  •         Green Waste Removal and Disposal

Two Pilot Sites will be Tested

Starting on the 27th February 2012, two Mercedes-Benz dealerships– one in Bryanston and the other in Constantia – will have all their conventional chemicals recalled and each will receive a different range of green chemicals for testing.

One of these is the Innu-Science bacteria-based range and the other is the Delphis Eco range which is predominantly derived from plant based ingredients. Theses companies have emerged tops from a selection of the latest green products that have been rigorously tested by Cleaning Africa over the past several months.

Car Washing goes ‘Water-less’

In April 2012, a representative of Cleaning Africa is going over to China to finalise an agency for “Waterless Car Wash Carts” and “Waterless Car Wash Chemicals”.  On average, these systems use about one litre of water per car wash instead of the usual 40 litres one would use with a high-pressure washer.

These waterless units are fully mobile and use manual sprayers with a low-pressure supply system that also saves on the consumption of electricity.

Green Waste Disposal

Negotiations are currently underway with a green Waste Removal Company to partner Cleaning Africa for the safe removal of waste products at our sites.


Watch this space for Cleaning Africa’s “Wild Wash”!

The Sandown Washbay Project turns one!

Amid much applause and ‘lumps-in-throats’, the Sandown Washbay Project celebrated its first anniversary in December 2011.

The project – part of  The Sandown Way – saw 12 young learners from seriously disadvantaged backgrounds  receiving training in all aspects of successfully running a washbay by the staff of Cleaning Africa Services.

These learners are from Nokuthula School in Alexandra. Not only are they from some of the poorest communities in Gauteng, they have the added burden of learning disabilities. Without knowing what to expect, these dozen enthusiastic learners started off their new lives at Sandown in December 2010: nine were employed at Mercedes-Benz, Sandton. The other three were employed at CJD Sandton.

The group has grown from strength to strength. At least four of the initial 12 have moved onwards and upwards to tackle other, exciting challenges in Sandown, while two more groups of learners have been successfully trained and employed at various Sandown dealerships in Gauteng.

Joyce Mahakoe, stalwart Principal at Nokuthula School & Centre, bubbles over with praise for the project, and says it’s like a dream come true for her and her team. “It just goes to show that, given the chance, everyone can prove themselves.

“The project has made a very positive impact on the learners and on the greater community in Alexandra. It proves that there is hope for everyone.”

Group MD at Sandown, Roy McAllister, says the project has become an integral part of their business – and it shows how The Sandown Way really does work in practice. “It’s all about the transformation journey and The Sandown Way is about creating opportunities for people to improve themselves and their lot in life. It’s living proof that there is ample space under the sun for everyone.”

Colin Richardson of Mercedes-Benz, Sandton told how his team had created a supportive environment for the learners – but had also learned so much from the Nokuthula students in return.

Pat Nndwamato of Cleaning Africa who oversees the learners’ training said: “We were all a bit nervous at first, but it has been a wonderful, rewarding journey for everyone involved.”

Spokesman for the learners, Piet Maake ended the speeches by thanking everyone – from teachers and parents through to the company and the workshop manager – “for creating this wonderful opportunity and making it work!”

To celebrate this occasion, The Sandown Group made a donation of R100 000 to the Nokuthula School & Centre in Alexandra.

Cleaning Africa salutes the Sandown Group and The Sandown Way initiative, and is proud and pleased to be involved with the training of these bright, young, future stars. The sky’s the limit!

SOS Car Cleaning Tips

So there you are.  Saturday afternoon and the Mother-in-Law calls to ask you to drive her to her bridge club.  You’re just back from the bush and your car’s wearing six inches of custom mud.

And worst of all, Cleaning Africa’s closed!  

Don’t panic.  Here are some useful car cleaning tips we’ve discovered for these unexpected emergencies – but please, use with caution, and at your own risk!

To clean upholstery – use mild, soapy water (eg Sunlight dishwashing liquid) and a soft brush.  Vacuum up any excess water with a Wet-Vac.

For hard-to-reach corners – use earbuds and toothpicks.

For shiny-clean dashboard & vinyl – wipe over with furniture polish on a soft cloth.

For little paintwork scratches – rub over with a wax crayon in the same colour as your paintwork and buff off any residue with a soft cloth.  Works well with key scratches, too.

Greasy, grimy windscreen?  Pour a bottle of soda water over it and use a squeegee to wipe off excess.

For blunt wiper blades – sharpen both sides with an emery board.

Out of car wax?  Furniture polish should shine it up just as well.

For dirty hubcaps – scrub with soda bicard and a wet brush then hose off with water.

And lastly, use these tips to make the interior of your car smell fresh and clean –

Refresh any existing air freshners with a few drops of your favourite essential oil.

Spray the interior with a quick burst of airfreshner.

Put a sheet or two of tumble dryer softener sheets under the seats.

Cover any bad spills/odours with ground up coffee beans and leave for a few days before vacuuming up.  Smells should be gone, or at least smell a whole lot better.

Sprinkling the carpets with bicarbonate of soda and vacuuming up a few days later also works a treat.

Cleaning Africa sponsors 2011 Ama Wheelies Golf Day

Saturday 14 May 2011 saw the first locally hosted golf day for the Ama Wheelies, held at Lydenburg Golf Course.

The day was a huge success and Cleaning Africa Services was in good company, with sponsors, donors and doers both local and from around the country stepping up to the plate.

The golf day was specifically in aid of raising funds to purchase a quad-friendly vehicle, without which the Ama Wheelies have been experiencing serious transport limitations.

Unfortunately, the vehicle didn’t become an immediate reality, but huge awareness and support for the Ama Wheelies were created by the golf day as well as the parade through the town of Lydenburg.

Overall, more than R120 000,00 was raised on the day which was without doubt the most successful fund raiser these wheelchair farmers ever hosted. Most of the donations were in the form of much-needed farming equipment and computers for their training center which will both go a long way to helping these plucky wheelchair farmers of Thaba Chweu, who were exceptionally thankful.

The golf day and the lead up to it featured strongly on Twitter with well-wishes from as far afield as Spain sending in messages of support.

With their inspiring spirit, determination and gathering support base (of whom Cleaning Africa is super proud to be considered a part of), we’re certain that the Ama Wheelies farming community will continue to grow and shine as a beacon of hope for wheelchair – and able-bodied – people all over the world.

Ama Wheelies - the wheelchair farmers extraordinaire
Ama Wheelies – the wheelchair farmers extraordinaire

Ama Wheelies is a registered NPO in terms of the Non-profit Organizations Act as a section 21 company registration no 2008/021003/08. NPO number 083-504. Find out more about their incredible achievements on their blog at Ama Wheelies: The Wheelchair Farmers of Thaba Chweu – where you may also donate if you wish to support this worthy cause.

How does an Eagle change its feathers?

When needs must, it seems.  Because what began as just another golf fundraising day, has developed into a soaring relationship – and a chameleon eagle, of sorts.

It was at their Golf Day at Southdown’s Golf Course in Johannesburg on 11 November 2010 where Midge and some of the Cleaning Africa partners were first introduced to and became a champion of the Ama Wheelies.

Perhaps three is a lucky number: Midge loves golf, is a bird lover and has high regard for those who beat the odds.

And this day provided all three … in spades.

The golf was great with excellent company.  There was an auction with an amazing black eagle artwork that caught his eye.  Especially as it was created by Henry Blighnaut, a foot-and-mouth artist using a profile cutter operated by a stick that he held in his mouth.  Midge was sold. He won the bid and proudly took the eagle back to his offices of Cleaning Africa Thuŝanang to hang in pride of place.

What he wasn’t prepared for was the complaints and strong feelings from some of the staff – saying that the black eagle symbolised bad witchcraft and made them very uncomfortable.

There was no other way around it.  The eagle had to undergo an identity change and so it did; re-emerging as a fine specimen of a fish eagle.

Coincidence or not?  Since the eagle changed its feathers, Cleaning Africa’s fortunes seem to soar once again.  New contracts were signed, making it possible to renew Cleaning Africa’s commitments to BEE and the community, allowing more donations and support for the Ama Wheelies.

Cleaning Africa gets 12 youths off to a new start …

Cleaning Africa Services recently helped the  Sandown Motor Group with their community program of giving people less fortunate a ‘helping hand’.

Mercedes-Benz Sandton and Chrysler Jeep Dodge Sandton – make up the Sandown group and Cleaning Africa runs its washbays.

Cleaning Africa was only too pleased to get involved with Sandown’s latest project:  to train 12 youngsters from the Nokuthula Special School for Children in Alexandra,  to become an integral part of the group’s washbay team.

These 12 young hopefuls were chosen and signed up in early December 2010.  Their enthusiasm and hard work were infectious and a pleasure to witness.  By month’s end, they were fully qualified and certified too.

Sandown’s HR Director, Nandi Manentsa was proud of the difference this project has made in their lives: “It has proved to be a great success and has had a much wider impact than just improving the lives of the 12 staff members,” she enthused.

She went on to say how these youths had had it tough growing up, often being the brunt of taunts and jeers.  But now they are respected in their communities.  They are employed full time with all the benefits that go with that.  Now they can  play an active part in helping to support their families and  have  a real purpose in life.

Cleaning Africa and it’s staff are happy to have been a part of getting these deserving and willing youngsters off to a flying start.