Women in STEM

We sat down with our talented and passionate intern, Nicole, to get the inside scope on her love for Chemistry and her experience at Boulder Clean. She is a Senior studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder, only 5 minutes away from our Headquarters. Read along for her advice to other women in STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), her next big adventure, and how this internship set her up for success.

 

Why are you passionate about chemistry? Why do you do what you do?

Ever since I was a kid I was interested in science and math and my family had a big influence on that aspect of my life. My dad would always help me with my math homework as a kid so I really got to understand the basics. When I was in high school and taking more difficult math classes, my older brother was a huge help. I actually started enjoying solving the problems like puzzles. To this day I still enjoy chemistry because there is a lot of problem solving and math involved that I can now apply to real world problems.

 

What’s your advice to other women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields?

My advice to young females going into STEM fields is to never give up. I have been told ‘no’ or ‘you probably shouldn’t do it’ numerous times. I have even been told this by females in the STEM field who were supposed to advise me and help me. I have also failed exams, stayed up all night to work on one homework question, and rewritten 15 page lab reports. So many times I felt like just quitting, but then little success after little success my confidence built up. I learned that sometimes you have to fail in order to succeed. No matter how many people tell you no or how many little obstacles you cross, keep on going for the passion that made you get into STEM in the first place.

 

How have your classes at CU prepared you for this internship?

My lectures at CU provided the basic theory of chemistry where as my labs showed me how to apply those theories. Combined they have set me up for success in the industry. My favorite classes are the hands-on labs; this is where I discovered my passion for mixing solutions and learned lab techniques I have used in this internship.

 

How did you hear about this Boulder Clean?

I heard about Boulder Clean through a family friend, Mark Harris. Mark went to high school with my dad and was a salesperson for Boulder Clean. He heard that I was looking for an internship and provided an introduction for me, which I am very grateful for.

 

Who do you look up to in your industry?

Although he is not necessarily in my industry, Elon Musk is a man I look up to most in the science and engineering industries. He is an innovator that is changing the world for the better and definitely someone to look up to for inspiration.

 

What was your favorite part of the internship?

My favorite part was having the freedom and full confidence of my supervisor, Carly Marriott, to explore various formulations and ingredients in the lab. In lab I was able to try out different solutions and figure out which mixed well together and which would provide the best formulas. Carly really trusted me to develop formulas but was supportive by providing me with advice from some amazing Boulder Clean chemists. These chemists really understand how to develop any formula and were able to give me so much helpful information. I owe them a huge debt of gratitude for nudging me in all the right directions.

 

What were the challenges that you faced during this project?

Some challenges that I faced during this project were coming up with a successful formula. In the early stages, a formula would look like a success on paper but when I would develop it in the lab it would not always turn out the way I wanted. This happened numerous times and although it was frustrating at times, it also taught me valuable lessons about the product I wanted to make.

 

What did you learn/take away from this internship?

I learned an enormous amount from this internship due to hands on experience in the lab, the freedom to research formulas, and guidance from Boulder Clean chemists. The skills that I have obtained from Boulder Clean will be valuable for me in future careers.

 

Where would you like to take your experience in the next few years?

I would like to find other opportunities in the formulist industry. I really enjoyed my experience developing a product from the bottom up and I would be interested in seeing what other products would be fun to make.

 

What are some hobbies you enjoy outside of work/school?

I really enjoy any activity in the outdoors especially running and hiking. I have run a race called Ragnar for the past 5 years and I plan on doing this race for years to come. Traveling is also another hobby I enjoy; anytime I can take time away from work or school I will start planning a trip whether it is to California to see my niece or Nepal to see Mount Everest.

 

 

Kitchen Cleaning Tips

Dishes will always be there for you, but the oven needs love too. We’ve prepared some deep cleaning tips for you and your kitchen to get that green clean at home. Take these cleaning tips to heart and your kitchen will thank you for it.

Your Dishwasher

To ensure this heavy-duty cleaning appliance gets all the tomato sauce stains off your dinner plates, you have to clean it too. First, remove any bits of food on the bottom. Then, run a cycle with a specialty cleanser, like a Boulder Clean natural dishwasher Power Pack, once a month.

Your Countertops

The first step to preventing granite stains: Seal your countertops as soon as they’re installed, says kitchen designer Florence Perchuk. You’ll know they’re sealed properly when water beads and forms droplets on the surface. To maintain, have them sealed again a year later and make sure you wipe up accidental spills as soon as they happen. Once they are sealed, use the Boulder Clean Granite Cleaner to wipe up any mess!

Your Oven

We know that cleaning your oven is tedious and difficult! If you ever start to smell something burning when you turn on your oven, it might be time to give it a deep clean. First, chip off loose pieces from your range, then spritz burnt-on food with ammonia. Sprinkle baking soda and a few drops of white vinegar on the bottom, let it bubble up, then whisk away the grime with a sponge.

 

Cleaning the oven doesn’t have to be a once a year event. Recently cleaned and just have a few crumbs? Or perhaps your oven is on the lightly used end of kitchen appliances.

Your Cabinets

Over time, build-up can collect on your kitchen cabinets and inside them — especially if you don’t run the exhaust hood over your range while you cook to keep grease from settling. To remove, use Boulder Clean’s All-Purpose Cleaner to clean up even the most stubborn messes in and out of your cabinets!

Your Stainless Steel

What’s the point of having stainless steel in your kitchen if it’s not bright and clean? To make your surface sparkle again, Adam Kamens of Amuneal Manufacturing Corp. suggests using a specialty spray, like the Stainless Steel Cleaner made by Boulder Clean, once or twice a week.

Your Refrigerator

his means the outside and inside. Pull out all of your fridge’s interior shelving and wash them with warm soapy water. Then wipe down the surfaces that can’t be removed on the inside with a sponge before putting shelves back in their place.

Your Windows

Instead of just wiping down the inside, make sure you take to the outdoors with Boulder Clean’s Glass & Surface Cleaner during spring cleaning season to remove spots and smudges you don’t usually have time to tackle. Pro tip? Wash them on a cloudy day to ensure that the sun won’t dry the cleanser before you’re done wiping.

5 Cleaning Combos That Don’t Mix

When faced with grossness at home (read: the whole house has the flu, or you found a cockroach infestation under the sink, or the dog trashed the room after eating who-knows-what), it’s tempting to bring out all of the big guns and throw every cleaning product you’ve got at the problem. But don’t!

 

First of all, most cleaning products are plenty effective on their own. Plus, combining them could be toxic—and in some cases lethal.

 

“Some people just think more product is better, but they don’t think about science and safety first,” says Nancy Bock of the American Cleaning Institute. “Mixing cleaning products can lead to irritated airways, respiratory problems, or burns to skin, eyes, throat, nose, and lungs. Some gases created from combined cleaning products could cause damage of the nervous system, eyes, lungs, skin, liver, kidneys, and even death.”

 

So good rule of thumb: “Don’t take any chances when it comes to safe use of products,” says Bock. Don’t believe us yet? Here are some tempting cleaning combos that are especially bad.

 

Hydrogen Peroxide + Vinegar

While these two chemicals can be used in succession as a cleaning duo, do not mix them together. “Combining these two creates peracetic acid or corrosive acid, an irritant that, in high concentrations, can harm the skin, eyes, throat, nose, and lungs,” says Bock.

Drain Cleaner + More Drain Cleaner

If you’ve got a clog, it’s tempting to pour in as much drain cleaner as you can find under your sink — but beware of using one right after the other, because these super-strong formulas (they’re meant to eat away those clogs!) can react very, very badly. “Combining drain cleaners can cause the release of chlorine gas and potentially lead to an explosion,” says Bock.

Bleach + Ammonia

Combining bleach and ammonia releases chloramine vapors, which can cause respiratory problems and throat burns if inhaled, says Bock. Beware that many cleaning products contain either bleach or ammonia in their formulas, so the fact that you could be combining these two might not be so obvious — which is why you should never, ever mix any kind of cleaning product.

Bleach + Rubbing Alcohol

This combination releases chloroform, a gas notorious for being used by old-fashioned bad guys to knock out their victims. High levels of exposure can lead to damage of the nervous system, eyes, lungs, skin, liver, kidneys, and even death. “Even low levels can make you dizzy or nauseous,” says Bock.

Bleach + Vinegar

Same deal: This releases chlorine and chloramine vapors. These can cause a chemical burn, most likely in your lungs or eyes,” says Bock.

 

The takeaway: Again, to be super clear, you should never mix cleaning supplies! It’s that simple.

 

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: 5 Cleaning Combos That Do More Harm than Good

 

3 Easy Tips for Families Cleaning Together

Does it ever seem like whenever we clean up one mess, another mess starts to create itself? Everything is sticky somehow and you don’t know where to start? Today we have some brand new #parentinggoals to aspire to. Even if your kids are young, they may be old enough to start learning good habits. Fortunately, we have a few easy cleanup tips that don’t use any harsh chemicals on kid-friendly surfaces, and they might be just fun enough that the kids will actually have fun helping out.

Families Clean Together

What’s a safe way to clean sensitive surfaces like food-prep areas or kids’ toys?

 

Whether Mom and Dad are prepping meals on their adult-sized countertop or the kids stuffed animals are getting a feast in their own tiny kitchen, both surfaces can be cleaned quickly and safely. Simply spray Boulder Clean All Purpose Spray on a damp sponge or directly onto the surface and give those countertops a good wipe-down. Then give them a second wipe with a clean, damp sponge or reusable cloth and you’re good to go, whether you’re about to feed a hungry kid or a hungry stuffed animal horse. With Boulder Clean’s non-toxic and plant-based cleaners, you don’t have to worry about your kid breathing, smelling or touching anything they shouldn’t.

How do you clean smelly stuffed animals?

 

When a favorite stuffed horse has a long (and dirty) day, he needs a quick stay at the Spa (aka Laundry Room). To freshen up toys, we have a few options depending on how hard that plush Pony has played. For a light wash or to remove specific stains, spray Boulder Clean Oxi-Spray onto the area and give it a rub with a sponge or reusable cloth with your “Spa Assistant” and enjoy the relaxing scent of Meyer Lemons. For days when Pony seems unrecognizable, throw him in the wash with a Boulder Clean Laundry Detergent Pack. Luckily you don’t have to worry about little hands in the bag with our child-proof locking zipper. After a spin in the wash, let the toys relax for 15 minutes, then take them out and give them a quick rub-over with a clean towel. That should keep them clean until, oh… dinnertime.

How can you get kids excited to put away their things?

 

We can’t help you if your son is still flat-out refusing to eat a vegetable, but we can help with his messy room. One of the easiest (and sneakiest) ways to get your kids excited about cleaning up is by turning it into a game. Give each child their own tote bag and tell them to show you how quickly they can pick up the pieces of their doll’s expansive wardrobe. Or you can hang small, soft baskets at child level and let them race to fill each one up with toys. Who’s the real winner every time? You.

 

 

How to Clean Stainless Steel

Our kitchen is full of stainless steel products that we always want to remain clean for as long as possible. Stainless Steel is beautiful, but there is a downside: They’re like magnets for fingerprints, smudges, water spots, and streaks. From the stove to the faucet to the fridge, these are in high-traffic areas and are used daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

 

Our journey to smudge-free, grease-free stainless steel all starts with our Granite and Stainless Steel Cleaner. Our Safer Choice 3-in-1 formula cleans, shines, and protects without a wax, silicon, or filmy residue. With soothing lavender and vanilla essential oils, cleaning will feel like spending the day at the spa.

 

 

How to Clean Stainless Steel

 

1. Spray Surface with Cleaner

With your Granite and Stainless Steel Cleaner, spray 2-4x across your surface. We recommend 2-3 for smaller appliances and 4 for larger surfaces like your refrigerator door. Use your best judgement on the amount your appliance may need!

2. Wipe the Grime Off

With a neatly folded microfiber cloth, use medium pressure and wipe with the grain to remove any grime, dust or grossness that’s been clinging to your appliances.

3. Follow the Pattern

Starting from the top, wipe with the grain using fast, straight-line, closely overlapping passes. Make sure you don’t work too fast causing gaps between swipes. Slow and steady gets the shine!

4. Step Back and Admire

Time to step back and admire that brilliant shine! Relaxed by the Lavender Vanilla scent, both you and your kitchen are ready for whatever is next.

 

 

The takeaway: It’s simple. Clean your stainless steel appliances once a month or whenever they’re noticeably dirty. Finger prints can be removed by an easy wipe down while grease from the stove requires more of a scrub.

 

Stay smart and always check the owner’s manuals and manufacturers’ websites for other cleaners to avoid.