Not many of us really enjoy cleaning – but we all like to see the results: a fresh, clean-smelling house full of shiny surfaces free from dirt and mess.
Here are some tried-and-tested ways to save you time and trouble and still get the great results you’re looking for. Best of all, we’ve used natural products and everyday substances you’ll easily find in your kitchen cupboard. Check out our top tips to make cleaning simple and quick!
1. How to clean silver
Take a large container. Cover it with tin foil. Fill it up with hot water then add half a cup of salt and half a cup of baking soda. Leave your silver items to soak in this mixture for approximately 30 minutes, then rinse them and wipe dry with a soft cloth, all the dark stains will disappear.
2. Cleaning a mattress
This one couldn’t be simpler just mix vodka and water together to a ratio of 1:3. Then spray the mixture on a mattress. The spirit will disinfect and destroy most of the bacteria.
3. How to make your microwave fresh and clean again.
Slice a couple of lemons in two and place them in a glass of water. Put the glass in the microwave, heat it until the water boils, and leave it like that for a minute. The dirt on the inside of the oven will have become very easy to wipe off with a cloths.
4. Getting rid of grease stains
Get a stick of white chalk and scribble over the grease stains. If the marks are on a wall, leave for a few minutes, then just wipe with a damp cloth. If the grease is on clothes, leave for an hour before wiping away the chalky residue. Either way, the marks will be gone.
5. Drying your shoes
If your shoes are soaked through, fill them with pages of crumpled up newspaper. This will soak up the moisture and allow the shoes to dry without getting out of shape, as well as being ready to wear again much more quickly.
6. Removing animal fur/hair
Put on your washing up gloves and run your hands under the tap. Now rub them over the surfaces which have hair stuck to them. All the hair and fur will attach to the gloves.
In order to remove hair or fur from a rug, you can also try a squeegee that’s normally used in window cleaning. You’ll be amazed what a difference it makes!
7. Getting burnt food off the bottom of a pan
Pour a little water into the pan – just enough to cover the base. pour in a glass of vinegar. Boil thoroughly on a medium heat, then remove and add two tablespoons of baking soda. Now the burnt-on food will food will come off easily.
8. Clearing deposits from your kettle
So easy that you’ll wonder why you waited so long. Pour a spoonful of lemon juice in water into the kettle and boil it for five minutes. When you pour out the water, the inside of the kettle will be as shiny as it was when it was new.
9. Scrub up your shower head
Unhappy with grotty blockages in your showerhead? Add some vinegar into a polythene bag large enough to cover the shower head, then attach the bag to the shower head with rubber bands. (You might need more than one to make it secure). Now leave it for an hour, or ideally overnight – and in the morning you’ll have a clean and clog-free showerhead.
10. Tips for shiny sinks
Grapefruit and lemons make kitchen surfaces sparkle. Sprinkle salt on either one of the fruits, then use them to wipe down the sink, for a really sparkling citrussy shine!
11. Getting deposits off crystal and glassware
Warm up two glasses of vinegar in your microwave, pour them into a bowl then submerge the dishes in the liquid, making sure they are fully covered. Leave for a few minutes, then rinse and dry.
12. Bottles with narrow necks
Fill the bottle with hot – not boiling – water. Add a small squirt of washing up liquid. Then pour in half a cup of white rice. Shake the bottle and the rice will rub against the sides of it removing the dirt. Wait for the deposits to break apart, then do some more shaking. Once all the dirt is off, wash carefully in warm water.
13. Dealing with dust
Anti-static cloths aren’t just for electrical equipment: you can use them to effectively wipe down any surface: skirting boards, the TV screen or the screen of a computer, book shelves and more.
14. Cleaner better blinds
Put a clean sock over your hand. Soak the sock in a mixture of one part water and one part vinegar, then wipe over the slats with your hand.
15. Deal with plug hole problems
To deal with blockages, pour half a cup of soda and half a cup of vinegar down the plughole, one after the other. Now cover the plughole and leave it for a quarter or an hour. Then pour some warm water down.
16. Tackling carpet stains
Wipe over the stain with a mixture consisting of one part vinegar and two parts water. Cover the whole mark with a wet cloth, and then run a hot iron over it for 30 seconds. Repeat the process if the stain is stubborn and doesn’t come out at your first attempt.
17. Lick limescale
To get rid of limescale around your taps, wipe them with a piece of lemon. Leave the lemon juice to work for five minutes, then rinse with water
18. Cleaning coffee grinders/spice mills
Empty the mill or grinder, put some some rice in it and add a tablespoon of backing soda. Gently grind the mixture through.
19. A pick-me-up for plastic containers
Wipe marks on plastic containers or Tupperware with lemon juice. Allow to dry naturally and then rinse. Best of all, this simply remedy will get rid of lingering food smells as well as stains.
20. Removing pet odours
Mix soda and hydrogen peroxide in equal parts into a bowl. Now dip a sponge in the mixture and wipe the affected area with it.
21. Oven cleaning
Open the oven door and pour a small amount of spirit of hartshorn (an aqueous solution of ammonia) into an open container and leave it overnight in a cold oven. Ventilate the room thoroughly next morning, put on rubber gloves and wash the oven. You’ll find that the dirt will come off easily, and the smell will disappear quite quickly.
Note: keep the windows open while you are doing this, and wear rubber gloves throughout the process to protect your hands.