Cleaning hints and tips

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Cleaning tips

To make life just that little bit easier for you, we’ve put all our cleaning tips and ideas from our newsletters in one convenient location. No more scratching your head, trying to remember which newsletter you saw a particular helpful hint in. You’ll find them all here. How positively nice of us, wouldn’t you agree?

Do you have any tips you’d like to share with our readers? Email your tips to us here.

Laundry cleaning tips

  • Eucalyptus oil is not only antiseptic, it can be used to remove stains from clothing, especially stains made by grease and perspiration. Place a few drops onto a clean cloth and dap the stain with it. Then launder as usual.
  • Save small net bags (the ones used to hold fruit and vegetables) and fill them with your last remnants of soap. Fasten at the top with twine and use to scrub your hands in the laundry or after working in the garden.
  • Use an old shoulder bag for storing your most-used housecleaning materials. You can easily carry it from room to room and it can be hung on a hook for easy storage.
  • Hard-pressed to remove perspiration stains from white clothing? Try a mix of aspirin and cream of tartar. Make a paste by mixing 3 crushed aspirins, 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar and a cup of warm water. Rub the paste into the stain with an old toothbrush and let it sit for 20 minutes. Wash off with warm water. Repeat if necessary.
  • Save the moisture absorber sachets that you get with new shoes and new handbags, etc, and place them with your washing powder to stop it from clumping.
  • To iron pleated skirts quickly and easily, attach pegs to the bottom of the pleats.
  • To dry sweaters or delicate garments on a line without getting peg marks, slip old stockings through the sleeves and peg the ends of those to the line.
  • Keep strappy tops and dresses from slipping off coat hangers by placing rubber bands over the ends of the hanger.
  • Remove soap build-up from face cloths by boiling them for 10 minutes in a solution of 500ml water and 1 teaspoon of vinegar.

Kitchen cleaning tips

  • Make your dishwashing liquid work harder by adding a few drops of lemon essential oil – a natural disinfectant.
  • The average dishcloth contains a million times more bacteria than a toilet seat. Clean your dishcloth regularly and change often. Bleach is a very effective means of killing bacteria (soak your dishcloth in bleach and hot water for 10 minutes). For a greener solution, boil your dishcloth in a saucepan of water for 15 minutes then hang outside in the sunlight to dry.
  • A great way to quickly disinfect your dishwashing cloth is to first dampen it then place it in the microwave for 2 minutes. It’s also handy for saving water, as you don’t have to run the tap until the water’s hot enough to blast the bacteria. Just place the wet dishcloth in the microwave. Tip from Ngaire of Dairy Flat.
  • Put your dishcloth in the dishwasher when doing a load of dishes. Then you can hang it out in the sun. Reader tip.
  • To freshen a vacuum flask place 2 teaspoons of baking soda into the empty flask then top it up with near-boiling water. Leave overnight, then empty the water and wash with soapy water. Rinse with clean warm water.
  • Here’s a tip picked up from a real estate agent many years ago. To make a home feel welcoming, pop a tray of wet, store-bought ginger nut biscuits in the oven. Bake on a low heat for 5-10 minutes to release their wonderful aroma. This can also help to mask the pungent aroma of burnt food or any other strong smells in your kitchen.
  • To remove stubborn burnt-on food from a pan, fill the pan with warm water, add lemon slices and allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes or until the food starts to break loose from the surface.

Household cleaning tips

  • Make furniture polish from beeswax and olive oil. It’s great for indoor or outdoor wooden furniture. Mix 1 cup of shaved natural beeswax with ¼ cup olive oil and heat gently until wax has melted and mixed in with the olive oil. Add 6 drops of lemon or orange essential oil and allow the mixture to cool before applying with a soft cloth.
  • Make an all-natural rose petal carpet freshener. Pick a couple of handfuls of fragrant rose petals and let them dry. Grind dried petals along with baking soda in a blender. Put the mixture into a shaker. Sprinkle onto carpets and let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming.
  • Use tomato sauce to polish copper and brassware. Pour some sauce on a cloth and rub it over tarnished objects. Rinse with warm water and dry with a clean cloth.
  • When washing your windows, use vertical strokes on the inside and horizontal strokes on the outside (or vice versa). If streaks form after drying you’ll know which side of the glass the streaks are on.
  • To deter silverfish, scatter whole cloves in cupboards and drawers.
  • Mint can be used as a pest deterrent. A few drops of peppermint oil in water repels mosquitoes, while dried pennyroyal leaves scattered on bookshelves deters silverfish. Most mints also help repel moths from clothes.
  • To clean silver jewellery, use a bowl of hot water with a chunk of washing soda or sodium carbonate, and a piece of aluminium foil. Place aluminium foil on bottom of bowl. Put your silver jewellery in the bowl and wait a while. The good thing about cleaning this way is that it doesn’t take any of the silver away, unlike a silver cleaning cloth which polishes away a little layer of silver every time. It cleans the silver really well and makes it very shiny! Beware of trying this with silver jewellery that has stones or gems; they may loosen, so it’s best to clean them another way. Tip from Alice from The Netherlands.
  • Keep the toilet seat down when flushing. Flushing with the lid up pitches a plume of germs around the room that float in the air for up to two hours.
  • Dark leather shoes can be spruced up by rubbing them with a bunched up piece of newspaper (avoid coloured ink). No need to apply shoe polish.
  • Make a homemade wooden furniture polish with 1/4 cup olive oil, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Pour ingredients into a spray bottle and shake before use. Store in fridge.
  • Keyboard need a clean? Before chucking out used Post-it Notes, insert the sticky end in between the keys to clean off dust and dirt.


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