10 Cleaning Tricks To Save Time And Money.

Keeping on top of household cleaning usually either takes a significant time investment or costs some money to outsource some of the work, either by paying for labour or by buying a fancy gadget. But there are a few tricks to making the most of what you already have and what you can buy cheaply to save a lot of time.

1: Vinegar and newspaper.

Uses: Cleaning windows and tiles, deodorizing fridges and vegetable boxes, killing mold and reducing the effects of mildew.

How: Spray vinegar water on dirty windows and tiles and wipe with newspaper. Wrap fruits and vegetables in slightly vinegary newspaper. Layer the fridge drawer or vegetable box with newspaper. Spray moldy and mildewed items and areas with vinegar.

Pros: Cheap, easy, you probably have some at home already.

Cons: Everything smells of vinegar, at least for a while.

2: Silica damp absorbers.

Uses: Preventing damp, mold and mildew, reducing the intensity of smells.

How: Place anywhere where condensation occurs.

Pros: Highly effective at controlling damp and related issues.

Cons: Can be pricey if your home is very damp and you use many.

3: Old t-shirts.

Uses: Dish rags, dusters, shoe and leather polishers.

How: Cut into hand-sized squares and write its use with permanent marker, to prevent mixups.

Pros: Cheap and easy.

Cons: You need old t-shirts to do this.

4: Shower time.

Uses: Washing delicates, large items and heavy items.

How: Pre-soak in the bath or shower, when you shower take a moment to scrub and rinse the items.

Pros: Saves some time and stops you getting your clothes wet.

Cons: Need to assign extra time to the shower and have somewhere to store the items until you can wash them.

5: Caustic soda crystals.

Uses: Unblocking drains, stain removal, limescale removal.

How: Apply carefully to the problem area, don’t get them on your skin, leave to soak and then rinse.

Pros: Quick and effective cleaning.

Cons: You have to buy caustic soda crystals, they can be hazardous to people and animals.

6: Thick bleach.

Uses: Stain removal, smell removal, whitening, mildew tackling.

How: Use neat for big issues, dilute for smaller ones. Apply and let dry. For fabrics, rinse.

Pros: Really cleans.

Cons: Slight yellowing of fabrics. Strong smell. Hazardous to people and animals.

7: Lemon juice.

Uses: Adding shine, clean fragrance and removing mineral residue.

How: Use newspaper or a cloth to apply lemon juice to a dull tile, a smelly item or something affected by limescale. Leave to dry on.

Pros: Cheap, you probably have it, great smell.

Cons: Possibly an allergen.

8: Walnuts.

Uses: Shining wood, reducing the appearance of scratches.

How: Rub the kernel of a walnut over dull or damaged wood.

Pros: The oils protect the wood, add shine and don’t cause harm.

Cons: Topups will be required. Potential allergen.

9: Like with like.

Uses: Removing grime, gum, grease or sticky residue.

How: Find a substance that is made of a similar thing to your stain. Use it to gently blend and lift the stain. White wine for red wine, peanut butter for gum or chocolate, olive oil for bacon grease. Then, gently dry the item.

Pros: Removes the substance most efficiently.

Cons: Will still leave some residue. Generally not suitable for fabrics.

10: Boiling water.

Uses: Cleaning floors, fabrics, furniture, dishes, pans, etc.

How: Pour boiling water directly onto the item or into a bucket from which you can use a sponge on a stick or a mop to clean the item.

Pros: Lifts grease, kills bacteria, evaporates quickly leaving little water, cleans stains and gunk.

Cons: Some items may be too sensitive for boiling water. You could get burned.

And those are ten tricks I use to make cleaning cheaper, easier and faster.

What are your favourite cleaning tricks?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

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How To… air the house after Winter.

Now, if you live nearer one of the Poles, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Closed windows, double glazing, heaters and dehumidifiers on full, condensation on the windows, dirty muddy entryways, old fireplace smell, animals shedding, urgh. When did our house become a Roman bath? There is far to much sweat, grime and soot to handle!

And now that Spring is properly underway, we can try and do something about it. Yes, the dreaded Spring Clean!

Wait! Don’t lynch me yet! I know none of us want to do it. Some of us (including yours truly) tried to do it way back when in March when Spring officially started and we got nowhere. But this time is different. It’s going to work out. This is how, after failing to clear everything down, I finally got my house, well, not shiny, sparkly, 1950s catalog clean, but fresh and pretty and Spring-like!

1: Open all the windows.

First step: air the house out. Yes, it’s freezing. Yes, it’s annoying. But at this stage the air outside is far lighter, drier and cleaner than the air inside.

Pick a nice, warmish, dry day. The reason is twofold: One, the air outside will be at its crispest and driest and there is little chance of rain getting in. Two, you can get everyone else outside as you air the house, so nobody complains before it’s done.

2: Clean all the windows.

And whilst they’re open, may as well clear them down. They will be stained by rain, snow, smog, soot, mud, sweat, animals, all sorts. So give them a good wash down so they let as much light in as is physically possible!

3: Empty the fireplace.

Speaking of grubby things, it’s time to clean the fireplace. You will have to give it another, lighter clean if you will use it after Spring Cleaning, but it’s best to get it done deeply now, regardless of when you’ll next use it. A fireplace is a major source of stuffy air, soot and dirt and smells in the house. Give it a thorough cleaning as the windows dry.

4: Dust the shelves and fittings.

Once you’ve closed up, it’s time to deal with the other source of stuffy air and grime: dust.

The main reason I don’t recommend dusting when airing the house is that a couple of gusts of wind can send the dust everywhere, even back where you just cleaned!

Make sure to dust the whole room, top to bottom. Shelves, painting frames, doors, light fittings. Especially look out for those hard to reach areas or the places you dust less often. Dust the walls too!

5: Hoover and sweep.

Now you’re done dusting you want to hoover and sweep immediately! All that dust you dislodged is on the floor, bed and chairs, along with any soot from the fireplace and cobwebs from the windows. Sweep or hoover it up now and it’s gone! Make sure to hoover furniture as well. Anything on the floor and anything with a fabric coating, basically.

6: Have a tea.

You need a tea break after all that rushing around. Want a biscuit or a piece of fruit too? Let’s put some music on, get the heaters back on and relax a bit.

7: Change the bedding and curtains.

Go and dig out your Summer bedding and any throws or blankets you have. Swap the bedding over on every bed and add a bright throw to keep warm. This way you aren’t waiting until you’re boiling to get your duvet changed and you can adjust the bedding based on those unpredictable May nights.

Also swap your curtains. The need for super heat retention is going away now, so you should have some light linen, net or lace curtains. If you don’t, pick some up quick. Charity shops and stores start selling them a little early, so buy them before they put the prices up!

Lighter bedding and curtains also hold less humidity, making the room feel cool and not cold.

8: Turn the heating down a tiny bit.

It’s a brave move, but it signifies Winter is actually over. Sure, you may just turn it down two degrees and wait until next week before you turn it down again, but it’s the first step towards Summer.

9: Bring in some flowers or potpourri.

Take advantage of the newly crisp, fresh air and liven your house with some lovely natural fragrances. Summer, here we come!

How is your Spring Cleaning going? Got any tips or hints? Feel free to share!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!