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.
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!