The other day, as I was on my hands and knees scrubbing out the oven, it occurred to me that there just had to be an easier way to go about keeping my house clean. I’m not averse to a good spring clean or to scrubbing floors and ovens, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that I can’t help feeling like I am losing half an hour of my life doing it. So, I went in search of clever ways to keep the house clean that save time, save money, and look good.
1. Shaving cream
This remarkable tip I got from a TV show that I can’t remember the name of, but that works a charm. If you’ve got mould, marks on the walls, scuff stains or anything that’s really dug in on a wall or surface, spray it with shaving foam, give it a gentle rub, and leave it for a while. When you come back later it needs only a quick scrub and you’ll see your stain gone for good. This has worked on a huge number of stains when we’ve moved house.
2. The bleached kitchen cord
There are few things as gross as a grubby kitchen cord, especially when you have just moved into the house and that’s someone else’s dirt. Grab some paper towels and some tinfoil and some gloves. Put the gloves on (haha), smother the tissue with bleach, wrap it around the cord and seal on with tinfoil. Do this down the length of the cord and leave overnight. If the cord is particularly gross you may have to repeat the process.
3. The kitchen sink
This has to be one of the most regularly used areas in the house and the one that gets hit with the most germs, and yet it must be the cleanest as we wash our dishes in it! To avoid germtastic horror and nasty chemicals, use undiluted white vinegar. Pop the plug into the sink, pour in pure vinegar – not tons – and spread around the sink. Leave for a while and then repeat twice more to ensure the entire sink is treated. It is well worth visiting Miss Penny Pincher for some fantastic ideas on using lemons to do the same thing.
4. Slatted window shades
These can get so grim, especially in the bathroom and kitchen, so cleaning them is essential. Keep them clean by vacuuming them on a regular basis and give them a jolly good scrub twice a year by taking them down and putting them onto a towel on the floor. Scrub with a soft nylon brush and liquid dish soap – this is especially good for blinds that have attracted kitchen grease – gently and carefully and then rinse off thoroughly. Residual soap will attract more dust and grime.
5. Clean the taps
Grab that bottle of vinegar again and soak up some cloths or kitchen towel. Wrap these around the taps and leave overnight, although it is worth checking on them before you go to bed to make sure they haven’t dried. If they have, add more vinegar. Then use an old toothbrush to scrub the last stubborn remains away. And ta da! You can also get rid of lime scale inside the tap by taping a bag of vinegar over the top and leaving it overnight. Then you can scrape off the remaining mess easily the next day.
6. Get grunge out the oven
The trick that I have discovered for cleaning your oven in two shakes of a lamb’s tail is bicarbonate of soda. Yes. This is the best stuff ever. You give the oven a good scrub to get it wet and shift some of the dirt and then cover all those stubborn areas with a baking soda and water paste. Leave it to sit for a bit and then come back and wipe it off. Except for truly evil stains, this works brilliantly. For the evil ones I leave the baking soda on overnight and repeat the process until it works.
7. The smelly fridge
Again it is bicarb soda that saves the day and this is a trick that I got from my mum. She would destroy bad fridge odours by popping a bowl of bicarbonate of soda inside and leaving overnight. Actually, she would just leave the bowl at the back of the fridge and just refresh the contents to keep it smell-free. You can also use bicarb to make a paste with some water to clean your fridge without scratching it and to remove tough stains. Nice and chemical-free too!