Anything that saves you time cleaning is a good thing. Especially if it saves you a bit of money too. Oh how your perspective on things changes when you become a parent!
My clubbing, 19 year old self would probably be horrified to find that at parties these days I'm most likely to be found chatting with other parents about exciting things, like housecleaning tips and whether we could live without a dishwasher or not.
Here's some of the top tips our collective PlayPennies parents had to tell me about what they do to take drudgery out of every day family life. Otherwise known as the housework.
I've stuck with the tips that focus on using natural products or items you might have around the house anyway. If your favourite housework tip isn't on here, then please do let us know and leave a comment at the end!
Bio washing powder is your friend
Two top tips here for uses for bio powder other than cleaning your clothes. Incidentally, if your children are older it might be worth trying the bio version of your washing detergent. As well as being cheaper, it can be used at lower temperatures than non-bio so save on power as well. Although younger skins might find it an irritant, older children might have no problem with it.
Bio powder is also the perfect weapon to get rid of that cat wee smell. I found this out when we got a kitten. It breaks down the proteins that make the smell, and surprisingly few household cleaners actually do this. Also handy if your property gets sprayed by a male cat.
Also, on the recommendations of my best mate, I use the powder to soak my porridge pan if the stuff gets burnt on. Just a half hour and the stuff lifts right off whereas before I had to scrub. A lot. It also brings up your coffee mugs nice and shiny if used every so often.
Salt sucks it up
Salt works well at lifting up things like wine stains on carpets, but it can do this for other spills too. With red wine you should blot up as much with salt as possible, then leave salt on the stain for a quarter of an hour. Gravy can also be tackled with salt as I found out recently. It won't remove it entirely but it will lift a lot of the gravy out, and make it much easier to clean after.
Kim found this tip online when she had a cooking spill in her brand new oven recently. "The suggestion was to pour salt on it, and leave as the oven cools, Then the spill lifts right off. And it did! Brilliant."
Household soda fizzes dirt away
Household soda, caustic soda, bicarbonate of soda are all essentially the same thing. You don't want to use your little tub of bicarbonate you've got in the cupboard for baking though. You can in an emergency but it works out expensive!
Buy a bag of soda from the household cleaning/washing products section of the supermarket. I find mine by the fabric softeners, and it does indeed work as a fabric softener for clothes. As well as keeping your washing machine free of limescale.
It is great for descaling the kettle too, and also if you've got a blocked drain then pour this stuff down there. It will magically disappear. I give my drains a clean with it now and again too.
Finally, if (like most of the country) you have a food waste bin, then sprinkle some in the bottom. It soaks up the odours and is way cheaper than buying bin fresheners and liners.
Vinegar to clean
You probably know that you can use white vinegar to clean your windows, and with half vinegar and half water, it makes a great kettle descaler too. But also, vinegar kills 99.9% of known germs. This makes it a great choice for cleaning out your fridge, if you don't want to mix chemical cleaners with your food areas.
Lemon juice shiny, and white
Ah lemon juice! I love this stuff. At least, unlike vinegar, it doesn't leave your place smelling like a chip shop! It is a whitener for your whites, when mixed with sunshine. Pour some in the conditioner dispenser. It will clean out your drawer as well as put some white in your clothes when it reacts with the sunlight.
It also makes the inside of your kettle sparkly clean, and washing glasses in some has the same effect. Squeaky clean!
So that's our collective wisdom. What about yours?