Little tips to help you clean around the house
From cleaning up broken glass to deterring pests or tackling stains on clothes and furniture, we have 40 simple, natural solutions that work.
1. Eucalyptus oil removes the gummy residue left by shop stickers.
2. Buffing a marble tabletop with car polish leaves a thin, invisible film that helps reduce the risk of stains.
3. To remove furniture indentations from pure wool carpet place a tea towel over the area and then press with a warm iron. The heat will lift the fibres. Do not attempt this with synthetic or a wool/synthetic mix carpet.
4. Light a match and let it burn a few seconds to remove toilet smells.
5. To stop bathroom mirrors steaming up, regularly rub a dry bar of soap over the surface and rub in with a clean cloth.
6. Stop clothes with thin straps falling off hangers by sticking small felt furniture pads onto the hanger just beyond where the straps sit.
7. To remove oil from silk clothing, gently rub cornflour into the area and lightly brush off. Cover the oil mark completely with more cornflour and leave to sit for a few hours. Shake clothing free of flour and then hand wash, or use a gentle machine cycle, using soap suitable for delicates.
8. To keep spiders or any other nasty surprises out of shoes you keep outside, (such as your gardening shoes or work boots), place old stockings over the top of them. Make sure the stockings don’t have holes in them, and if they don’t fit snugly over the top, use an elastic band to secure them.
9. To make candles last longer, cover with a plastic bag and place in the freezer for 24 hours before lighting.
10. To keep your car windows ice and frost free when left outside overnight in the wintertime, mix three parts vinegar to one part water, put it in a spray bottle and spray on the windows as needed.
11. To prevent buttons from becoming loose or undone, dab a little clear nail varnish on the top thread or onto the stem of the thread and leave to dry.
12. To remove pollen from the stamen of flowers, take a piece of sticky tape about five centimetres long, gently press the sticky side to the pollen mark and lift off. Repeat with clean sticky tape as required. Do not try to brush it off.
13. To reuse the bits of soap that are always left over, combine them with glycerine and some warm water. Pour into a bottle for a handmade liquid soap.
14. To pick up small fragments of broken glass, press pieces of bread onto the affected area.
15. If you have an aquarium, save the water each time you change it and water your house plants with it. It’s full of nutrients and makes a great fertiliser.
16. To stop ants entering your house, draw a chalk line on the ground where you want them to stop. If you live in a rainy area where ants are a problem, you must re-draw the chalk lines each time it rains.
17. To deter silverfish, place whole cloves in wardrobes and drawers.
18. To get blood out of fabrics, use hydrogen peroxide. Apply it directly to the stain and then launder in the washing machine.
19. To remove body oil stains from collars and cuffs of coloured shirts and blouses, rub hair shampoo directly on the stains. Rinse out the shampoo, then wash the clothes as usual.
20. To revive a vase of wilted flowers, add a teaspoon of mild detergent.
21. Use leftover styrofoam peanuts as great drainage in the bottom of a pot.
22. To stop drawers from sticking, rub a bar of soap across the runners to make them glide smoothly.
23. To prevent ash from flying everywhere when cleaning out a fireplace, use a spray bottle filled with water to cover the ashes with a light mist.
24. To clean the bottom of the iron, sprinkle salt on the ironing board and iron back and forth.
25. To locate light switches in the dark, put a dot of luminous paint on tape and stick to the switches.
26. To keep pinking shears or scissors sharp, cut through a sheet of folded aluminium foil or coarse sandpaper.
27. To leave a room smelling fresh after you have vacuumed, place a few drops of your favourite essential oil (such as lavender or peppermint) near the vent where the hot air is released. The air warms the oil and blows it into the room.
28. To mask unpleasant odors, put some coffee beans in a saucepan and burn them. The smell of coffee will overpower the other nasty odors.
29. To clean a microwave oven, add four tablespoons of lemon juice to one cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl. Boil for five minutes in the microwave, allowing the steam to condense on the inside walls of the oven. Then wipe them with a soft cloth.
30. To clean a stainless-steel sink, put the stopper in the sink with two denture-cleaning tablets and half fill with water; leave for several hours or overnight and the next day it should be sparkling. Then use the water to clean the draining board, too.
31. To remove fingerprints from stainless-steel appliances, place a small amount of baby oil on a napkin and wipe the affected areas. The fingerprints will just wipe away.
32. To remove marker pen off hard surfaces, spray on hair spray and then wipe it off.
33. To remove cat and dog hair from clothes and furniture, rub them with damp rubber gloves.
34. To clean your shower curtain, wash it in the washing machine with about one cup each of vinegar and bleach, some white towels and a normal amount of washing powder. Adding fabric softener will help keep the curtain clean. When the load is done, return the curtains to their place in the bathroom to drip dry. The wrinkles will disappear in a day or so. (Check your washing machine manual to ensure it’s okay to use bleach).
35. To clean glass windows, add about one tablespoon of cornstarch to about one litre of lukewarm water. Wet and a rag or squeegee, remove excessive water and wipe down glass as if using regular glass cleaner. Dry with either a soft cloth or paper.
36. To restore toilet bowls back to their shiny best, clean with old, flat Coke or Pepsi. To dissolve limescale, leave the soda overnight to soak.
37. Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to clean the tops and creases of Roman blinds.
38. Vacuuming a mattress, particularly along piping and crevices, removes dead skin cells that attract dust mites.
39. Clove oil (sold in chemists for toothaches) kills mould spores. Mix three drops in one litre of water and then use to wipe down areas susceptible to mould.
40. To get rid of the smell of garlic from your hands, rub against stainless steel – your sink is ideal. Then wash hands with soap or detergent.