With spring just around the corner, I thought I would share some handy household hints for your spring clean. I have learnt some of these tips from my mother and grandmother and have picked up others along the way. These tips will help keep your house fresh and clean and take some of the strain out of cleaning. Some people find cleaning something of a chore but I actually quite enjoy it and find it quite therapeutic. I put some music on and class it as a bit of a workout. It can actually be very satisfying when you sit back and see the fruits of your labour, until someone comes in and messes it all up again! Here are some household hints to help make housework that little bit easier.
1. Stained Coffee Cups
I hate to perpetuate those stereotypes but as a Brit, I do enjoy my cup of tea. This regular indulgence can take its toll on your mugs and gorgeous china cups, so one of my favorite household hints is one which will help keep your cups clean and guest ready. The last thing you want is to churn a guest's stomach with a stained tea or coffee cup, so one of the natural ways to clean them is with salt. Just scrub the stains off with a sponge or cloth. If you need something that's a little more heavy duty, mix equal parts of distilled malt vinegar and salt.
2. Sparkly Sink
Everyone loves a sparkly clean kitchen sink, don't they? Well, I do. Whether your sink is cast iron, acrylic, stainless steel or porcelain, there are ways to keep it looking shiny and new. Try fizzy soda water for stainless steel and for a ceramic sink, use a little dishwasher powder and leave it for 30 minutes before scrubbing with a cloth or non-metallic pad. Another tip is to sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda and then spray on some white wine vinegar. Your sink will look shiny and new in no time.
3. Perfect Pots and Pans
We all know how pots and pans can be a nightmare to clean, especially with that burnt-on food which may have been left for a little while because you just couldn't face washing up that evening, something I'm not guilty of doing of course...Ok, I may have done it once or twice. Bicarbonate of soda is your go to gal when it comes to cleaning and your pots and pans are no exception. If your pans are badly burnt, soothe them with a thick layer of bicarbonate of soda and then a little bit of water so that it isn't completely dry. If you leave this to soak overnight, scrubbing them clean in the morning will be a cinch.
Another stereotype I'm about to reinforce is the one where us Brits love our Fish and Chips. We do and one thing I love to do with my battered fish is to smother it in vinegar so that it soaks into the batter...Yummy. Sorry for the momentary lapse in concentration, but there is a link between this sour liquid and cleaning. Whilst malt vinegar is what I use when it comes to soaking my fish, white wine vinegar is great as a cleaning product. You can use it to clean windows and spectacles by mixing one part vinegar and five parts water. You could also use a cloth which has been moistened in vinegar to wipe your oven walls and prevent that greasy and grimy build up.
Limescale is a common problem in some homes. Whether it's on your taps and shower heads or destroying the taste of your lovely cup of tea by settling in your kettle, there are ways to get rid of this unsightly build up. Soak your shower head in white vinegar overnight. If you need to descale your kettle, you can use lemon or vinegar. Mix one part white vinegar and water and allow to soak in the kettle before rinsing out. If the vinegar smell lingers, squeeze the juice of a lemon into a cup of water and pour into your kettle. Boil the kettle, rinse it out and it should smell lemony fresh!
6. Those Old Pantyhose
So, what do you do with those old pantyhose? No, you don't put them on your head and use them on your next bank robbery, as tough as these economic times might be! There are so many other uses for them. They're a great shoe shiner after you've polished a pair of your favourite shoes. Also, when you drop something small on the floor, like the back of an earring or a needle, it's almost impossible to find with the naked eye. Enter Super Pantyhose to save the day. Just cut the leg off a pair and pull it over the nozzle of your vacuum cleaner. The suction will lift the item onto the fabric, ready for you to salvage.
7. Terrific Toothbrush
One of my favourite films is Private Benjamin and one of my favourite scenes is where the glamorous Goldie Hawn is told to show her toothbrush to her superior after Goldie tries to convince her that there has been a misunderstanding. Cut straight to Goldie on her hands and knees using it to clean the bathroom floor. I hope she bought a spare one with her! But back to cleaning, your old toothbrush can be a fabulous cleaning tool around the home. Use it to clean the grout between tiles by spraying them with vinegar, leaving for a few minutes then scrubbing them clean. Get into the nooks and crannies of sinks and oven hobs. In short, you can use it for all those small and hard to reach spaces, proving they're more than just teeth cleaners!
These are just some of the handy household hints I have picked up along the way. Do you have any good hints and tips?