With our 21st century gadgets galore it can be easy to forget there are practical, cheap ways to keep our homes clean and well organised. Our grandmothers were skilled at ‘make do and mend’, finding low cost ways to run their homes. Borrow these old-fashioned cleaning tips and organisational tricks for an efficiently run home.
To stop your bin from smelling rotten, don’t use an expensive air or bin freshener, just sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda into the bottom to soak up odours.
1. Keeping your fridge clean
Before a big weekly shop when the fridge is bare, wash each shelf and storage basket to remove any spills or dried-on food. It’s easier to clean before you re-stock and you can check ‘use by’ dates as you go so you know what needs replacing.
2. Eliminate bin smells
To stop your bin from smelling rotten, don’t use an expensive air or bin freshener, just sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda into the bottom to soak up odours. Also, rinse containers like yogurt pots before they go into the recycle bin to avoid smells and unwanted insects.
3. Clean oven spills with salt
If you spill something in a hot oven, cover the spill with salt. When the oven cools the spill should just lift off.
4. Protect your worktop
Always use a chopping board for slicing bread or vegetables to protect your worktop from knife marks. The less that surfaces are scarred, the easier they are to clean with nowhere for crumbs to hide.
5. Boiled egg water
Don’t throw away the water used to boil an egg – place the pan next to the sink and soak cutlery in the hot water to lift food off, making it easier to wash up.
6. Vinegar to descale your kettle
De-scale a furry kettle by boiling up a solution of half water and half vinegar. Leave overnight then rinse thoroughly for a cheaper fix than shop bought kettle descalers.
7. Blender cleaning trick
The blades in your blender can be tricky to clean underneath, especially if you have done something fiddly in it like breadcrumbs! To get the blender sparkling again, simply fill to half way with hot water, add a drop of washing up liquid, put the lid on and switch on. It will clean itself- you just have to rinse.
8. Soda crystals for clean drains
Give your kitchen sink some attention by keeping the drains running smoothly. A bottle brush will help you clean inside, and once a month put a handful of soda washing crystals down followed by a kettle full of boiling water to prevent blockages.
9. Non-stick pots with foil
If you don’t have ‘non-stick’ pots, line the base of a saucepan with tin foil to prevent vegetables getting baked onto the bottom. It also makes the pan much easier to clean.
10. Blind dusting
Venetian blinds are easily maintained by soaking a fabric glove in soapy water then putting the glove on and sliding your fingers along each slat. The dust will come off easily and afterwards the glove can go into the washer!
11. Revamp your woollens
When woollen jackets and trousers begin to show their age with an unappealing shine on the elbow and knee areas, dab on a little white vinegar (not malt!) and see the shine vanish.
12. Get rid of watermarks
Is your wooden coffee table looking a little worse for wear? Get rid of any watermarks on wooden surfaces by rubbing half a brazil nut on the area (make sure the surface is completely dry first).
13. Fluff up your pillows
If your pillows are a shadow of their former selves, pop two or three tennis balls with them into the tumble dryer to beat out any clumps. Sounds strange but it really works!
15. Save clothes stuck with chewing gum
To save your clothes that have chewing gum stuck to them, place the item in a plastic bag, freeze overnight, then give it a good scrape with a knife.
16. Refresh soft toys
Children's soft toys can easily get a little worse for wear. Simply pop them in a paper sack with a little bicarbonate of soda and shake gently. Leave for a few hours to eliminate any smells and vacuum up the powder.
17. Speed up the ironing
Place some aluminium foil under your ironing board cover. It does a great job of reflecting the heat from the iron and will mean you don't have to iron both sides.
18. Lift muddy footprints
Don't you just hate it when muddy footprints get walked in the house? They're easy enough to remove - just sprinkle some salt on the offending prints, leave for about half an hour, then vacuum up.
19. Make flowers last longer
Flowers are beautiful, especially when they last. Make your flowers stay in bloom for longer by using a crushed asprin in the water.
20. Remove crayon marks
If the kids have had a bit too much fun with the colouring in, you can lift crayon marks from radiators by rubbing with a paper towel soaked in milk.
You might also want to see these additional tips on food products that you can use as natural cleaners.