What happened to those good old-fashioned housekeeping tips? 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 traditional 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. 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. We love this as it's one of those housekeeping tips that saves you time and is super cheap to try!
2. 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. A simple pencil eraser can be used to get rid of fingerprints and grubby marks on light switches too.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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).
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Clean a microwave
Smelly, grubby microwaves can be a nightmare. Wish it could clean itself? Place a cup of boiling water with half a cup of lemon juice in a bowl and give it a spin for 30 seconds. Once you take out the bowl you should be able to wipe away all of those annoying food splatters quickly and easily with a swipe of a damp cloth. It’ll smell fresh too!
10. Get freezer efficient
Don’t waste energy and money cooling empty spaces in your freezer. Scrunch up pieces of newspaper and stuff them in the gaps between your food packets. This will make everything work much more efficiently.
11. Get soap savvy
Those last little bits of soap are too small and fiddly to be much use. However, you can find some use for them if you use reuse an empty hand wash bottle to combine the leftover soap with glycerine (found at your local chemist) and warm water.
12. 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.
13. 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. Just one of those housekeeping tips that will save you time and money, avoiding the unenviable job of deep-cleaning the oven later.
14. Sharpen scissors
Scissors feeling a bit blunt? A quick and easy way to sharpen your scissors is by folding aluminium foil to make several layers and cutting through it! It really works, and you can use the same method for can openers too.
15. 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.
16. Blind dusting
Those little fabric softener sheets have more uses than you think. Wipe down Venetian blinds with the little sheets of wonder. They will clear away dust and dirt and eliminate the static to keep them dust free for longer. Use this tip for dusting the TV and computer monitor too.
17. 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. For more tips on magical ways to make your clothes last longer read our article.
18. 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!
19. Lovely loo
Got some leftover cola? Pour it down the toilet and it will do a marvellous job to clear stubborn stains and residue. Pour the cola around the edge of the toilet bowl, let is sit for at least an hour. Scrub with a brush and flush. The acid in the cola will breakdown that limescale build-up to help leave your loo sparkling!
20. Make flowers last longer
Flowers are beautiful, especially when they last. Make your flowers stay in bloom for longer by using a crushed aspirin in the water.
You might also want to see these additional tips on natural cleaning products that you can use to clean your house.
Did you find these housekeeping tips useful? Do you have any you'd like to share? Please comment below.