It’s always been advised to work from the top down when cleaning, that comes from the days when spring cleaning was done to clear away the soot from winter fires in all the rooms! Nowadays there isn’t usually the same need, but it’s always better to remove the dust from surfaces before vacuuming for example.
Spring sunshine, which can still have low temperatures, is great for hanging out duvets and pillows to air when the temperature will kill off any bugs. You can also put winter woollies in the freezer before you put them away for the summer which will have the same effect.
It’s easy to clean the house using cheap kitchen cupboard ingredients, Bicarbonate of soda is brilliant and an essential, if you put half a cup of bicarbonate of soda in a washing up bowl of warm water and use a microfiber cloth that will clean most surfaces. It’s great for soaking up odours too and even for stains – mix it with a little water to form a paste and it’s good to attack mud, grass and perspiration.
Eucalyptus oil is great for all oil stains.
Glycerine mixed 50:50 with water is a great stain remover for old tannin stains: tea, coffee, fruit juice etc. Work it in and leave it for 30 minutes before laundering as normal.
Microfiber cloths really are great and also for dusting try wool dusters which are much faster than any other fabric and they don’t move the dust around. Wool contains lanolin which attracts dust which is exactly what you want and you can recycle wool items and they work better as they age!
When cleaning glassware clean it with hot water but always rinse with cold as it gives it extra sparkle.
Use old fashioned dolly pegs rather than the hinged ones as they don’t rust and don’t leave a mark on clothes.
Remove pet hair from fabric or upholstery with a rubber glove. Put it on one hand and stroke the hair off – it comes off instantly!
Vinegar is great for cutting through grease, great for making a ‘fizzing’ solution with bicarbonate of soda for cleaning the loo (the real trick when cleaning a loo is to put the rubber gloves on, remove some of the water from the bowl and get scrubbing – you need one magic ingredient – Elbow Grease! Vinegar is also fantastic for lino floors – 50:50 hot water and white vinegar brings it up like new (don’t use on waxed floor as it can remove the wax!).
Don’t throw away a lemon after you have made a salad dressing or squeezed over fish, you can clean a ceramic sink with half a lemon and it will make it shine beautifully. Add a bit of lemon peel to the cutlery container in the dishwasher – it will help shine the cutlery.
My pick of the best products to buy:
My favourite company is Mangle & Wringer – totally natural products made from recipes passed down from a 1930’s housekeeper Bette Smith, they are beautifully packaged too.
They have a ‘Natural Oxygen Bleach’ which is a great alternative to chlorine bleach down the loo. The ‘Bathroom Balm’ quickly and easily cleans woodwork, upvc doors and windows and sticky finger marks off most things. ‘Kitchen Cleanser’ is great as a tarnish remover on silver plated cutlery and as an odour free safe cleaner for stubborn dried-on foods in the fridge and it’s also a great oven cleaner used together with the ‘Good for Glass’ (which is what it says…good for glass!) www.mangleandwringer.com
I like e-cloths – the original and best and for doing the laundry,
Ecoballs are great (they draw the dirt from the water without any harsh detergents).