The best tips are the ones that are quick, cheap, make life easier and don’t involve lots of chemicals. We’ve rounded up our favourites here.
Bicarbonate of soda is your friend! It costs pennies, and can be used in a wide range of cleaning applications. It also absorbs odours, so ideal if you have a plastic Tupperware-type box that’s starting to smell because you’ve been keeping something strongly flavoured in it. Just mix a couple of teaspoons of bicarb with enough water to make a paste and smear it over the bottom of the box. If possible, leave the box outside overnight. In the morning, rinse out the bicarb and wash the box as normal. You can also make a fridge deodoriser by putting a paste of bicarbonate in a saucer and leaving it in the fridge overnight.
If you collect your vegetable peelings for home composting, then you can make life easier by putting a piece of kitchen paper on top of a chopping board. Peel carrots and potatoes and chop mushrooms directly onto the kitchen paper, then when you’ve finished bundle the paper up with the peelings inside and put the whole thing in the compost.
Vinegar is another kitchen-cupboard essential. Remove limescale from kettles by pouring in one part vinegar to one part water. Bring the kettle to the boil and leave for 15 minutes. Drain the vinegar water out, refill with fresh water and boil. Discard this water and fill and use as usual. Vinegar is also great for cleaning stainless steel kitchen sinks – just wipe it round, leave for five minutes and rinse. The acid in vinegar could damage polished taps, though, so be careful to keep it all in the sink! Discover more great vinegar hacks.
Keep old toothbrushes when they wear out, as they’re brilliant for cleaning around bathroom taps and also getting soap scum off tile grouting. Add a little cream cleanser, or make a paste with bicarbonate of soda. Scrub, then rinse and dry.
If your steel kitchen appliances have smudgy fingermarks on them, you can remove it with a dab of baby oil. (Yes, using oil for cleaning sounds a bit counter-intuitive but it honestly works!). Just put a tiny amount on a soft cloth and buff the surface. Olive oil works too.
Line the bottom of your fridge’s salad drawer with kitchen towel. This will help to keep vegetables fresher for longer as it absorbs excess moisture. You can also buy special drawer lining mats which do the same job but can be washed and re-used rather than thrown away.
Did you know that you can clean brass and copper with tomato ketchup? Honestly. Just coat the metal with it using a soft brush or cloth, and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
This is an old one, but it does work. If you have wooden furniture with scratches, you can make them less visible by rubbing them with a walnut. Cut the nut in half to expose the inner surface and rub it over the scratch. This will dye the raw wood underneath and make the scratch stand out less.
You can clean awkwardly-shaped vases by adding a handful of uncooked rice and a good splash of vinegar. Swirl everything round together for a few minutes then empty out the rice and wash the vase in warm soapy water.
If you’re unlucky enough to get grease on clothing, rub the area with a stick of chalk as soon as you can then wash it as usual. The chalk will absorb the grease and help to prevent staining.
Do you have any favourite household tips? Share them in the comments below!
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