House Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Busy lifestyles can leave little time for all the essential household chores.

Fortunately, however, there are plenty of shortcuts that still give good results.

The Kitchen

Do not waste time scrubbing out the burned-on mess in saucepans. Fill non-stick and enameled pans with water, add a handful of washing soda and leave it to soak overnight. Use a biological detergent and water in aluminum pans, as washing soda reacts with the aluminum to create toxic fumes.

Clean a very dirty kitchen floor by swishing it first with a solution of hot water and detergent. Leave for 10 minutes before washing and rinsing.

If you do not own a self-cleaning oven, wipe a fairly strong solution of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and water over the walls, door and shelves. Set the oven to a low heat for 30 minutes, then leave it to cool. Clean with hot water and detergent, and risen give the oven a final wipe over with a weak solution of bicarbonate of soda and water. This will make it much easier to clean the next time.

Everyday Chores

Wash plates and cutlery (flatware) quickly after using them to prevent food from drying on and becoming difficult to shift. Rinse off suds with hot water so that the heat will dry the cutlery and plates as they drain.

Rinse the sink with a little liquid fabric detergent after washing up to remove stains and grease.

Strips of paper placed on the tops of cupboards (closets) will absorb the grease and dust that inevitably accumulate in the kitchen. Simply throw the paper away when it becomes dirty and replace with more paper to save time on cleaning.

The Bathroom

The following tips take no time at all to carry out every day, and will cut down the time and effort needed for an ‘all-over’ bathroom clean.

At night, squirt a little toilet cleaner around the bowl so that a quick brush in the morning keeps it sparkling. As the bath water is emptying, add a few drops of liquid detergent to the water, this will remove any scum from bath as it drains away.

A quick rub with a clean cloth will keep taps (faucets) gleaming and mirrors bright, and make the bathroom look fresh.

Keep a clean cloth under the washbasin to wipe over the taps( faucets) and mirror as they become dirty. Wipe the washbasin after the morning rush so it sparkles for the evening.

Add a dash of disinfectant down the plug hole every now and then to keep it fresh.

The Living Room

Wipe it little white spirit (paint thinner) mixed with water over furniture to give it an instant glean. Open windows to freshen the room,and shake cushions or rugs out of the windows in order to minimize the amount of dust in the house. A quick vacuum will pick tip stray crumbs, ash from ashtrays and dust from every nook and cranny. Just 5 minutes a day should keep the cleaning well in hand.

Try sprinkling the carpet with herbs or lavender and letting the herbs sit for an hour before vacuuming if the room smells stale. A vacuum cleaner can be used to remove dust from a multitude of surfaces, but empty the bag straight into the dustbin (trash can) to prevent dust from blowing back into the house.

The Bedrooms

When you get up, roll back the bedding and allow the beds to air while you have breakfast. Air pillows, too, and check them regularly to pull out any protruding feathers or to even out lumps and bumps. If a pillow is limp and saggy and flops when placed over your arm, you need to replace it. After getting up in the morning, turn down the bedding for a while to allow the bed to air before remaking it. Once beds have aired, you can make them.

1. Start with the bottom sheet. Tuck in the sheet along the edges and just at the base of the mattress, starting at the head end and working towards the base.

2. Pull the bottom of the sheet taut and fold it in an ‘envelope’ over the tucked-in corners ro make a neat fold.

3. Center the top sheet on the bed with the wide or embroidered hem at the top so that it almost touches the headboard. Lay the blankets on top of the sheet, and tuck both blankets and sheet under the mattress in one go. Make an ‘envelope’ at the corners as with the bottom sheet, ensuring that the corners are pulled taut.

4. Place the bed cover over the bed, turn the top sheet and blanket over it and replace the pillows.

There is nothing quite like the feel of a bed newly made up in the traditional way with sheets and blankets, and the technique actually becomes very quick and easy with practice. Many people now prefer duvets, however.

Getting a duvet into its cover can bed done simply by pushing a corner of the duvet into place. Use 1 or 2 clothes pegs (pins) to hold it in position. Do the same with the other corner, then just shake the duvet down into the clean cover before removing the pegs.

Finally, having made the bed, quickly flick a duster over the furniture, curtains or drapes and shelves, then leave for the dust to settle before vacuuming it all up.