Quick Tips to Make Doing the Washing Super Simple

mother a housewife with a baby  fold clothes into the washing machine

When it comes to doing the laundry, the average household – which, by the way, has 2.3 people in the UK – will use the washing machine around 270 times a year. 270 times, every single year! Now, this is what’s known as “normal domestic use”, but if you boil it down to the raw figures, you’ll see that it means your average person will put a wash on roughly 115 times per annum.

Pop that figure into your common “2 parents, 2 children” family, and you get a whopping 460 washes each year! When you’re having to do the laundry that often – not that far off one and a half times a day – then you know that it can really start to feel like a chore.

What you need is something to make doing the washing a little bit easier. And luckily for you, that’s exactly what we have right here: some quick tips to do just that. Let’s make life easier, shall we?

Use Water Dispensers for Your Detergent

Although this might sound a little silly, this tip can actually end up being a serious saver of your precious time. If you have a spare water dispenser – the type with the tap you can turn on and off – this will make the perfect storage solution for your clothes detergent.

Using one of these – or two if you want another for your fabric softener – will allow you to dispense just the right amount of stuff with the greatest of ease, saving you a little bit of time with each wash.

Divide Your Washing into Three Baskets

Isn’t sorting your washing into darks and lights a pain in the neck? Well, why not skip that step entirely? Clearly, we are not talking about chucking them all in the wash together each time.

No, instead, we are talking about using three separate laundry baskets. If you have one basket for your dark clothes, another one for your lights or whites, and a third for your delicates (if you need it), you can save yourself a bunch of time each laundry day. No need to waste time sorting all your clothes!

Get a Basket on Wheels

If you’re already looking to invest in an extra laundry basket or two, why not go the whole hog and get some on wheels? If you add this extra layer of portability to your baskets, it will save you from having to carry a massive armload of washing across the house to the washing machine.

And the extra bonus of this is simple: there’s no chance you’ll walk back up the stairs later on in the day and find an errant sock or two lying around on the floor where you’ve dropped them. Simple solutions are always the best ones!

Spring Cleaning: Tips to Help You Clean the Home

Housewife holding cleaning equipment in her hands. Conceptual photo of spring cleaning. Isolated on white

Spring is just around the corner, and we all know exactly what that means: it’s time for a good old spring clean! Everyone loves having a nice, tidy house, but – and correct us if we’re wrong here – no one actually enjoys spending all of their free time cleaning up the place.

Well, that’s why we are here today. We have compiled a list of expert tips, all of which will help you to complete those jobs more quickly and efficiently. This will allow you to get your home sparkling clean in no time at all, leaving more time for enjoying your good-as-new home!

Circle Round the Kitchen

When you’re tackling the kitchen, you will want to leave the dirtiest thing until last. And what is the dirtiest thing? Why, the oven, of course! Start on the right side of the oven, and work your way around the room in a clockwise direction.

Doing this will ensure that you don’t end up spreading grease and dirt all around the kitchen, meaning you won’t have to do the same job more than once. Also, soak those pans and things in hot water while you clean; this’ll save you a bit of time.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Now you’re in the bathroom, and you’re looking in dismay at the plug hole – how on earth are you going to get all of that manky hair out of there? Well, it’s easy: you just use a drain cleaner like Liquid Plumr or Drano. Pour it down there to get rid of any nasty clogs.

Also, make life easier for yourself in the future. Prevention is always better than a cure, so start pouring boiling water down the plug once a week. And once you’ve had a shower, pick up those annoying strays with a wad of damp toilet paper. Easy!

You Made Your Bed…

The easiest way of making your bedroom look all neat and tidy is to simply make the bed – you’d be amazed at just how much difference this can make! If you’re tidying the bedroom, make sure you start with this.

And here’s a neat trick you can do every morning to make your bedroom seem neat: if you pull the covers up to your neck after waking up then slide out of bed, half the job is done for you! You say lazy, we say… efficient.

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

Many people make the mistake of going and buying a load of containers and bins and other storage solutions before making a start on the big “chuck out” operation. Don’t do this. Before you go and buy anything, start throwing stuff away.

By doing it this way, you force yourself to keep only the things that you really, genuinely want to keep. Once you feel you have chucked away a decent amount (and be honest here, are you really being as ruthless as you should be?), then you can start on the organisation. This will take much less time, and you’ll find yourself with loads more space.

How to: Deep Clean Your Bathroom

Learn how to bust all of those sneaky bathroom germs by following our nifty guide to deep cleaning your bathroom, from the shower to the grouting, right through to your loo!

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  • Clean your shower by pouring white vinegar into a bag and tying over the head of the shower. Leave overnight – it’ll dissolve limescale around where the waterjets come from the shower, as well as soap scum.. Just run the water to rinse it. For the curtains, pop ’em in the washing machine with your normal detergent and some old towels, and for the shower doors, mix a paste of baking soda and white vinegar and then apply to the the doors.  Sit for 15 minutes, then buff away with a microfibre cloth. Leave the windows open for 1 hour a day in your bathrooms to reduce humidity.
  • For grout, your best bet is to dip a grout brush into straight bleach, then scrub the grout until it turns white, making sure that the room is very well ventilated. But to prevent the grout from getting mucky in the first place, try sealing it every six months with a moisture-resistant product. It’ll save you a big job down the line.
  • For general tiles, walls and ceilings, spray everything with all purpose bathroom cleaner, then turn the shower on to generate some steam, get out of the room, then shut the door behind you and go and have a sit down somewhere for half an hour. Wipe everything down with a clean sponge or cloth, then rinse with clean water/a clean cloth and use a clean microfibre mop to reach particularly high/hard to reach areas. A nifty way to prevent water marks on tiles? Apply a coat of car wax onto them once a year so that the water can just roll off of the tiles instead of  marking them.
  • For toilets, pour a cup of baking soda into the bowl, then leave to sit before brushing and flushing. It should leave the loo sparkling. Another option is to invest in a handheld steam cleaner so that you can clean hard to reach areas without having to get your fingers involved, like the hinges of the loo seat. Don’t forget to either clean the loo brush either – using a dirty toilet brush to clean your loo will only result in a dirty loo so make sure you clean it after every use either in bleach or soapy water.
  • For the sink, you can use the baking soda/white vinegar trick – it’ll reduce dirt and get rid of any soap scum. For taps, it’s much cleaner to use disposable cleaning wipes than regular cleaning products – if you use the same sponge to clean the kitchen as the bathroom you could just be spreading the bacteria around

The guys over at Cleaspiration, have some great home cleaning tips, it is still fairly new but it looks like a nice site

Source: Real Simple

Some of the Simplest Organising Tips You’ll Ever See

Organisation is a skill, but if you have the right advice – and a bit of know-how – you can get all of those tricky, hard to reach places clean, tidy and organised in a jiffy without having to to spend a fortune. Here’s how to get started.

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  • Sort out the man drawer! Or the junk drawer, whatever you call it in your house. Pop in a desk tidy, then arrange everything however you need it. Batteries, candles, tablets – whatever you keep, arrange it so that you can actually get at it, otherwise, it’s a little bit useless!
  • Use long hangers that can hang multiple tops and t-shirts from one hanger to save space in your closet. You can also buy jewellery hangers and shoe hangers that are brilliant space savers.
  • Tie long lengths of ribbon or fabric around towel bundles or linens so that you never have to search through your cupboard for matching pillowcases again. It looks super pretty, too, and is lovely especially if you display your towel bundles in your bathroom.
  • Pop shoe boxes (and lids) inside drawers to divide em. Cheaper than buying one from a shop, right?
  • When you get instruction manuals, put them all into a ring binder – that way, if something goes wrong or if you need to remember how to use the grill on your new microwave, you have everything to hand.
  • Use one type and brand of hanger for your closets. Your clothes will hang more nicely and you’ll avoid a tangle and jumble of messed up hangers when you pull clothes out. The best type, generally, for all clothes, are medium size velvet hangers as they won’t snag or pull at any material.
  • For that awkward corner at the top of your wardrobe, hang a fruit bowl – it’s actually a really nifty place to store socks. If you’re wasting space at the bottom of the wardrobe, stack boxes to store your shoes in – and pop a photo of the shoes on the front of the box so that you can see which shoes you’re looking for at a glance.
  • Arrange children’s outfits easily on a Sunday by folding onesies, socks, trousers, tops, dresses and pants, then arranging each outfit on the shelf of a collapsible shoe rack. That way, you’re all done for the week and it’ll help shave time off of your routine – great for when your kiddies are in school. Not so good when they start deciding they want to wear fairy wings, but then again, that’s a blog post for another day…
  • Use wall hooks. Delicate wall hooks are great for jewellery, while thicker, sturdier wall hooks will work for everything, really. They also look great grouped together, even if you’re not putting anything on them.
  • Have a party box or party shelf in a closet that has paper plates, napkins, glasses etc, so that you can just reach for what you need and be ready to go when its time for parties!
  • Consider painting a ladder, propping it up against a wall and using it to hang clothes or magazines – super pretty and quirky.

Source: Real Simple.

How to Clean your Home More Quickly

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Let’s face it; there are far more exciting things to be doing in life than cleaning our homes, yet of course, it is important. It often doesn’t feel like there are enough hours in the day to do it all, so how can we cut back some time in cleaning for other stuff?

Here are some tips to help you clean your home more quickly!

Invest in some good cleaning products

You’ll have heard the line that a workman is only as good as his tools, and the same principle (sort of) applies to cleaning. You’ll need to be armed with some good products to do a really good, thorough job and to make things quicker, too. After all, if you’re scrubbing at stubborn stains with something that just isn’t strong enough to tackle it, it’s going to take you twice as long. There’s a great article here regarding which products to use for which problems.

Get all of your cleaning products ready to go

Keeping all of your products organised and preferably in one place is a great way to cut down on cleaning time, as you’ll be armed with everything you need and you can just get to it! There are even boards on Pinterest with ideas for organising your cleaning products to help make things a little easier.

Remove things off the floor

If you’re spending half your time clearing stuff off the floor as you go along, it’s going to take you twice as long as it would if you had a clear floor to work with. Therefore before you start hovering, sweeping or mopping for example, take the time to go round and move things like furniture, cords from the floor and any objects or clutter that’s taking up space on the floor. Keeping things that you place on the floor to a minimum is also of course a good way to keep cleaning time down!

Give your appliances a big, monthly clean

This will make cleaning them weekly much quicker, easier and more pain free! Big, major appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines will need a good deep clean every month to make maintaining them easier and to keep them in good, working order too. There’s a really useful guide for cleaning your washing machine here.

Eliminate clutter regularly

As mentioned above, keeping things off the floor is a great way to make cleaning easier, and you can apply this to other areas; such as keeping things minimal on shelves and other surfaces. At the end of the day, the less stuff you have; the less you have to clean, and the less clutter you have; the easier it is to actually do so!

Clean as you go

It’s a good idea to get rid of any spills as you go along to make a general clean that bit easier and quicker. When it comes to things like washing up, do it straight away to avoid a big build up of stuff too, for example, so big cleans aren’t quite as daunting and time consuming.

Tricks for Keeping Your House Clean for Longer

Let’s face it, none of us like cleaning, right? Well, what if we told you there were a few clever tricks you could employ to keep your house cleaner for longer. It’d be brilliant, wouldn’t it? Follow these tips to keep your house spic and span and take a look at this link for cleaners, if you think you need a little extra help.

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  • Leave it all at the door: Have a mat both inside the door and outside the door and guests will brush their shoes off both inside and outside, which will reduce the amount of dirt trodden through the house and therefore how frequently you’ll need to mop and vacuum.
  • Keep teeny stashes of cleaning supplies throughout the house rather than in one spot, like under the kitchen sink. If you have cleaning supplies to hand, you’ll be far more likely to clean when you’re in that part of the house anyway, instead of doing just one deep clean every week or so. Keep sponges and bathroom cleaner, as well as a few clothes under the bathroom sink, for example, or a packet of cleaning wipes in the coffee table drawer.
  • Layer similar coloured rugs on top of your carpet if you hate having to shampoo it frequently as you can just throw ’em in the washing machine when dirty instead of having to get on your hands and knees for a scrub.
  • Don’t go upstairs without taking something up there that belongs up there, and don’t go downstairs without taking something that belongs downstairs – that way, you’ll always actively be doing something to tidy up, even if you’re not actually tidying anything up! Oh, and don’t leave anything on the stairs. Just take it up with you, or down with you.
  • Leave the dining table set at all tables. It sounds silly, but if you don’t, it can become a bit of a dumping ground for stuff – school bags, toys, stuff. Keeping it set gives the impression of a house that is done and all you need to do is dust it from time to time.
  • Run dryer sheets over areas of the house that get dusty – the coating in them that removes static from your clothes repels dust, so not only do they remove dust, but it’ll also help to repel dust which means that you’ll have to dust less often. Clever, eh?
  • Do a 10 minute power clean once a day. Focus on one area that’s bugging you, or just do a quick once over of the whole house, by switching on some funky music and having a boogie. Easy does it! It also means that you don’t have to stress about doing a big deep clean, either.

Source: Real Simple

6 Simple Fixes for Everyday Kitchen Spills

Kitchen spills can be some of the most annoying messes to clean up – especially if you can’t get to them right away. A dried-on stain is a permanent stain, and a smudge of chocolate fudge icing can become that annoying piece of dirt that just won’t budge whatever you do. Follow these nifty simple fixes for everyday kitchen spills and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll be able to get your kitchen spic and span – so clean, it’ll sparkle.

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  • Combine 2 tbsp. lemon juice and 1 cup water in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave. Heat until boiling, microwave for another three minutes, then leave to stand with the door shut for five minutes and then wipe down the insides of the microwave with a cloth. The steam will loosen all the debris and the lemon juice will deodorise any lingering odours.
  • For spills that seep under surfaces like the couch, wrap a cloth around a ruler and push it under the surface you’re trying to mop. For wooden floors, dip the ruler in a little wooden floor cleaner and for stone floors, dip in a mix of water and vinegar – especially if you’re trying to clean up spilled milk!
  • For burnt food in the oven, let cool, then scrape out big chunks with a spatula. Sprinkle baking soda over the rest, spritz with water, leave to sit overnight and then scrub clean. The baking soda will lift all of the burnt bits from the surface of the oven and everything will come off super easily. To get rid of the burnt smell, add a couple of drops of lemon juice in with the water you use to spritz the oven.
  • If you have a big frozen chunk in the freezer and need to defrost it, unplug, then dip a cloth into a mixture of hot water and a tiny bit of baking powder – then use it to melt the frozen ice. Use clean dry cloths to mop up the spill.  Avoid salt, if possible, as it’ll clog up the freezer and could get into your food, which is definitely not what you want – plus, it could prevent it from freezing properly in the future.
  • If a glass has broken in the dishwasher, clean it up by turning off the machine a shining a torch into the dishwasher. Any broken glass will sparkle. Halve a potato and dab it onto any glass you see, then run an empty cycle to get rid of any bits of glass that you can’t see.
  • For a dried spill of something on the counter, scrub the area with a microfibre cloth to get rid of any bits and then rinse with a damp cloth – it’ll prevent that chasing-crumbs-around-the-counter-top thing that can often happen when you clean.

Source: Real Simple

8 Cleaning Mistakes You’re Probably Making

It might not be spring (we know, it’s freezing!) but that doesn’t mean that it’s not time for a clean! Take a look at these 8 cleaning mistakes you’re probably making to find out how to give your home a lovely clean this winter.

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  • Putting all of your spoons (and forks) in one basket in the dishwasher. Although they can all go in the same pot, they shouldn’t face the same way. Forks can face up, as that prevents the prongs from getting bent out of shape, but spoons should mix and match – so that they don’t end up “spooning”.
  • Cleaning windows on a sunny day. Glass dries more quickly, which results in more streaks, which results in windows that look more dirty more quickly.
  • Spritzing cleaning spray directly onto surfaces – this might work for really dirty surfaces, but it leaves a buildup on walls and countertops if you do it too often and it’ll also make your bottle of cleaner run out more quickly. Spritz onto your cleaning cloth instead.
  • Cleaning without gloves on! Your skin is really absorbent! Although you might just be wiping the sink down really quickly, your skin will still absorb potentially harmful chemicals, which’ll cause dryness, damage and in the winter months (depending on how much cleaning you do), even bleeding. Always look after your hands with plenty of hand lotion and scrubs, too, and always wear gloves when its cold out.
  • Treating stains at the surface won’t do a lot – although it might get rid of the stain at the surface, in time, the stain may well come back – especially if any dirt or dust gets trodden or worn into the stain. Mop up liquids with kitchen towel first, then douse with club soda, blot, and repeat until no more colour transfers to the towel.
  • Popping the loo brush right back into the holder after use. Bacteria is icky, and it needs moisture to multiply – a loo roll holder is the perfect environment for that. Once you’ve used it, sandwich the end of it between the loo seat and the loo, letting the brush hang over the bowl, then leave to dry completely for 10-15 minutes before popping back into the holder. Just tell people not to go into the loo whilst its drying!
  • Cleaning sponges with water isn’t really enough. Wash ’em with washing-up liquid or sponge sanitizer, or throw them into the dishwasher. Or – pick up a cheap pack of sponges every time you go to the grocery store and just replace them when they get too dirty. Wash, clean or replace every day over the holidays when cooking and food prep activity ramps up.
  • Vacuuming pet fur without the right attachment. This works, but it also blows away a lot of the hair – which gives you more work to do later. Use the right tool and you’ll have less to do later and less fur to pick off your clothes.

Source: Real Simple

Super Speedy Cleaning Tips

Is the thought of keeping your home clean and tidy more than a little bit overwhelming? Well, starting from just 30 seconds here and there, you can keep your home super duper tidy without breaking a sweat. Good, eh? If that still sounds like too much work, or if you’d rather have someone help you out, you can always hire a cleaner instead!

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If You Have 30 Seconds

  • Cleaning the bathroom: grab a cleaning wipe and give the sink and taps a good ol’ scrub
  • Cleaning the bedroom: chuck dirty clothes in the washing basket, tidy up the top of your chest of drawers, dresser or dressing table or do a spot of dusting
  • Cleaning the living room: if anything is in the wrong place or where it doesn’t belong, take them back to where they live: i.e. kicked off shoes in the cupboard, piles of magazines into the rack or stacked neatly on the coffee table or pop any dirty dishes into the kitchen
  • Cleaning the kitchen: wash dishes in hot soapy water as soon as you use them or pop them in the dishwasher so they’re out of the way

If You Have 5 Minutes

  • Cleaning the bathroom: wipe down the shower by switching on the water and using a bathroom spray and if you still have time, give the loo a quick clean
  • Cleaning the bedroom: make the bed and plump the pillows and cushions
  • Cleaning the living room: pass a duster over tables and lamps, then vacuum the carpet or rug
  • Cleaning the kitchen: spray down the work surfaces, give them a wipe over with a sponge, then wipe down the hob

If You Have 15 Minutes

  • Cleaning the hallway: neatly hang up coats and jackets, move anything that’s sitting about on the stairs and line up shoes and boots. If you have an umbrella/coat stand, make use of it! Organise the post (if any) and give the doormat a good vacuum or shake it out (outside, otherwise you’ll make more work for yourself)
  • Cleaning tiled floors/wooden floors: get the mop bucket out and give the floors a really good clean
  • Cleaning the bedroom: strip the bed and pop the bedding in the washing machine, then make the bed with fresh linens and finish off with some decorative cushions
  • Cleaning the bathroom: bleach the loo, give the sink a proper scrub and wipe down the tank/skirting boards. If you have time, clean the floors by either mopping or vacuuming

Source: The Nest

How to Do Laundry

It’s a little bit like not knowing how to cook fish and chips. You stick ’em in the oven at whatever temperature it says on the box, on a non-stick baking tray. Easy, eh? You’d be amazed at the amount of people who cook everything at 180C, from meringues to macaroni cheese yet are surprised that their meals never turn out quite right. The same goes for laundry – many people throw everything in the “easy care” cycle and are then surprised when their whites are grey and their blacks dull. If you’re one of those people, listen up – we’re here to tell you how to do laundry. Or, if you’d rather, you could hire someone else to do it for you.

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Take the Temperatures

Have you ever looked at any of the care labels on your clothes? If you haven’t, that’s probably why they don’t really look their best. Wash everything with similar colours, and make sure that everything is washed with clothes that need to be washed at the same temperature. It sounds very simple, but it does take a little more time than just chucking everything into the bowl in one go.

Whites Whiter

To make whites whiter, wash them at a higher temperature – they end up a little bit grey if washed at a cool temperature. You might also be using the wrong type of detergent, or not enough of it. Wash only lightly soiled clothes together instead of lumping everything together – if you do, you’ll end up contaminating the lightly dirty clothes which just means that you’ll have to wash everything again anyway.

Do a Dry Run

Doing a dry run or a dry wash means running the washing machine at least once a month, or more frequently, with detergent in it as though you were going to wash your clothes – but just without the clothes. It cleans all of the inner workings of the washing machine and can really improve the effectiveness of the washes. It’s also a good idea to use water softener tablets in each wash if you’re in a hard-water area, as limescale can get into all of the pipes and nooks and crannies of the machine, reducing its efficiency and potentially soiling your clothes even further.

Stop Shrinking

When clothes shrink, it’s either because you’re washing on a too-high or too-hot setting, or because the dryer is too hot. To prevent shrinking, either run the clothes through a cool wash and hang to dry, or dry them on the very lowest setting that you can get away with.

Stop Colour Run

Colour run is a pain in the bum, but it can be avoided. Wash the item that you’re worried about on its own and see if the colour runs or if the water changes colour. If it does, unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to wash it with other clothes and will just have to bite the bullet and do an extra wash every now and then. If not, you’ll be fine (generally) if you turn the item inside out and then pop it in with similar colours at the temperature specified on the label.

Sources: The Nest