12 Clever Cleaning Tips

Cleaning is a real bore, but these clever cleaning hacks will most definitely make your life that little bit easier. From the things that you don’t clean but should to the things that are much more difficult to clean than you might have thought, our 12 clever cleaning tips will do the job nicely. Click here if you’d rather someone else do the job for you.

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  • To clean computer keyboards and laptops, use a clean makeup brush. They’re small enough to get in between all of those little nooks and crannies, but they’re big enough and strong enough to catch all of the crumbs stuck between your keys.
  • To remove grease strains from walls, rub some cornstarch into a cloth and then rub over the stain until it disappears – easy peasy!
  • To clean the inside of a handbag, rub a lint roller around the lining. It’ll get rid of crumbs and all of those unknown particles that somehow find their way into the bottom of your bag!
  • How do you clean a ceiling fan? Either with a feather duster or a pillowcase – just stretch the pillowcase over each panel of the fan.
  • To clean your iron (if it’s a bit grimy or just because you’re a cleaning fan) or to clean ironware pieces, make a paste out of baking soda and water, then apply to the area you want to clean. Leave to soak for 45 minutes, then wipe off with a damp washcloth.
  • Use dryer sheets to clean skirting boards. Not only do they work well as dusters, but because they reduce static, rubbing them over your skirting boards will apply a dust-repelling coating that should reduce the number of times you need to get on your hands and knees to clean.
  • To get into those hard to reach corners, cover a broom with a dusting cloth and attach with a rubber band. Viola! A long-handled duster that you can use for ceilings and awkward spots alike.
  • Use a squeegee type tool for getting rid of pet hair – it sucks up a surprising amount of hair and works better than a vacuum cleaner in some areas of the home.
  • For sticky, icky baking trays and pans, use a mixture of baking soda and water to scrub away the stains. If you’re cleaning non-stick sheets, leave to soak in extremely hot water and soap, then (unfortunately) you’ll have to scrub them repeatedly.
  • To clean old candles and to get rid of wax, just pour hot water into the candle and the wax should pour right out. Don’t pour it down the sink though – you’ll end up with a blockage.
  • The burners on your hob are a real pain in the neck to clean, but this trick should make the job a whole lot easier: put 1/4 cup ammonia and a burner into a large zip-loc freezer bag. Leave overnight, then rinse clean. Do NOT use bleach at the same time as using ammonia as this will cause toxic and potentially fatal fumes.
  • We’ve all heard of the old cheap cola down the loo trick, but it’s also a brilliant rust disolver!

Source: The Nest

How to Clean Green

Doing a bit of a spring (or autumn) clean? Maybe you’ve got a box for stuff you want to keep, a box for stuff you want to donate to charity and a box for stuff you want to throw away. Chances are, you can still recycle virtually everything that you want to throw away – which is better for the environment and for consumers, too. Lean how to clean green by following these tips and take a look at this link for housekeeping and cleaning supplies to get the job done.

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  • If you’re replacing your old mobile phone, TV, tablet or any other gadget, one of the first things you need to do is see if you can get a decent sum for it on an auction site – just check the make and model of your gadget to see what the going rate is. If it isn’t worth selling, there are plenty of charities who will sell them on for you. And if not? There are recycling facilities specifically for gadgets that can strip the parts down for re-use.
  • Chucking out a computer? Either take it to the shop where you buy your new laptop and they’ll recycle it for you, or donate it to a local charity, like a charity shop, nonprofit or animal home.
  • Consider donating to the armed forces. You can donate gadgets to armed forces charities to brighten up the lives of our servicemen and women.
  • If you’re cleaning out your closet, there are plenty of eco-friendly options. You could sell them through an auction site, or donate to a number of charities.  Nip into your local charity shop or search for specific charities online – there are plenty of them, including charities for women suffering from breast cancer. Alternatively, hold a swap shop with your friends and family – choose all the clothes that you want to bin, then take them to the swap shop with you. Everyone can then take home clothes that they covet and anything left over at the end of the evening can be donated.
  • The amount of furniture going into landfill has increased more than 400% since the 1960s, which means that there is an awful lot of really beautiful, really useful bits and pieces that are just sitting amongst piles of rubbish. Instead of putting them into landfill, donate them to charity or list them for free on a local listing website.
  • Books are super easy to recycle. Donate them to your local charity shop or to a books for soldiers program. If they’re rare tomes or vintage editions of popular books, you can sell them to your local bookstore or online.

Source: The Nest

10 Simple But Effective Laundry Care Tips

Laundry is laundry. It’s not very interesting, it’s not very fun, but it’s just something we have to do. But there are a few ways that you can make your washes even more effective – yay! Which means that you don’t have to spend as much money on washing liquids and conditioners – and less time ironing, too. Double yay! Take a this link for hiring cleaning supplies to help you on your way.

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  • Some washing liquid manufacturers claim that you can wash everything at 30C. You can wash a lot of stuff at 30C, but not everything, and you won’t get the clean feeling that you want if you just bung everything in at the same temperature. Cold is for fabrics that you’re worried will shrink or get damaged in a warmer wash, warmer washes will generally do for just about everything else, and hot washes should be used for linens, towels, tea towels and anything that could harbor bacteria.
  • If whites are turning grey, make sure that you’re only putting whites into the wash – and that they’re all the same kind of “dirty”. It might also be because the machine is dirty, so wash it once a fortnight with nothing in it, using either your regular cleaner or a dedicated washing machine cleaner.
  • Stop dark or coloured clothes from fading by turning ’em inside out before washing.
  • Prevent shrinkage by using a cool wash. Then, when drying, either hang it or dry it on the coolest setting in the tumble dryer.
  • Hate ironing? Of course you do! Lessen the need to iron either by using “ironing balls” in your tumble dryer, or by drying on a longer and cooler cycle so that wrinkles don’t get “tumbled” into your clothes. As soon as the clothes are dry, hang them or fold them so that wrinkles don’t get chance to join the party.
  • Keep your delicates, well, delicate, by popping them in a mesh bag and washing on the coolest possible cycle. Don’t just throw them in with everything else.
  • Using too much detergent will just result in a soapy mess. Those suds can trap dirt and actually embed them in the clothes. It’s not always a case of more soap = cleaner clothes. Just use the minimum amount and don’t fill the cap to the brim every time you wash.
  • Never, ever, ever use conditioner to wash your towels. It takes away all the softness, by, ironically, softening the fibres, which flattens them and means that the towels feel less fluffy.
  • As soon as a stain appears, whip off the offending item of clothing, pretreat it with a stain remover and pop it on a cool wash right away. The longer you leave it, the more embedded it’ll get. If the stain is still there, repeat the cycle.
  • When using sheets that catch running colours in your laundry, keep an eye and make sure that they don’t get stuck in any pipework – they easily slip down drains and into pipes which means that your washing machine won’t wash properly.

Source: The Nest

 

5 Cleaning Myths to Avoid for a Sparkling Home

Not many people enjoy cleaning – getting down on your hands and knees and scrubbing drops of tea off of the kitchen floor isn’t a particularly fun way to while away an afternoon. It might not be particularly enjoyable, but it’s just something that has to be done so that your home looks presentable. Right? Well, there are a few cleaning myths that could actually be making your home less than spick and span, or that are just plain useless. Learn what they are and how to avoid them by reading below – or, you could hire a cleaner to help you out instead.

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Bleach is the Best

Some people love bleach. After all, it makes everything white, and kills every conceivable germ. Well, no, not really. Bleach is good at disinfecting stuff, which is why we put it down loos, in the kitchen sink and anywhere else that nasty germies lie in wait. But it doesn’t really clean that well – as in, it can’t really lift grime. It’ll bleach it, but it won’t get rid. Instead, use regular cleaners or bleach-containing cleaners to lift grime and dirt, then bleach (if appropriate) to disinfect.

Vinegar Can Be Used to Clean Anything

White vinegar is a fab deodorizer and can clean lots of things, making mirrors shine and glass sparkle. But although it works well on a lot of surfaces, such as plastic, glass or ceramic, on others, it’s not so good. Keep vinegar away from your granite worktops and wooden floors/furniture, as it could cause quite a bit of damage.

Newspaper Makes Windows Super Shiny

Newspaper is a great alternative to paper towelling for cleaning windows – it doesn’t leave behind any fluff or lint, which means that they stay shiny and crystal clear. In principle, that’s entirely true and depending on the cleaning products you use, and how much they dilute the ink in the paper, newspaper might work a treat. But if the cleaning products dilute the ink, it’ll end up smearing all over your windows – and then you’ll have to use paper towels to clean. Test the cleaning product on the paper before you go to town on the windows.

Soft Furnishings Should Be Professionally Cleaned

Your mum or nan or cleaning-mad best pal might have told you that all soft furnishings, like your sofa or mattress, that you can’t chuck in the washing machine, should be professionally cleaned. Although a professional clean will result in a lovely finish, it’ll also put you out of pocket. Don’t use soap and water on your furniture as you have no way of knowing how it’ll affect the colours and the fabric. Instead, try steam cleaning.

You Need Furniture Polish to Clean Wood

Nope. Furniture polish contains oils, and these oils attract dust and voila – you have to clean more often. Dust frequently with lint-free cloths and if you spill something on wood, use a wood-specific cleaner, not polish, to get rid of it. Use polish every now and then simply to polish, but don’t use it to clean.

Source: The Nest

DIY Tips: Top 10 Stain Removal Tips

Pesky red wine stain? Dropped curry on the floor? Learn how to get rid of these pesky stains and more by following our top ten tips to stain removal – and take a look at this link for cleaning services and products to help you get the job done.

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  • For red wine stains, white wine can often do the job, but only on fresh stains. Add a drop, blot well, then sponge them with a little bit of warm water. If that doesn’t do the trick, follow it up with an emergency carpet or upholstery cleaner. For stains on clothes, use an on-the-spot stain remover.
  • For mud stains, pre-treat clothes with a stain remover before washing as normal. If the mud still doesn’t come out, you can use methylated spirits, available from most chemists, to get them out. If the mud is on carpets or rugs, let it dry completely, give it a good scrub with a stiff brush to loosen the mud, then dig out your vacuum cleaner to vacuum it up.
  • For ballpoint pen stains, simply soak the fabric in a mixture of biological detergent and cold water overnight, then wash as normal the following day. If the stain is a bit stubborn, dab with nail varnish remover – but don’t use it on synthetic fabrics.
  • For blood stains, soak the fabric in cold, salted water for a good 15 minutes and then wash as normal with biological washing detergent. Soaking in a water/bleach solution should also do the trick. You could also use carpet shampoo.
  • For curry stains, the best way to get rid of them is to deal with them immediately – i.e. as soon as the spill occurs. For things that you can wash, use a stain removal spray as a pre-treater, leave to soak for 15 minutes, then throw straight in the washing machine and wash as normal with biological detergent. On carpets, try a little bit of diluted lemon juice.
  • For pollen stains, lift off the pollen as much as you can with a bit of sellotape – don’t rub it as it’ll get worse. Then wash as normal!
  • For grass stains, use a stain removing gel or spray. Apply according to directions, leave to soak, then wash as normal. Another more natural way to remove the stain is to mix egg white and glycerine together to use as a pre-treater before washing as normal.
  • For grease stains, you have to get creative. Put plain brown paper over the stain (if it’s on carpet or washable fabrics), then gently heat with an iron so that the paper can absorb some of the grease. On carpets, follow up with a shampoo. On upholstery, sprinkle a bit of talc onto the stain and then scrub with a stiff brush. If you can wash fabrics, just wash as normal with biological detergent.
  • For tea stains, use a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and water, or white vinegar and water will do the job nicely too for clothes, upholstery and stained teaspoons.
  • For sweat stains, use a powdered stain remover. Let it soak in, then brush off and if you can wash the fabric, pop it into the washing machine and wash as normal with biological detergent.

Source: UKTV Home

DIY Tips: How to Unblock a Drain

Learn how to unblock a drain with this simple guide.

Things You’ll Need:

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Check the Drain Chambers

The first thing you need to do is lift the cover from the nearest drain inspection to the house. If you need to, use a spade to lever the cover up. If the drain chamber is empty of water, it means that the blockage is somewhere between the soil pipe from the house to the drain chamber. If there is water in the chamber, it means that the blockage is nearer to the main sewer system. Check the next drain chamber along and so on until you work out where the problem is.

Put the Drain Rods Into the Drain Chamber

Screw together two or three drain rods and add the plunger head. Push the end of the rods into the pipe opening in the drain chamber, then slowly twist the rods in a clockwise direction whilst pushing forwards firmly. Don’t twist the rods anti-clockwise as they could come apart in the drain and will be really tricky to get out.

Work Through the Blockage

Add extra sections of drain rods to the rod you have in the drain, whilst still pushing forwards, until you start to meet resistance in the drainpipe. Move backwards and forwards so that the plunger head can dislodge the blockage. If this doesn’t do the trick, remove the rods and the plunger and put the screw attachment on instead. Keep pushing forwards and backwards, twisting the rods in a clockwise direction. Keep going and water should start to flow through. If any debris comes up through the drain chamber, pick it out so that it doesn’t block the drain again.

Run the Hot Taps

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Go back inside the house and run the hot taps at all outlets. Add a drain unblocker or detergent to each outlet and let it run through the pipes to dislodge any fat or debris that might be in the pipes. Leave them running for at least five minutes and go back to the drain chamber to make sure that the water is flowing through the drains properly. Replace the cover, clean the drain rods, leave to dry and pack away. If you are still having issues, call a plumber.

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: How to Remove Chocolate

It’s delicious, but if you leave chocolate out of the fridge for too long, it’ll melt everywhere and cause troublesome stains. Learn how to remove chocolate with these tips and take a look at this link for cleaning tools.

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Removing Chocolate From Fabric

It’s almost impossible to remove chocolate that is still tacky to the touch. Wait for it to dry completely, or, use the ice trick. Run an ice cube over the chocolate until it hardens and then chip as much of it off as you can with a flat object like a palette knife. This should remove the bulk of the chocolate, but it’ll probably still leave a chocolatey stain behind. Get rid of this stain by soaking the fabric in a solution of washing soda and water for at least 15 minutes. Once soaked, wash the fabric at the highest temperature that the fabric can handle with some biological detergent. The stain should have lifted, but if not, use a dedicated stain removal product and wash the fabric again.

Removing Chocolate From Carpet

If you have children, chances are, you’ve had to try to get chocolate out of carpet at some point. It’s easier than you’d think, too! Firstly, chill the chocolate with an ice cube and chip as much of it off as you can using a palette knife. If some chocolate still remains, keep chilling it and chipping at it until you remove as much of it as possible. If there’s still chocolate left, use a carpet shampoo. Leave to sit for at least 10-15 minutes, then dry or vacuum according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Removing Chocolate From Furniture and Upholstery

Again, chill the chocolate using an ice cube so that it’s easier to remove. Chip it off as much as you can, being careful not to damage the fabric. Once you’ve removed as much chocolate as you can, soak the stain using a specialist stain removal product designed for use on upholstery. Leave the stain remover to soak for the time specified by the manufacturer and either dab dry or rinse with water as needed. Pat dry with paper towels or a clean cloth.

Cleaning Tips:

  • Always do a patch test when using stain removal products just in case the products cause further staining or discolouration – test on somewhere that’s out of the way and that won’t be seen should the product cause staining.
  • Check manufacturer’s instructions before using any products and make sure to check fabric care labels for further washing instructions.
  • If you’re unsure of whether or not you can clean an item, seek professional advice.

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: How to Remove Curry

Curry night on a Friday is standard fare for many people – but drop curry onto your clothes, or worse, onto the carpet or onto furniture, and you’ve got a really troublesome stain to remove. Look at the tips below for advice and take a look at this link for cleaning tools.

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Removing Curry From Carpets

Curry is one of the trickiest stains to remove and if you leave the stain to sink in, it’ll only get worse. If you drop curry onto a carpet, to begin with, sponge off as much of the curry as you can. Use a stain removal treatment suitable for use on carpets as quickly as possible, then leave it to soak in according to manufacturer’s instructions. Vacuum or rinse as directed. The stain should hopefully have lightened by this time. Next, use a carpet shampoo, rub it into the carpet fibres and then leave to soak in according to manufacturer’s instructions. Rinse or vacuum as directed. The stain should be lifted by now, but if not, repeat by using the stain removal treatment and the carpet shampoo.

Removing Curry From Fabric

If you get a little over-excited while eating your curry and drop it down yourself, sponge off the excess curry and then apply a liquid detergent immediately. Leave to soak in for ten minutes or so and then wash the fabric on the highest heat possible with biological detergent. If the stain still persists, apply a little hydrogen peroxide to the area, but be sure to test the hydrogen peroxide on an inconspicuous area of the fabric first in case it bleaches or discolours the fabric. Can you still see a stain? Use pretreatment, wash the fabric again and try hydrogen peroxide again to lighten and brighten the stain. Think about using a brightening or bleaching pretreatment on the stain if you’re trying to lift it from a white fabric, too, as this might help.

Removing Curry From Furniture and Upholstery

It’s a good idea to seek professional help when trying to remove curry from furniture and upholstery as it is a tricky stain to remove. If you want to remove the stain yourself, try dabbing a little hydrogen peroxide onto the area to lift the stain. Before applying the mixture, dab a little bit of it onto an inconspicuous area of the fabric just in case of discolouration or bleaching. If you’re still waiting for a professional, hide the stain with a throw or cushion.

Cleaning Tips:

  • Always do a patch test when using stain removal products just in case the products cause further staining or discolouration – test on somewhere that’s out of the way and that won’t be seen should the product cause staining.
  • Check manufacturer’s instructions before using any products and make sure to check fabric care labels for further washing instructions.
  • If you’re unsure of whether or not you can clean an item, seek professional advice.

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: How to Remove Coffee

Being a little overenthusiastic with your biscuit-dunking in the morning could result in spills and stains. Learn how to remove coffee with these tips and take a look at this link for cleaning tools.

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Removing Coffee From Fabric

If the fabric can be washed, treat it with a little pretreatment and leave it to soak in for 10-15 minutes. Then, wash as normal on the highest temperature that the fabric can take along with some biological washing detergent. If the fabric is still stained, soak it in a mixture made up of one part clear vinegar and two parts water as this is really effective at lifting off stains. Still not shifting? Try a dedicated stain removal treatment, or a brightening/whitening washing detergent to brighten and bleach the stain – this is particularly useful if you’re trying to remove stains from white fabric.

Removing Coffee From Carpet

Carpet stains are a real pain to remove, especially if they’re dark and your carpet is light. First up, soak the spot in cold water and then blot dry with paper towels or a clean cloth. If you can still see the stain, use a carpet shampoo as directed. Leave to soak into the stain for the allotted period of time, then vacuum or rinse as directed. The stain should have lifted by now. If not, shampoo the carpet again and repeat until the stain has lifted.

Removing Coffee From Furniture and Upholstery

It can be tough to remove furniture stains without staining the furniture further, so your first option when removing coffee stains from furniture is to soak the stain with cool water. Dab at the stain with a little bit of fabric detergent. Leave to sit for 10 minutes or so, then rinse with clean water and blot dry using paper towels. If the stain is still there, consider using a dedicated stain removal product designed for use on upholstery. Soak the stain, then rinse and dry as directed.

Cleaning Tips:

  • Always do a patch test when using stain removal products just in case the products cause further staining or discolouration – test on somewhere that’s out of the way and that won’t be seen should the product cause staining.
  • Check manufacturer’s instructions before using any products and make sure to check fabric care labels for further washing instructions.
  • If you’re unsure of whether or not you can clean an item, seek professional advice.

Source: 4Homes

DIY Tips: How to Remove Chewing Gum

Chewing gum can be tricky to remove but the key to getting rid of it is to chill it so that you can chip it off. Learn how to remove it with these cleaning tips and take a look at these cleaning tools.

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The Ice Trick

This trick works – most of the time. Grab an ice cube and rub it along the piece of gum until frozen. You might need a couple of ice cubes as well as repeated applications. Scrape the gum off with something flat, like a palette knife, or chip away at it as best as you can. This is effective for removing gum from hair, carpets, floors and furniture. Keep in mind though that if you’re trying to chip away gum from an expensive piece of furniture, you need to be very careful not to damage the furniture.

The Heat Trick

If you can’t get rid of the chewing gum using ice, the trick is to heat it instead. Use a hairdryer on a medium heat to heat the chewing gum until it melts. Put a plastic bag over your hand and then peel the chewing gum off. To improve the heating effects of the hairdryer, rub a little bit of deep heating gel (the type you’d use for back spasms) into the area that you wish to treat. (If you’re getting rid of chewing gum from a piece of furniture or carpet in an obvious spot, try not to use the deep heat gel unless you absolutely have to as it could stain).

Wash it Off

The colour from the chewing gum could leech into the fabric or furniture, so you’ll need to wash the area with a little mild cleaning fluid and water just to get rid of any pieces of gum that are left behind. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Cleaning Tips:

  • If the ice trick or the heat trick doesn’t work on the first go, try, try and try again. Repeated applications might do the trick, especially if you’ve managed to get most of the gum off but there are still a few bits stuck.
  • Use the rough side of a sponge to clean the last dregs of chewing gum from furniture. When cleaning carpet or soft furnishings, use the soft side of the sponge and simply apply more pressure – the last thing you want to do is damage the fabric by being too rough with it.
  • Finally, if you’re ever unsure of whether or not you can clean a certain fabric or piece of furniture, contact a professional for advice.

Source: 4Homes