Once Fools’ Day is out of the way, April is a great time to smarten up your act. Or, more specifically, smarten up your home’s act with a super spring clean.
Take a moment or two to look through our neat little list of hacks, then grab your rubber gloves and give your home a clean sweep.
The clocks have sprung forward. The days are a little longer. And the weather is becoming more pleasant. If this temperate season puts a spring in your step, grab a bucket and mop to freshen up your home.
Rather than spending your hard-earned cash on handfuls of supermarket sprays, it is possible to get everything shipshape with products from your kitchen cupboard. These include olive oil, lemons and limes, vodka and every grandmother's secret cleaning weapon, white vinegar.
I can see clearly now!
Starting on the windows is a great idea. Gleaming glass allows natural light to flood through your home.
Mix equal amounts of warm white vinegar and water. Remove dust from exterior windows with a cloth or paper towel. Then, go over your glass with your vinegar solution until it is spotless.
You can use a spray bottle to do this job but, if you want to do the insides as well, lay a towel along the bottom of your windows to soak up any excess liquid.
Lemons and limes are both acidic, both work well for descaling calcium and other dirt deposits, and both will leave your home smelling citrusy fresh.
Give your tub a rub
Vinegar really is a cleaning wiz. A 50:50 mix with water makes tiles, counters and cabinet doors sparkle. A paste made from baking soda and water will remove grime from enamel surfaces, like showers and bathtubs. But, for really stubborn stains, replace the water with vinegar to blast the baddest of blemishes.
Summery salads love a drizzle of olive oil. But the Mediterranean dressing has more than one use. It’s also great for bringing a high sheen to stainless steel and brass surfaces. Simply pour a little onto a clean microfibre cloth and rub this onto your murky metals to give them a new lease of life.
Olive oil can also be used to give wooden and leather surfaces an attractive lustre. It’s always best to test it on a small, unseen area first to ensure it doesn’t darken your sofas, tables and chairs. Also, use it sparingly so it doesn’t end up dripping onto your flooring.
Vodka is a tonic for removing stains
Like other alcohols, vodka is a degreasing agent, so it can be used to remove a variety of stains from fabrics, especially oily and greasy marks. The advantage of vodka is it has a high alcohol content and is a clear liquid. Alcohols like whisky, on the other hand, may transfer their colour to the fabric. Simply dab undiluted vodka onto the stain, gently rub, leave for a few minutes before washing at the recommended temperature. Stubborn stains may need two or three washes but, often, fabrics will come out of the washing machine as good as new after just one wash.
Lemons and limes
Lemons and limes are both acidic, both work well for descaling calcium and other dirt deposits and both will leave your home smelling citrusy fresh. Their pleasant fragrance makes them ideal for cleaning the lids and rims of indoor bins to combat nasty odours. You can also use citrus juice to clean indoor windows, if you want to give your room a subtle zesty aroma.
The really clever thing about these fruits is that they’re capable of removing rust! Sprinkle salt over the affected area, squeeze the lemon or lime juice over the salt, leave for two to three hours and remove the solution with the peel to combat the rust.
Remember, using the products you already have in your kitchen cupboards is not just good news for your purse, it’s also better for the environment.
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