Sunday , May 19 2024

Housework, retro style

As we struggle through the kind of recession not seen since the 1930s there’s no better time to look back to the cleaning techniques of our grandmothers.  Frugal and often eco-friendly, cleaning the old-fashioned way can save you pounds every month.  So drop those antiseptic wipes and overpriced toilet cleaners and head back in time to make your house sparkle.

Baking Soda is commonly used in cleaning with no end of uses around the house.  Most well known is its ability to deodorise.  Place a cup full in your refrigerator to soak up odours or rub all over the shelves during a full spring clean.  Chuck another cup full in to your dishwasher before running through to have things smelling sweet again.  Likewise smelly carpets, especially those belonging to dog owners can benefit from Shake ‘n’ Vac style action – sprinkle baking soda all over, leaving for 15 minutes before vacuuming.  Create a paste with lemon juice and vinegar to produce a great all purpose cleaner which removes stains without corroding delicate surfaces.  Or simply add a little water to form a thick paste which, smeared over tea cups can remove stubborn tannin stains or on walls get rid of crayon marks.

Natural sunlight might turn skin brown but it can also be an effective bleach.  Stains on clothes can be taken out by first wetting the stained area before leaving it laid out in the sun, wetting again as it dries until the stain comes out.  Likewise leaving bedding and carpets in sunlight occasionally can reduce the likelihood of developing mould and mildew.

The mild acid in lemon juice makes an excellent cleaning agent.  Dilute lemon juice in hot water to create an excellent general kitchen cleaner free from dangerous bleaches.  It can also be used to remove stains gently and effectively – berry stains on fingers, tarnished cutlery, ink on clothing can all be obliterated by combining a little lemon juice with a little salt.  When your chopping board starts to smell, despite washing, grab half a lemon and simply rub it all over the surface before rinsing.

If your glasses are marked or stained use cheap white vinegar to rub clean before rinsing thoroughly, leaving glassware sparkling clean.  In the same way use vinegar to wash windows, rubbing dry with newspaper to leave a gleaming, streak free finish.  Limescale in bathroom fixtures can also be removed by vinegar while adding vinegar to the toilet bowl can remove stains even better than bleaches can.  Tiles meanwhile are cleared of mould and mildew.  Pour a cup of white vinegar in to your washing machine before running it on a normal cycle to remove blockages.

In the same way that acid in lemon is an excellent cleaner, Coca Cola cleans away the most stubborn of stains.  Empty a can in to the toilet bowl and leave for an hour before flushing.  Rub on to a chrome car bumper with kitchen foil to remove rust or pour in to a washing machine with normal detergent to remove stubborn grease stains from clothing.

About Jane Walshman

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