After discovering how amazing vinegar and bicarbonate of soda are to help clean stubborn stains in a toilet, I have been trying out the dynamite duo (quite literally – watch them fizz when they get mixed together!) on other cleaning jobs. Anything that speeds up cleaning is a winner in my books. Here are three ideas that really work…..
Fridge deodoriser – I’ve got a little pot of bicarbonate of soda sitting in my fridge, and am pretty sure it’s working well. Can’t smell anything whiffy anyway! Apparently one small pot works well for about three months, just shake it up every now and again. One blog reader commented on the toilet cleaning post about a friend recommending using bicarb to deodorise cat litter trays too.
Floor cleaner – I’ve got a steam floor cleaner and have previously added a splash of shop-bought floor cleaner into the water, but found it left streaks. I’ve started adding white vinegar instead and it definitely helps cut through dirty marks but doesn’t streak. It does leave a bit of a whiff of vinegar, but honestly it subsides in a couple of minutes.
Limescale Remover – I read about this on Pinterest…..the home of multiple vinegar tips! I used vinegar and bicarbonate of soda on our shower head this week to shift a build-up of limescale, and it made quite a good job. I’ve been reluctant to use anything super strong on my shower in case it tarnished the chrome coating, but our water is really hard and it was starting to look ugly. You just pop a cup of white vinegar in a freezer bag along with about half a cup of bicarbonate of soda, put the shower head in the bag and secure with an elastic bag. Leave it overnight and then give it a bit of a scrub in the morning. It needed a little bit more of a scrub than I had hoped, but we’re talking about quite a build-up here. I’m really pleased with the result, and because it’s more gentle than chemical cleaners will definitely be doing it on a more regular basis.
There are hundreds of ways you can use vinegar and bicarbonate of soda round the home (or so Pinterest tells me!), and I am ploughing my way through them. I’ll only recommend the ones that I think actually work. I’d love to hear any of your own tips…..
I wrote a post last week with tips on how to speed up cleaning, and it was really popular. So this week, I thought I’d include some speed-cleaning tips specifically for the kitchen. The trouble with kitchens is that they’re in constant use and staying on top of the mess is the only way to tackle it. No miracle solutions, little and often is the only way to do it I’m afraid!
- When you’re cooking, fill the sink with hot soapy water and try and clean as you go. It makes such a difference to the amount of dirty dishes left at the end of a meal.
- If you’ve got the space and cash, a dishwasher is great. Be sure to make sure you load as you go to keep surfaces free of dirty dishes. I load through the day, put it on before I go to bed, and unload during breakfast.
- Shine your sink a la Fly Lady (read one of my earlier posts for more info). However much I hate to admit it, having a clean and empty sink every morning does inspire you to keep on top of other jobs. After our dinner (most nights!), I empty the sink and fill with hot water. Pop a bit of bleach into the water and leave for as long as I can before I want to crash on the sofa. After rinsing well and wiping down the taps, I dry the whole area with a tea towel and shine the shiny bits with a microfibre cloth.
- Have good mats at every outside door. Capturing dirt on mats saves a lot of cleaning. I like coir matting (you can get them from local carpet shops and they’ll cut them to whatever size you need), but Turtle Mats are good too. Just make sure the mats have a latex backing (to retain the dirt) and give them a good shake outside regularly.
- Sweep up or use a hand-held hoover to help keep on top of crumbs. I try and give the floor a quick once over after every meal. I also have a packet of floor wipes that I use to spot clean if my 3 year old pest has spilt something.
- Use a steam cleaner to wash floors rather than a mop and bucket. I hate mopping the floors, it just takes too long so I bought a steam cleaner about six months ago. Whilst it still takes me a lot longer than I’d like, it dries much quicker. I pop a bit of vinegar in the water and it helps gets the floors cleaner without going streaky (the vinegar smell subsides really quickly – I promise!)
- If you’ve got a choice, don’t opt for high maintenance surfaces in your kitchen (like wood, polished or gloss) to save on too much faff. But most of us just inherit what was in the house before we moved in.
- Try and keep clutter to a minimum to make wiping over the surfaces as easy and quick as possible. More storage, shelving, notice boards and a major declutter can all help.
- I use any old disinfectant spray that happens to be on offer in the supermarket for regular quick wipe-downs. Be sure to replace cloths often (you can pop dirty ones into the dishwasher). Dry any wet patches on your surfaces (particularly round the sink) to avoid water stains.
- Again, given a choice I would opt for an induction or ceramic hob as they are the easiest to clean (Lazy, moi?!). Bar Keepers Friend is great for stubborn marks, just be sure it is suitable for use on your appliance.
- I never have much success with oven cleaners and find they leave everything smeary. Oven Pride is quite good (the one that comes with a bag for your wire racks) but I think it is still quite time-consuming and tough to get everything properly clean. My preferred way is to get the professionals in once a year! Costs vary across the country but I’ve had mine cleaned for £50 and they leave it really sparkly and as good as new.
- To stop your oven from getting too dirty, use a liner on the bottom that you can just take out and wipe down (Lakeland sell a good one). I use tin foil to line my grill tray and baking trays (have also got some disposable foil baking trays for doing roasts which saves SO much washing up!).
Hope these tips help! Would love to hear any more…!
I mentioned in last week’s post that I intended on making a notice board to fit inside one of our kitchen doors. I’ve been in need of a hidden notice board to hold all the usual household admin that tends to collect in piles all over my kitchen surfaces. I’m on a mission to cut out as much clutter as possible to give me less things to tidy and make it quicker to clean – this notice board is the answer to all my prayers and is going to change my life*.
I’ll level with you right at the start that I’m stretching the truth when calling this a “quick” project. It took me about three hours (not including paint drying time) and there are definitely ways you could speed the process up and get a similar outcome, but I’m happy with the way it’s turned out.
I picked a door in our kitchen that hides our washing machine and washing powder etc. It’s actually an old stable door that we salvaged and re-used when we had a new kitchen fitted last year. I chose that door as we don’t really have any other suitable cupboards in the kitchen, and it’s provided quite a large space for the board.
I wanted a cork board because we’ll want to pin things on that are quite heavy (calendar etc.) that wouldn’t be held by magnets. I knew it needed to be “made to measure” rather than a bought one to maximise the space, and I didn’t want to go au naturel with the cork so chose to paint it.
So here’s how I did it:
I bought some cork floor tiles from Wickes (the only DIY store I could find that still sell them, clearly a throw-back product from the 1970s!). You can buy online from eBay too. I needed two packs (£8.99 each) as you need to double the cork tiles up so that the pins don’t go all the way through. And I used a tube of Instant Grab Adhesive (£1.88). So this little project cost me a grand total of £19.86.
I cut the tiles to fit with a Stanley Knife (be sure to use a sharp blade and cut all the way through for a clean edge). Making sure I applied the adhesive right to the edges, it was just a case of sticking them on to the door.
I painted the second layer of cork tiles with a spare tester pot of paint I found in our garage, and then stuck those on top. A voilà!
I’m not actually sure I’ll keep that colour paint. I may paint over it with a more vibrant colour; it could probably do with a second coat of paint now it is in situ anyway.
Again another super simple and cheap DIY project which anyone could do, and one more step on the path away from chaos!