The prospect of the big spring clean can seem daunting so we've formulated a guide to the most effective, time-saving and eco-friendly cleaning tips and hacks, plus the important pitfalls to avoid.
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Some of our methods are clinically proven to boost your mood and others can even be done while you sleep! Your home will look pristine from top to bottom in no time at all.
If the thought of a big spring clean still makes you want to just put the kettle on, at least make sure that your next well-earned cuppa is the best it can be. Here's how...
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Care for your kettle - descale it
Over the chilly winter months we have sipped endless cups of tea and chances are we haven't had a moment to tackle the accumulated limescale in our kettles - if you live in a hard water area, your kettle will be in serious need of a good descaling.
To ensure an efficient and safe descaling, we recommend this brilliant all natural-nontoxic, minimal effort, cleaning solution: Water and vinegar!
- Before you go to bed, simply fill a kettle with equal parts white vinegar and tap water. Boil the kettle and allow the hot water and vinegar mixture to sit overnight.
- In the morning rinse the kettle a few times with plenty of water to wash away all of the dislodged limescale.
- Boil once more with plain tap water and rinse again to remove the smell and taste of vinegar.
Feel free to substitute the vinegar with one lemon cut in two.
You will definitely notice the fuller aromas and smoother taste of your next cup of tea.
Tip: Keep the brilliantly versatile white vinegar close by for future cleaning hacks. We have found an incredible 5-litre eco-friendly bottle of Golden Swan White Vinegar for just £7.29, Amazon.
Freshen up your coffee grinder
If your coffee grinder is smelling a little stale (or you are super savvy and intend to use it for grinding herbs and spices instead) we have an amazing way to clean it out and eliminate the old coffee smell between uses:
Tip: Pour dry, uncooked white rice into your grinder and grind it until it becomes a fine powder, then simply dispose of the power and marvel at the fresh smell.
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Thoroughly clean your blender
Now is the season for smoothies and milkshakes so to ensure that your blender is spotless, fill it halfway with hot but not boiling water mixed with a squirt of washing up liquid and blend away! This will ensure that any hard-to-reach areas missed by the sponge or dishwasher are cleaned. Remember to rinse it thoroughly afterwards.
Microwave cleaning made easy
Squeeze the juice of one or two lemons into a microwavable bowl full of tap water and place the remaining lemon into the bowl also. Microwave the mixture at the highest setting for three minutes.
Once complete, leave the bowl where it is inside the closed microwave and allow the liquid to evaporate and begin to dissolve the grease inside the microwave. Any stuck-on food will be very easy to wipe away once you have allowed it to cool.
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Remove dust from light fixtures and fittings
Before you think about dusting or hoovering anything at all, look up and dust everything above eye level first. To tackle your ceiling lights, place a large sheet or old towel on the floor below them to catch any falling dust and use an extendable duster to reach up and give them a gentle but thorough dusting.
You'll be stunned by the brightness of your lights come evening!
Tip: We can't wait to try out this E-Cloth Extendable Duster duster which stretches to 172cm is machine washable and comes with a 1-year guarantee included for just £14.99, John Lewis.
E-Cloth Extendable Duster, £14.99, John Lewis
Clean carpets and fragrance your home simultaneously
Before you start vacuuming carpets, find a tumble dryer sheet with a scent that you love and allow the vacuum to suck it up into the empty vacuum bag. As soon as you begin hoovering, your home will be filled with the scent of fresh warm laundry!
Tip: Waitrose offers packs of 40 Essential Tumble Dryer Sheets in a 'Fresh Linen' scent for only £1.80 per pack.
Tackle your dusty electronic devices
It is finally possible thoroughly clean around the buttons and gaps on keyboard remote controls and air vents!
Colorcoral makes a multifunctional, reusable cleaning putty that reaches every corner to clean dust and lint from your electronic devices. We love it because it leaves no residue, and it is made from non-toxic biodegradable rubber which is safe for your hands. The blue one is just £8.99 from Amazon and is scented with lavender!
Colorcoral, £8.99, Amazon
Tip: Do not be tempted to blast dust from your laptop keyboard with a hairdryer – even on the coolest setting, the rush of air could cause a build-up of static electricity and cause irreparable damage to your device.
MIRROR & WINDOW CLEANING HACKS
Clean your mirrors and windows on a cloudy day
A sunny spring day might seem like the perfect time to clean your windows and mirrors. However, the direct warm sun will only dry out the cleaning products that you're using faster than you can wipe them away leaving even harder to remove streaks and smudges.
Tip: Wait for a cool cloudy day and try Method Glass Cleaner. The ammonia-free, plant-based and biodegradable ingredients promise a streak-free finish for only £3.15 from Amazon.
Method Glass cleaner, £3.15, Amazon
BATHROOM CLEANING HACKS
Taps and shiny surfaces
Good old white vinegar is a natural cleanser and descaler which will work wonders at removing limescale build-up on your taps and around your shower and bathroom sink.
Tip: Wet a cloth and wipe vinegar over the lacklustre surfaces and leave overnight for best results. Open the windows or doors for ventilation to prevent the lingering smell of vinegar and just rinse or wipe with a clean damp cloth in the morning.
Shower curtains and mats
Damp bathrooms can cause shower mats and curtains to accumulate unsightly mildew build-up which can cause sore throats and itchy eyes. To clean them effectively carefully remove any curtains and mats and fold their sides inwards to prevent any unseen mould spores from spreading as you carry them. Next, fill a tub with hot water and four capfuls of any non-chlorine bleach and lower the mat or curtains into the tub. Let them soak for an hour, then rinse with tap water.
Restore your shower for free.
Hold on before you consider spending money on a brand-new shower – you may just need to descale the shower head you already have.
Tip: Before bedtime, fill either a large freezer bag (any hole free watertight bag) or bucket with equal parts white vinegar and water and depending on the type of showerhead extension you have, immerse the showerhead into the solution and leave it to soak.
After a few hours the limescale should be fully dissolved and can be rubbed off or rinsed away.
Mattress cleaning (but protect your vacuum)
We are all familiar with the advice to sprinkle your mattresses with bicarbonate of soda then vacuuming it up will make it extra clean - some of us may have done it ourselves! However, bicarb soda is extremely damaging for your vacuum cleaner. Tiny particles stick together and accumulate in the vacuums motor and filters which will eventually render it useless.
Tip: Trust that a thorough vacuuming of both sides of your mattress every 6 months is effective.
Save money on cleaning wipes
We recommend avoiding flimsy, plastic-wrapped single-use disinfectant wipes and instead make your own cheap, reusable cleaning cloths, kept aside in a handy jar.
For this cleaning hack, you will need water, white vinegar, rubbing alcohol, your favourite essential oil, flannels, and one airtight glass jar.
Mix: 2 cups of water, 1 cup of vinegar, 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol, and a few drops of essential oil into the jar, stuff all the flannels inside the jar and ensure that they are all fully immersed in the liquid.
Tip: You can currently buy a set of 4 Cotton Face Cloths for just £1.50 and a 2-litre Copper Wire Clip Storage Jar for only £6 from John Lewis.
Tip: Holland & Barrett have an incredibly wide range of essential oils starting from just £4 - from rose to jasmine, mint, eucalyptus and sweet orange oil – which aromatherapists say is mood lifting!
MOTHS AND MOULD
Mothproof your winter wears and keep them fresh
Make space by packing away any knitwear and coats which are no longer in regular rotation. If you are planning to store your clean items away in an existing wardrobe or drawer, ensure that the entire area is dust-free and isn't harbouring any moths.
Tip: Moths apparently hate lavender and cedarwood oils, which are both believed to have anti-fungal properties so you can sprinkle a few drops of essential oil onto paper towels or handkerchiefs and litter them among your garments before packing them away. Holland & Barrett sell Lavender Oil from just £5.50.
Tip: If you have an existing month problem then you can purchase Acana Moth Killer and Drawer Fresheners, £6 for a pack of 24 sachets from John Lewis.
Protect fabric and prevent odours
To avoid mildew forming on your precious fabrics, particularly in shoes and handbags while in storage, we recommend placing silica gel packets into your shoes and pockets. Don't worry if you have already thrown away all the sachets that arrived in your various parcels over lockdown, you can buy packets of 50 Silica Gel sachets for just £2.65 from Amazon.
50 x Silica Gel, £2.65, Amazon
Declutter your surfaces
It is so easy for the little bits and bobs with no specific place to go, to gather up and gather dust!
Make your life easier and quicken the pace next time you are dashing to find that spare key or store loyalty card by keeping your bits and bobs in attractive compact, dust-free storage boxes.
Tip: John Lewis's sleek lacquered wooden storage boxes start from just £18 and customers are delighted with them saying: "Small but perfectly formed. I bought a pair and they look exceptionally stylish on my bookshelf. Useful for bits and bobs."
Lacquered Storage Box, Grey, £18.00, John Lewis
Save precious time & unnecessary ironing
To soften and altogether remove creases in bedsheets and clothing you can tumble dry them with one soaking wet light coloured (to prevent staining) flannel or 6 ice cubes for a 10-minute cycle. The steam this creates will leave the fabric crease-free.
Tip: As soon as this quick cycle is finished shake them out and immediately layout, hang up or neatly fold away until you need them.
Lighten the load - check your expiry dates
A sure-fire way to free up space in your bathroom cabinets and brimming makeup bags is to check the expiry dates of products and bin anything that's out of date. Cosmetics can be tricky you must look for the little symbol of an open tub with a number on it. This number represents the number of months you can keep the product after opening it.
If in doubt, if anything has become discoloured or the smell or texture has changed, pop it in the bin.
Tip: Any SPF containing products such as sunblock – will deteriorate and become significantly less effective after one year of opening.
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Donate unused cosmetics and toiletries.
You can donate any unopened self-care and hygiene products to the Beauty Bank which will ensure that they reach the hands of those in need. They have partnered with registered food banks, domestic abuse charities, homeless shelters, NHS trusts and care leaver associations to battle hygiene poverty. Find out more here: beautybanks.org.uk/donate
ENJOY LIFE AGAIN!
Keep up good habits
The worst of the winter bugs have passed but it's nice to know that your doorknobs and drawer handles will remain totally germ-free day to day, so we have an affordable time tested solution.
The Dettol All-in-One Disinfectant Spray can be used on any hard surfaces or upholstery, even mattresses. We chose this product specifically because it has a 'Crisp Linen' fragrance rather than that distinctive medicinal Dettol aroma. It also kills 99.9% of cold and flu viruses for added peace of mind. On sale as a pack of 3 x 400ml bottles at Amazon for just £9.48.
Dettol All-in-One Disinfectant Spray, 3 x Pack, £9.48, Amazon
Tip: Listen to music while you spring clean, unwind or undertake any physical activities. Dr Costas Karageorghis author of 'Applying Music in Exercise and Sport' says: "Music can have a profound effect on our emotional state and every facet of music can contribute towards this, including the lyrics, tempo and rhythm."
So put together a great playlist and clean away!
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