Now the clocks have gone forward and winters finally over its time to give your home a new lease of life, but before you pick up a duster or delve into your wardrobe, here are our top 10 tips to help you clean up, de-clutter and revitalize your living space with minimum fuss!
- CLEAN YOUR FRIDGE-Remove fridge shelves and compartments and wash them in warm soapy water, then rinse. Wipe the inside of the fridge with a potion made up of two teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda for every litre of warm water. Get into the rubber door seal with an old toothbrush and don’t forget the outside of the door and the handle – germs will have a ball here if left unchecked. For stains inside the fridge you can use a stronger bicarbonate of soda paste or white toothpaste. A couple of times a year pull the appliance away from the wall and vacuum the cooling elements at the back, this will make the fridge more efficient.
- CLEAN YOUR DUVET Its all to easy to overlook but duvets should be cleaned twice a year. Most domestic washing machines are too small to clean a duvet successfully, so professional cleaning is a great idea and is also more likely to kill off dust mites and the allergens produced by them. This is particularly important for people who suffer from illnesses like asthma.
- FRESHEN UP YOUR CURTAINS-Curtains need cleaning at least once a year to prolong their life and keep them looking as good as new. If the fabric’s washable, you should be able to clean and iron them at home: ironing is most effective while they’re still slightly damp. And look out for mildew. This often accumulates when the fabric rests on a damp windowsill or against patio doors, where condensation gathers – so remember to wipe sills and windows down regularly.
- RESCUE YOUR CARPETS-Carpets accumulate a lot of dust, dirt and even fungi over time, all of which are unsightly, unhygienic and can be potential health hazards. Up to 80% of carpet dirt is loose and can be removed with regular vacuuming. But to tackle those really stubborn bugs and stains, it’s well worth hiring professional steam-cleaning equipment for a day. Prices start from around £20 a day.
- CLEAN YOUR OVEN-It’s the job that everyone keeps putting off, but let’s face it: the inside of your oven is in desperate need of a spruce-up after all those winter roasts and TV dinners. Want a tip to make life easier? Mix some bicarbonate of soda into a thick paste, then smear it inside your oven – including the door – and leave for a few hours or overnight. Then you simply wipe it away with a damp sponge. No chemical cleaners required!
- REVAMP YOUR WARDROBE-No, that doesn’t mean you can head off for a spending spree on the high street. Now’s the time to – literally – clean your wardrobe. Remove everything from your wardrobe and drawers, and vacuum them thoroughly inside and out, then wash the insides with soap and water. Moths love to eat, mate and lay eggs in dark, dusty, undisturbed corners.
- CLEAN PAINTED WALLS-To clean your painted walls start with a clean cloth or sponge and water. If that doesn’t work, dip the rag or sponge into water mixed with a little dishwashing liquid, the milder the better. If the stain persists, apply a few drops of soap directly onto the wet sponge or cloth you’re using. For more stubborn cases, you could apply a little soap right onto the stain.
- BE CHARITABLE-Thanks to the credit crunch, more of us are buying from charity shops – which means the stores are desperate for fresh stock. Do your bit for good causes by donating any clothes you haven’t worn in the past year. And if you really can’t bear to part with that maxi-dress from three seasons ago, wash it and bag it up, but leave it in a drawer. If you haven’t missed it by the end of the summer, it’s ready packaged to be given away. Remember, charities will also be glad of books, music, films and home accessories. And how about admitting you’re only ever going to watch DVDs from now on, so finally getting rid of that old video collection?
- GET YOUR WINDOWS SQUEAKY CLEAN-Now the sun’s finally put in an appearance, it’s time to get that natural light flooding through your windows. Use an old spray bottle to mix together 1tsp washing-up liquid, half a teacup of white vinegar and two teacups of warm water. Spray this solution on to your windows and use a soft, dust-free rag to wipe clean. Magic!
- BUFF WOODWORK AND REMOVE RINGS-Wood furniture deserves a little TLC from time to time. If your pine table is looking a little unloved and your side tables are ringed with old cups of tea you can improve the look of your furniture using centuries-old non-chemical restoring products such as beeswax. Beeswax is especially good on unfinished surfaces such as stripped pine and helps to restore the natural beauty of untreated wood.Furthermore, coloured beeswaxes can be used to disguise damage to furniture which has been treated. It’s widely available and couldn’t be easier to use – you simply rub a small amount of beeswax onto your furniture, leave for a few minutes and then buff over with a clean cloth to restore the shine and add a protective layer to your furniture.