Domestic Cleaning Hacks My Mother Never Told Me
My Mum was a pretty good housekeeper all in all, and she believed in teaching the next generation how to do it. Your Mum was probably the same, and we probably both spent a childhood hearing “Go and clean your room,” when we complained that we were bored.
Now I’m responsible for cleaning my own home and cleaning other people’s homes in my work as a professional cleaner. During my training as a commercial cleaner, I learned a few cleaning hacks that my Mum never taught me about home cleaning. I’ve also picked up a few things along the way, either by trial and error or by hearing tips and hacks from other cleaners.
And now I can pass these clever cleaning hacks on to you – and maybe to my Mum as well, whether or not she’s reading this.
Double Up Bean Bag Covers
Beanbags are comfy and versatile, and they are a warm and friendly addition to an interior – and if you don’t like them as part of your daily look and just want to get them out when you’ve got a few extra visitors to seat, you can put them in a cupboard! However, they’re also popular with pets and they’re as prone to spills as other seating. Although you can call on an upholstery cleaning service to get the pet hair and spilt coffee off a beanbag coffee, it is possible to wash a bean bag cover.
But what do you do about all those horrible little beads of polystyrene inside the beanbag? I’ve heard advice saying that you should do the job of taking the cover off and putting the beans back in again in the bathtub. However, this is a major headache and assumes that you’ve got a bathtub to start with.
It’s much, much simpler just to put a second cover over the first beanbag cover. Think pillowcases. Then when that outer case gets a bit dingy, if you’re not going to call on the carpet cleaning company to come around with their upholstery cleaning machines, then you can take that outer cover off and wash that without any headaches.
White Mug Rings on Wood Aren’t A Disaster
My Mum would just about hit the roof if someone put a hot mug or a dripping mug down on some of the wood furniture, such as that lovely old oak dresser we used to have. However, what I know now is that the resulting white rings aren’t the end of the world. They’re very easy to remove with nothing simpler than good old olive oil or any other vegetable oil. The reason why linseed oil is used so often for wood polish is that it’s no good for eating; all oils work well. Rub a little bit in and let it soak in, then buff up. Problem solved!
Wrap the Broom Before Sweeping Cobwebs
Those cobwebs that spiders insist on spinning in corners are best reached with a broom. However, if you use the broom with the bristles bare, it will remove the cobweb all right, but then you’ve got the fiddly job of getting the dead flies and sticky threads off the bristles or risk getting them all over the next place you sweep.
To save cobwebs getting stuck in the bristles, simply cover the bristles. I like using an old T-shirt or an old towel that I don’t use any more, tied or fastened around the handles. I can still reach the cobwebs in the corners, much to the irritation of the spiders, and when I’m done, I can shake off the excess, then toss that old towel or T-shirt in the wash, leaving a web-free broom and a clean corner.
Rubber Gloves Are A Must
My Mum would only use rubber gloves when she was cleaning something really filthy (such as cat poo on the carpet) or if she was using very harsh chemicals. However, I would put my rubber gloves on for anything. As a professional cleaner, of course, I’m exposed to cleaning products and sprays for longer in the day – but then, given that my Mum was one of the old-school full-time housewives even if I wasn’t raised in the 1950s, she probably got just as exposed to cleaning products.
I’d wear rubber gloves for everything from cleaning the loo through to washing the dishes. However, I’d use different gloves for these jobs! In my home, I have one pair of gloves for grotty jobs and another for kitchen-related jobs. About the only thing I don’t use rubber gloves for is when I’m using natural home cleaning products such as vinegar and baking soda, as these don’t hurt your skin (soap does dry your skin if you use it a lot, however, no matter how natural it is). Check Anyclean’s Twitter posts for links to different cleaning articles, that go hand in hand with the rubber gloves tips.
Rubber Gloves to Remove Pet Hair
As an added bonus, rubber gloves are great at removing pet hair from upholstery, especially if the gloves are a tiny bit wet on the outside. They’ve got tons of friction thanks to the rubber, so they pick up loads of hair – have something handy to put the debris in.
Rubber Gloves Multi-Use
One last tip related to rubber gloves: when they inevitably spring a leak in one finger, don’t just throw them out. Cut up the cuffs and part of the hand for rubber bands, and reduce your domestic waste. I don’t think I’ve had to buy rubber bands since I learned this tip about 15 years ago!
Sharpie Pen Is Not A Total Disaster
I don’t think I ever got sharpie pen where I shouldn’t as a child, even by accident. Possibly, this was because my Mum hid any sharpies we owned (I think we had about three) so my little brothers and I couldn’t get at them. I have, however, done it as an adult in my own home. So, have my kids and my other half. My house, however, isn’t covered in scribbles and blots (unlike some bus stops I’ve seen!). This is because it is possible to remove “permanent” marker, aka sharpie pen.
Sharpie ink is soluble in alcohol (I remember a cool experiment with this at school), which means that if you blot some rubbing alcohol or a bit of vodka onto the mark, you’ll loosen it and you’ll be able to blot it up. Hand sanitiser works as well, and I’ve heard hairspray can do the trick, though I’ve never tried that one myself.
The important thing is to blot, not rub, and any movements must be made towards the inside of the mark, not the outside, to avoid spreading the ink. You also need to have something absorbent handy to take up the ink–alcohol combination. Toilet paper, paper towels (if you use these) or an old towel will do the job.
Of course, if you don’t have the time or patience to get sharpie off the carpet, you can just call a professional carpet cleaning team and they’ll remove the stain for you!
If you’ve made the common mistake of using sharpie instead of a whiteboard marker, then grab an actual whiteboard marker (in the same colour!) and go over the top – then wipe them both off together.
Toothpaste Cleans More Than Just Teeth
If a blob of toothpaste has fallen off your brush onto the bathroom counter, this isn’t making a mess; it’s providing you with a chance to buff up the taps and the porcelain (or plastic) a bit. Toothpaste is a brilliant cleaner for these surfaces, so if you spill or splatter a bit, grab a wet washcloth and wipe it around, then rinse away.
You can also use toothpaste and a gentle soft toothbrush (one of the ones that have lost the oomph to remove plaque from your teeth) to clean gold jewellery gently and effectively.
Author Bio: Jessica Foster is a professional cleaner-turned-blogger. She writes about personal experiences in the field, providing great advice and tips for the modern family.