Whip out your feather duster and put on your rubber gloves – it’s time to get spring cleaning!
For some people, their home’s annual spring clean is a joyous endeavour. It’s a grand task that doubles as a wonderful symbolic act to help shed all the weight and worry of winter and step into the warmer, brighter months ahead with a clean slate – and a spotless house. For the homemakers who are less inclined to see the fun in brandishing a mop and a bucket of soapy water, or for those readers who may lack the spare time, we are here to make your life just a little bit easier with advice and effective tips for cleaning each area of your home until it shines. Let’s get to it!
SPRING CLEANING GUIDE:
KITCHEN BITS AND BOBS
• Cast-iron pans can be an ordeal to clean properly. Dip into the pantry, and reach for your olive oil and table salt for some help. Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Once it is heated, add three tablespoons of salt, and water. Remove from the heat and scour, then pour out the solution and wipe dry with a clean cloth.
• Stainless-steel appliances and grills look their best when they’re sparkling clean. Use a blend of cream of tartar and lemon juice on your oven rack, kettle or toaster. Allow the cleaning agent to sit for a few minutes, then wipe away with a towel.
• We have some good news for you: Your dishwasher is not just for cleaning dishes. Save yourself time and throw in your kids’ plastic toys, removable shower heads and refrigerator shelves.
LIVING ROOM UP KEEP
• Forget your dish towel – this is the quick hack for cleaning your blinds with minimal effort and maximum effect. You will need kitchen tongs, a generous splash of white vinegar and an old pair of socks. Yes, we did say socks. Slip the socks over the tongs and secure with an elastic band or hair tie. Dip the tongs into a solution of white vinegar and water, and you’re good to go.
• Few things top the feeling of opening the doors of your home and being greeted by a wonderful welcoming fragrance. If you’re not one for the smell of incense, buy a few scented candles and place them around your home. Beeswax varieties burn slowly and have a lovely mild scent. Our favourite way to rid your home of unwanted winter wafts? Fresh-cut flowers! A big vase of perfumed blooms such as roses, lilacs or Stargazer lilies will smell and look glorious.
• The dreaded water ring. It has appeared in many a homemaker’s nightmare. It is the ghost of dinner parties past, a small circular reminder to never forget the coasters again. If your antique dinner table bears one of these white rings, dry your tears. Blasting the spot with a hairdryer on high heat from about five centimetres away is a sure way to lift the unwanted mark. Then use a soft cloth to buff it away.
• Grout is one of those things that we avoid cleaning. Inevitably, grime builds up until we can’t deny that horrid linear grid of dirt. Use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide (readily available at your supermarket or local pharmacy), baking powder and warm water to form a paste. A worn toothbrush is the ultimate tool for getting into those hard-to-reach grooves.
• Potentially harmful germs and bacteria have a particularly nasty way of gathering in unexpected places. When the time comes to tackle your spring clean, it’s important to inspect those innocuous spaces. Case in point: the shower head. Fill a plastic bag with vinegar and secure it around the base of the shower head using an elastic band. Let it sit for a few hours. The acid in the vinegar will lift any dirt that may have built up over time.
• Coffee marks have long been known as one of the most difficult stains to remove. But you no longer have to cry over spilt java. Add a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid to two cups of cool water and one tablespoon of white vinegar. Apply the solution directly to the stained area, and voila! Grimy stain be gone.
• One of the more surprising stain-removal weapons in your arsenal is toothpaste. This bathroom staple helps you rid your precious silverware of tarnish. Use it on cutlery and taps or to buff out watermarks on wood.
• Most of us have fallen victim to a red-wine stain at some point. There is no quicker way to dampen the mood of a dinner party than with a large glass of Merlot gone awry. To our pleasant surprise, the solution needs
more wine. Simply dab with a cloth soaked in white wine. This will help neutralise the stain. Applying salt to the area will also help to draw out excess liquid.
• Carpet stains and dirt are often formidable and persistent adversaries, but your best solution may be waiting patiently in your bathroom cabinet. Shaving cream is one of the most effective formulas for removing a carpet stain. Apply directly to the stain, let it sit for 30 minutes, then blot the excess away with a dry, clean cloth.
• If you’re a pet owner, a carpet deep clean is necessary every month or so. If you don’t think a thorough vacuum will adequately remove pet hair, use a lint roller to pick up any leftover fluff.