South Australia recently suffered through one of the coldest winters since the 1940s and we’ve been holed-up inside with the heaters cranking and windows shut. As a result, you probably have a house dustier than a Mount Gambier cave, with more spider webs than an outdoor dunny, and tiles mouldier than a slab of gorgonzola. Don’t fret, our spring cleaning guide will have you feeling fresh and fancy-free in no time.
Retire Your Glad Rags
This trick is easy and all about starting afresh. Begin by hanging all your clothes with the coat hangers facing away from you. When you wear something, hang it back with the hanger facing you. In a year’s time, the pieces still facing away go to your charity store of choice – or sell them at a local market. You’ll know what clothes you never wear, and spring clean your closet at the same time.
(Micro)Wave Mess Goodbye
Winter is the time of the slow-cooker, which means your microwave also gets a thrashing. Clean it by pouring vinegar and water into a microwave-safe bowl, dinging that baby for a minute or two. Next, take an old cloth or some paper towel and wipe the insides. The grime will come off like a hot knife through butter. When cleaning your slow-cooker, simply mix some distilled vinegar, baking soda (slowly) and water in the pot and leave on ‘low’ overnight.
Ammonia Trying To Help
For about $4 from Bunnings, you can buy a litre bottle of ammonia. It will work wonders on your oven. Firstly, fill sandwich bags with ammonia and water and place your hob tops in the bags and leave overnight. Secondly, fill the laundry sink with ammonia and water, take your range hood filters down and place them in the sink (this also works by using degreaser). Finally, preheat your oven to 65 degrees celsius and place a bowl of ammonia in the oven along with a pot of boiling water underneath. Let it go for an hour or two, then turn off and leave overnight. The next day, simply dry and replace everything. If you want to go really nuts, you can place a reusable over liner in the bottom (available at The Good Guys) making it even easier to keep clean.
Winter means lots of drinking inside. Drinking inside leads to red wine and glass stains. If you can get to the spillage straight away, cover the red wine with a thick layer of salt and then vacuum it up. If you’re not able to get to the stain, simply scoop baking soda over the red wine intruder and leave overnight. The next day, scrub with water and vacuum the excess. If you have ‘wine’ rings on your hardwood floors or furniture, take a hairdryer to the water stains and heat for about 10 minutes. Then use olive oil on a rag and rub into the wood: the stain should all but disappear. If you have hard water stains on any of your glassware, use apple cider vinegar as a rinse to have them sparkling in no time.
Curtains and blinds are a pain to clean, usually costing more than $150 for a service wash. There is another way, and it is definitely cheating. Basically, you mix 1 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of vodka and a teaspoon of essential oil (eucalyptus, lemon oil or lavender are perfect for the home) into a clean spray bottle. There is a small process – whisking the vodka and essential oil first, then place water in bottle followed by the vodka/oil mix, and give the bottle a good shake. Now spray all your blinds, curtains, rugs, mattresses and even the linen cabinet with the mix. Everything will smell brand new and clean, and the vodka is killing bacteria to boot. Another handy trick is to keep the essential oil in the loo. Put a few drops in the cardboard recess of your loo rolls, and the toilet will never smell putrid again.
What A Load Of Sheet
This cleaning remedy is a little-known fact. Basically, you’ve been doing your washing wrong. You don’t need to separate your loads into whites/darks/colours. All you need to do is keep a 2 litre bottle of white vinegar with your washing liquid and use 1/2 cup of it (along with your regular washing powder/liquid) and the vinegar will stop the clothes dye running. So instead of doing uneven loads of darks/whites/colours, you can get the job done in two loads. You won’t need to use fabric softener, as the acid in distilled white vinegar is strong enough to break down the alkaline in detergent (so it’s more effective during the cleaning part) yet mild enough to preserve and soften your fabrics. Your clothes will smell fresh because the acids cut through any residual sweat or deodorant and the natural odour which vinegar has will fade away as your clothes dry.
Bathrooms quickly become a mouldy mess in winter. One great spring-cleaning tip is the ‘bleach pen’. You can buy the pens from certain retailers or use strong, harmful mould-removing chemicals, but why would you bother when you can make your own? Mix 5 tablespoons of corn starch with 1 cup of cold water in a saucepan. Bring it to the boil while stirring, and when it starts to thicken, let it cool slightly and then fold in 5 tablespoons of regular bleach. Take an old tomato sauce bottle (with the screw lids) and top with your mixture (use gloves to avoid skin contact). Now you can use your ‘bleach pen’ on all the grouts and any other hard to get to areas. It also works great on any other mould patches in the bathroom.
Another great trick to clean your shower head is the vinegar trick. Basically, you fill a sandwich bag with distilled white vinegar, dunk the whole shower head in the vinegar bag, and secure it with a rubber band or two. Leave it for an hour or two and when you remove it, you will have a shower head free from hard water and mineral build up. Finally, take your mouldy/yellow shower curtain, chuck it in the washing machine with some vinegar and bleach, and it will come out like new.
Got some top notch spring cleaning tips? Let us know in the comments, below.