How to Use Common Household Items to Clean the House - dummies

How to Use Common Household Items to Clean the House

By Gill Chilton

You don’t need special equipment for all the stain removal and cleaning tasks it takes to maintain your home. Instead, use what you already have. You don’t need to stretch your finances or storage space. Here are a few ideas of how common items can pull double duty.

Clean with cotton buds

These small, yet perfectly formed make-up and hygiene aids can come to the rescue in dozens of intricate cleaning tasks. Use cotton buds (cotton swabs) to get dirt out of any tight corner – the telephone and computer keypads, the car dashboard, and that grimy bit where the tap (faucet) base meets the sink.

Their high absorbency makes them good stain-shifter tools, too. When you need to apply a solvent with precision, a cotton bud is the ideal implement.

Sticks and clubs make great cleaning tools

Using a hockey stick or even a golf club instead of a cleaning pole extension gives you an important advantage – you’re holding a handle that you’re already expert at gripping! Tie a microfibre or other quality soft cloth to the playing end of your stick to make a cracking tool to get down cobwebs and other ceiling dirt. Just don’t take a swing at the light fitting.

Remove lint and pet hair with sticky tape

My favourite tape is double-sided. It not only cleans by lifting off dry dirt and fur from fabrics and hard surfaces; it acts as an emergency repair kit. Use it to secretly hold up a trouser hem or keep everyday photos and artwork in place inside clip-on-frames.

When cleaning with sticky tape, the secret is in a firm pull-up. So lay the tape over the dirty or hair-covered area then lift off quickly as if you were pulling off a sticking plaster (bandage).

Use a ruler for mixing cleaning solutions

Take the short cut of measuring by height rather than volume when mixing up large quantities of cleaning solution. It’s rare to find a bucket that has an inbuilt volume measure. So simply stand a plastic ruler in the bucket and use simple mathematics to get the correct ratio of water to cleaning solution.

The firm, flat edge of a ruler also makes a ruler good at getting solid or sticky spills up off the carpet. When there’s too much for a spoon or a knife, hold the ruler at 45 degrees to the carpet at the edge of the accident. Push down to get under the spill, and then scoop as much as you can onto the ruler.

Clean delicate surfaces with a pastry brush

The soft, uniform bristles on the type of brush you use for coating pies with milk or egg glazes are perfect for delicate cleaning tasks. Buy a second brush and use it to brush dirt from fabric lampshades and plastic blinds, as well as getting crumbs out from the sandwich toaster or food processor.