How to clean your house - Tricks and Tips
The grandmother way – Going back to the roots
Nowadays we have an enormous range of everything at choice, from food products to cleaning products to leisure and whatever else you can think of, choice is not the problem, although knowing what to choose, sometimes is.
Like everything else, detergent and cleaning world has suffered a major change since our grandmothers’ days. In their time there was not half of what is offered to us now. We have 2 in 1, 3 in 1, 4, 6 and all in 1 products, we have products to take out stains of this, stains of that and it goes on and on, pretty much like a never ending story of problem solvers for any cleaning affliction you may find yourself in.
But, the fact is that sometimes our grandmothers’ ways seem better than ours. Do you remember how it felt, when you were a child, to go to her house? How everything was always tidy and perfect? How it smelled fresh and inviting? How her laundry felt so soft? How all the bed sheets were a perfect white?
Well, I must say, I do have a hard time maintaining the same level. The white bed sheets are quite a challenge to our state of the art products.
So, not long ago I decided to find out what were my grandmother’s secrets and her secrets are not so secret after all. Actually, instead of using a lot of detergents bought at the store she used home recipes, using what she had around and that we all have around to this day.
It’s also a way to save some money.
So, here are some favourites from the old days, which I found here and there with just a bit of research:
VINEGAR, LEMON AND SALT
Vinegar is a great cleaning product, not only it is cheap, but it’s also a great disinfectant and it’s eco friendly. It very good to get rid every sort of dirt and it prevents mold and other bacteria from appearing. And it’s not a product dangerous for children, unlike many of the cleaning products nowadays, so you can relax a little more.
Again, lemon is also a wonderful cleaning product, again quite cheap (you can even grow a lemon tree in your backyard), it’s eco friendly and because of its acidity it can help you with mold and unpleasant smells in some parts of the house.
Finally, salt. This was the most surprising for me. But it’s true. It’s also a cleaning product. I use sea salt, it’s quite cheap and you can get amazing results. It helps with smells, stains in floors and wall tiles and even from pots and pans.
So, if you want to try these products, here are some things you can do with them:
- Garbage grinder – Try throwing some used lemons into the garbage grinder to keep it clean and with a nice smell;
- Oven – Whenever I roast something in the oven ( which I do quite often ), I always get sauce or gravy spilled and invariably I get smoke all over the oven, on account of it, but sprinkling it with salt stops the smoke and in the end you can clean it with a wet cloth once the oven is cool;
Stinking hands – If you’ve been handling garlic or raw fish or other things that may leave your hands with a nasty smell, just rub your hands with lemon juice, that should do it;
Pots and pans – If your pots and pans are stained you can try putting a bit of sea salt on your scrub sponge and just scrub away; In aluminium pots and pans you can also try filling them with water adding 1 tbsp of white vinegar for each ¼ l of water and boil for around 15 minutes;
Walls (bathroom) – To get rid of the mold that sometimes appears in the junctions of the tiles in the bathroom find an old toothbrush, dip it into vinegar and scrub in between the tiles. Wait for a couple of hours and then rinse with warm water and a bit of soap;
Furniture – If a hot plate or water has ruined your wooden table, just mix cooking oil (for instance sunflower) with salt and with the mix clean the table, afterwards rub gently with a soft cloth;
Mirror and windows – Add 5 cl of white vinegar to a cup of water and pour it into a spray bottle. Vaporize the surface with the mix and scrub with a paper towel;
Chalk stains (dishes and glasses ) – Vinegar is great with chalk stains, so you can either use it directly on whatever has the stain, wait for a while and then just wipe it clean with a wet cloth or you can also use it in the dishwasher once in a while. It’s also great to clean the dishwasher, so from time to time add it to the dishwasher and allow it to complete the washing cycle, even without any tableware inside.
Oil stains - Did you know mixing sugar with water and rubbing it in the stain may helpwith this sort of stains. Don't forget to let it dry before washing;
Linen, wool, silk and baby clothes (mainly cotton) – To keep these sort of cloths from becoming yellow, just add half a cup of vinegar to the water when rinsing. It also helps with the urin stains and smell from baby clothes;
Dyed fabrics – Adding salt to the water prevents the colours of the fabric to fade;
Smelly sneakers – Here is a small trick to get rid of those awful smells from sneakers, sprinkle them with salt and leave it for the night;
Lipstick stains – Though I haven't had a lot of situations with lipstick stains, I've heard that lemon is great for it, so just use lemon straight in the stain if it's a white piece of clothe or previously dilute the lemon in water, before applying, if it's on a dyed fabric;
Rust stains – Did you know that if you mix the juice of a lemon with salt and apply on top of a rust stain and then place it in the sun, the stain will disappear. Just leave it in the sun untill it does.
Rediscovering the Old Ways
The tips above are just some little tricks I found, but surely there are so many and I think it’s quite a pity to let the old ways fade. Still so much to learn from them. Still so valuable.
So, I invite each one of you to come forward with other tips you’ve learned from your mother, your grandmother, your neighbour and let’s take from the past what is worth remembering.
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