Spring-cleaning hacks for your home

Now that the long winter months have given way to bright sunny days, it’s time to give your home a sparkling, fresh feel.

Instead of using harsh chemicals as you spring clean, try these ingenious ideas from SweepStars, who, through SweepSouth, help keep thousands of SA homes clean every week. Their tips are so quick and effective, and best of all, use all-natural products easily found in most kitchen cupboards.

Clean kitchen hacks

  • Revive chopping boards by using half a lemon to rub salt into the board. Rinse it well, then rub the surface with a little olive oil. If your chopping boards smell funky, remove odours by sprinkling them with bicarbonate of soda, then leaving for 20 minutes before cleaning. 
  • Clean silver items with normal toothpaste – just rub it on and wipe them off with a paper towel for an instant result. Use another pantry staple – tomato sauce – to help dissolve tarnish that’s built upon copper pots. Rub the sauce onto the tarnished area, leave for an hour, then rinse with warm water and soap, and dry.
  • With summer fruit on the horizon, get ready for making jam by saving glass jars and bottles. Remove their sticky labels in a jiffy by moistening them with vinegar, leaving for five minutes, then rubbing with a paper towel
  • You may be cleaning your tumble-dryer’s lint filter regularly, but it’s surprising how much dust collects underneath and behind dryers. Bedroom pedestals and bed headboards are also dust-bunny culprits – do a thorough clean behind and underneath these to prevent a dust build-up that can trigger allergies.

Living room refresh

  • Clean hardwood furniture with homemade, non-toxic furniture polish. Mix two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice, and use a soft cloth to rub it into the wood. You could also use almond oil with a few drops of lemon essential oil sprinkled in, dabbing a bit of the mixture onto a cloth, then rubbing gently into wooden surfaces. Use different essential oils in the mix to suit different rooms, such as calming lavender for wooden surfaces in the bedroom.
  • Dusting lampshades only make them look worse. Use a lint roller to remove dust instead. And, at last, there’s a use for all the lone socks in the house! Slipped on like a mitten, they’re perfect for dusting tight areas and wiping down blinds. 
  • Carpets and upholstered furniture often hold stale odours. Banish the musty smell of winter by sprinkling bicarbonate of soda onto the surface, leaving it for an hour before vacuuming up every trace of the powder. Vacuum carpets regularly – they act as a trap for dirt, hair and dust mites. Even air pollutants like pollen, fungi and cigarette smoke get trapped in carpet fibres and can trigger allergies, asthma and eczema attacks.

Breathe new air into the bedroom

  • Place blocks of cedarwood or sachets of lavender, dried lemon peels or cinnamon sticks among your clothing to repel moths. For a gorgeous-smelling spray to mist your linens, towels or robe, mix 30 drops of your favourite essential oil with half a cup of vodka. Mix well, then add a cup of water and gently shake to blend. Adjust the essential oil ratio to suit you, and have fun mixing different oils, such as lavender and orange. For a pretty touch, add a sprig of lavender into the mix.
  • If your white linen pillowcases are yellowing with age, give them a fresh look by pouring undiluted white vinegar into a plastic tub and soaking the pillowcases in the liquid for 15 minutes. Next, soak them in an enzyme pre-wash for 15 minutes before washing them as usual.
  • If your bedroom cupboards don’t go all the way to the roof, you’ll know how much dust collects on the tops. Try this nifty trick: give them a good clean, then slide a layer of wax paper onto the tops, out of view. The dust will collect on the paper, and next year, when it’s time to spring clean again, you’ll only need to remove the paper and toss it in the bin! Newspaper works just as well and is more easily biodegradable once thrown away.

Sparkly bathroom

  • If there’s black mould lurking in the corners of your shower, you may well have to resort to bleach, but before you do, try a more natural alternative by making a paste out of one part vinegar and two parts bicarbonate of soda. Apply directly onto the mould, allow to dry, then scrub the mould away with an old toothbrush and rinse.
  • Soak your showerhead in a bowl of hot white vinegar for an hour to rid it of limescale. Afterwards, use an old toothbrush to scrub away any remaining limescale. If your shower head isn’t a removable one, fill a sturdy plastic bag with vinegar, secure the bag over the showerhead so it’s submerged, and tie it tightly with a rubber band (or even an elastic hair tie!). Leave for a few hours to soak.
  • A last SweepStar tip? Tackle each room this way – as you walk in, start cleaning from the left and work your way clockwise through the room, rather than jumping around from task to task. And, don’t do all your spring cleaning in one day – it’s too exhausting! Space it out and give each room the spring-cleaning TLC it deserves.

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