Surprising cleaning tips that really work
Whether cleaning is the bane of your life or one of your favourite things to do, the fact of the matter is, we spend a lot of time on it. A survey commissioned by Vax showed that Brits spend the equivalent of ten whole days cleaning every year — that's 237 hours!
After all that time wiping, buffing and scrubbing, you'll want something to show for it. But there are one or two household myths that have stuck around for years and years, despite the fact that they don't actually do anything. We put 10 common cleaning hacks to the test to find out which ones are really worth trying out...
Does shaving foam on a mirror stop it steaming up?
Simply spray shaving foam onto a clean, soft cloth and wipe over the mirror until it is streak-free. Next time you have a bath or shower it will stay almost completely clear, except for a fine film of water.
Does a sprinkling of salt get rid of beetroot stains?
Don't treat stains with salt, as it can set them, making them impossible to remove. Instead, tackle the stain as quickly as possible before it dries. Blot excess juice and flush with cool water. Treat carpets with Dr Beckmann Carpet Stain Remover following the instructions on the packaging.
Launder washable fabrics at 40°C using a biological detergent. In future, beetroot is less messy if you peel it before cooking rather than after. If you get juice on your hands and chopping boards, rub them with lemon juice to get rid of the stains.
Do dry tea bags deodorise smelly shoes?
Don’t bother with this one. Stick to a branded shoe deodoriser, such as Odor Eaters, or sprinkle a little bicarbonate of soda inside your shoes to get rid of smells. Just remember to tap it out next time you want to wear them.
Does a bowl of vinegar neutralise cigarette smells?
We were surprised that this really works. Put 2tbsp malt vinegar in a dish and leave overnight in a smoky room with the door shut. The next morning, the stale tobacco smell will be gone, although you may notice a slight vinegar odour.
You can also use 2tbsp of dry bicarb in a bowl. It wasn't quite as effective as the vinegar when we tried it out but the room still smelt fresher the next day.
Does adding lemonade to the water of cut flowers make them last longer?
This works wonders. We also tried out other home remedies that promise to prolong the life of cut flowers, including a few drops of bleach in the water, aspirin and sugar (separately!). We tested these three tips against plain water and water to which flower food had been added and found the best home remedy was fizzy lemonade, although you can't beat flower food.
Does vinegar on a chopping board help hold back the tears when you slice onions?
We really wanted this to work, but still cried buckets trying it out. Wearing swimming goggles and eating bread while you chop both work, but aren’t very practical!
Does rubbing soap on a zip help it glide more smoothly?
This simple trick works well, but it’s not a permanent cure, so you will have to repeat as the soap wears off.
Can the inside of a banana skin shine shoes?
Don’t throw away the shoe polish just yet! It’s extremely messy, leaves nasty marks and, worst of all, it just doesn't work.
Can candle wax on fabric be ironed off?
This works well as long as you don’t let the iron touch the wax, which results in a mess all over the soleplate. Scrape off as much wax as you can with a blunt knife, then cover the waxy area with kitchen roll or brown paper on both sides of the fabric. With a warm iron, melt the wax onto the paper. Launder using the hottest wash the garment or item's care label allows.
Does hairspray remove ink stains and permanent marker from hard surfaces?
This worked really well when we tried it — the hairspray seemed to dissolve the ink, which made it easy to blot up with kitchen towel. We also found it worked well at removing biro and red wine stains from cotton fabric, but the fabric needed to be washed afterwards with a biological detergent.
Will rubbing fabric conditioner on your tights stop static?
Bit of a strange one, this, but it really does work and saves you spending money on an anti-static spray. Simply rub the fabric conditioner onto your hands, then run them up and down your tights while you're wearing them.
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