Do you have top tips for cleaning the home?

The (largely unused) contents of the cleaning cupboard. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The (largely unused) contents of the cleaning cupboard. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Lynne rather fancies herself as a cleaning guru... check out her top tips here and feel free to ignore them

Since when did cleaning get so trendy?

Channel 4’s former “ladies what do” Kim and Aggie are probably to blame, having been the first TV presenters to scrunch up a bit of newspaper and use baking powder or whatever to clean the loo.

I don’t like to think of my written eloquence being used on the sanitary ware but then, once upon a time I was also used at the local fish shop. My husband says he can clearly remember me being wrapped round his skate and chips.

In 2019, it is good to reflect on cleaning products and the environmental cost of using chemicals such as bleach and limescale removers. If we can help to save the planet with newsprint and raising agent, then that’s a good thing.

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A number of internet sensations have emerged who roll out their household cleaning tips. The leader in the field appears to be Marie Kondo who has 2.8 million followers on Twitter and a Netflix series.

I did note that one of these crack-cleaners uses a rubber-blade window cleaning thingy to run over the carpet to pick up the bits - which is fine but I prefer trainers. I wear them and simply pull my foot over the carpet and lo and behold! any moulted hair is gathered up and can simply be picked up and put in the bin. In the bedroom, I sit on the bed and do this, being careful, of course, not to place too much stress on my replacement left knee and arthritic right hip.

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In the past I have bought cheap rolls of pretty wallpaper (eg Laura Ashley cut-price leftovers) and used them to line drawers (not my underwear drawers, my furniture drawers). Nobody wallpapers their knickers.

Baking powder is very good for eliminating unpleasant smells. When our cat (the late, lamented Artemis) was sick on the carpet, we used baking powder on the cleaned area... um, actually, my husband used it. I wouldn’t enter the room until it was done.

My number 1 best household cleaning tip is to have a pre-nup. Before we married, my husband and I agreed that, if we were both working full time, the chores should be split 50:50. Sharing has less impact on the environment (eg marital-row noise pollution) than a lopsided division of labour.

In any event, the average ironing pile for most male/female couples tends to comprise 70% his shirts; 28% bed linen and 2% her stuff. I have two summer dresses that get ironed.

Before he retired, my husband might wear two shirts a day - one for work and one for going out in the evening. I had hoped he might opt to wear rugby or polo shirts when he gave up the paid work but this is one tip that he hasn’t adopted. He prefers to wear a cotton shirt with a collar.

Has anyone found a cotton shirt that is genuinely non-iron? A friend told me, darkly, that if you once iron a non-iron shirt, it loses its non-ironness and will need ironing forever thereafter.

Where, I think, cleaner-upper par excellence Marie Kondo may be missing the mark is when she says things such as: “Tidying up is contagious! In my experience, as clients get on with their tidying, their family members oftentimes start tidying up as well.”

That’s a ‘no’ from me, Marie.

I am not slovenly. I love a clean and tidy home but I also realise that shortly after achieving this, having vacuumed, dusted and scrubbed, it will soon need doing again. Thus, leaving it for a bit is not going to make much difference in the long run. And covering small household appliances and door knobs with cling film is not an answer.

Another great tip (husband, please note and repeat after me) is not to prep everything before cooking. If you can make a pancake batter without measuring everything out, and just chucking it in a bowl, it saves on washing up. I live with someone who puts everything in separate bowls before assembling ingredients. It may be accurate, it may be the best way to follow a recipe but it doesn’t half create a lot of washing-up.

Another favourite thing is Windowlene. I like it because it is pink and thus, when applied to windows or mirrors, you can see exactly where it is. In this way, you know you have properly cleaned the glass. I can’t tell where I’ve been with those invisible sprays.

I am also a great believer in good brush and dustpans. You need a soft brush for the hard floors and a hard one for the carpeted surfaces. These afford instant remedies to grandsons with biscuits.

In a recent tweet the influencer (that’s what they call these social media stars) announces: “Calling all newlyweds! Have you seen my tips for packing the perfect honeymoon suitcase yet?”

I hopes she includes overnight hair curlers, hair net and a book to read in bed.

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