Yes, Mum, I was listening. I listened to you when you told me to go and clean my room. Yes, I did resent it a bit when I was growing up, but now that I’ve got a home of my own, I appreciate the things that you taught me.
I appreciate them so much that I’d like to share them with others. After all, not everybody learned the right way to clean things from their mothers – ask any professional cleaner. In some cases, these domestic cleaners get called in to do household chores for clients who just don’t know how to clean their homes in some cases.
So thanks, Mum! Here’s the best of what you told me…well, this is what I remember :).
Mum’s Home Cleaning Tips
- Don’t put it down; put it away. This one was also phrased as “avoid double handling”. In other words, when you’ve finished using something, put it away where it belongs straight away. Don’t just dump it down on the nearest flat surface or the floor – that’s how clutter accumulates.
- Cold water removes blood stains. It also removes egg stains and other protein stains. Never use hot water or the heat will set the stain.
- A good soak works wonders for really dirty laundry. In preference, use enzyme washing powder and warm water – unless there’s a bloodstain involved. Overnight soaking removes a lot of dirt, meaning that you don’t have to use the heavy-duty load on the washing machine. Obviously, you have to remove the soaking water before the proper wash.
- Go through and sort out your stuff regularly to avoid clutter accumulating. We moved house a lot, so we had to do this every time. However, even when we weren’t shifting, an annual clean-out of accumulated “treasures” was ordered.
- Use your compost bin. Sort your compost if you have pets, as pets might like to eat some of the food you throw away.
- Daily vacuuming is quicker than a massive weekly session, especially in high-traffic areas.
- If you’ve managed to burn food onto the bottom of a saucepan, run it under cold water and soak it straight away. For really stubborn burnt-on gunk, sprinkle a teaspoon of dishwasher powder in the soaking water and leave the pan overnight.
- Cleaning is a form of aerobics and it’s good for you.
- Once you’ve done all the jobs on your to-do list, don’t do any more.
- Minimise ornaments. You’ll only have to dust them and there’s a risk of them breaking if you have a rambunctious family.
- Wipe down the kitchen bench and the dining room table before you vacuum the floor. Otherwise, you’ll be vacuuming twice.
- When making a single bed, stop sheets from becoming untucked on one side by securing them to the mattress with a blanket pin. You can fix the blankets there at the same time. This saves time on making beds, especially for younger kids.
My Mum was a very forward thinking woman in her days. She was so keen on using natural ingredients when cleaning our home, she would not allow anything commercial made through the door. I have had issues with this sometimes (well, you can’t get vinegar to clean absolutely everything, I’ll tell you that) but the long term health benefits are undisputed. Mum despised poisonous supermarket products designed to clean well while having (almost) a disregards for any health risks.
So, using natural cleaning substances has been deeply ingrained my DNA since very young age. In this line of thoughts, here is a great tip (also courtesy of Mum) about using vinegar as a discaler.
13. Every kettle gets limescale. There is no way round it. The trick here is to use vinegar regularly to clean the limescale and prevent the long-term build-up. Empty the kettle of any remaining water. Fill up 3/4 with vinegar (white vinegar works best, but any other type of vinegar will also do the job) and boil it. Let it cool down and bring to the boil again. Repeat this at least three times. Then throw away the vinegar, fill with water and boil 3 times again (changing the water before each boil in order to remove any traces of vinegar taste). Job done.
I hope you enjoyed these lovely cleaning tips (so dear to me, as they remind me of my Mum). Use them but be careful in the knowledge that whatever worked for me and my Mum, may not work in the same way for you.
Stay safe! Ta-ta.