Ba­sic clean­ing rou­tines like mop­ping might be bor­ing but at least it’s easy. But what about the things you keep putting off? Try th­ese handy tips for tough-to-clean house­hold items


Clean a scorched iron by iron­ing a piece of cloth (or pa­per towel) cov­ered with a few ta­ble­spoons of salt. Iron over the salt sev­eral times un­til the marks dis­ap­pear. Turn off the iron and al­low to cool com­pletely, then wipe the metal plate with a damp cloth.

To clean dusty blinds, take an old sock, dip it in a mix­ture of one part wa­ter to one part vine­gar and wrap it around your hand. Or wrap cloths soaked in the vine­gar mix­ture around the claws of a pair of braai tongs and you’re good to go.

To clean a soiled mat­tress, take a box of bi­car­bon­ate of soda (about 500 g) and add 10 to 20 drops of es­sen­tial oils to it (laven­der, san­dal­wood or camomile are good op­tions). Give the box a good shake so the pow­der and oil are mixed to­gether.

Sprin­kle the mix­ture over the mat­tress and rub it in as if you’re giv­ing the bed a mas­sage. Let the bi­car­bon­ate of soda and oil work its magic for at least 1 hour, then vac­uum the mat­tress.

Strug­gling with wa­ter marks on your wooden furniture? Mix a small amount of olive oil and salt to form a thick paste then rub the paste onto the stains. Leave for about 30 min­utes then wipe the ex­cess paste off. The salt draws out the mois­ture and the olive oil feeds the wood.

If your toi­let has limescale stains, pour 250-500 ml (1-2 cups) Coca-Cola into the bowl. The car­bonic, cit­ric and phos­phoric acids in the cola will break down stains – it’s more ef­fec­tive if left overnight.

Fill a plas­tic bag with dis­tilled white vine­gar and wrap it around a dirty show­er­head, en­sur­ing it’s com­pletely im­mersed in the so­lu­tion. Leave it overnight then scrub with a tooth­brush.

If your bath­room and kitchen fix­tures have hard-wa­ter stains that won’t come off with reg­u­lar de­ter­gents, try cut­ting a lemon in half and scrub­bing the sur­face with the halves. Or soak a cloth in white vine­gar and give the af­fected ar­eas a good wipe.

Scrub away rust stains in your bath­room sink, bath­tub or on your tiled coun­ter­tops by mak­ing a paste of cream of tar­tar and white vine­gar, or cream of tar­tar and lemon juice. Ap­ply and leave for at least 10 min­utes then wipe and rinse with soapy wa­ter.

To get rid of stub­born bath­tub rings, sprin­kle salt onto a grape­fruit and use it to scrub your bath­tub.

Dou­ble-glass oven win­dows can be a night­mare to clean. Wrap a moist clean­ing wipe around a wire coat hanger (se­cure with a rub­ber band if nec­es­sary). Slide the wire and clean­ing wipe up through the slots in the bot­tom of the oven door. Move the clean­ing wipe back and forth be­tween the glass panes to clean.

A dirty hob? Stir 15 ml (1 tbsp) bi­car­bon­ate of soda into 15 ml (1 tbsp) wa­ter to make a paste. Put the mix­ture on a cloth and get scrub­bing to put a shine on your hob.

Got a mouldy shower cur­tain? Put it in the wash­ing ma­chine with 125 ml (½ cup) wash­ing pow­der and 125 ml (½ cup) bi­carbo­nate of soda. Add 250 ml (1 cup) of white vine­gar to the rinse cy­cle.

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