39 home hints and time-saving tips that really work

39 home hints and time-saving tips that really work

1 A dab of different coloured nail varnish can help identify keys quickly and easily.

2 Pop several unused dry teabags into smelly shoes as cheap deodorisers.

3 Spread salt on muddy footprints, then leave for half an hour before vacuuming.

4 Rub salt onto the edge of glasses to remove lipstick stains.

5 A piece of kitchen paper towel soaked in milk will lift crayon marks from radiators.

6 Rub a walnut over damaged wood to remove marks.

7 Use a banana skin to ‘dust’ houseplants; the skin will attract dirt while the pulp will nourish the leaves.

8 Red wine spillage? Blot the excess liquid with kitchen paper towel, soak with sparkling or soda water, and repeat before sponging with soapy water. 

9 Give a cast iron fireplace a once over with the vacuum each week. Don’t use water – it can lead to rust.

10 Use the eraser at the end of a pencil to rub away marks on light switches and remote controls.

11 Pop a few grains of rice into your salt shaker to stop it clumping. The rice will absorb any moisture, keeping your salt flowing freely.

12 Wipe around a moulded washing machine door seal with clear vinegar.

13 Remove stubborn food from pet bowls by rubbing the inside with a little vegetable oil.

14 Keep flowers fresh for longer by adding soluble aspirin to the water.

15 Save on scourers by using the net bags that many items of fruit and veg are sold in.

16 Stop potatoes sprouting by storing them with an apple.

17 Clean your blender by half-filling with water, adding a drop of washing-up liquid, putting the lid on and giving it a spin. It will clean itself – all you need to do is rinse.

18 Do you often misplace your earrings? Keep pairs together by using the holes in large, spare buttons as handy holders.

19 Lift oil stains from driveways or paths with a sprinkle of bicarbonate of soda and a good scrub with a wet brush.

20 Light hard-to-reach candles using a stick of uncooked spaghetti as a taper.

21 Air your mattress once a month, and sprinkle it with baking soda to absorb any moisture, before giving it a good vacuum.

22 Restore the shine to jewellery by dipping into a glass of gin and tonic, or water with denture tablets dissolved in it. Great for silver, gold or gemstones (but not pearls or opals).

23 Use a hanging shoe-rack inside a cupboard to store your cleaning products – it will save space and you’ll be able to see instantly what you have.

24 Clear residue from your shower head by popping it into a small plastic bag filled with vinegar. Secure in place with an elastic band and leave it to work its magic overnight.

25 An opened box of bicarbonate of soda behind the loo makes a cheap air freshener.

26 While we’re on the subject of toilets, pour flat cola in the bowl and leave overnight to shift limescale.

27 Taps will shine up a treat with a quick dab of toothpaste and a bit of elbow grease.

28 Clean your tiles after a hot shower – the warmth and moisture will help to loosen dirt.

29 Are weeds sprouting in the cracks of your patio? Get out the white vinegar – they won’t know what has hit them!

30 Used coffee grounds make an excellent fertiliser, so use the contents of empty filter papers on the garden.

31 Keep bugs out of the grandchildren’s sandpit by mixing powdered cinnamon in with the sand.

32 Store opened packets of seeds in an old photo album to keep them safe.

33 Scrub a barbecue grill with balled-up tinfoil.

34 Clingfilm is – mysteriously – easier to use if it’s kept in the fridge. This is also a good place to store candles, which will burn for longer if previously chilled.

35 Save money and trap heat by fixing aluminium foil behind your radiators.

36 Put old some old newspaper at the bottom of your bin to absorb food juices.

37 Turn a normal coat hanger into a non-slip one by twisting a pipe cleaner around it.

38 Protect your earrings, coins and other tiny items from the vacuum cleaner, by tying an old stocking or the foot from a pair of tights over the nozzle – it will still pick up dust, but will trap small valuables.

39 Remove pet hair from your bed or sofas by rubbing with a damp washing-up glove.

Pest control

Rid your home of creepy crawlies is easy with these great ideas:

  • A vase of lavender near an open window will not only smell lovely, but will help to deter flies, which can’t stand it!
  • Draw a chalk line around doorways to keep out ants and slugs, which won’t cross it.
  • Use peppermint or eucalyptus-based cleaning products to repel silverfish. If they’ve already been at your clothes or books, freeze any infested items for a few days to see them off.
  • Wash bedding at 60° to kill dust mites.



Six top tips to use these citrus marvels

  • Tackle a grubby microwave by boiling a cup of hot water with a slice of lemon in it, which will help to soften any food spillages and leave a fresh smell.
  • Place half a lemon into the dishwasher for a pleasant scent and sparkling crockery.
  • Rub a cut lemon inside plastic containers to help shift stains – this works on chopping boards, too.
  • Remove dried food remnants from a grater by rubbing with a cut lemon.
  • Mix equal parts lemon juice and water to make an all-purpose cleaner.
  • Add half a cup of juice to your white washing to help lift stains.