But these little hacks can make life so much easier, saving time and money, and maybe even a little sanity too!
1. Use Borax for more than just making slime!!
Last year I found myself suddenly jump in the car and race like a lunatic to a local pharmacy. Why? Because they had just announced on Facebook that they had a small quantity of Borax in stock!! Our eldest daughter had caught the slime making bug and Borax was a hot commodity!!
Thankfully that phase passed and now we just use it for cleaning, as it was intended!!
Add 1 cup of Borax, or baking soda, directly into your washing machine drum with your clothes to remove odours (smelly socks anyone?!) and treat light stains. It also helps to soften hard water, helping your detergent to work more effectively.
2. Solve the lost sock mystery
I can never understand where lost socks go. We have a bag where we store them all and when it gets full I take them all out and try to make pairs. But there’s still always odd socks leftover. You would think that after a few months any stray ones would reappear and be reunited with their match, but no! For anyone who has read The Borrowers I’m sure you have your own theories!!
Anyway, to try to reduce the plight of the lonely socks, use a lingerie net bag. Place PAIRS of dirty socks in before placing in the washing machine, making sure the zip is closed. This also stops them from becoming lodged around the rim during the cycle.
Lingerie bags are also great for washing stuffed toys, just make sure you follow the washing instructions for the correct cycle.
3. Give your laundry long lasting freshness
I have to admit I’m one of those who stands in Tesco opening all the softeners and smelling them to see which one I prefer this week!! I do love the smell of freshly cleaned laundry!!
If you have a dryer, you can boost this freshness without the added cost of dryer sheets. Simply soak an old hand towel in softener (diluted in some water), and dry it separately. Then add it to each wash you put in the dryer. It will work for about 30 washes before you need to repeat the process and it gives your dried laundry a lovely frest scent.
4. Ice cubes...not just for G&T
My mother believes in ironing everything...even underwear. I, on the other hand, believe in ironing as little as possible!! If you’re like me, this hack is one I think you’ll like!! (Sorry Mum!)
To help reduce creases, and therefore the need to iron, place your wrinkled clothes (already dried) into the dryer along with 2 ice cubes and run on the highest heat setting for a couple of minutes. This works best with just a few items to allow the steam to flow around the clothes. Hang up, or wear, immediately to stop more creases developing!!
5. Spilled glitter...enough said!!
A few years ago there were companies selling glitter bombs. You ordered one and had to mailed to someone that you felt had wronged you somehow!! Thankfully I never received one but my daughters frequently come home with art from school, dripping in glitter, which in my book is nearly as bad!!
Another pain to clean up is playdough...but I have found out that it actually has its benefits!! Use a ball of playdough to clean up glitter!! Roll it around in the spill and enjoy the immense satisfaction of seeing all the glitter collect on the ball.
Another way to clean it is using a washable lint roller. However please don’t wash glitter down the sink, it’s so bad for the environment, and another reason I don’t like it!!
Sadly, last year we lost our dog. She was a German Shepherd/Elkhound cross and had the nicest temperament you could ever want in a family pet. But she shed a crazy amount of hair!! It was like tumbleweed going across the floors! We all learned not to wear black clothing because it showed up all the hair, and we bought a leather sitting room suite in the hopes it would attract less hair!!
But when you have a cat or a dog, hair in inevitable. Even the so called no-shed breeds still lose hair, just not as much.
The best hack I found was wearing a rubber glove, the standard housework ones, and running your hand over any fabric covered in hair. The static picks up the hair and using your hand you can get into all the creases and crevices of couches and armchairs. My kids got very used to being rubbed down with a rubber glove clad hand before leaving the house each day!!
7. Make your white shoes white again
Every year I go out and buy a pair of cheap white canvas shoes. They are so versatile for the Summer and somehow look smarter than sports runners or flip flops! But keeping them clean in Ireland is a challenge!!
This tip is so simple that you can do it as often as needed and always have white shoes that look new. Take an old toothbrush (mark the handle so as not to cause future confusion), and first dip it in lemon juice, followed by baking soda. Gently rub over the shoe in circular motions, re-dipping as required. Wipe off excess with a wet cloth and leave to dry in the sun.
8. Remove stickers
This tip applies to anything sticky...it can be labels on a glass jar, kids stickers on the floor or price labels on new kitchenware. Just make sure that whatever surface the sticker is attached to, won’t be damaged by oil.
Remove as much of the sticker as possible first. Then spray with WD40 and leave to soak for 15-20 minutes. Take a dry cloth and rub the sticker until it all comes off. Clean with a drop of vinegar to remove the oil if necessary.
9. Save the Lego!
Is it just me or are toys getting tinier??!! Our kids have Lego, Shopkins and Sylvanian families and I struggle to understand how they even make the stuff so small!!
When I’m sweeping or hoovering, I’m always afraid I’ll pick up bits of toys so I diligently check the dustpan for any bits I might have missed. But for the Hoover I have an easier method. Place an old stocking on the end of the hoover nozzle, hold it in place with a piece of duct tape if necessary. This will allow all the dust in but keeps the tiny toys safe on the floor, where in my daughters opinion, they belong!!
There are lampshades in our house that still have the plastic wrapping on them!! But after discovering this hack I will be taking them off, five years later!!
Lampshades are not something we think to clean every day, or even every week. But dust accumulates on them, especially the light coloured ones like ours, and if you go along them with a cloth you risk grinding the dust into the fabric.
A much better solution is to use a lint roller! Lightly run it along the shade and collect the dust without making any streaks! A lint roller also works for removing pet hair but if your pet sheds a lot I would still recommend the rubber glove!!
Do you have any tips you swear by for cleaning your home? Let me know in the comments below