Tips and cleaners

Thrifty from Christchurch writes, “To get a head start on winter, I started collecting pine cones in December from local parks and public places where there are pine trees. The best time to go collecting is after a Northwester, as hundreds of cones are blown off the trees. I have 12 large sackfuls so far for my fire. I also collect branches and twigs over the summer that have either fallen off or come from when I prune my trees. I save everything for kindling. I already have eight boxes of kindling which means I won’t have to buy expensive kindling.” Good squirrel work Thrifty, well done!

Thrifty also has a tip to remove nicotine grime from china. “Try a solution of 50:50 warmed white vinegar and water. The vinegar will need to be warmed as tar and nicotine develop a hard surface. Alternatively try LA’s Totally Awesome Oxygen Orange All Purpose Degreaser available at The Warehouse and some $2 shops for about $3 per bottle. Spray on, remove grime with a small brush or cotton ball and rinse off.”

C from Auckland writes, “I cut plastic hand cream bottles in half and it is amazing how much is still left in the container that a ‘pump’ will not let you have (I always get a couple of weeks worth from the cut open bottle) – likewise with plastic make-up foundation/concealer creams etc. It always keeps me going for a few more weeks.”

Carolyn from Auckland writes, “I have been redoing my pantry and saving nice glass coffee jars from my work (they usually get recycled), washing and cleaning them and then using them for nuts, seeds, tea bags etc. They are air tight and my pantry looks like something out of NZ Home & Garden! I have also saved certain glass jars from the supermarket, spray painted the lids with my new pantry colour and wow – no more of a bit of this and that for storing food. Looks great and cost nothing as I already had the spray paint for another project.”

Sokretes from Mount Maunganui would like to know your best tip for cleaning oil from concrete. Let us know if you can help.

Michelle from Invercargill has his great grout and shower cleaning tip. “Like a lot of things, regular cleaning of tiles and glass saves a lot of hard work later on. For glass, always wipe dry after a shower with your towel or glass scraper. Once a week, use a cleaner or micro cloth to remove any build up. For tiles, every week use baking soda and white vinegar with just enough water to make a spreadable mixture. Once it has black mould you will need to use bleach or a product containing bleach, like exit mould, to kill the spores. After cleaning tiles and glass, you can polish dry with car wash or car wax. Both will create a barrier to make cleaning of water spots and soap scum easier.”

Marie from Rotorua has this tip about face cleaner. “The best face cleaner you can get is ground almonds, from the bulk foods section at Pak ‘N Save. Make a thick paste with milk, and just before using, add a quarter of a teaspoon of salt. Rub fairly gently at first as it is abrasive. Wash off with warm water. Makes you face feel like Cleopatra and her bath of milk!” Whoa!

Margaret from Porirua has this recipe for making a cleansing face mask. “Brown sugar mixed into a paste with a few drops water. Leave on the face for a few seconds and then wash off. It really works for me.”

Here’s a great tip! Tess from Auckland writes, “To clean burnt pots, cut a lemon in half, squeeze juice and rub lemon on the burnt area, then scrub with goldilocks or the steel pot mitts, which are a lot cheaper. I find the burnt-on food easily comes off.”

Aliza from Dunedin has some favourite cleaning formulas.

• Toilet cleaner. “Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour into the bowl and leave for a few hours or overnight. Scrub with a brush and rinse.”
• Silver jewellery. “Line a bowl with tin foil. Put your pure silver bracelets, rings etc. Soak them in a mixture of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda for two to three hours. Rinse them under cold water and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth. There is nothing nicer than wearing beautiful shiny bangles.”

These are great tips and work well with the best cleaner we know – elbow grease!