Autumn cleaning

Spring has well and truly gone but there will be many who did not get around to the annual spring clean, so we thought we would gather together our reader tips for a good autumn clean! True to form, the oily rag community has lots of ways to take the cost out of cleaning.

To get ready for winter fires, Ross writes, “We have many friends with glass fronted wood-burners in their lounges. They use many commercial cleaning preparations to clean the glass – over time this amounts to a significant cost. A simple no-cost solution is to use the ash itself to clean the glass. We have used this for around ten years, and the glass is still like new. Take three pieces of paper towel. Hold one piece under a tap to saturate it with water. Dip this repeatedly in the cold ash and use it to clean the glass. It will come clean within seconds. Use the remaining two pieces to wipe the glass clean and dry. Make sure you have a piece of newspaper spread under the open door to catch the drips as you clean!”

Summer Day from Auckland has a tip for cleaning the grime off the bottom of an iron. “I remember cleaning the base of the iron by turning it on and then ironing salt on brown paper. Worked a treat!”

MM from Christchurch has this gem about cleaning glass, “The world’s best glass cleaner is equal parts water, meths and kerosene. The smell is quite strong, so use in a well-ventilated area. Doesn’t streak and leaves glass dirt-resistant for ages.”

Cheryl from Greymouth says, “I have found that Sugar Soap can be great for getting oily stains out of clothes.  It might be an idea to test it on an area that isn’t visible in case the dye bleeds but I have found it to be quite successful.”

Sue from Kaitaia also recommends Sugar Soap. “I use it for cleaning walls, ceilings, floors and to wash the car. It is really good at getting road grime off the car and does not leave waxy marks on the windows. In fact, it has been removing the wax spots that were already there. I also use it in the window washers of the car. It is cheaper than car wash products and does a better job. It’s also great in the house and you don’t need several different products. It removes mould and grease from walls and ceilings with ease and leaves everything looking nice. Spray and Wipe unusually bleaches the patch where it is sprayed and the walls end up looking blotchy. Sugar Soap is not too expensive and is available at supermarkets.”

Need to freshen up? Kla from Stratford has this washing tip. “If you add a few drops of essential oils to your load it will come out smelling nice. Also if you use a dryer, try adding couple of drops to a clean rag or face cloth and add to the dryer with your load. That way the smell lasts longer.”

Karen from Palmerston North has this tip to freshen up a mattress. “Mix a few drops of essential oil with one cup baking soda. Sprinkle on the mattress and let it sit for an hour before vacuuming. Baking soda will absorb any dirt, moisture, odours, while the essential oil will leave things smelling fresh.”

Carpet needs a clean? Karen says, “I recommend baking soda, sprinkled onto the carpet and brushed in – leave overnight if possible. Baking soda is cheap and even comes in a ‘sprinkle’ container.”

Lots of readers use baking soda for cleaning. Twin Mum from Masterton uses it to remove grease stains. “Try making a paste of baking soda and a few drops of water. Work the paste into the grease stain and rinse with warm water. Repeat a couple of times if needed. The baking soda will help remove the grease while also removing any smell.”

Another reader sprinkles baking soda on the bath without water and uses a brush to scrub off the grime, while a reader from Reporoa says when applied with a damp cloth, baking soda is good for cleaning sinks and basins, as well as polishing stainless steel and deodorising and cleaning thermos flasks.”

A reader from Wanganui recommends using baking soda to get rid of the smell of cats. “Try sponging the area with baking soda and water until just damp. Sprinkle baking soda onto this dampened patch, wait until it is dry then vacuum. Repeat if necessary.”