There is nothing quite as revitalising as a thorough spring-clean to start the warm season off on a good note. For many homeowners it is often not financially feasible to hire professional cleaners, regardless of the time and energy saving benefits. This leaves little option for the budget-conscious consumer (still reeling from winter’s electricity bills) other than good ol’ DIY.
The price of commercial cleaning products can dampen even the most determined of DIY’ers; which is why we have compiled a list of simple, affordable and virtually effortless tips for a brighter, cleaner home using natural, inexpensive products you can find around the house.
Focusing your attention on the rooms, furniture and finishes that receive the most “traffic” and attention will make what may feel like an enormous task manageable and hassle-free. These usually include the living room, kitchen and main bedrooms. Cleaning these areas will also make the most difference to your home as a whole.
Reflective Surfaces & Stainless Steel
Keep your kitchen looking pristine by wiping down all reflective and stainless steel surfaces with a non-abrasive, lint-free cloth and a small amount of wax-based aerosol cleaner. Simply removing greasy marks and dust from reflective surfaces will noticeably transform your kitchen and leave it shining. Dampen a cloth with undiluted white vinegar or olive oil to clean and shine cookware.
Vinegar is anti-bacterial, deodorising and removes stains, odours, grease and wax build-up. Alternatively mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 4 cups of water.
Baking soda acts as a cleaning agent and deodoriser, and is a popular choice for budget-conscious cleaners.
For a fast and easy home-makeover, simply switch bedding, towels and other linen between rooms after washing them. This is a no-cost way to keep your home looking fresh and interesting. If you’re in a position to spend a little more, be creative by introducing different colours and patterns into your living areas by purchasing new scatter cushions and table linen.
The most effective and health-conscious method for cleaning carpets is to vacuum often – this will lessen the effect of allergy-causing dust. Clean spills and dirt as soon as they happen to avoid permanent or hard-to-remove stains forming.
For an all-natural stain remover, mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water and spray directly onto the stain using an aerosol dispenser. Wait a couple of minutes, and then wash with warm, soapy water, rinsing well with plain water afterwards. High-trafficked areas and upholstery should be shampooed seasonally or every few months.
Contrary to popular belief, furniture need only be moved slightly when cleaning and then returned to its place once the area underneath has dried. It’s unnecessary and far too much effort to temporarily relocate everything in your home!
Opening the windows will speed the drying process, but allow 1 – 2 days for actual drying time.
Hiring professional carpet cleaners is another option that will require much less work and hassle on your part, at a price befitting their hard work, professional equipment and commercial cleaning products.
A damp mop and mild soap cleaner is advisable for washing wooden flooring. Wood polishes are available for purchase from virtually any home improvement store. Add 15 drops of peppermint oil to equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and water for a cheaper, chemical-free option.
Polishes are usually applied after cleaning, and serve as a buffing agent, giving your floor that “like-new” shine. Use furniture protectors underneath your upholstery to avoid scratching or marking your wooden flooring when moving it. As with carpets, there’s no need to move the furniture from the room to mop and polish underneath it.
When cleaning floor and wall tiles a neutral pH tile cleaner is best suited to the job. There are many reputable brands available for purchase, combining a cleaning agent and protective wax. However, a budget-friendly alternative is to use a damp sponge with a mix of 1/2 a cup of baking soda and 2 gallons of water. Alternatively mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 4 gallons of water – but use sparingly as vinegar can break down grout. Whichever you decide on, rinse well with fresh water afterwards.
Premium quality interior paint brands are manufactured for protection and durability, however dirty wall marks can draw away from the general cleanliness of a room. Wash painted walls and cabinets with a clean cloth/sponge, pure water and a small amount of mild dishwashing liquid, rinsing with plain water.
To remove marks wipe and rub the painted surfaces gently with a damp sponge and baking soda, rinsing afterwards.
Ceiling & Light Fixtures
Finally, give your ceiling and light fixtures “a new lease on life” by wiping dust and dirt away with a slightly damp, lint-free cloth and an all-purpose cleaner. For a natural alternative mix 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1/4 cup of baking soda and 2L of water.
Enjoy a fresh, clean and radiant home in time for summer.