14 clever hacks for cleaning your house
Founder of viral Facebook group Mums Who Clean shares her go-to cleaning tricks.
There are few things quite as satisfying as a freshly cleaned house. But, if you’re not one of those unicorns who finds the process of cleaning cathartic or relaxing, don’t despair. There’s a Facebook group for that. Enter Mums Who Clean, a social cleaning clique dedicated to sharing tried-and-true tips, tricks and housework hacks to help achieve peak sparkle without having to block out an entire weekend.
Since starting in October 2017, the group has ballooned to more than 276,000 members. The impetus? To help people who hate cleaning get the job done quicker.
“I am really, really lazy,” says the group’s co-founder Karlie Suttie, a business owner and mother of three, who’s also behind a suite of Mums Who groups including Mums Who Organise. “I am always looking for the easiest way to do anything. I want to do as little as possible to get things done.”
So what are Karlie’s top tips and tricks for maximum clean with minimum effort?
1. Clean your oven racks with dishwashing tablets
If you really hate cleaning your oven, this one’s for you. “This is one of the best tips we’ve ever had in the group,” Karlie says. “You take the racks out of the oven, wrap them up in aluminium foil with a dishwasher tablet inside, and then soak them in hot water in the sink for a couple of hours – or overnight. The gunk literally just wipes off.”
2. Add Epsom salts to your vacuum for musty smells
House needing a bit of fresh air? If you have a barrel vacuum, you’re in luck. “Mix together some Epsom salts and a couple of drops of essential oil, then sprinkle it on a small patch of carpet or a rug. Vacuum it up first then it’ll blow that smell throughout the house.”
3. Use a lint roller on dusty lampshades
Cleaning dusty fabric lampshades or bedheads can be hard work, but not when you have the right tools, Karlie says. “Use a lint roller on bedheads or lampshades.” Genius.
4. Use a squeegee to get pet hair out of carpet
You might love your fur baby – but that doesn’t mean you have to love their fur, especially when you find it all over the house. “To get hair off your carpet, use a rubber or silicon squeegee,” Karlie says. “The rubber sticks to the hair and pulls it out.”
5. Use shaving cream to refresh your toilet
Whether you’re in the depths of potty training or have moved into a new rental with a less than lovely loo, Karlie says this hack is a lifesaver. “This is the most popular post we’ve had,” she says. “Put shaving cream on the floor around the base of the toilet, and on the toilet itself. Leave it there for an hour or so, then wipe it away – any lingering smells will be gone.”
And if you have a pet that hasn’t quite mastered house-training, she says the shaving-cream trick can also help to remove the odour.
6. Dust Venetian blinds with tongs
When it comes to loathsome housekeeping tasks, cleaning your blinds has to be near the top of the list. This hack might not make it any more fun, but it will make it a lot quicker. “Venetian blinds can be hard to clean because of the gaps between each piece of timber or plastic.” Her tip? Grab a pair of tongs, put a cloth around each arm and fasten it on with a hair tie or elastic band, then wipe away. Simple.
7. Use vinegar and dishwashing liquid for a sparkling shower
Soap scum and grime are the enemies of every cleaner, but many products designed to remove them contain harsh chemicals. Thankfully there is a less bleachy way to clean your shower. “I clean my shower the same way I have for years: using dishwashing detergent and a splash of vinegar,” Karlie says. “I put it into one of those microfibre sponges that has the handle you can fill with liquid to make it easier to scrub.”
8. Remove bench stains with baking soda
Stone benches are beautiful, but you do have to be careful with stains. To counteract any stains or discolouration, Karlie says, make a paste out of baking soda and vinegar (use 50/50), spread it on the bench, then buff it out. She says this mix also works well on carpet or other stains.
9. Soak kids’ toys in vinegar
If your kids’ bath and shower toys have been getting a bit of a workout these past few months, it might be time to give them a good clean. “I fill a bucket with vinegar, put the kids’ toys in there, leave it for a while then drain it and they’re ready to go again.”
10. Iron water marks out of a timber furniture
Been working from your dining table and realise your morning cuppa has left a water mark on the timber? Grab a tea towel and your iron. “The theory for a water mark is that when you put the iron on it and do the steam function over the top, the extra heat removes the water residue that is left in the wood,” Karlie says.
11. Remove sticky stuff with eucalyptus oil
Kids sticking stickers on the wall instead of in their books? Grab some tea tree or eucalyptus oil to remove sticky stuff. If you don’t have those, your hairdryer will do the trick. “It loosens the adhesive on the back.” If you’re planning to reuse jam jars apply a bit of heat to the label and it will easily melt the adhesive.
12. Boil manky tea towels
If your tea towels are a bit grungy, Karlie suggests putting them in a pot with hot water and boiling them on the stove. “You’ll be amazed at how much dirt comes out of them,” she says. Once they’re clean, pop them into the washing machine to remove any lingering dirt or bacteria.
13. Make dull sinks and drains sparkle with bi-carb
Sink looking a little dull? “Sprinkle a little bi-carb soda then pour over some vinegar,” Karlie suggests. “Let it sit for a few minutes then scrub it and rinse. It’ll look like new in no time.”
14. Soak fruit and veg in baking soda
While this one isn’t specifically cleaning, Karlie says it’s one of her favourite hacks. “When you bring home fruit and veg from the supermarket put them in the sink with some cold water and a teaspoon of bicarb soda then give them a quick rinse. It helps to remove pesticides and also helps keep them fresh for longer.