Here's the 9 in 1 Steam Cleaner in action:
School Holiday Tips
During School Holidays keeping my house clean and tidy is much more difficult with kids home 24/7. My best piece of advice is try and accept that your house won't look like a show home in the holidays (mine never does anytime). As long as my kitchen and bathroom are clean I can cope with untidiness elsewhere. Try to chill out about your house not being as pristine as usual. Easier said that done, I know. ;o)
Encourage children to put away one activity before starting another. This helps keep the house tidy and also avoids the crafting/lego/jigsaw puzzle obstacle course which can cause accidents as well as mess.
My 3 girls love to help. Each one takes on a chore each day whether it be washing the breakfast/lunch dishes, sweeping the floor downstairs, loading/unloading the washing machine/dryer. Working together means much more time for fun stuff and less time I spend sorting out housework.
School holidays are also a great time to discover the books, games, dvds, etc that kids have grown out of, lost interest in or just no longer want. Sell them to raise money to buy ones they do want, donate them to charity shops or swap with friends. The same goes for clothing, all 3 of my girls have had growth spurts so we spent an afternoon of clothes swapping, clearing out things that no longer fitted anybody and gave their rooms a good tidy up in the process.
My Favourite Cleaning Recipes
** Test solutions on a small inconspicuous piece of fabric first before using on large areas to check effect on fabric/furnishings. Also, should family members have sensitive skin or allergies to cleaning solutions please take care when using these recipes. **
Several tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda
Enough to make thick paste
Place the baking soda in a bowl, and add water a little at a time until you have a thick paste. Wipe this over the inside of your oven, avoiding the heating elements. Turn on the oven to a moderate hear for about half an hour then turn off. Once oven is completely cool, clean off the paste and you should have a sparkling clean oven.
Moth Repellent Linen Bags
These are great to use when storing sheets, clothes or blankets:
50 g dried rosemary
50g dried mint
25 g dried thyme
200 g whole cloves
Mix together and put into cloth sachets. This should make about four good sized sachets. You can use the fabulous Red Ted Art Blog's no sew cloth sachet method here.
Natural antibacterial spray
20 drops sweet orange essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
Pour water into a spray bottle. Blend essential oils in a glass jar. Add 1 tsp/5ml of this mixture to a spray bottle of water. Spray on surface and leave to sit for at least 15 minutes. There is no need to rinse. t off. Keep the base mix in a dark-coloured glass bottle in the cupboard and use to make up more spray as you need it.
Tip: Also use orange oil to stop cats urinating in the same spot inside the house. Put it in a dish or simply grate the zest from an orange and scatter the zest around the spots where the problem occurs.
Homemade Fabric Softener
Simply add ½ cup white vinegar to the rinse cycle of you washing machine, or add ½ cup washing soda to your wash to soften the water. For an easier solution make this softener and add it to the fabric softener dispenser of your washing machine:
1 cup washing soda
1 cup white vinegar
10 drops essential oil of your choice (e.g. lavender, lemon, eucalyptus)
Mix together and store in a bottle. Use as you would a commercial premade fabric softener.
If you’re not so fussy about having soft clothes but want a nice smell, then put about 10 drops of any essential oil into the fabric softener dispenser in your washing machine with enough white vinegar to fill it.
Homemade Laundry Rinse
1 cup baking soda
1 cup white vinegar
2 cups water
1 tsp lemon oil
1 tsp eucalyptus oil
Combine all the ingredients and and put a cupful into the fabric softener dispenser for the final rinse of your washing machine cycle.
Clove Spray for killing mould and mildew on the backs of curtains.
Our rented house has had major mould issues over the long cold and damp winter. To kill mould on curtains I use this spray. Add about 3mls of clove oil to a 1 litre spray bottle of water and spray all over the mould. Leave for a day and then scrub off. You can then make up a spray of 20 drops each of lavender, lemon and tea-tree oil with 500ml water and spray that on to prevent the mould growing back.
Homemade Dishwasher Powder
1 Cup Washing Soda
1 Cup Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Salt
1/4 Cup Citric Acid
Mix together (grind to powder in a food processor). Use 1 tablespoon per load. Loads cheaper than the capsules. Always use white vinegar in the rinse aid dispenser.
Dishwasher deodorant - if you use your dishwasher less than once a day, toss a handful of bicarbonate of soda into the bottom between washes, it will stop stale smells building up.
Teapot cleaner - tea stains are hard to get off and after a while your teapot will have a nasty brown stain inside which isn't very appealing. To get rid of this stain, rub the inside of the pot with a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water, then fill with warm water and a little bicarbonate of soda and leave to soak. Test on a small patch first so ensure teapot is not damaged.