Secret Household Cleaning Tips

This page concentrates on saving money with Secret Household Cleaning Tips mainly using materials you probably already have in your cupboard.

We have divided our former Household Tips page into two sections, this one - and the second Easy Housework Tips.

We hope you will find these pages easier to use.

Cleaning materials often become the Cinderella of the budget as far as money is concerned - always there, but not much thought about.

These secret household cleaning tips have all been tried and tested and will help you save a small fortune if used continuously. This is becoming ever more important as prices continue to rise.

Some of these secret household cleaning tips have been contributed by friends and if you would like to add one your secret household cleaning tips to this list, we would be pleased to hear from you. Please see below for details.

1. Instead of expensive branded name washing detergents buy the cheaper supermarket own brand (Tesco make one that is about a third of the cost of the top brands) and add one heaped tablespoon of washing soda crystals when you are washing really dirty, work clothes etc. The results will be the same - grease and grime removed.

This is what the manufacturer will use when making their own more expensive ‘dirt and grease removing’ brands and they will charge you accordingly! So not such a secret household cleaning tip after all!

Washing soda is also very useful for keeping your machine free from grease and dirt. Just fill the soap dispenser with washing soda and run through the boil wash programme. One of our easy secret household cleaning tips.

2. Don't waste money buying the small hand-wash soap dispensers, which only contain around 250 ml of liquid soap. When you you have used the contents of your present dispenser just refill with Tesco Creme Bath (or similar). This now costs 99p per litre which should provide you with four re-fills.

It is just as effective as the expensive dispensers normally priced at over £1.00. Thank you - Chrissie of Chelmsford, Essex.

Taking this tip one step further, try refilling your shower gel bottles - the type with the twist-off cap - with Creme Bath. These shower gel bottles only contain only 250 ml and are priced around 99p. each, so another great saving amounting to a few pounds here.

3. Although spray-on polishes are quick and easy to use where furniture is concerned, it is far kinder to the wood to use an old-fashioned beeswax type polish. (Tesco sell one - Wood Silk). Just rub in and polish using the old sweat shirt dusters.(Tip 8 below.)

This method actually saves on time etc. because it will only be necessary to polish your furniture once every six months – a light dusting is all that will be needed between times. If you get any finger marks showing, just rub extra hard with your duster and think 'save money' as you do it and it will make the elbow grease flow! Many old-fashioned cleaning materials put the 'modern' products to shame. This should rate as one of the secret household cleaning tips.

Do you know of any good household cleaning tips ?

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4. Don't buy window-cleaning sprays - make your own. Use the old empty sprayer; fill with 2/3rd cold tap water and 1/3rd white vinegar. Use as normal. Old screwed up newspapers make good window polishers. One of many good old secret household cleaning tips.

5. Another home mix for cleaning windows is one pint warm water with a heaped tablespoon of cornflour mixed in. Pour into an old spray bottle, shake well and use as a normal window cleaner spray.

6. Mix Borax with lemon juice (a store own brand is OK.) into a fairly stiff paste and keep in a small lidded plastic container. This is one of excellent cleaning materials for cleaning sinks and baths made from products you will probably already have in your cupboard. Rinse well when finished and it will really make them shine.

If you are feeling a trifle pushed for time, a small amount of bicarbonate of soda sprinkled directly into the sink and then rubbed with a damp cloth produces excellent results.

Bicarbonate of Soda is one of the best and safest cleaning materials. It doesn't scratch, doesn't stain and is so easy to use. Just right for the busy lady (or man). Another of our good, secret household cleaning tips.

7. Instead of kettle descaler, use white vinegar instead. About 6 tablespoons of vinegar will be sufficient. Add water up to the ‘scale line’, boil it up, and leave to stand overnight. The result is amazing. Rinse the kettle out before re-using.

You will probably find that this cheap method lasts longer than the shop bought products.

Some of our friends also recommend using Coca Cola for this job. Fill your kettle to the scale line with Coke and leave to stand over night. Rinse as above. It is possible to re-bottle the used Coke for future descaling use - not drinking! Remember this one of the secret household cleaning tips - not a drinking one!

Take a look at our page Water and Health and Coca Cola.

8. Don't buy expensive dusters and cleaning cloths. Just cut up old sweat shirts and T's and use them instead.

The material does not fray at the edge, so nothing further needs to be done - just cut and use. Best of all, they make lovely soft polishers! Another one of our really useful secret household cleaning tips that also save money.

9. If you can buy either washing-up-liquid or household bleach in gallon containers, these will save you pounds when decanted into normal sized plastic bottles. Booker Cash and Carry are currently selling washing-up liquid at £2.25. per gallon.

10. To really save money on dust bags for your vacuum cleaner, go to Vacuum Cleaner Dust Bags. The postage charges and delivery service are excellent.

11. You may find that a dishwasher tablet cut in half (use a sharp knife and cut whilst the tablet is still in the wrapping) works fine. This is like having every alternate wash free!

Cleaning materials for free which sit well with our secret household cleaning tips. Very good value.

12. Instead of expensive dishwasher cleaners, (normally £2.00 each per bottle) fill the dispenser with soda crystals and run through on a hot programme. Use a programme that does not have a pre-wash, or if this is not possible, run through the pre-wash then add the crystals. This is one of the household cleaning tips that just concentrates on an item - washing soda - that has been around for ages and is so very useful.

One super-conscious saver uses just soda and no dishwasher tablet for a periodical wash. She maintains her dishes are just as clean and she has also cleaned her machine at the same time. Top marks to Helen from Essex. Thanks.

13. Don’t buy expensive stainless steel cleaners use baby oil instead. The cheapest one we have been able to find is Tesco's My Baby's Moisturing Oil. Wipe over the surface of the item with baby oil on a soft cloth then just polish up the surface with another cloth. (Part of a sweatshirt – remember previous above - Tip 8). Thanks to Guy from Norfolk for this tip.

14. Don't buy expensive limescale tablets for your washing machine, use the cheaper ones from Lidl, sold under the trade name of Adritt Limescale Tablets or those from Tesco sold under their own brand name.

15. To remove mould stains from bathroom tile grout try using household bleach. This can be applied using an old toothbrush. Rinse thoroughly afterwards. For really stubborn stains, especially on silicone sealants, a powerful sodium hypochlorite based cleaner such as HG mould spray may be necessary. This is usually obtainable from DIY stores or plumbers' merchants.

19th June, 2016. The following has been received from a reader and is passed on without trial or comment:

May I persuade you to alter the advice given here to inform readers that the bleach will NOT kill the mould. Often people read such tips and believe the mould has been removed, when in fact all that's happened is that it's been bleached and is no longer visible - but the mould spores remain.

One needs to kill the mould first with vinegar. Then bleach out any remaining stains.

16. To be a super saver cut your scouring pads in half, i.e., Brillo pads. This cuts out the waste of being left with a half-used, rusting pad that is never as successful second time around.

17. For streak-free shower glass, immediately after taking a shower use an item of clothing you have just removed and wipe down the glass. Top marks to Joanne from Cheshire for Tips Nos. 16 and 17. Thanks.

18. Did you know that your 'plug-in' air freshner will continue using electricity even when it is empty and is in need of replacement? Don't get caught here.

19. If your washing machine develops a 'pong' run it on a hot wash as follows: Start filling the machine with water, after about 30 seconds pour half a cup of white vinegar into the soap dispenser drawer. This way the sump pipe fills with water and the vinegar remains in the machine, swirling around with the hot water doing its job.

20. Probably the best, easiest and cheapest brass and copper cleaner is a mixture of lemon juice and household salt. Rub this liquid onto the dirty copper with a soft cloth, or use a toobrush for intricate parts. Clean off the film left with a damp cloth, then lightly buff up with a soft, dry cloth. The result is far superior to that obtained with any of the expensive commercial cleaners and is easier to use and cheaper.

21. Use half a shelled walnut rubbed into the wood to disguise scratches on furniture.

22. Looking for a lost small item - earing? Secure a stocking over the vacuum cleaner hose and pick it up before it is sucked up.

23. To make your towels fluffy again first of all soak the towel in a bowl of hot water with one cup full of soda crystals. Leave to soak for 10 minutes. Rinse and squeeze out excess water. Place the towel in the washing machine, wash as normal but replace your fabric conditioner with one cup full of white vinegar. Hang out on the washing line and allow to dry normally. Thanks to Dry Pak for this tip

24. Skip the job of cleaning a messy grill pan - just line it with cooking foil before use. Hey presto - one cleaning job you don't have to do!

The following tips have been submitted by Andrea in Winnipeg, to whom many thanks are sent.

- mold prevention - spray with 50/50 water & vinegar - as all purpose cleaner for kitchens, bathrooms,windows and finished wood floors.

-bathroom taps & shower door - start with clean ones and then after your shower just wipe with your towel - also excellent for tub taps. When people see clean taps, unless the ring is horrible they will assume the rest has just been cleaned.

-Apart from the 50/50 spray, I just use my liquid kitchen detergent for toilets, bath tubs, vanity sinks - unless you have rust stains harsh chemicals are just not necessary - your budget will thank you.

Another excellent tip has been submitted by Melissa from Atmore, Alabama, USA, to whom grateful thanks are also sent.

I discovered this simple cleaning tip by accident. For a simple, easy and inexpensive way to clean and shine your stainless steel sink; try liquid dishwasher detergent. i.e. - such as Cascade, regular or gel. Store brands work just as well. Start by rinsing sink, allow it to air dry, or use paper towels. Coat entire surface with d/w detergent;,allow to dry completely. Rinse with clean water; using a soft cloth. (You may use a damp tooth brush dipped in clean water to get into tight areas and around drain. *Buff dry with soft dry cloth. ***This method will also remove old coffee and rea stain that build up over time.

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