Household Hints

General maintenance tips - Furniture

Furniture polish (Also leather and vinyl cleaner and conditioner)

Take 1 gallon/45ltr container and start by filling half way up with water. Add 725ml/ 3 1/3 cups of olive oil, 40g/ 1/3 cup Castile soap, 40-60 drops essential oil (optional) and 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract. Then fill the container to the top and shake well. Put into a spray bottle for best results. This mixture need to shaken before each use. These proportions will create about 4.5ltr of polish which will keep for up to a year and can, in addition to the use above, be used for shinning steel and on painted surfaces and blinds. Caution: Not recommended for antiques, or floors.

Furniture polish- basic polishing cream waxing formula

Here is a simple elegant polish formula to make yourself that is solvent-free: Melt 75ml/ 2 1/2oz olive oil or jojoba, 45ml/ 1 1/2oz coconut oil, 25g/ 1oz beeswax and 25g /1oz carnauba wax in a double over a medium heat.Remove from the heat and add the water. Mix with a hand mixer until it is thick and creamy. Dab some onto a soft cotton rag and rub into the furniture. Buff and polish until the oils are well worked into the wood. This cleaner will have a shelf life of around 6-12 months.

Furniture Polish- lavender furniture wax

Melt 50g / 2oz grated beeswax and 1 tablespoon of carnauba wax in the top of a double boiler. Let cool 30 seconds or so, then add 235ml/ 1 1/2 cups of mineral spirits and 20 drops of oil of lavender. Stir well then place in a suitable container.

Furniture Polish- lemon oil

Mix 10 drops of pure essential oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice with a few drops of olive oil or jojoba. Dip a soft recycle cloth, such as flannel, and wipe the furniture. Allow to dry naturally.

Furniture Polish No.1

Abstract the juice of 1 lemon and mix with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a teaspoon of water. Apply a thin coat on your wood surface and let it sit for five minutes. Use a soft cloth to buff to a deep shine. This polish needs to be made fresh each time you use it.

Furniture Polish No.2

Mix together 3 parts light mineral oil and 1 part olive oil with a drop of lemon juice. Rub into the wood with a soft cloth.

Furniture Polish No.3

Mix together 30 ml/ 1/8 cup food grade linseed oil, 30ml / 1/8 cup vinegar and 60ml / 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Use a soft cloth and rub in well.

Furniture Polish No.4

This works well on wood effect/ laminate products as well as real wood. Mix together 30ml/1/8 cup of lavender base oils (or plain olive oil), 1 tbsp each of cider vinegar and vodka, and 10 drops of oil of lavender in a spray bottle. Apply and rub into the wood with a clean soft rag.

General cleaning tips - Floors

Stain removal
Scuff marks on vinyl flooring often come off if you rub a pencil eraser over them. Alternatively, wipe the scuff firmly with a dry cloth and a pea-sized blob of toothpaste.

Treat oil and grease stains on wooden floors with a paste of Fuller's Earth mixed with soap and water. Apply to the stain and leave it for a couple of days. Wipe away and rub the wood very gently along the grain with fine sandpaper. Repeat the process until the stain has lifted.

General cleaning tips - Cushion

Turn cushion over and alter their position on sofas and chairs to even out wear. And do not tidy newspaper aware underneath cushions: the printers ink will migrate on to the fabric!

Hair removal
Animal hairs seem immune to vacuuming: try running a rubber glove over the cushions to bunch up the hairs for lifting off. You can also lift hairs off upholstery with parcel tape: make a big loop sticky side outwards, slip your hand though and roll the tap over the hairy spots.

General cleaning tips - Windows, Mirror & Glass

Clean windows on a dry but dull day: direct sunshine will bathe the glass in light and heat and it will dry too fast, leaving streaks. Do not clean windows on very cold or frosty days: both the glass and the putty will be brittle and you could break the glass, or even push panes out of their frames. (If you do break anything, pick up fine slivers, splinters or fragments of glass by pressing a slice of bread againts them.)
If you glasses have lost their original sparkle brighten them up by filling them with water and adding a teaspoon of ammonia to each one. Leave overnight then wash thoroughly and rinse with warm water.

General cleaning tips - Stain remover

Fill a recycled spray bottle with a cleaning solution made from 1/2 cup of white sistilled vinegar. 1 cup ammonia and 1/4 cup of baking soda in 1 bucket of warm water. Spritz on tougher spots and stains whenever needed and wipe off with a clean towel. This is also suitable for cleaning walls and other painted surfaces.
Glycerine softens and loosens dried-in stains.Dilute 1 part glycerine to 2 parts water and apply to the stain. Leave it for an hour before laundering.

General cleaning tips - Fabric

A soon as a blood stain occurs, spray with soda water and then apply a paste of cornstarch and water before laundering. Alternatively, try soaking the stain in strongly salted cold water - not hot as this will seal in the stain. Keep changing the brine until water runs clear and then rub any remaining marks with a paste of salt and water. For dried-on blood stains, soak the garment in a solution of 2 teaspoons ammonia, 500ml/18fl oz/2 cups water and a few drops of hydrogen peroxide. Follow the soak with a wash in biological detergent.
Candle wax
Freeze off candle wax too- put the garment in a plastic bag and pop it in the freezer for an hour. Alternatively, sandwich the stain between blotting paper or clean, old t-shirt fabric and run a warm iron over it. Move the blotting paper of fabric around to absorb the wax. You may have to flush out any remaining wax (ot its residual color) with dry-cleaning fluid or a half-and-half mix of methylated spirits and water. Finally, wash the garment in the hottest water it can stand.
Chewing gum
Chewing gum on clothes is best frozen off. Pick off as much loose gum as you can without damaging the fabric, then put the garment into a plastic bag and place it in the freezer for an hour or so. This should make the remaining gum brittle and easily picked off. Remove any remaining traces by rubbing the stain with a little egg white or soaking in white vinegar before rinsing and laundering.
Fruit and grass
Sprinkle salt over fruit stains, rinse in cold water and then launder. If the stain persists, try a little oxygen peroxide on the syain and launder again. Rub lemon juice on to grass stains before laundering.
Greasy stains need to be treated before laundering otherwise they will stick. Dry-cleaning fluid, available in bottles, is really effective at grease removal but do test for color fastness and do not use on acete fabrics. Follow the manufacturer's instruction and avoid contact with rubber and plastic materials.

Ballpoint ink - is carried in a very fine suspension of castor oil: start by reducing the stain by rubbing gently with an eraser using a circular motion. Then rub a block of lightly moistened soap over the mark, press the lather through the fabric with your finger and rinse in warm water. If the fabric is white, you can also try a mix of salt and lemon juice. On dark or colour clothes, ballpoint pen ink can be removed by soaking the garment in hot (but not boiling) soured milk. It is a slow process but it does work.
Fountain pen ink - can be removed by dabbing on rubbing alcohol (available at pharmacists) and blotting with a clean cloth. And stains made by felt or marker pens can be treated with a quick spray of hairspray before laundering. Do a spot test first to make sure the hairspray foes not lift any colour or leave a stain itself.

General cleaning tips - Heat Marks
To remove heat marks on polished furniture make up a paste with olive oil and cigarette ash, apply to the marks and then rub off. Alternatively pour a little linseed oil on marks and then sprinkle with the sugar. Wipe off when sugar is adsorbed.
General cleaning tips - Permanent Marker Stains
If you child decides to use your work surface as a canvas with his permanent maker - don't panic. Most counter tops are made of non-permeable material such as marble or plastic laminate these days. Rubbing alcohol applied to the stain dissolves the maker back to a liquid state which can be wiped right off.