Cleaning tips our grannies taught us

With so much emphasis on washing our hands during the pandemic, and a surge in sales of cleaning products, it’s hardly surprising we’re cleaning our homes like never before.

And with so many speciality products to reach for, chances are your spritzing and scrubbing arsenal is ready for any grimy job that comes up.

But home-cleaning tips from a bygone age can prove to be more effective than some modern-day methods.

Read more: Common kitchen cleaning mistakes and their simple fixes

Check out these old-fashioned suggestions to make your house spick and span …

1. Clean with Borax

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If you want to keep all your scrubbing booty in one box, this powdery white mineral is your go-to. A multi-use cleaner that’s been around for decades, Borax can be used to get rid of stains in the sink, mould and mildew, as well as smears on clothes and soft furnishings.

2. Leave dirty dishes to soak overnight

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Before modern appliances were the norm, soaking gravy stains in warm, soapy water and avoiding harsh chemicals on your pretty bone china meant no needless scouring or rinsing – and more time for relaxing over dinner … without that annoying dishwasher humming noise in the background.

3. Keep carpets smelling fresh with a drop of clove oil

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Instead of carpet powder, put a couple of drops of clove oil into the vacuum nozzle when you are vacuuming and it’ll help make carpets smell beautifully fresh, and clean. An added bonus, clove oil is also antimicrobial, and helps kill bacteria.

Read more: Carpet cleaning – hire a pro or DIY?

4. Try baking soda and vinegar
By combining these two products in a spray bottle, you’ll have a non-toxic tool at your fingertips to clean the refrigerator, sanitise surfaces, remove tough stains such as tea and coffee, as well as a ‘green’ drain cleaner.

5. Buff up your brass
As well as looking shiny and smart, solid brass and copper knockers, switches, sockets and door handles contain antibacterial properties – but you need to keep them clean because too much handling can reduce the effectiveness. Try mixing the juice of half a lemon with a teaspoon of baking soda until it becomes a paste, apply with a soft cloth, leave for around half an hour, rinse with warm water and dry. Ta-da!

Read more: Old wives’ tales put to the test

6. Switch paper for flour sack cloth towels
Pre-washed, 100 per cent cotton towels are lint-free and can be used for any number of household tasks. Eco-friendly and sturdy, you can use them as tea towels, to clean silver and stemware, windows, surfaces and even your spectacles. Absorbent and quick drying, they wash easily without the expense and waste of paper towels.

7. Use mayonnaise to get rid of water rings on wooden surfaces
How many times have you been told off for not using a coaster? Put a small dollop of mayo on a dry cloth and scrub the offending water mark and as if like magic, the stain will start to disappear. Genius.

What old school cleaning hacks do you swear by? How many of these things do you keep on hand?

– With PA

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Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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