Keeping your home clean for less

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Do away with the multitude of expensive cleaning products and try these tried and tested ways of getting the job done quicker and more effectively.

It's getting a little scary out there. Food prices are rocketing, petrol seems to go up far more often than it comes down and for most, entertainment such as going to see a movie and eating out is something that only happens on special occasions. For many the cost of living has bitten deep and families are having to look at cutting costs wherever they can.

Sadly, many can no longer afford help around the home. We say sadly for two reasons - the first being that paying someone to do the housework has always ensured that those with little education are able to secure gainful employment and secondly, and let's be frank here, it takes a huge weight off homeowner’s shoulders knowing that their houses are being cleaned and the laundry done while they are at work.

The stress of having to work nine hours a day is immense. Add another couple of hours of cleaning into the mix and suddenly life is exhausting, a never-ending grind of working, cooking and cleaning. Fortunately, there are ways to lighten the load or at least to make cleaning less of a chore. We've put together a list of innovative ways to ensure your house is cleaned without necessarily breaking the bank.

Robotic vacuum cleaners and floor polishers may be a little pricey at this stage, but they undoubtedly save time (in addition to providing endless amusement for your pets) and keep your home clean while you’re not looking. A word of warning here: you get what you pay for and bottom of the range models may involve more work and frustration than manual cleaning with a mop and broom. Watching your new robot endlessly bump into a piece of furniture and not have the smarts to navigate around it is going to fill up your swear jar quite quickly. Consider saving up and buying the best there is, bearing in mind that this is a rapidly-improving technological revolution.

Of course, you don't have to spend a great deal of money to get a good result and there are ways to clean up without spending a fortune or harming the environment. We scoured the web looking for the best ways to clean using, well, not your run-of-the-mill cleaning products.

We’ve been spoilt over the years and there is basically a cleaning product for every eventuality. Oven cleaners, microwave cleaners, shower cleaners, tile cleaners… in fact if you can think of a surface to clean, you can guarantee that someone has invented a specific product for that purpose. Cleaning materials however cost money and spending a hefty sum on something that may or may not clean the grime from the bottom of a shower with a simple wipe is going to become very expensive, particularly if you splurge on several of these ‘miracle’ products.

The simple truth of the matter is there is no need to fork out a small fortune in order to keep your home spic and span, there are tried and tested ways of getting the job done quicker and more effectively using common household items:

  • To clean blinds, mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a bowl. Place a sock over your hand and dip in the mixture. Wipe each blind individually, rinsing the sock in the mixture every couple of slats. Use a second sock to dry the slats if necessary.
  • Use baby oil to shine up your kitchen appliances. Add a small amount of the oil to a cloth and buff up any metal appliances. This method won't only leave your kitchen smelling better, it removes grease and grime and will keep things shiner for longer.
  • Microwave ovens: Heat lemon juice or vinegar and water in a bowl in the microwave for five minutes. Let the mixture cool and then wipe the oven clean. This method removes grease and grime as well as stubborn stains.
  • Stainless steel appliances such as fridges may look great, but they do tend to show blemishes such as finger marks quickly. The solution – wipe down with a microfibre cloth and water.
  • Lemonade flavoured Kool Aid apparently cleans loos beautifully. Remove unsightly build ups around the bowl by simply sprinkling on the cool drink power, allowing it to sit for a while before brushing and flushing.
  • Keep your home smelling terrific after you've finished cleaning by simmering a stock pot of rosemary, lemon and vanilla extract.
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