House cleaning for dummies

Kya deLongchamps comes up with some ingenious methods to give your house and everything in it a thorough cleaning— using eco-friendly products

Orderly surroundings can be an everyday reality. Without systemising and stoically reducing the material weight strangling your house, then determining set places for things — clearing and cleaning will remain a regular, twisted torture.

This reads like demented cheery waffle as you survey the tangled ballast washed up in every room. Trust me — simply banishing clutter from kitchen counters, editing down, and storing it logically, leaves room for what really matters — for real life.

If your ship is truly run aground, learn how to respect your things and surrender that smothering nostalgia for stuff, with Mari Kondo’s fabulous The Life Changing Mantra of Tidying Up, €15.40,

Embrace a full, personal, housekeeping calendar: a daily system, a weekly system and a monthly intense cleaning system.

You might call Tuesday evening — sheet change night and the first Monday of every month, windowsill and skirting day. The last Saturday morning could be shuffle through the kitchen cupboards.

A paper calendar or computer spreadsheet is all you need to gently micro manage yourself to the freedom of smarter, not harder housekeeping.

Delegate. Everyone over the age of six can be responsible for delivering their linens, emptying their room bin and making their beds. Introduce meaningful consequences for teenage slackers. Over time, working well, the house will fall into a better condition, and 10-20 minutes slots start to produce a satisfying gleam.


  • To get the bath clear of scum in the corners. Use a dishwashing wand with a reservoir handle. Half fill with white vinegar and half dish soap. Lay into the stain and rinse with the showerhead. Bring a half lemon with you and buff brassware (not plated), again rinse down. Dip a lemon half in salt for tough ring removal.
  • Keep an old toothbrush in your cleaning trug for hard-to-reach spots around taps and traps. For a malleable paste, mix baking soda with your favourite essential oils and a little washing up liquid. Work around grout and taps wearing gloves and rinse.
  • Dump a glass of vinegar into the tank and bowl of your toilet to clean and disinfect. Use neat vinegar on the rest of the toilet, wiping off with clear water to finish. Roll up toilet paper soaked in vinegar and stuff it under the rim to soak off nasty stains. Remove and flush away.
  • To clean a metal (not plated) showerhead, put half a cup of white vinegar in a sandwich bag and place over head, securing with a rubberband. Massage the liquid up onto the head. Leave for half an hour, remove and rinse off.
  • Ban soap from the shower, it’s the primary sticky, gung maker. Move to shower gel. Put soap dishes and tooth mugs in the dishwasher.

Kitchen and appliances.

  • Use 1:1 water to vinegar in a spray to clean the front of appliances, tidy the hob and to wipe out the fridge. Fragrance your mix with your favourite essential oil. Citrus and eucalyptus reads clean. Use a clear bottle and add a lemon rind and even a sprig of rosemary.
  • Use the vacuum hose to clean out your dry stores of crumbs before wiping down with a hot clean cloth soaked in washing-up liquid. A spritz of white vinegar will disinfect MDF shelving. Malone’s Lavender Soapy cleaner for wood will leave wood and laminate cabinet doors shining and smells fantastic.
  • Order a 70in roll of Glad Press n’ Seal, and use it to line fridge shelving, fridge bins and heavily-used storage shelving. No more struggling with spills and tack, just lift off when you clean out the fridge or cupboard. €10.70,
  • Large plastic knobs and robust plastic removable vents can be put in the dishwasher. Ensure they don’t fly about.
  • Steam clean the microwave from tray to roof with a bowl of hot water with a squeeze of lemon run for HIGH for five minutes. Wipe out to finish. Run your sponges and dishcloths in the microwave to disinfect them.

Furniture & Carpets.

  • Vacuum the high traffic areas daily rather than once a week.
  • Rather than going straight to a chemical shake out dust cleaner, try baking soda on fabric family sofas, ottomans and chairs. Dust it out lightly over the seat and arms and allow to settle, working lightly with a gloved hand over the pile. Vacuum up on a low setting.
  • Mix up some vegetable oil with a little baking soda and work into the corners of wood doors with a soft, clean toothbrush.
  • Remove cat and dog hair without dragging out the ‘animal’ vacuum using a rubber window squeegee. Just swipe in long strokes over the pile and remove the curls of hair into a paper bag and dump in the recycling.
  • Buy a cheap lint-removing tool (the sticky tape kind) and roll over your fabric lampshades, shelves and mantelpiece.

Windows, glass and blinds

  • Keep an old thick, cotton sock in your cleaning trug specifically for the venetian blinds, especially those metal varieties that suck up dust. Put the sock on your hand and spray the sock lightly with 1:1 water and vinegar.
  • When you have finished the dryer cycle take those softener sheets and use them to rub down the skirting and dado.
  • Micro-fibre is ideal for mirrors and will work most of the time with just a spray of water to the glass.
  • Glass lampshades (without a metal frame, lustre, paintwork or other frail
  • detailing) can be run in the dishwasher.
  • Never clean windows on a sunny day and forget kitchen roll, it streaks. Use a dedicated cleaner not the one for all variety or 1:4 white vinegar to water.


  • Tape a kitchen roll tube to the end of your vacuum pipe. Remove the front lint collector from the dryer and use the flexible hose you’ve created to suck out damaging and potentially dangerous wads of lost lint.
  • Run the washing machine on a hot (60D) white or self-cleaning setting once every fortnight. Throw in a half cup of white vinegar and rinse with an adequate cycle.

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