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Household tips and tricks

Household tips and tricks

By Salvation Army Financial Counsellor Maggie Ingham. Photo by Shairon Paterson.

Cleaning Help

To cut down on cleaning expenses, the following products can be used in replacement of expensive supermarket products.

For your cleaning kit, you will need the following;

Baking soda
White vinegar
Eucalyptus oil
2 spray bottles
Paper towels (newspaper and rags are also good alternatives), washable dishcloth, scourers, broom and dustpan and brush
Bucket and mop, micro-fibre cloth and rubber gloves

While these items may be expensive to buy at the outset, the savings will follow through not having to buy cleaning products in the months to come!


Into a spray bottle, add 125ml of white vinegar to 1 litre water. This will clean windows and any glass/mirror surfaces.

Into a spray bottle, add 3-4 drops of eucalyptus oil to water. This can be used to clean bench tops and shelves and can also be used to deter some of those nasty creatures that creep around cupboards at night.

Using lemon on the end of a brush with a stocking on it will keep spiders from going back to those corners and spinning their webs. (This needs to be done every three months)

Environmentally safe cleaning products

Baking soda - cleans, deodorises, softens water, scours.

Soap - unscented soap in liquid forms, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Avoid using soaps that contain petroleum distillates.

Borax (sodium borate) - cleans, deodorises, disinfects, softens water. It is also good to clean wallpaper, painted walls and floors. It is an environmentally safe alternative to chlorine bleach. It is available from supermarkets or pharmacies.

White vinegar - cuts grease, removes mildew, odours, some stains and wax build up.

Washing soda - cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, cleans walls, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use with care as washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Don’t use on aluminium.

Eucalyptus oil - deodorises, deters ants, cockroaches and mice.

Salt - is an abrasive but gentler scouring power. It is also mildly antiseptic.

Ten simple ideas to help around the house

1. Allocate a time to do your housecleaning, at least half an hour every day. Do room by room.

2. Make a space where you can keep all your cleaning utensils and products. Let everyone in the house know where this is. Keep any chemicals and harmful material away from children. 

3. Keep a basket (maybe on wheels) and put everything into it that does not belong in the room. Wipe and clean the area, then put the things back where they belong. This will save you time because you won't need to run from room to room. Do this for every room in the house.

4. You can protect your clothes by wearing an apron. Make or buy one with big pockets to put things in; you can pick up small items and carry a cleaning clothing in it as well.

5. Make a spot (create a home for everything) like a key-holder. Put things back to the same spot after every use. Everyone will get used to finding and putting back things where they belong. 

6. Wipe kitchen top, table-tops, toilets and bathrooms each day after use.

7. Make your bed as soon as you get up. If you have children, encourage them to make their bed as well; it will teach them an important skill. 

8. Allocate a job to each person in the house that they have to do every day. You can make this fun and allocate a different job each week or even consider job share. This will help everyone - children, housemates, etc - to take responsibility and will make life easier for you. 

9. Before you leave the house make sure all electrical appliances are turned off at the wall. Do this at night as well when you go to bed. It will help with cutting down on electricity use. 

10. It is not always possible to have a clean and tidy house, but if you keep your living area, kitchen bathroom/toilet clean and fresh, you can come home and relax. It's not so embarrassing if someone pops in as well! 

If you would like further information about our Moneycare financial counselling service, visit their website.

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