SPRING CLEANING for the New Year

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Christmas is approaching and it’s time to give your home a new lease of life. Getting your house spotless and guest-ready is undeniably a chore for most of us. From the basic to the backbreaking, we’ve got a list of quick tips and tricks to revitalise your living space with minimum fuss.

Before you run out and stock up on cleaning supplies, look in your cupboards and refrigerator. There are lots of items you can actually use that work better than what you can buy.


To eliminate odors, pour vanilla extract into a bowl (make sure it’s microwave-safe) with a paper towel and wipe down the refrigerator walls. Afterwards, take the same bowl and heat it up in the microwave for about three minutes, before using it to wipe surfaces for stubborn residue and odours in the microwave.

To eliminate odours in the garbage disposal/rubbish chute, place a handful of ice cubes and citrus peels in the disposal/chute, and splash some cold water down the disposal for 15-30 seconds. Rinse it with hot water for 10 more seconds.


Wipe the interior microwave surfaces with a mixture of two tablespoons baking soda and one litre water to remove food stains.

Use a sponge with a mixture ofhalf a cup bleach, 1 quarter cup baking soda and four cups warm water to avoid yellowing of white appliances. Let it set for about 10 minutes before rinsing and drying.

To remove hard water stains and soap scum, use a cut lemon to scrub. For more scrubbing power, pour baking soda on the lemon half and the grit of the baking powder will help to remove the build-up.

For drip pans, soak them in boiling water with half a cup baking soda for 15 minutes and stir with a wooden spoon until dissolved. Carefully remove and scrub – the caked on food should easily fall off. For more stubborn stains, have them soaked overnight. You can also sprinkle some baking soda on carpets before you vacuum to freshen up your room.

For dishwashers, simply run it empty with a cup of white vinegar to remove any food residue. A half a cup of vinegar can also be mixed with about 2 litres of warm water to be used on hardwoods. To remove grease buildup in the disposal/chute, squeeze a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid around the inside of it, before running hot water until the suds are gone.

Tip: Invest in good rubber or vinyl gloves to protect your skin and nails.


Take three bins (or bags) into your child’s room or playroom and label them: KEEP, GIVE AWAY and TRASH.

(If you like to consign toys, add a fourth bin/bag for SELL.) As long as your child is over age two or three, he/she can learn a valuable lesson with this project. Sit down with your child and go through every toy and trinket in the room. Let the child decide what to keep, give or throw away. Although it sounds like the odds of a child saying “give or throw away” are slim, you would not believe how much you can end up adding to that bin. Once you have finished sorting through can end up adding to that bin. Once you have finished sorting through everything, go through the KEEP bin and give every toy a new home in the room and talk to your child about keeping it there when it is not in use. As for the GIVE AWAY bin, you can donate the toys to children’s charities, social services, or The Salvation Army.


Your children should have a “cleaning out the closet” day at least once a year (if not, more). Again, get three bins and label them: GIVE AWAY, SELL, KEEP. Start going through your child’s closets, and drawers. Pull out each item of clothing and look to see if the child has outgrown it. If not, it goes in the KEEP bin to possibly wear next year. If they have in fact outgrown the item, decide if it is nice enough to consign. If not, drop it in the GIVE AWAY bin. When all the clothes are sorted through, you can donate the “give away” bin to one of the facilities mentioned above or to a friend. The “sell” clothes get put away until consignment sale time, and the “keep” bin gets put into storage.

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