In the run up to the summer holidays is when I start to notice what needs doing around the house. I realise that spring has passed me by in a whirlwind of work, and with it the notion of ‘spring cleaning’ has wafted off into the distance. Those windows never did get cleaned and that grim grouting never did get replaced. I start thinking to myself since when did those skirting boards get so dusty?’ and I realise that a lifetime of work-sleep-and-play leads to not much success in the way of cleaning. I know life’s too short, but eventually it becomes time to clean. And today is the day. I sort of want to get the house in order before I take a break for summer. I don’t want to start my holiday with a long to-do list of cleaning task. In an ideal world, someone else would come in and blitz my house, so that I could begin my summer break in a holiday-cottage-style state of cleanliness. However, I’d probably be too embarrassed by the slightly mouldy fridge seal to let anyone else do the cleaning for me. So, onwards, with some spring/summer cleaning hacks.
As you may have spotted in my previous blog posts, I’m very keen to live a cruelty-free life. We’re not just talking animal-testing for make-up here, oh no. Cleaning products are under scrutiny here too, and I’ve found it super-easy to replace my old sprays and soaps with lovely new cruelty-free versions. And it hasn’t even been an expensive process. Thanks to budget brands such as Astonish, Morning Fresh and supermarkets like the Co-op and Waitrose, I’ve been able to find a CF replacement for pretty-much every cleaning product I use. But that’s not all…
I’ve also searched for some cleaning hacks to save me having to use products at all. What could be more animal-friendly than using lemon juice to clean your taps, eh? Unless a cat wanders across the sink at an inappropriate moment, it’s unlikely that my homemade lemon-and-salt cleaner will have been tested on an animal! You don’t need to waste lovely fresh lemons for the purpose of cleaning – stick them in your drink instead! For this hack, I simply used the cheapest bottle of lemon juice I could find in the supermarket and soaked my sponge.
A quick wipeover with a lemon-soaked sponge brings taps back to their sparkling best. If you have a crust of limescale on the taps, simply use an elastic band to attach the sponge to the tap and leave it for a few hours to gradually wear away the limescale. Any stubborn bits can be scrubbed with an old toothbrush soaked in more lemon juice. And speaking of toothbrushes…
You can easily clean grout by mixing baking soda with a splash of water to create a paste. Use an old toothbrush to scrub it into white grout to freshen it up. If there’s a stained patch on the grout, add lemon juice directly to it and allow it to sit for a while to ‘bleach’ it out. Of course, there’s an easier way to clean tiles and grout – with Astonish Grout and Tile Restorer. Don’t be alarmed when you use it for the first time – sometimes the grout turns bright pink when you spray it on! Again, an old toothbrush will sort this out and your tiles will come up sparkling.
For pet hair, there’s really only one solution: rubber gloves. I’ve heard this a million times before but have never tried it until today. And now, I’m converted. I figured that it would take ages to rub over the whole rug with gloved hands, but the pet hair comes up so easily that I can’t believe I hadn’t tried it before. Fair enough, I could vacuum the rug but there always ends up being cat hair mushed so deeply into the pile that I have to stop vacuuming and bend down to pick it up anyway. So I’m sticking with my new rubber-glove technique and sweeping up the giant tumbleweed-style balls of fur with my new English Heritage dustpan and brush. Nice, isn’t it? I never thought I’d get so excited about a dustpan and brush, but I think it’s pretty darn cute and reminds me of a ‘ye olde’ dustpan that your nan would have owned. I even gave my cat Cookie a little stroke with the rubber gloves on (new clean gloves, naturally) and her loose fur came off on my hands. Now I’m saving time on future cleaning too!And since buying lots of new cruelty-free products, I’ve found that I have needed to invest in a cleaning caddy. After making the switch to cruelty-free cleaning, I think I’ve probably got more products under my sink than ever before! I picked up this caddy to match my duck-egg blue dustpan from BuyDirect4u.co.uk. It’s been handy to keep them all together in one place, and it’s got a handle so I can easily carry it around as I work from room to room. I’m hoping this will make things easier for hubby too whenever he fancies doing a spot of cleaning this summer…By the way, did you spot the vegan logo and the leaping bunny logo on all the Astonish packaging. The brand has been cruelty-free since the company was established over 40 years ago, and no animal-derived ingredients are used in the products. With approval from Cruelty Free International, and as members of the Vegetarian Society and Vegan Scoiety you can be 100% sure that any Astonish product is cruelty-free. Plus, the products are often much more reasonably priced than other branded (and tested) cleaners and start at only £1! I found my Astonish products at the market, in The Range and QD.
What do you think of these cruelty-free products and the easy cleaning hacks I’ve shared today? Do you have any tips for making your own cleaning products or ideas for getting grease marks out of clothing etc? Let me know your top hacks by leaving me a comment below or tweet me @Cassiefairy – I’d love to hear your ideas!