The cleaning hacks that will legitimately change your life

Pass the baking soda and white wine vinegar

(Image credit: REX/Shutterstock)

Pass the baking soda and white wine vinegar

Ah spring. The longer days are finally here and talk of getting our spring cleaning on has begun.

But, just where did the idea of spring cleaning originate from?

Well, in many cultures, including Iranian, Chinese and Sri Lankan, a big clean is done once a year in anticipation of the new year to rid their homes - and lives - of any bad vibes and to start again with a metaphorical and literal clean slate. And in Jewish custom, Passover is a time to clean the house, too.

Scientifically, spring cleaning is a result of us having more energy. Spring means exposure to more light so us humans start producing less melatonin (the hormone produced by the pineal gland that makes us feel drowsy) so we feel more ready to take on the world.

So now we are in spick-and-span mode, what can we do to make our homes as sparkly as possible? It's actually quite easy - and will mainly require white wine vinegar and baking soda.

We already know how to clean up all the germs in our office and all the dirt in our handbag - and now it's time to tackle our homes, too.

Online cleaning booking service Hassle have given us their list of the most common cleaning mistakes we all make...

Cleaning tips

Don't dust with a wet wipe

'Moisture attracts dust therefore it’s better to use a dry anti static wipe. Additionally, polish your surfaces with a mixture of water and a drop of fabric softener which will impregnate your surfaces and slow down any returns of dust build-up.'

Don't just remove the vacuum bag when it's full

'Logic would tell you to replace a vacuum bag as it becomes full, right? Instead, it should actually be replaced when it is two thirds of the way full - essentially every 6 - 8 weeks. Despite not being entirely full, sand and dust residue reduce suction power, additionally food residue decompose in the warm environment and mould evolves to create a bitter smell.'

Don't wait until a sunny day to clean your window

'If bright sunshine inspires you to clean your windows, take pause. The heat of the sun will cause your cleaning solution to dry too quickly and leave lasting streak marks. Instead, go for a cloudy day and use a combination of white vinegar and newspaper for a sparkling finish.'

Wash your washing machine on its own, too

After every wash the drum is sparkling, but looks can be deceiving. Moisture evaporates slowly changing the drum into a germ incubator. To avoid spread of bacteria and smell, pop 50g of baking soda into the drum and fill up the detergent drawer with 50ml of white vinegar. Place on an empty wash at 60 degrees.'

Disinfect your mop

Despite having an average of 10 million germs, the sponge is not the dirtiest cleaning tool. Instead, the mop is most guilty as it can accumulate up to 1 billion bacteria per ten square feet from room to room. After every use, wash the removable fibre head at 60 degrees and replace every two months.

Don't scrub carpet stains!

'Hard scrubbing your carpet will instead spread the stain and damage your carpet as fibres begin to untwist and come apart. Instead, spread a little baking soda over the affected area and begin to press down gently with some kitchen roll. Let the mixture dry before vacuuming any residue.'

Use baking soda to clean your mattress

'Pause for a moment. Do you really want to be inhaling strong and odorous chemicals as you sleep at night? Instead, strip your bedding from your mattress and sprinkle baking soda all over. Leave to settle for 3-4 hours and vacuum up any excess. Fresh again!'

Use tea bags to clean your shoes

'Simply take a tea bag after using them for tea, dry them out and place them near the toes on the sole of the shoe. This method is particularly effective on gym and sport shoes as it absorbs moisture therefore eliminating any bad smells.'

Don't use thick chemicals to unclog your drains

'People often rely on expensive harsh chemicals to unclog their pipes and drains, but there is more affordable and healthy way to tackle this issue. Simply sprinkle ½ cup of baking soda down your clogged drain, followed by ½ cup of white vinegar. Cover with a cloth for 5 minutes before flushing with hot water.'

Delphine Chui