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Lessons from the past:

Cleaning your home, the vintage way

Move over spring cleaning

We're fans of the 'seasonal' clean. That's summer, autumn, winter, and of course, spring. As each new season makes its entrance, we always find it refreshing to give our homes a bit of a blitz. We have a clear-out, ridding our lives of unnecessary 'stuff', and then we spend some quality time with our cleaning cupboards to make sure our homes get the treatment they deserve.

This doesn't necessarily mean a head-to-toe, full-on cleanse. If we have the time (and the energy) then great.  But rather making sure that a few times a year we give some much-needed attention to the areas of the homes that are often forgotten with the weekly clean. The big jobs, the fiddly ones, the ones that we put off but make the world of difference when they’re spick and span. Hello backs of sofas, window panes and neglected pots and pans.

So to coincide with the launch of our Chichester laundry room collection, we thought it might be rather sweet to compose a handy guide focusing on all things traditional and have looked to the past to amass our top ten vintage cleaning hacks. We asked parents, we called grandmas and grandpas, we discussed with friends, and we called on Google. Sometimes the old-fashioned ways are the best.

Top ten

Let’s start with bicarb
1. The cleanest of carpets. Sprinkle rugs and carpets generously with bicarbonate of soda. Leave for 15 minutes and it will draw the dirt out. Then pop on the bristle attachment to your vacuum cleaner and clean away. Or for really impressive results, sweep away with a soft-bristled hand brush.

2. A pan’s best friend. Bicarb is a fantastic at scouring worn pans. Create a paste using half bicarb, half water and mash together. Rub the paste with a firm brush and watch marks disappear. You can add bleach to the mixture to boost its performance in a bathroom.

Lemon love
3. Lemon is a natural bleaching agent (as many of us know from teenage attempts of sun kissed locks). Add half a cup to your washing machine to perk up white garments.

4. So long stains. If lemon can bleach, it can remove stains too. Excellent for well-used chopping boards, squeeze onto the areas in need and repeat if necessary.

(Don't forget though, if you're fortunate enough to have marble work surfaces, lemon is its worst enemy. So extra caution is required here, and have a cloth to hand should any escape and make a little splash.)

Choose white, not malt
5. One is only for fish and chips, the other should be a staple in your cleaning box. White vinegar is hard to beat when it comes to window cleaning.

6. White vinegar makes for a fabulous disinfectant for dishwashers instead of detergent (run it on an empty cycle). It can also descale your kettle for you. Fill it half water and half vinegar, leave overnight, and give it a good rinse to avoid a questionable cup of tea. It’ll remove limescale from taps too.

Create an apothecary
7. Banish moths and protect fabrics by hanging little pouches of herbs inside wardrobes or nested in drawers. Choose cloves, rosemary, eucalyptus, lavender or bay leaves. Cedar shavings work too.

No more crumb-drum
8. The vacuum cleaner’s nozzle attachment is a fabulous tool but there’s a better idea: the toilet roll holder. It bends in a way that the rigid nozzle can’t so you can reach every nook and cranny. Attach it to the end of your vacuum so not a single crumb escapes.

Hear us out on this one
9. If your home has a woodburner, clean the glass using fallen ash. Take a scoop and rub it onto the window and remove with a slightly damp cloth. This tip came from one of our graphic designer’s mums and we didn’t believe it for a second. Then we tried it, and here we are.

And never forget
10. It all falls down.
Dust falls downward so always start at the top of your house and work your way down.


P.S. if after all of that you find your home doesn’t smell quite as fresh as the springtime air outside (that’s the only downside with vinegar), use any leftover lemon juice to make your own room freshener. Dilute lemon juice with water and spritz it around your home to fill it with zest. It’s naturally antibacterial too, so it gets double points from us.

Keep reading

These two articles are worth a read. Good Housekeeping’s make-your-own cleaners is full of good ideas and we loved the National Trust’s campaign on vintage, green cleaning ideas.

Happy cleaning.