If, like me, you live in a house full of small mischievous children, there are a few key things that you should have on hand at all times.
I’m not talking about yoghurts, gin, glitter and nappies (although I would advocate having those around too, not necessarily in that order of priority). No, what I’m actually talking about is the random household things that can be used to clean up the messes that inevitably result from all those things. Especially if, like us, your vacuum cleaner has given up and gone to die in a corner and you need a stop-gap in between wondering if you can fix it with a hairband (NO) and lusting after a new Vax Dual Power Pro. (It cleans carpets, it cleans hard floors, and it sings soothing songs to you while it makes the most of it’s Dual V technology and on-board upholstery tools and hose*)
So, the top five NEVER BE IN THE HOUSE WITHOUT THEM things are:
2. Baking soda
That might sound like just another list of entertaining things for the kids to play with, or eat, or both. But actually, all of them have some amazing multifunctional purposes that you might not have ever realised existed….
Not only do they make lemonade, lemon curd, lemon meringue pie…all the things with lemon…but they can also be used (along with a bit of salt) to give you a wonderfully clean chopping board. Sprinkle on the salt, rub them along and PING! there it is: a fresh, clean, sparkling slab of whatever all ready for your next culinary adventure. Lemons aren’t just handy in the kitchen, either – you can use them in the bathroom to rub around your taps a bit, and remove any stubborn stains too. Finally, if you have a cat like we do that occasionally forgets that the bed is not a toilet, a quick squirt of lemon around the spot you’d like them to avoid in future should do the trick – cats aren’t very keen on citrus. And if you have any lemon left over after all that cleaning, stick a slice in a glass of gin, sit back and relax as you admire your sparkling clean house…
What about the front room? And the sorry-for-itself looking oven? And the dull, dingy cutlery sitting around forlornly in a drawer?
is the answer. Sprinkle it on fabric sofas to give them a good clean (vacuum it up afterwards). The same goes for oil stains on carpets. Rub it on to cutlery mixed with a bit of water to get it looking lovely and shiny again. Or mix it with a bit of vinegar to clean out ovens or pans full of burnt on bits.
There’s a reason why it helps get your teeth all clean and tidy, and that’s because it’s ever so slightly abrasive. A bit like minty sandpaper, all squidged up in a tube. Which means not only is it great for cleaning teeth, it’s also very good at removing minor scratches from watch faces, giving a new lease of life to rings and also for bringing your sadly shabby looking trainers back to bright white again.
A bit random, but you know when you’ve perhaps had a bit *too* much gin and there is a glass smashing incident? Well, instead of slicing your fingers off whilst waving around a brush and dustpan, just grab a thick slice of bread and whack it down on the floor. It’s a really awesome way of grabbing all the bits of glass big and small, and safely getting them out of harm’s way. Just make sure you don’t feed it to the ducks afterwards.
Which brings me to PLAYDOUGH (don’t feed that to ducks either).
Not only can it provide entertainment for the smaller family members whilst the bigger ones try and keep the house reasonably clean, it can also be used to clean up the glitter, bits of stuff, and things that have ended up randomly scattered around the place. If you’re not a fan of the sparkly glitterified look, then playdough is your friend – it’s a really great way of picking up tiny particles of static attraction without the futile transference of it to just about every other surface in the world.
And on the the plus side, once you’ve finished, the kids have glittery playdough to play with!
Everyone is happy 🙂
*in my mind. The soothing songs of sparklingly clean surfaces. The kids can also ride it like a horse**
**again, in my mind. I think it’s probably not recommended in reality.