I have a new addiction – as if I have time for another obsession along with chocolate and Netflix.
This one is actually not bad for your health like chocolate or a time vortex like Netflix. It’s Instagram Stories, specifically the stories belonging to Mrs Hinch and her @MrsHinchhome account.
In case you haven’t stumbled across her yet, let me tell you, the woman is a cleaning machine. What makes her addictive to watch is her hilarious commentary coupled with very practical cleaning and product tips, the fact she names her cleaning tools (Dave, Stuart and Pinkeh to name a few), and her sparklingly clean home.
If you haven’t checked her out yet, do it. But the trouble is I’ve been watching her stories with a bit of envy, because my home will never be that clean. I blame it on the two miniature hurricanes that follow me everywhere I go. They put muddy footprints where I have just mopped, dirt where I have just swept and toys where I have just tidied.
So in the interests of helping other frustrated neat freaks who are also mums, I thought I would share some top cleaning tips for busy parents. Happy cleaning ladies!
1. Set a timer
Even just 10 minutes will make a difference. Make a list of jobs you want to get done this week and make them small ones, like sorting through that pile of paperwork or cleaning the kitchen floor.
It’s very satisfying to tick things off of the list.
2. Have a cupboard
You will preferably have both an upstairs and a downstairs junk cupboard. This is where you fling the stuff that you are unable to squeeze into other places, decor you’ve got bored of, and gifts that you don’t want to use but feel too guilty to get rid of. It’s OK to have a junk cupboard! Use it make yourself feel better about the rest of your house.
I try to have uncluttered areas of the house, because they are easier to clean and I know I can escape to them for relaxation.
3. Get the right storage
If your paperwork is always in piles all around the house, your cleaning products are falling out of cupboards whenever you open them and your clothes are spilling out of the wardrobe, you need some boxes.
Find the right size for your cupboards and organise your items into groups that work together. For example for your cleaning cupboard, pop all of your daily stuff into one basket (this is a Mrs Hinch tip), such as your surface spray for the kitchen, washing up liquid and sponge.
4. Find cleaning products that make your life easier
For me this has included ditching my mop and bucket and using a spray mop instead. This makes cleaning way quicker and the mop head can go in the washing machine.
When it comes to heavy stains and limescale-ridden bathrooms, find tough products that mean you don’t have to scrub as much. The Pink Stuff is a fabulous stain remover for the bathroom, kitchen and floors.
I used to only use Mr Sheen and a duster to keep on top of dust, but I recently purchased a Pledge duster which I just whip out of the cupboard and run over the surfaces quickly. It’s much less of a faff.
5. Use Zoflora
I have only just started using this stuff – where has it been all my life? Zoflora comes in lots of lovely scents and it’s a disinfectant. You can use it everywhere in the house.
My fave ways to use it so far are: in a spray bottle diluted with a little water, in my spray mop, in the bath (put the plug in, add a cap of Zoflora, add a small amount of water then scrub the sides), and in the sink at the end of the day (plug in, add a cap of Zoflora, top with a little boiling water from the kettle then pop in your sponges and cloths and leave overnight).
6. Get the kids involved
My eldest’s current favourite game is pretending to be a superhero. If I set her little tasks like carrying things upstairs or tidying away piles of toys, she’s more excited by it if I play along with the superhero thing.
7. Make it smell good
I never realised how nice the smell of pine is until recently when I bought some pine toilet Duck and started using it every day. Find a scent you like, and either squirt some in the loo every day or buy some of the gel toilet bowl packs. You need to watch the kids around these, but they mean the loo smells good with every flush and tackle stains.
When changing the bin, get some kitchen roll, dribble some Zoflora on to it and then drop it into your bin before replacing the bin bag. This way your bin smells good every time you open it!
What are your favourite cleaning tips and products?