IT seems a cruel trick of fate that just as the weather starts to improve, the annual indoor ritual of Spring Cleaning looms on the calendar. Most of us just ignore it according to a survey by Rentokil, who found only 14% of people nowadays follow the tradition, and Merry Maids domestic cleaning service have also discovered most people rarely enjoy their housework.
“We found almost half of people regard cleaning as their least favourite domestic chore, but that’s partly a symptom of our busy lives,” says Merry Maids’ Barbara Roberts. “Around four-fifths of those we surveyed have to handle the cleaning at the end of a tiring work day and struggle to finish the job.”
If the prospect of scurrying round banishing moths, cobwebs and winter’s grime doesn’t have you jumping for joy, don’t despair. Take small comfort from the fact that cleaning equipment’s been given a snazzy makeover.
Boring brooms are so yesterday - instead you can sweep up with a wizard-looking one splattered with coloured spots, or clean with vintage pieces reminiscent of the ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ life. Cute kit may not take the pain out of drudgery but at least you’ll be fashionably embracing ‘chore chic’. Check out utility style and the savvy tips from the experts on blitzing the home.
Admit it, you love wearing a pinny and delicately flicking a duster, butrolling up your sleeves and getting out the scrubbing brush really isn’t for you. Clean obvious, on-show areas such as windows for a fast effect. “Sun
will show up marks on those and make any room look dingy, but cleaning them is one of the easiest, quickest jobs,” says Barbara Roberts.
“For a good shine, dilute one part vinegar to four parts water, and use a micro fibre cloth to clean off. For a good shine, buff the windows with crumpled newspaper.”
Traditional types like solid, practical kit which is clearly labelled - and are more likely to be well-equipped because they’ll often have help with the cleaning! “Nothing beats picking up a wooden-handled dustpan and wooden horsehair brush,” says Marina Guirey, founder of The Linen Works which has a classic range of cleaning kit.
“Also, our pieces are totally practical - a goat-hair dust brush is ideal for super soft dusting of lampshades or dado rails, and ostrich feather dusters are renowned for their ability to collect dust rather than move it about, leave no electrostatic charge, so surfaces stay dust-free longer.”
Funky freshen up
Make it fun and make it fast is your cleaning motto, and you can seldom resist a nifty gadget or novelty to liven up the utility room. “You probably rush around cleaning on the run in a rather haphazard manner, that can leave your home looking disorganised,” says Sheila Chandra, author of Banish Clutter Forever.
“But TV presenter Joan Bakewell told me her most successful ritual was every evening before bed spending just 10 minutes putting things away in their proper place. It means you wake up to order and feel more motivated to keep things that way.”
Recycling and looking after the environment is your priority and you wouldn’t give house room to chemicals and toxins. “My great grandmother’s journals have been a great source of wisdom to me,” says Lawrence White, founder of Roullier White which stocks all-natural cleaning products in charming retro containers.
“Her tips and hints for the annual spring clean can make the job quicker and don’t involve any pollution. For instance, spray a fine film of water onto rugs and carpets before you vacuum, as this will enable you to pick up more dust from deeper within the pile. If you have unsightly dents in carpets left from heavy furniture, place an ice cube in the dip and as the ice melts the pile will lift.”