Oily Rag – Household tips and homemade cleaners

To keep your home running nice and smoothly, tidy and up to scratch can take a bit of work but it doesn’t have to be a chore or expensive. The Oily Rag Community share with us their top tips to save money and time around the home.

Squirrelling away winter fire starters

pine cone, wood, forestThrifty from Christchurch writes, “To get a head start on winter, I started collecting pine cones in December from local parks and public places where there are pine trees. The best time to go collecting is after a Northwester, as hundreds of cones are blown off the trees. I have 12 large sackfuls so far for my fire. I also collect branches and twigs over the summer that have either fallen off or come from when I prune my trees. I save everything for kindling. I already have eight boxes of kindling which means I won’t have to buy expensive kindling.” Good squirrel work Thrifty, well done!

Remove grime from china

Thrifty also has a tip to remove nicotine grime from china. “Try a solution of 50:50 warmed white vinegar and water. The vinegar will need to be warmed as tar and nicotine develop a hard surface.  Alternatively, try LA’s Totally Awesome Oxygen Orange All Purpose Degreaser available at The Warehouse and some $2 shops for about $3 per bottle. Spray on, remove grime with a small brush or cotton ball and rinse off.”

Get the last drop

C from Auckland writes, “I cut plastic hand cream bottles in half and it is amazing how much is still left in the container that a ‘pump’ will not let you have (I always get a couple of weeks worth from the cut open bottle) – likewise with plastic make-up foundation/concealer creams etc.  It always keeps me going for a few more weeks.”

Repurpose jars and tidy your pantry

pantry, jar, tidyCarolyn from Auckland writes, “I have been redoing my pantry and saving nice glass coffee jars from my work (they usually get recycled), washing and cleaning them and then using them for nuts, seeds, tea bags etc. They are air tight and my pantry looks like something out of NZ Home & Garden! I have also saved certain glass jars from the supermarket, spray painted the lids with my new pantry colour and wow – no more of a bit of this and that for storing food. Looks great and cost nothing as I already had the spray paint for another project.”

Shower glass and grout cleaning tip 

Michelle from Invercargill has his great grout and shower cleaning tip. “Like a lot of things, regular cleaning of tiles and glass saves a lot of hard work later on. For glass, always wipe dry after a shower with your towel or glass scraper. Once a week, use a cleaner or microcloth to remove any build up. For tiles, every week use baking soda and white vinegar with just enough water to make a spreadable mixture. Once it has black mould you will need to use bleach or a product containing bleach, like exit mould, to kill the spores. After cleaning tiles and glass, you can polish dry with car wash or car wax. Both will create a barrier to make cleaning of water spots and soap scum easier.”

Homemade natural face cleaner

Tip 1:

Marie from Rotorua has this tip about face cleaner. “The best face cleaner you can get is ground almonds, from the bulk foods section at Pak ‘N Save. Make a thick paste with milk, and just before using, add a quarter of a teaspoon of salt.  Rub fairly gently at first as it is abrasive. Wash off with warm water.  Makes you face feel like Cleopatra and her bath of milk!” Whoa!

Tip 2:

Margaret from Porirua has this recipe for making a cleansing face mask. “Brown sugar mixed into a paste with a few drops water.  Leave on the face for a few seconds and then wash off. It really works for me.”

Did you accidently burn your cooking pots? 

pots, dirty, sinkHere’s a great tip! Tess from Auckland writes, “To clean burnt pots, cut a lemon in half, squeeze juice and rub lemon on the burnt area, then scrub with goldilocks or the steel pot mitts, which are a lot cheaper. I find the burnt-on food easily comes off.”

Homemade cleaning formulas

Aliza from Dunedin has some favourite cleaning formulas.

  • Toilet cleaner. “Mix 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour into the bowl and leave for a few hours or overnight. Scrub with a brush and rinse.”
  • Silver jewellery. “Line a bowl with tin foil. Put your pure silver bracelets, rings etc. Soak them in a mixture of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda for two to three hours. Rinse them under cold water and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth. There is nothing nicer than wearing beautiful shiny bangles.”

These are great tips and work well with the best cleaner we know – elbow grease!

By Frank and Dr Muriel Newman. Read more Oily Rag articles here.

You can contact the Oily Rag community via the website at oilyrag.co.nz or by writing to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.