The GHI’s 100 best cleaning tips

Erin Browne

That feeling when you’ve just finished cleaning and your home looks pristine is hugely satisfying. It’s fair to say, though, that most of us will be less jazzed about the actual process and effort involved in getting it looking that way.

Thankfully, the experts at the GHI have been helping us make short work of the housework for 100 years, and they’re still just as committed to saving you time and elbow grease today. We’ve rounded up 100 of the very best cleaning tips they recommend for a spotless home.

Our best cleaning tips

1.Clogged shower head?

      Unscrew shower head and soak in a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water to banish limescale.

      RELATED: How to clean grout

      2. Hidden dust

      Remove dirt and dust from behind radiators with a microfibre radiator brush.


      Microfibre Radiator Brush

      3. Dodgy drains – sorted!

      One of our best cleaning tips to keep drains running freely, is to treat them weekly with a cup of washing soda crystals, followed by boiling water.

      4. Sparkling taps

      Soak a cloth in a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water and wrap it around the tap. Leave for a few hours or overnight then rinse away limescale.

      5. Why microfibre cloths are a must-have

      So good for so many tasks and you only need to dampen them with water – no chemicals needed! We rate e-cloths, which come in a range of colours so you can colour code your cloths by room or task to avoid cross-contamination.

      6. Get the most from your vacuum

      To keep your vacuum running properly, regularly clean or change the filters – check the manual for how to clean the filters in your particular model.

      7. Toys that look as good as new

      Place stuffed toys in a large bag with 100g of bicarbonate of soda, seal the bag and shake well. The bicarb helps draw out dust and grime. Finish by vacuuming away any further residue.

      8. Pongy waste disposal?

      Try running some lemon rinds through the waste disposal and follow with cold water to freshen up.

      9. Clean grimy grout

      To whiten grout, scrub with an old toothbrush dipped in a bleach solution, then rinse with water.

      10. Nasty niffs in fridge

      Pop a ramekin of bicarbonate of soda in your fridge to absorb unwanted smells.

      RELATED: How clean is your fridge?

      11. Tupperware that’s as good as new

      Sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda on a damp sponge and wipe around tupperware to freshen up.

      12. Stale sponge

      Regularly soak kitchen sponges in a solution of bicarb and water to keep them smelling fresh.

      13. Freshen up carpets

      Sprinkle with bicarbonate of soda, let it sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum up.

      14. Don’t forget the fan!

      Use your vacuum with the dusting brush attachment to remove dust build up on the bathroom fan.

      15. Beautiful bins (yes, really!)

      Freshen a smelly bin by sprinkling bicarbonate of soda in the bottom of the bin, leave for 20 minutes, then wipe clean.

      RELATED: How to clean a carpet

      16. Limescale in the loo

      Pour a bucket of hot water, followed by a cup of citric acid into the toilet bowl and leave for an hour or overnight to loosen unsightly limescale deposits.

      17. Stop mirrors steaming up

      Keep a glass microfibre cloth in the bathroom to wipe over steamy mirrors – not only will this wipe away steam so you can use the mirror but will also clean away any grime at the same time.

      18. Give hair straighteners a make-over

      Remove the gunk that builds up on hair straighteners with nail varnish remover, then wipe down the plates with a damp cloth. Just make sure the straighteners are cool and unplugged first!

      19. For a sweet smelling linen closet

      Get rid of musty smells with this simple cleaning tip. Simply place a bowl of bicarb in the linen cupboard.

      20. The best way to clean your curtains

      Keep curtains fresh and free of dust by vacuuming weekly using the upholstery tool attachment and a low suction.

      RELATED: How to clean a mirror

      21. Vacuum Venetian blinds

      Stop dust building up on Venetian blinds by vacuuming each slat with a dusting brush attachment on a low suction level.

      22. Sort out oven spills

      Line the bottom of your oven with a magic liner (or even just a baking tray) to make it easy to remove spills and stop them baking on.


      Magic Non-Stick Oven Liner Standard 50 x 50cm

      23. Greasy extractor filters

      Pop metal mesh extractor fan filters in the dishwasher to remove grease and grime without having to scrub.

      24. Cheer up your chopping boards

      Remove stains from wooden chopping boards by rubbing with lemon juice, leave overnight, then wash as normal.

      25. Hard to reach grime

      Use a toothpick to remove food residue that has built up in the join between the worktop and appliances.

      RELATED: How clean is your chopping board?

      26. Clean up microwave mishaps

      Make microwave cleaning a doddle by heating a small bowl of water with a couple of lemon slices floating in it. Once the microwave is steamy, wipe clean and enjoy the fresh citrussy aroma.

      27. Whiten a grubby ceramic sink

      Make a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water and use to scrub away stains and leave the sink sparkling.

      28. Freshen up your dishwasher

      Remove limescale and clean your dishwasher by filling a cup with white vinegar and popping into the dishwasher, before running it on a hot cycle.

      29. Clever cleaning for cast iron pots

      To remove burnt on grime from an enamelled cast iron pot, scrub with a paste made of bicarbonate of soda and washing up liquid.

      30. Easy kettle descale

      Descale your kettle by filling with a mixture of half white wine vinegar and half water, leave overnight and rinse thoroughly before using. Leave a sticky note on the kettle while you do this so no one uses it!

      RELATED: How to clean a mirror

      31. Badly burnt pans

      To remove burnt-on food from saucepans, fill with water and a dishwasher tablet or 1 tbsp biological washing powder, bring to the boil then simmer for ten minutes. Any stains should come away easily.

      32. Tarnished copper pans

      Rub on ketchup (yes, we’re serious!) to dissolve the tarnish.

      33. Shiny stainless steel

      After cleaning, buff stainless steel appliances with a glass microfibre cloth for a smear-free finish.

      34. Burnt bits on your hob

      Invest in a hob scraper to make easy work of removing burnt on deposits from ceramic or induction hobs.

      35. Troublesome tea stains

      Make a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water and use this to scrub tea stains from spoons and mugs.

      RELATED: How to remove pigment and tannin-based stains

      36. Freshen your mattress before bedtime

      Keep your mattress clean by vacuuming regularly (check the care guide first). Use an upholstery attachment and low suction, paying attention to the button areas and piping at the edges.

      37. Disinfect plastic toys

      Pop plastic children’s toys into the dishwasher to remove dirt and germs – obviously avoid this method for anything with batteries or with moving parts where water could get trapped.

      38. Polish dull metals

      Slice a lemon in half, dip it in salt and rub on metal surfaces to remove grime and bring back their shine (avoid using on plated silver and gold).

      39. Freshen a dusty headboard

      If you have an upholstered headboard, vacuum regularly with your vacuums’ upholstery tool to remove dust and dust mites.

      40. Bring back shine to sinks and taps

      Rub the cut side of a lemon on sinks and taps to remove limescale deposits (don’t use on gold plated taps).

      RELATED: How to clean brass

      41. How to wash a silicone oven mitt

      Next time you accidentally plunge your silicone oven mitt into the side of a lasagne as you remove it from the oven, simply place it on the top rack of the dishwasher and wash alongside your usual dishes.

      42. Musty upholstery

      To deodorise upholstery, sprinkle with bicarbonate of soda, let it sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum up using an upholstery tool and low suction.

      43. Scribbles on your walls?

      Our cleaning tip for removing crayon from walls is to scrub with a damp sponge sprinkled with bicarbonate of soda.

      44. Spills in microwave

      Pop the microwave turntable in the dishwasher for a quick and easy clean.

      45. Mildew in bathroom

      Scrub your tub, tiles, sink and shower curtain with a damp sponge and bicarb. Rinse to reveal gleaming surfaces.

      RELATED: How to remove pet hair

      46. Bathtime blues

      If the bath looks dirty, fill it with warm water, add a couple of scoops of biological washing powder, and leave it to soak overnight. Rinse it out well before bathing.

      47. Clogged drains

      Clear a stubborn drain by pouring 125g of bicarb down it, followed by 125ml vinegar. Cover with a wet cloth, wait 5 minutes, and then flush with hot water.

      48. Smelly trainers

      Freshen stinky shoes by sprinkling in a bit of bicarb – just tap it out into the bin before you use them again.

      49. Oil spills on driveway or garage floor

      If your car’s leaked oil, remove the offending mess by covering it with bicarb, then scrub with a stiff wet brush to make it disappear.

      50. Messy BBQ grill

      Once cool, wet the grill and sprinkle liberally with bicarbonate of soda, let it sit for 10 minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush.

      RELATED: The golden rules of stain removal

      51. Sparkling shower screens

      Keep glass shower screens cleaner for longer by using a squeegee to remove water deposits after every shower.

      52. Dulled jewellery

      Get rid of the tarnish on sterling silver jewellery by cleaning with a lint free cloth and a paste made of three parts bicarb to one part water.

      53. Help drains flow better

      Invest in a plug hole strainer for your shower or bath to catch hair before it goes down the drain and save you the nasty job of fishing out those nasty hair balls.

      54. Greasy oven shelves

      Soak oven shelves for an hour in a sink-full of hot water in which 250g of soda crystals have been dissolved. Scrub away baked-on food with a scrunched-up ball of foil, rinse and allow to dry.

      55. Make oven doors shiny again

      Remove thick grime from glass oven doors with a ceramic hob scraper.

      RELATED: How to clean silver

      56. A fresher loo

      Pour a cup of bicarbonate of soda into the toilet bowl once a week to neutralise odours.

      57. Clean off sticky label residues

      First, try wiping with baby oil to loosen the residue. If that doesn’t work, spray the affected area with WD-40 or Sticky Stuff Remove, then give it a wipe and the sticky stuff will come right off.

      58. Hard water deposits

      Make up a spray bottle of half white vinegar and half water, and use it regularly as you would a general bathroom cleaning spray on tiles, basins, baths, showers and taps to keep limescale at bay. Always rinse thoroughly with fresh water afterwards.

      59. Clean machine

      To descale your washing machine use a large cup of white vinegar or lemon juice in place of your usual detergent and run the machine empty on a normal wash cycle.

      60. Deodorise pet beds

      Sprinkle with bicarbonate of soda, let it sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum up using an upholstery tool and low suction.

      RELATED: 4 things you need to know if you always use the quick wash

      61. Sanitise your sponges

      To clean and sanitise without any hassle, pop kitchen sponges and washing up brushes into the dishwasher.

      62. Cloudy glassware

      Cloudy glasses are usually caused by limescale. Fill a washing up bowl with a solution of half white vinegar and half water, soak your glasses in the solution for a couple of hours or until the limescale has dissolved. Rinse thoroughly before using.

      63. Remove stains from plastic food containers

      Soak in a solution of 4 tbsp bicarbonate of soda and a litre of warm water.

      64. Washing machine mildew

      Wipe the rubber door seal with a solution of diluted bleach. Do this after every few washes to prevent build-up of mould and bacteria.

      65. Get into those awkward dust traps

      Use a long-handled duster or your vacuum cleaner’s crevice attachment to clean in that annoying gap between your fridge and the countertop.

      RELATED: This clever trick revives your cloudy glasses

      66. Shining glass lampshade

      Glass lampshades are a haven for dust. The easiest way to clean them is in the dishwasher – just put them on the top rack on a glassware cycle.

      67. The secret to pristine salad drawers

      Line the salad drawers in your fridge with a sheet of kitchen towel. At the end of the week, simply lift out the liner and tip offending layers of onion skin and other stray pieces of veg straight into the food bin.

      68. Keep your washing machine free from grime

      Run a service wash once a month on a hot wash (60C or higher) with no clothes or detergent in the machine. This will rid the machine of mould and bacteria.

      69. Stop your make-up brushes giving you spots

      Wash make-up brushes in warm, soapy water into which you’ve mixed a little coconut oil. This will help break down the make-up residue to keep them clean and the bristles lovely and soft.

      70. Crumbs in your keyboard?

      Clean your computer keyboard by turning it upside down and tapping it to dislodge crumbs and fluff. Use a can of Compressed Air, to blast out any remaining offenders.

      RELATED: How to clean makeup brushes

      71. Remove the grime so your hair can shine

      If you have a plastic hairbrush, remove any hair and wash it in the top rack or the cutlery basket of your dishwasher to freshen it up and get rid of any bacteria and grease.

      72. No more dusty blinds

      Put a slightly damp sock over your hand and run it between the slats, then pop the sock straight into the washing machine.

      73. Mossy patio?

      Sprinkle soda crystals onto areas of moss and algae on your patio or path, dampen with a watering can, leave for a day or two then brush off with a stiff brush.

      74. If you’re using bleach, chill out!

      The secret to getting the most from your bleach is to always use cold water with it. Hot water can render the active ingredients in bleach ineffective, making it totally useless.

      RELATED: The one mistake you’re making with bleach

      75. Crystal clear windows

      For sparkling windows, create your own cleaning solution using one part distilled white vinegar to nine parts water in an old spray bottle. Spray on, wipe clean, then buff dry with a glass microfibre cloth.

      76. Give your sheets a proper clean

      Always wash bedding at 60C to help kill dust mites and bacteria.

      77. Don’t make your bed!

      Always leave the duvet pulled back during the day to allow the bed to air and any moisture to evaporate. This’ll keep your bed fresher and reduce dust mites who like a warm, moist environment.

      78. Remove heat rings on furniture

      Go to your fridge and grab the mayonnaise! No, we’re not joking – cover the mark with a generous smear of mayo and leave for several hours or overnight. Wipe off with a clean cloth.

      79. Happy stuffed toys

      To kill dust mites in stuffed toys, wash at 60C (check the care label first). Otherwise pop in a bag and leave in the freezer overnight.

      80. Soft fluffy towels

      Don’t add fabric conditioner when washing towels, as it’ll reduce their absorbency.

      RELATED: The best way to remove heat rings and watermarks

      81. Sanitise soap dishes and toothbrush holders

      Most soap dishes and toothbrush holders will benefit from a monthly run through the dishwasher to sanitise them. Wash them on a delicate cycle on the top rack, but don’t put wooden soap racks in the dishwasher.

      82. Treat your toothbrush to its own clean

      Wash your toothbrush thoroughly with warm water after use. You can also sanitise bristles by leaving toothbrush heads in mouthwash for about 15 minutes (but no longer than that or you can damage the bristles.)

      83. No more steamy mirrors

      Buff a drop of washing up liquid onto clean mirrors to prevent them from steaming up.

      84. For a smarter smartphone

      Clean your smartphone screen using a microfibre cloth. Don’t ever be tempted to use a glass cleaner as this could damage the special coating that stops fingerprints building up.

      85. Ditch liquid floor cleaners

      Invest in an e-cloth Deep Clean Mop and say goodbye to your hoard of floor cleaning liquids. The mop makes short work of cleaning and buffing large expanses of hard flooring using only water, and the cleaning head is washable.

      RELATED: How to keep your floors sparkling clean

      86. Messy oven door, begone

      Tackle baked-on food splatters inside the oven door by rubbing a paste of bicarbonate of soda and water onto the glass. Leave for 15-20 minutes then wipe off with a damp microfibre cloth.

      87. Sanitise your loo brush

      Spray with a disinfectant spray after using to keep your toilet brush fresh and free of germs.

      88. Avoid washing machine woes

      Check the drain filter on your washing machine every 3-4 months. Most people miss this out but it’s crucial for the proper running of your washing machine – check the manual for guidance.

      89. No more whiffy wheelie bin

      Pressure wash your wheelie bin or use the hose and some Jeyes Fluid, then turn it upside down to drain and dry.


      Jeyes Fluid 1L Multi Purpose Disinfectant For Outdoor Cleaning Cleaner NEW

      90. Take your time

      Simple but effective: spray bathroom cleaner on the tub and basin and leave it to work for 10 minutes before you wipe and rinse off. Trust us, it makes a difference!

      RELATED: 10 things people with a spotless kitchen do every day

      91. Show your activity tracker some love

      If you wear your activity tracker regularly, grime may build up on the strap. Soak a cloth in warm soapy water, then ring it out thoroughly and use it to wipe away the dirt. Take care to avoid the face or tracking element if it’s not waterproof. If the strap has holes for a buckle, use a cocktail stick to gently clean them.

      92. Easy clean fridge shelves

      It’ll depend on the size of your fridge shelves and drawers but if they fit, pop them in the dishwasher for a thorough clean.

      93. Smears on kitchen cabinets?

      Keep glossy kitchen cabinets shiny by buffing with a glass microfibre cloth after cleaning.

      94. Remove pesky pet hair

      Use rubber gloves to clean pet hair off furniture: lightly wet the gloves and brush them over the surface of the fabric. Clean the gloves by plunging them in hot water and the hair will simply come away. Repeat as necessary!

      95. Get tough on limescale build-up

      Use a whitening toothpaste with an old toothbrush to clean calcified limescale crust from taps.

      RELATED: How to remove limescale

      96. Keep germs at bay in your toilet brush holder

      Fill the toilet brush holder with hot soapy water and add a few drops of bleach. Swish the holder around and empty the dirty water away down the toilet.

      97. Don’t leave crumbs in the sofa

      Use your vacuum cleaner upholstery tool to vacuum chairs, sofas and footstools regularly, paying attention to areas under seat cushions and in crevices where muck and food debris will gather.

      98. Pristine plants

      Remove dust from houseplants by wiping leaves gently with a damp microfibre cloth.

      99. Dusty baskets

      To clean dust from wicker storage baskets, vacuum gently using a brush attachment on a low suction level.

      100. Grimy gas burners

      Use an old toothbrush to clean those hard-to-reach spots around the gas burners.

      RELATED: The best way to clean a barbecue

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