Top Tips

Here are some of our favourite tips for around the home:

  • Install child proof locks on cabinets that house cleaning supplies. Never assume a cabinet is too high for a curious, climbing toddler.
  • Keep all household products in their original packages. Packaging includes useful first aid information in the event of accidental exposure or ingestion.
  • Don't leave cleaning buckets unattended. Even those with a small amount of liquid pose a danger to "top heavy" toddlers. If the child falls into a bucket, it may not tip over and he or she could drown.
  • Schedule cleaning during "down times" such as naptime or when children are in school, or on a play date.
  • Avoid distractions or interruptions when children are present during cleaning. If you answer the door, take the child with you. If the phone rings, let the answering machine do its job.
  • Post the Poison Info Centre phone number 13 11 26 by every land phone in your home and save it on your mobile phone
  • Do you keep a gift closet, adding new gift items year-round? Take inventory before you shop for more Christmas gifts. You’ll be amazed what you may already have in store!
  • When ironing business shirts make sure you do the top button up only. This will keep the neckline straight and ensure the shirt drapes correctly when it’s hung in the wardrobe.
  • For spilled candle wax on carpets and upholstery, put a brown paper bag over the dried wax and run a hot iron over it. The bag will absorb the hot wax. Dried wax on wood floors can be removed by softening the wax with a hair dryer, then removing with paper towels. Wash spot down with a combination of vinegar and water.
  • To eliminate refrigerator odours try a little vanilla poured on a piece of cotton and placed in the refrigerator. Or after cleaning the refrigerator add a dash of lemon extract to the rinse water for a fresh scent.
  • Colour Co-ordinate! Use the same colour cloth to do a task each time (for example blue for furniture, pink for bathroom cleaner) to avoid mixing cleaning agents or cross contamination.
  • Try using lemon juice to remove rust and stains from plastic, either neat or diluted, and give curry stains on carpet the heave-ho with diluted lemon juice. For spills on carpets such as coffee, beer or soft drink simply dab the stain with soda water.
  • If you need to dry clothes quickly after they have been washed, place the items into the dryer with 1 large dry bath towel. The towel will help to absorb some of the moisture in the load, and help expedite the drying process.
  • When you are shopping, put all similar items together at the checkout for bagging – fridge, cans, bathroom, toiletries, etc. Saves time when putting them away.
  • Write a family evacuation plan. Know the fastest way out of your home and how not to become trapped. Each room in your home should have two exits (including windows that are easily opened). Practice the evacuation plan with your family before any emergency occurs.
  • A bowl of vinegar placed in a room helps to absorb smoke odour.
  • Spreading a layer of mulch – woodchips, and even gravel or stone – over your flowerbeds and around trees prevents over 70 per cent of moisture evaporation from out of the soil. Aim for a layer 2.5-5cm thick.
  • In autumn conduct a thorough weeding to reduce work during the wet months to come.
  • In the garden street noise or “sound pollution” can be minimised by the use of water features, such as a waterfall, or a pond with a fountain jet. Wind chimes also help, as can bird feeders that attract songbirds.
  • When grass is mowed frequently, clippings are small and degrade rapidly. “Grass cycling” or leaving grass clippings on the lawn after mowing saves time, landfill space and nourishes the soil.
  • Baking soda is a wonder product that is sadly underused in the modern household. Mixed with lemon juice, vinegar or even just some water, it produces a gently abrasive paste that is a great all-purpose cleaner and stain remover. Not only does it work on a variety of surfaces but it does not produce a corrosive effect, like many other strong cleaners.
  • Baking soda’s most famous property is probably its deodorising action – it has an incredible ability to absorb odours and can neutralise them as well, which makes it a great cleaner for the refrigerator and deodoriser for the dishwasher (sprinkle one-half cup baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher between loads). It is also very effective at masking any odours from pet stains and general odours in carpets – simply sprinkle some baking soda over the carpet and leave for 10-15 minutes before vacuuming the whole area.
  • 5,000 tonnes a year of printer cartridges end up in landfill every year! Drop your used printer, fax or copier cartridges in the "Cartridges 4 Planet Ark" bins at Australia Post, Officeworks, Harvey Norman and Dick Smith Electronics.
  • Summer is often a time when people fertilise their lawns and work in their gardens. But beware: Plant food, fertiliser, and insecticides can be fatal if your pet ingests them. In addition, more than 700 plants can produce physiologically active or toxic substances in sufficient amounts to cause harmful effects in animals.
  • With people and dogs spending more time outside, dog bites are likely to increase in the summer months. Spaying or neutering your dog reduces the likelihood that he will bite and provides many other health benefits.
  • Pets and pools can equal disaster. Prevent free access to pools and always supervise a pet in a pool.
  • Pets can get sunburned too, and your pet may require sunscreen on his or her nose and ear tips. Pets with light-coloured noses or light-coloured fur on their ears are particularly vulnerable to sunburn and skin cancer.
  • Wrap celery in aluminium foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.
  • To remove rust put molasses in water, soak the rusty items overnight and the rust falls off. Then just rinse clean.
  • If you spill red wine on carpet immediately pour soda water onto the stain and mop up with paper towel or old rag until it disappears.
  • Pen marks on leather lounge suites or lino floors can be removed with toothpaste and a little bit of water to make a paste. Leave on the mark for 1 hour, wipe off after an hour and off it comes.

If you have a tip you would like us to use please share it on our Facebook page or Tweet us.