With 38 years of experience running Chatsworth, one of the country’s most iconic stately homes, Christine Robinson knows a trick or two to keep things sparkling using easily available household items. Ahead of her guest appearance at this year’s Malvern Autumn Show (September 29-30) she shares some of her top tips for keeping things shipshape.
Remove the sticky residue from labels on bottles and jars
Put a teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda in a ramekin dish, together with a
tablespoonful of cooking oil. Using a soft cloth, or a piece of kitchen paper, rub the
label with the mixture and the stickiness will simply wipe away.
Burn residue on an iron
If you have used an iron that proved too hot and something nasty is burned onto the
sole plate of the iron, switch the iron off and while it’s still warm, hold a paracetamol
tablet in a pair of tweezers and rub it over the stain on the iron and the mess will then
just wipe away with a soft cloth.
Read more tips on cleaning an iron
Clear a blocked sink
Instead of using astringent proprietary cleaners, try clearing a blocked sink by putting
down two tablespoonsful of bicarbonate of soda, followed by a cup of vinegar. After
two hours, pour a kettle of boiling water down and the sink should drain freely.
Flies don’t like the smell of strong aromatic herbs, so try growing basil on
your windowsill to deter them from entering.
Find out how to deter flies
Copper pans that are to be used for cooking shouldn’t be cleaned using ordinary
copper polish, which may taint the food. Instead, clean them with half a lemon dipped
in salt, and then rinse thoroughly.
Dripping bath taps can leave a stain – rub with half a lemon. Clean a bath with a piece
of old net curtain or tights – it’s mildly abrasive.
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Instead of using a can of glass spray, squeeze lemon juice into the washing water, and
the windows will gleam beautifully. To remove insect spots on windows, wipe them
over with a cloth rinsed in cold tea.
Read more tips for cleaning windows
Instead of using a can of aerosol chemical chewing gum remover, place a few ice
cubes in a plastic bag and press on top of the chewing gum, which will then harden
and can be removed carefully using a knife.
Don’t throw away a scratched glass before polishing with a bit of toothpaste, which
might remove the scratch.
Plump up feather pillows by putting them in the tumble dryer for half an hour with two
To deter moths, rather than using insecticides, try putting a few conkers in the drawer
Find out more about getting rid of clothes moths
To clean grubby wallpaper around light switches, use stale, but still slightly moist, white
bread or bread dough and roll it over the dirty marks.
Malvern Autumn Show
Christine will share her extensive housekeeping experiences in a Through the Keyhole
talk at 12.30pm and an engaging Upstairs, Downstairs conversation with celebrity chef
Valentine Warner at 3.15pm in the Autumn Potager Theatre on Saturday, September
30. She will also join celebrated florist Jonathan Moseley in the Floral Fiesta Theatre at
Malvern Autumn Show is on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 September. For more
information, visit https://www.malvernautumn.co.uk/ or call 0844 811 0050.
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