Putting lemonade in a vase of flowers and shaving foam on your mirrors might seem a little eccentric.
But these are among the best tips for keeping everything ship shape at home, say cleaning experts.
The advice has been tested by the Good Housekeeping Institute alongside other wacky online suggestions, to find out which really work.
In total, seven of the 11 so-called ‘life hacks’ examined were successful. The researchers said: ‘The internet is full of cleaning tips – from the sublime to the ridiculous.’
The tips that work:
1. Shaving foam on a mirror to stop it steaming up.
Spray the foam on a clean cloth and wipe over the mirror until it is streak free. Next time you have a shower it will stay clear except for a fine, clear film of condensation. One possible explanation is that the detergents prevent droplets forming – so steam simply forms a flat sheet that allows you to see yourself without distortion.
Spraying shaving foam on a mirror might seem unusual but it can help the surface stay clear when you have a shower
2. A bowl of vinegar neutralises cigarette smells.
Put two tablespoons of malt vinegar in a dish and leave overnight in a smoky room with the door shut. The acidic vinegar helps to neutralise some smells in smoke, many of which are alkaline.
3. Lemonade in the vase water prolongs the life of cut flowers.
After experiments with aspirin, flower food and plain water, researchers found adding a couple of glugs of lemonade is the best for long-lasting blooms. The drink may have antibacterial qualities, while its sugar may feed the plant.
Lemonade may have antibacterial qualities which help cut flowers to last longer when a couple of glugs are added to the vase water
4. Rubbing a bar of soap on a zip will help it glide.
This simple trick works well, but it doesn’t last for ever so you will need to reapply as it wears off. The soap acts as a lubricant, but you must be careful that it does not get on the fabric.
5. Hairspray removes permanent ink from hard surfaces.
Spraying hairspray on an ink stain seemed to make it fizz and dissolve. The product can then be blotted up with kitchen roll. The trick also removes biro and red wine stains from cotton, but the fabric needs to be washed afterwards. It may be alcohol in the hairspray which dissolves the ink.
6. An iron can be used to lift wax drips off fabric.
Scrape off as much wax as you can with a blunt knife, then cover the area with kitchen roll. Place a warm iron on top, melting the wax on to the paper – but never let the iron touch the wax directly. Finally, launder the fabric. The heat of the iron turns the wax to liquid – allowing it to be transferred to another absorbent surface.
To lift wax drips off fabric you can use a warm iron to melt the wax and move it to another absorbent surface
7. Rubbing fabric conditioner on tights stops static.
Static cling can be an annoying problem when wearing tights. To stop it, simply rub fabric conditioner on to your hands, then run them up and down your tights while wearing them. Fabric conditioners work by giving the fabric a positive charge – which neutralises the negative charge of static electricity.
Static cling can be an annoying problem when you wear tights but you can combat it by using fabric conditioner
And those that don’t:
8. Removing beetroot stains with salt.
Don’t do it. Salt will set the stain and make it impossible to remove. Instead, tackle the stain as quickly as possible before it dries. Blot up excess juice and flush with cool water, then launder the fabric. To remove beetroot stains from hands, use lemon juice.
9. Vinegar on the chopping board stops you crying when cutting onions.
The researchers insist they wanted this to work, but still cried when trying it out. Wearing swimming goggles while you chop does work as it stops chemicals reaching the eyes, but isn’t practical.
Researchers hoped they could stop you crying when cutting onions but putting vinegar on the chopping board proved unsuccessful
10. Using the inside of a banana skin to shine leather.
Don’t throw away the shoe polish just yet. Banana skins are extremely messy, leave greasy marks and simply don’t work.
11. Dry tea bags deodorise smelly shoes.
Don’t bother with this one. Stick to a branded shoe deodoriser, such as Odor Eaters.
The tests showed that it isn’t worth using dry tea bags to deal with smelly shoes – it’s better to stick to a branded shoe deodoriser