Radiators need cleaning too

Because heat attracts dust, radiators will accumulate a layer of the stuff in no time and, if you think about it, that will inhibit all that lovely (paid for!) heat from being released into the room.

How you clean them will depend on the shape of your rads, but a good idea is to kick off with the narrowest nozzle of the vacuum cleaner. Then take a duster – always very slightly dampened so that the dust will stick to it rather than fly around the room to land elsewhere – and get in to as many nooks and crannies as you can.

It can take a while, but it’s time well spent and you won’t have to do it that often.

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Don’t forget the bathmat…

I’ll never forget the state of some of the bathmats I encountered during my days of working on How Clean Is Your House?

Although they often looked a bit grubby, I was always amazed to discover how much faecal matter would be lurking in the fibres (we used to take swabs, send off to a lab and get the results back soon afterwards).

Just a little nudge to bear that in mind and to stick your mat in the hottest wash that it can bear – say once a week.

If you’re washing up by hand…

There is a sequence to this. First make sure your sink is clean (I hate a washing up bowl – they end up all greasy and horrid).

Then scrape off all the food debris.

Soak pots and pans and set aside.

Fill the sink with hot, soapy water and first do items you put in your mouth such as cutlery, glasses, cups.

Rinse under the tap.

Then plates; rinse. Now pots and pans.

Afterwards, remove any bits of food from the plughole and wipe out the sink.

Replug sink, run a little hot water with a capful of bleach and leave your cloth and scourer to soak overnight. All fresh for the next day!

Rusty-looking marks on clothes coming from the machine?

It’s probably iron mould, most likely from a stray coin or screw left in a pocket that got trapped between the drums.

Check the drum holes; if you think there’s something inside that you can’t get to, you’ll need to call an engineer.

It could also be iron in the water from roadworks nearby. Check by running tap water through a white cloth for a few minutes; if there’s iron, you’ll see it.

To treat, wash as normal or if stubborn rub with lemon juice and salt, leave a few hours then rinse and wash as normal.

Iron mould spreads between clothes, so treat straight away.

Don’t let your drains get blocked!

It’s easy to forget about drains…until they get blocked or damaged. Chances are your household insurance will cover you, but prevention is always better than cure.

Here are a few tips:

don’t pour any cooking fat down the sink – it can harden and you risk clogging drains.

Clean off as much grease as you can with kitchen paper before washing up.

Ditto paint or paint thinners – take them to your recycling centre instead of putting down the sink.

In the bathroom, flush only loo paper – never baby wipes; they cause thousands of blockages a year (always check the pack).

In the bath, a drain screen will stop hair and other solids escaping down the plughole.

Outside, check gutters are not clogged with leaves.

Once a fortnight, chase a handful of soda crystals down the plughole with a kettle of boiling water to keep everything healthy.