How to clean marks from the iron’s soleplate

How annoying is it when you’re so carefully avoiding that motif on your T-shirt while ironing, then somehow the iron skiffs it and you’re left with a black mark on the soleplate?

Wait for the iron to cool down a little, then get a nylon pot scrubber dipped in plain water and have a good go at the mark until it’s gone – take it more gently if it’s a nonstick coating.

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Clothes getting mouldy in your wardrobe?

If your wardrobe backs on to an outside wall, in colder weather your clothes will probably be affected by mildew. Any structural problem will have to be sorted, then you can treat the inside of that wall with Polycell Damp Seal which will seal patches of penetrating damp and stop them coming through. It’s a one-off treatment and you need only one coat.

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Get rid of that fishy smell in the kitchen

When you cook fish (particularly kippers) it can leave a terrible smell behind – sometimes for days! See it off by bringing a small saucepan of water to a simmer and add some cinnamon, cloves, bay and orange or lemon peel.

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Hold back on over-polishing!

Here’s some good news: you only need polish your cherished wooden furniture with beeswax once or twice a year, otherwise the polish builds up and makes the surface sticky (which attracts dirt).

Check by running your fingers across the surface: if it smears, you’re using too much. After you apply the wax, allow it to dry before buffing to get a better shine (it’ll be less effort too, always a good thing).

Don’t use spray polish or anything with added silicones. They do give instant shine and make the surface easier to buff, but the film doesn’t fill in scratches or other blemishes in the way that wax does. Also the solvents in the spray can soften underlying layers of wax and, if used too often, make the surface sticky (and sometimes turn milky, for which there’s no cure, short of stripping and resurfacing).

For everyday dusting, wipe over with a barely damp duster (that way the dust will cling to the cloth rather than fly around and land elsewhere).

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Wok gone rusty?

To sort, rub the surface with the cut side of half a potato dipped in concentrated washing-up liquid, rinse then wipe with cooking oil and a paper towel.

After using, wash in warm water without detergent. Dry thoroughly, then brush with a thin layer of oil.

Before you put it away, wrap inside a plastic bag to stop any dust sticking to the surface.

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Funny smell in the fridge?

If you’ve cleaned out your fridge and it still has a funny smell, place a small dish of coffee granules or bicarbonate of soda at the back of one of the shelves – they will neutralise any lingering odours.

Refresh after a few weeks if you need to.

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How to deal with browned limescale

It’s one thing having limescale in your loo, but when it turns brown it’s a step too far!

Salts and iron in water cause this, so you need to treat the limescale itself.

Dissolve 250g citric acid powder (from the chemist) in a bucket of hot water and pour slowly into the bowl. It’ll start to fizz as it dissolves the limescale, so swish around with a loo brush to help.

When the fizzing stops, flush. Repeat if necessary.

Keep the limescale at bay by pouring a bottle of clear vinegar into the bowl about once a month; leave overnight before flushing away.

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