How to deal with clothes moths

They target all natural fabrics – cotton, linen, silk, wool.

The larvae (grubs) do the damage and they feed on any bits of sweat, dead skin and food stains, creating holes, so it’s vital that everything is spotlessly clean before it’s put away. If you think you might have a moth problem, vacuum and wipe out the wardrobe and drawers with soapy water, getting right into the corners.

Make sure too that you clean carpets and floors (especially under furniture and along skirting boards.)  Empty your vacuum bag or canister straight away

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When you’ve been ironing on the floor…

…and the iron has caught the carpet and burnt it a little. You can sometimes get away with giving the carpet a light haircut by carefully trimming the damaged tufts with sharp scissors.

But for heavier scorching, you need to remove any loosened fibres with a stiff-bristled brush before gently rubbing with a piece of very fine sandpaper to try to disguise it.

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Brasso’s not just for brass…

If you have scratches on, for instance, the glass surface of a coffee table or the fridge door, chances are that Brasso will do the job.

Apply to the area with a soft clean cloth in small circular strokes. Leave to dry to a powder, then rub off quite firmly with a fresh clean soft cloth. If this doesn’t work perfectly at first, give it another one or two goes.

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Poor old rained-on velvet jacket…

You can get it looking new again. First place it on the ironing board. Wet a clothes brush (just enough to make the jacket feel damp) and gently brush a section of the velvet in the direction of the nap (it will look awful but don’t worry at this stage). Leave to dry overnight away from direct heat but still on the ironing board.

Once dry, brush with a dry brush, first against the nap, then in the direction. Now move on to the next section, but don’t get any water or fingerprints on the panel you’ve just treated. Keep going until you’ve done it all – it could take a week, but if you’re determined, it’ll be worth it.

Finally, treat the jacket with a fabric protector spray.

Taking care of fluffy toys

Most fluffy toys can be washed in the machine on a gentle cycle, but for those that are too delicate or are on their last legs, place in a plastic bag with a spoonful of bicarbonate of soda, give a good shake, then shake out and brush well afterwards.

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Sunscreen stains on T-shirts

If you think the stubborn yellowish stains around the neck of your white cotton T-shirts are from sunscreen, you might be surprised to hear it’s not actually the cream that’s the culprit, it’s the water you use for washing.

The metal ions react with the active ingredients in the cream and turn it yellow (therefore they appear after washing). Water types and creams vary, so staining may not always be a problem. Regular washing will eventually fade the marks

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Hairspray deposits everywhere?

Wiping over with clear vinegar will do it, so apart from your place smelling like a chip shop for a while everything will be smooth and shiny

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Oily marks on terracotta jars

Wash the jars in very hot, very soapy water or run them through the dishwasher several times.

Dry thoroughly then leave in a warm place, such as an airing cupboard, for about 24 hours. Terracotta is porous and you may not be able to remove all the marks completely, especially if the grease has gone deep into the clay.

For this reason, don’t keep the jars near the hob where hot fat can splash on to them.

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How to clean your fridge properly

Most fridges now have auto-defrost, but they still need to be washed regularly. Here’s what to do.

  • First, turn the fridge off.
  • Remove shelves and drawers: wash in warm soapy water and rinse.
  • Wipe inside surfaces with a solution of bicarbonate of soda (a tablespoon per litre of warm water), paying particular attention to door seals.
  • Check the drainage hole inside at the back isn’t blocked. The defrost water drains into a trough, where it evaporates. If milk or meat juices get into it, it’ll smell. Pour down a solution of Milton Sterilising Fluid; dilute according to instructions, and use about 50ml. Gently prod a straw down a little way to clear blockages.
  • If necessary, pull the fridge out and use the Milton to clean out any contaminated defrost water in the evaporator tray at the back.
  • While you’re at it, wipe down the sides with soapy water and vacuum the condenser coil on the back with the soft brush attachment.

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