inside of your car need a major freshen-up?

Does the inside of your car need a major freshen-up after a damp dog has had a ride? Sort the problem in no time by wiping the air vents with a few drops of your favourite essential oil.

How to spruce up an old leather jacket

First, never wash leather – it’ll get damaged.

You really need to get it professionally dry cleaned, and the cleaner should re-oil and re-finish it to restore the colour and protect against weather and future stains.

Deal with superficial marks in the future by gently rubbing with a soapy sponge using a pure soapflake solution.

Wipe with a damp cloth and hang to dry away from direct heat.

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How to care for a good walnut table

Dust it regularly and polish once or twice a year using a small amount of proper wax (not spray polish, as after a while you get build-up), buffing well to get a really good shine.

Treat any sticky marks in between with a chamois cloth wrung out in a solution of one part vinegar to six parts water.

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Do away with your tumble drier

Don’t imagine a tumble drier is a necessity – I’ve never owned one. They take up a lot of space and are heavy on electricity. Here’s my quick guide to drier-free drying…

A long outdoor washing line is best, but if you’re short of space a rotary line is fine (though clothes on the inside take longer to dry).

Run a damp cloth over the line before using.

Strong sun will fade bright colours, so dry away from direct sun.

When drying inside, ensure the room is well ventilated otherwise you’ll end up with mould and damp problems.

A clothes airer is better than radiators (though rails that hook over radiators are good). Avoid untreated wood – it can stain wet washing.

Don’t fold items or overstuff the rack as clothes will take longer to dry and can get smelly.

An old-fashioned dolly airer (hanging from ceiling) is very good, but needs to be in a room away from the kitchen, otherwise the washing will take on cooking smells.

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cooking rhubarb?

Next time you’re cooking rhubarb , add some grated orange zest to the pan. And if you have a vanilla pod lying around, stick that in too. Your stewed fruit will take on a much more sophisticated flavour!

When your picnicware becomes stained…

Here are a few remedies to get it looking good again. The better the quality, the easier it will be to clean…

*Wipe with kitchen paper moistened with cooking oil, then wash in hot soapy water.

* Wipe over with lemon juice, which is a natural bleaching agent, leave a few minutes then wash off.

* Mix bicarbonate of soda with a little water to make a paste, and smear on to the stain. Leave an hour then wash in hot soapy water.

food stains on clothes?

Lots of food stains on clothes? You’re better off using washing powder rather than liquid as most powders contain bleach (which liquids and capsules don’t) and powder is much more effective at removing food stains (and keeping your whites white).

Get rid of those annoying bobbles on your jumper

My cashmere jumper sale bargain from last year has been erupting bobbles in a very annoying way. Okay I could pick them off one by one, but they’re like a rash over the surface!

I came across the wonderfully simple Sweater Stone, which feels like pumice and when rubbed over the surface of any garment that’s pilling will pull off all the bits you don’t want.

You have to be quite gentle as it’s very effective.