Follow these rules for a great night’s sleep

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Sheets and pillowcases ought to be washed once a week. It’s a good idea to do it on a specific day; that way it becomes part of your routine.

A 60C cycle is best for cottons, particularly if you have an asthma-related condition (anything below this temperature probably won’t kill dust mites).

Duvets should be washed once a year. A single size can usually go in the washing machine but anything bigger will have to be taken to the launderette. Make sure it’s completely dried before using again, if particularly down- or feather-filled. And dry quickly because if not the feathers can go mouldy, which will give a nasty smell you’ll never get rid of. Avoid dry-cleaning duvets because the solvent will leave a residue on the feathers.

Pillows will be filled with either feather, down or synthetic material. See the label for wash instructions, but normally you’ll be able to wash two at a time. Once or twice a year will be enough. Again, dry thoroughly and as quickly as possible to avoid mould. You may notice a difference in the weight post-wash! Pillow protectors are well worth using between washes.

Headboards can take on marks where a greasy head has been in contact. If it’s fabric, spot clean with an upholstery cleaner, but don’t overwet or you could end up with watermarks. If veneer or vinyl, wipe with warm soapy water and dry with a clean cotton cloth.

The space under the bed will get very dusty so pull out everything about once a month, and move the bed to one side to vacuum thoroughly. This will keep moths and carpet beetles away, and the dustmites under control.

Mattresses can end up looking pretty nasty. Unless the label says ‘Do not turn’, turn it over every three months to extend its life (and your comfort). Vacuuming it will make a huge difference to reducing the dustmite population. If you don’t have one already, use a mattress protector (waterproof for young children or anyone with incontinence problems). To remove stains, use a foamy mix of hand-wash detergent. Don’t overwet. Make sure it is completely dry before making up the bed again (use a hairdryer to speed things up). If there are any nasty smells there, sprinkle with bicarbonate of soda, leave a few hours then vacuum off.

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Washing line woes?

I love hanging washing but occasionally a passing bird will leave a deposit on my freshly laundered sheets.

As long as the items are white or colourfast (and not nylon), immerse in a solution of hydrogen peroxide, available from the chemist (one part 20-vol peroxide to six parts cold water) for up to 30 minutes, then wash in the machine as normal.

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Don’t waste a good chicken carcass!

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If you roast a chicken and don’t have enough time afterwards to boil the carcass for stock, wrap it well, stick in the freezer and boil it another day

Straight from the freezer – when you have more time!

 

 

 

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How to use biological washing detergent

A 40-degree wash is perfect for sheets, pyjamas and towels (any higher and the enzyme in the detergent that does all the good work on the bacteria produced by the body becomes inactive).

Any lower and your items may not be cleaned properly, particularly if the bacteria load is heavy (such as on towels and underwear).

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White marks on just-washed trousers?

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You could be overloading the machine.

The more you put in, the less room the clothes have; they stay in one position and dye gets drawn out of the creases.

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Make double quantities and half your work

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If you’re preparing a casserole or lasagne, make double (much less than double the work) and freeze the other half for later.

The freezer’s also a great place to store food about to go past its use-by date and you know won’t be eaten before it does – that way you can cut down on waste.

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How to get rid of lily stains

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Lilies are so lovely, but those stamens can be a nightmare if you accidentally brush past and get your clothes caught against them. Whatever you do, do not rub at the pollen! All that happens is you’ll be pushing the strong dye into the fibres (and it’s always your smartest white cotton blouse, isn’t it?). The only answer is to take a piece of sticky tape, keep pressing very lightly over the stain and renewing the tape until every last particle is gone from the surface.

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Chase those ants out of your house!

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Are you sharing your kitchen with an army of ants right now? They love sweet things to take back to the nest to feed the queen and babies. They won’t spread disease, but they’re annoying nonetheless. The easiest way to deal with them is to find the source (look for small piles of earth pellets or check out the ants’ route) and pour some boiling water over. Follow up with a few puffs from an insecticidal powder (check it treats ants). If you don’t like the idea of killing them, a sprinkling of cayenne, scented talc or peppermint oil along the skirting boards near the outside door should send them next door!

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How to clean your duvet

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Single duvets can go into the washing machine; check the label for instructions.

Any duvets larger than single normally need to be taken to the launderette but some modern machines have a very large capacity, so check first.

As long as the item goes into the drum easily and there’s a bit of space between the duvet and roof of the drum, you’ll be fine.

If you have a household tip that you would like to share with Aggie’s followers – send it to us for publication – go to https://aggiestips.com/do-you-have-a-tip-to-share-with-aggie/