Follow these rules for a great night’s sleep


father, baby, portrait

PublicDomainPictures (CC0), Pixabay

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.

If you have a household tip that you would like to share with Aggie’s followers – send it to us for publication – go to


Honey, honey

That jar of honey hiding at the back of your kitchen cupboard will never go off, but it may have crystallised. Return it to a nice runny consistency by sticking in the microwave on medium for a minute or so (remember to remove any metal lid first!).

Time to get steamy!

A steam cleaner is more relevant than ever. There’s nothing like a good burst of scalding steam to give you the feeling that every last trace of germy grime is being shifted. I tried out the Thane H20 HD steam cleaner—it’s proven to kill 99 percent of germs, is suitable for both hard surfaces and carpets (as well as a great garment steamer)—and was very impressed with the results. It can be converted from hand held to full height in seconds and costs £99.96; available from

G&T tip

If you enjoy a G&T, keep lemon slices in the freezer. Wash and slice a couple of fruits, spread on a tray, freeze and bag up. Now you’ll always be at the ready and your drink will also be cooled!

Don’t ever be stuck

Most of us stack tumblers, but what if one gets stuck inside another? Don’t struggle and risk breakage. Put ice cubes into the inner glass and dip the outer one into a bowl of warm water. The outer one will expand, the inner will contract and they’ll separate easily.

Barbecues made easy

Don’t avoid barbecuing because of the clean-up operation afterwards. Make it easy: use a hot strong solution of soda crystals (a cup to 500ml water) – and be all set for the next time the sun shows its face!