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.

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Always close the loo lid after using…

That nasty statistic about faecal matter and toothbrushes is correct!

If your loo and bath/sink are in the same area, make sure you put the lid down at strategic times (you know what I mean).

I remember from my days on How Clean is your House? the microbiologist telling me how risky it is keeping toothbrushes out on surfaces near a lavatory pan…yes, you’ve guessed: faecal matter can being aerated and travel a good five feet away, landing on any surface around that distance.

And then we wonder why we have an upset tummy. Horrid thought!

A mark on your lovely wooden floor?

If your wooden floor gets a water (or other) stain, it can spoil the whole look of the place.

There’s no easy way around this – you’ll need to sand the area and apply a wood stain of the same colour over the top.

It can be difficult to judge since different woods take stains in different ways. Any stain you use should be applied in the direction of the grain.

Also, don’t overdo it – much better to apply a little at a time and wait until dry before you think of adding a further coat. Incidentally, it’s worth having a go first with cold black tea.

Never pour fat down your sink…

If you’re cooking a roast, never be tempted to tip the fat down the sink – it’s bound to solidify and block the drainer (and lamb fat is the worst).

If some fat does inadvertently go down the sink drainer and things slow up, here’s what you need to do.

Put a handful of washing soda crystals over the opening and pour a kettleful of boiling water over it.

t the same time get a plunger and have a good old go…chances are you will clear the blockage in no time and everything will be free-flowing once more.

Sort your wardrobe!

Less is definitely more – I find if I have too much stuff in there, some of my favourite bits get hidden, forgotten and unworn – not the point.

Work out a system that’s good for you. Perhaps have all skirts together, all trousers together and so on.

For dresses, either colour-code or divide into casual/work/evening.

Treat yourself to some nice hangers (IKEA do wooden ones really cheaply) and hang items individually, with buttons and zips fastened (that way items will retain their shape better).

Keep moths away with Zensect Hanging Moth Proofer, but make sure everything you hang is clean as well.

How to clean your fridge

Unplug it and pull from the wall.

Remove all food and put in a cool place.

Take out shelves and drawers and wash in hot soapy water. Rinse and dry.

Wipe the interior including the roof with a clean cotton cloth rinsed out in hot water with a little washing-up liquid.

Run the cloth between the folds of the door seal – much grot lies there! – then wipe the outside.

Check the condenser coil at the back for clumps of dust – vacuum any away.

Reconnect fridge, push back, return shelves, drawers and food.

The best way to wash a mohair jumper

To be on the safe side, handwash it in detergent especially for delicates and wool.

Use hand-hot water and very little detergent (if you have too much soap, rinsing can take forever).

Be very gentle, caressing rather than rubbing, and rinse really, really well until the water is completely clear (fill the bath if it’s easier). Squeeze out as much water as you can then lay the jumper between two thick towels and roll up. Leave somewhere warmish such as the airing cupboard and check progress after 24 hours – it should be almost dry.

No need to iron!

Dry cleaning rules

If your party dress says Dry Clean Only and you get a spill on it, don’t be tempted to have a quick wipe-down with the cloth then take it to the dry cleaner and expect a perfect job.

Water is the number one enemy of the dry cleaner!

Restrain yourself, drop it off fully stained and your chances of getting back a perfect result will be so much higher.

Trust me, I’ve been there….

Best treatment for wooden furniture

Spray-on furniture polish isn’t always the best thing for your treasured possessions – it’s fine and handy for a quick fix, but in the long term layers of silicon can build up and become sticky.

If your wooden furniture looks a little dried out and in need of TLC, a lovely treatment is two parts olive oil and one part lemon juice.

Apply the tiniest amount, rub in with a soft cotton cloth and buff with another clean one.

Do this only twice a year.