Need to know how to clean or mop up something at home? Our guide to cleaning everything from furniture to flooring tells you how - and there are some great eco cleaning tips, too. In the second part of our series, we tackle glass, mirrors and windows...
Want our honest opinion? You don't really need chemicals to clean glass, mirrors and windows - or the most you'll need is a bit of washing up liquid. There are lots of eco friendly ways to clean glass, mirrors and windows, some quicker and with better results than others.
You can't beat an E-cloth for speed and results - use it with a spray bottle filled with water and see smudges and grime shift quickly from mirrors, interior glass and glass furniture. For very dirty surfaces, you might need to use some water diluted with washing up liquid and applied with a sponge, then wiped and buffed dry with the E-Cloth.
The cloth itself contains lots of tiny fibres that pick up dirt. It's also good at adding shine to stainless steel taps, hobs and sinks.
E-Cloths are available from good department stores and companies such as Lakeland.
It's an odd combination (and, it has to be said, smelly and a bit messy), but if it is all you have to hand, it will give your windows a nice shine.
Dilute your vinegar with water (roughly 1:4) and use a lint-free cloth or chamois leather to clean off grime. For a really good shine, buff the windows with crumpled newspaper - or use the chamois or lint-free cloth.
The exterior of windows will almost certainly need more than diluted vinegar to come up clean. Diluted washing up liquid, ideally used with a sponge and squeegee (like a windscreen wiper with a handle) will do the trick. You can then buff them to a shine with newspaper (or your lint-free cloth).
Steam Cleaners are not strictly eco friendly in as much as the majority use electricity to run, but they do an amazing job on just about every surface in the home, without the need for chemicals.
So, how do they work? Their powerful jets of steam dissolve grease and dirt quickly and effortlessly (and also sterilize surfaces), and while they do a great job on cleaning glass, they also tackle tiles, taps, stove tops, ovens, carpets, upholstery and even mattresses. They usually come with brushes and nozzles to get into awkward spaces, and are particularly good at getting at the black smut that collects between the window and the frame.
For window frames, you'll need to regularly clean off mildew. The best way to do this (assuming you haven't got a steam cleaner) is to use an old rag, dipped in fungicide. This will prevent mould growing back. Failing that, try a solution of bleach, diluted 1:3 with water.
Window sills are more of a maintenance job than frames, particularly interior frames. As well as cleaning them regularly with soapy water (use lots of elbow grease, a nylon scrubbing brush, and buff them dry with a soft cloth), you should also be checking for rot, which will need to be chopped out and replaced, crumbling putty, which will also need replacing, and flaking paint.
Tackle body oils and soap scum with two parts soda to one part vinegar or lemon juice. The thick paste should be applied with a damp cloth. Leave for 10 minutes then rub with a brush or sponge. As you rinse it off, drains will be kept fresh too. Use this mix on shower doors, sinks, tiles and grout. If cleaning grout, rub with a toothbrush.
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