Very few people enjoy cleaning. Household chores are usually tedious, and they always take time that’s better spent doing the things you love — with the people you love.
But what if you could clean your home while you sleep? No, we’re not talking about sleepwalk cleaning here — we’re talking about cleaning hacks that can make your life a lot easier.
A lot of the more difficult cleaning tasks require time. Contact time between the surface and the cleaning agent is often all you need. Fortunately, there are several cleaning processes that can play out at night, while you’re in bed dreaming about vacuum cleaners and steam mops.
So, the next time you’re putting off a time-consuming cleaning job, ask yourself: Can I do this in my sleep? And to help you on your way, here are eight simple ideas.
1. Cleaning a showerhead
The average showerhead accumulates a range of unwanted substances over a number of weeks. Everything from soapscum to grease is an issue. But the most challenging substances of all are mould and limescale.
If you have time to burn, you could stand under your shower and scrub it clean with an old toothbrush. But why do that when you can clean a showerhead while you catch some Zs?
Start by filling a sandwich bag with white vinegar. Attach the bag over the shower head, and tie it into place with elastic bands — ensuring all of the showerhead is fully emerged in the vinegar. And that’s it! All you need now is time. Overnight, the vinegar will break down mould and limescale. All you’ll need to do is remove the bag and wipe the showerhead dry.
2. Clean pots and pans
Of all the things that need to be cleaned in the average kitchen, pots and pans are some of the most awkward. Burnt-on food and grease don’t usually respond well to hot, soapy water. These substances need heavy-duty cleaning agents — or time.
Fill a bowl, bucket or sink with water, and add bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Then simply soak the pots and pans overnight. Alternatively, place tumble dryer sheets over the affected surfaces and add hot water. There are agents in dryer sheets that are very effective at loosening carbonised food and grease.
3. Clean a hob
If you’ve been cooking up a storm for dinner, the last thing you probably want to do is stand at the hob scrubbing away spills and burnt food into the wee hours. Hobs covered in spillages are notoriously difficult to clean — unless you have time on your hands.
Before you go to bed, cover the hob in ammonia. If you’re cleaning a gas hob, place each burner in a sandwich bag filled with ammonia. When you wake up, a quick wipe down will have your hob looking like new in a matter of seconds.
4. Removing rust
Rust can appear on a lot of household surfaces over time. Anything that’s not made from stainless steel in your home can rust over time. And items in your kitchen and bathroom are most at risk. But don’t forget about those old tools that live in your garage throughout the year.
There are several ways to get rid of rust, but most of them require a removal agent and a lot of elbow grease. A simpler way, however, involves the use of sugary cola. Submerge the rust-affected items in the cola overnight. The phosphoric acid, among other things, gets to work on rust almost immediately, By the next morning, you should find that a quick wipe-down is all that’s required to remove what rust remains.
5. Removing carpet stains
The key to tackling carpet stains effectively is swift action. The moment you notice a mess or spillage, blot up the excess carefully so you don’t spread the stain. Once you’ve done that, all you need is time.
Sprinkle some baking soda over the affected area of carpet, and leave it there overnight. Baking soda absorbs grease, moisture and odours without the need for scrubbing, blotting scraping. This should also minimise the chances of mould forming underneath the carpet.
If the stain you’re treating is from red wine, your approach should be a little different. Instead of using baking soda, use table salt. But before you add it, pour some tonic water over the affected area of carpet. Dab up the excess moisture with paper towels before sprinkling salt liberally. In the morning, vacuum the mess and assess the damage.
6. Descale a kettle
A lot of water supplies contain high levels of calcium carbonate. Over time, this substance accumulates inside a kettle — particularly on elements and the bottom. Take a look at your own kettle. If you see white, chalky deposits, you have a problem. And if it isn’t addressed, your kettle might stop working properly.
Fortunately, the solution to kettle scale is simple. Cut up a couple of lemons into segments, and pop them into your kettle before filling with water. Bring it to the boil, and allow the water to cool overnight. When you wake up, the scale should be gone. Not only that, your home will smell wonderful.
7. Clean jewellery
Don’t waste your time scrubbing away at necklaces, rings and other types of jewellery with tiny brushes. Instead, soak these items in the most appropriate substance overnight. If you’re cleaning diamonds or other valuable gemstones, a glass cleaning solution is perfect.
If you’re cleaning gold or silver, however, smother the items in a paste of baking soda and water. In the morning, a quick wipe with a microfibre cloth should breathe new life into your jewellery.
8. Clean toys
If you have young children, you’re probably used to dirty hands spreading stickiness at every turn. While wiping a door handle is relatively easy, cleaning grubby toys after a week of play isn’t. But don’t waste time scrubbing. Just fill a sink with hot water and dishwashing detergent, and add a cup of white vinegar. Soak the toys overnight, then allow them to air dry in the morning. Alternatively, you can throw most plastic toys in the dishwasher on a hot setting overnight.
If you can do more household cleaning while you’re asleep, you’ll have a lot more time and energy for the more important things in life.