Mumsnet - Parenting tips
mumsnet : tips : send a tip
- If you have a condenser tumble dryer, use the water collected to water your flowers....
- Buy rugs with a small multi-coloured print; stains are harder to spot!
- When mixing up home made washing powder, try to remember *not* to lick the wooden spoon at the end.
- You dont have to buy special stain removers, I make a paste with washing powder and a little fabric softner and work into the stain, usually it comes up a treat.
- Whenever my house looks like a bomb's hit it (which is often), I think of my grandmother's saying: Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shovelling snow while it's still snowing. This has kept my blood pressure low for many a year.
- Never serve spaghetti bolognaise over a freshly laid carpet.
- Don't serve couscous when you've just cleaned the kitchen floor.
- To stop a child from getting burned with the hot tap. Buy a dog ball toy, red for danger!! Make sure it will fit over tap!! Cut the squeeker from a dog ball and cut a big enough hole to fit over the tap but snug enough so the child cannot pull it off. Push onto tap and the ball should move easily on tap and the adult should be able to squeeze ball to turn tap on but the child does not have the strength nor the grasp to turn it on without adult help.
- Do not put your Olbas oil in the same drawer as your eye drops.
- For the slatterns amongst us who leave it until the last minute, a babywipe is a brilliant and very quick way to give school shoes a good clean or buff. Also good for those middle of the week touch ups!
- On holiday, give the children ice cream the same colour as their clothes to save on washing.
- Sweeping the room with a glance counts as housework and burns enough calories to reward yourself with --another-- biscuit and tea.
- Instead of playing a matching cards game, teach your kids the joys of making a massive pile of clean socks into pairs.
- If your neighbour is playing their TV too loud and it's getting on your nerves, buy a remote control compatible with their TV, stand outside their window and turn it off.
- Always answer the door in a coat, holding the dog lead. That way you can head off unwanted popper-inners and avoid the Shame of An Untidy Home.
- If you live in a soft water area, only use half a dishwasher tablet. Not only will you save money but you will reduce the likelihood of your glasses going cloudy.
- Instead of using fabric softener, save money by using two tablespoons of white vinegar instead.
- If your child has a sudden growth spurt and you find their sleep suit or tights are too small, cut the feet off and you have new summer pyjamas or leggings.
- Baby oil is the best way to get a good shine on your chrome-style cookers. Just pour a little on, wipe off and buff. Shiny!
- Don't throw away old table mats, turn them over and use the cork side as a notice board around the house.
- Stick a small button under the end of the sellotape - it saves your temper (and your nails!) trying to find the end.
- If your child gets whiteboard marker on them, spray hairspray onto area then rub with cotton bud.
- If you have a lone sock that seems to have lost its partner, wear it like a glove and use it to wash your car and then chuck it out. You were going to chuck it out anyway!
- If an electronic gadget (DS, mobile phone, iPod, camera, etc) gets dropped in water, DON'T turn it on, but put in in a bag of rice, seal it up and leave it for a week. The rice acts as a desiccant and draws the moisture out of the gadget. After 7 days it should be as good as new.
- If your child perpetually brings home massive models made out of cereal boxes etc and then gets very upset when they have to be consigned to the recycling box, try taking photos of them and adding to a special photo album for them to keep. Works for us and keeps our house from being entirely taken over by cardboard creations!
- To keep your Mega Blocks/Duplo dribble free after play dates, put them in a pillow case, tie with string and pop it on a cool wash in the washing machine!
- When doing messy play, invest in some large, new cat-litter trays and use them as play trays. Great for play dough, potato printing, painting, cold pasta play, glitter etc. You won't regret it!
- If you get chewing gum on your clothes, put it in the freezer for a couple of hours to make it easier to get off.
- To remove deoderant stains from clothing, soak stain in lemon juice before washing at normal temperature in washing machine.
- Never keep furniture made from untreated wood in the house. Felt-tip soaks right in and is impossible to remove! Varnish all visible wood!
- To save space in your airing cupboard roll towels instead of folding!
- Keep all those bitty annoying toys (like power rangers, playmobile people, farm animals, and soldiers) all in a drawer. That way they are not underfoot or hard to play with at the bottom of a toy chest. Kids find them easier to tidy up quickly and will spend longer playing with them as they delve in and go through them all.
- I want to keep surfaces clean but I don't like spraying chemicals around my baby so I make my own antibacterial cleaning spray using a few drops of tea tree essential oil in some white vinegar: safe, clean and smells nice!
- Nominate a 'tidy up song' that you play each day. Every time it comes on, you and the DCs have to dance around, tidying up - just for those 3 ish minutes.
- I try to have at least two days a week or one week a month where I make meals only with things we have in the house. It's amazing what bizarre dinners I can through together only using food for the cupboards, freezer or garden.
- Last week my DCs and their friends were in and out of the house filling up water guns. The hall and downstairs loo floor were soaked, so I got a big bucket and filled it with water, and put outside the front door. This meant that they could fill up their water guns without coming into the house.
- Always check the settings on your dishwasher or washing machine before switching on as toddlers have a habit of fiddling with the dials.
- If on a budget, it may be worth remembering babies probably don't mind whether or not all their bedroom furniture colour coordinates. A 5-6 year old + may have an opinion.
- Squirty bath toys looking a bit unpleasant and likely to introduce your PFB to black mould? A healthy, prolonged dump in sterilising solution will sort them out.
- For super-fast bedroom tidying - sweep entire collection of tat into black bin liner. Leave for a week for DC to collect anything they want out of it, then throw away. I only ever need threaten the bin liner now...
- Keep spiders out of the bath by leaving the plug in
- Freeze leftover lemon in ice cube trays. Perfect for G&T.
- If you accidentally get your mobile soaking wet (not that my kids have ever put a phone down the toilet, oh no...), lie it in a dish of warm dry rice. It absorbs the water really well.
- There is nothing more traumatic than a five year old receiving a 'You are Four' card. Each time you're told a new baby has been born, stick the birthday in your diary. Update new diaries faithfully every year with his/her new age in brackets.
- For dry hands, try rubbing in lots of olive oil, putting on some rubber gloves and washing up. The heat helps the olive oil absorb into your skin and your hands feel great instantly.
- Always check the pockets of your children's clothes before doing the wash. I've just had to pick bits of very clean but very dead snail out of the washing machine...
- Put a basket at the bottom of the stairs for all the things that need to go back upstairs and empty it everyday.
- Slightly squish your loo roll before putting it on the holder. Stops you using so much, and means that toddlers and puppies cannot pull it down so quickly.
- Remember the rubber charity wristbands from a few years ago? They make brilliant keyrings: easy to grab, colour-coded and easy to hang up.
- Don't spend hours hanging teeny baby clothes on the line. Use an airer outside instead so if it rains you can then get it all back inside quickly.
- i've invested in a 2nd ironing board .. once the kids have gone to bed both me and my hubby share the ironing pile and do half each ... and sometimes when family call round I'll rope them into using the 2nd ironing board too .. i mean you can still drink tea and natter whilst you all work your way thru the ironing pile ... its more fun to share!!
- Cut our greaseproof paper pieces to fit all the tops of your kitchen cupboards. Then put them on to stop them getting greasy and dirty. You only need to replace it after a few years.
- If you run out of stain remover a small squirt of washing up liquid rubbed into the mark works just as well.
- When cleaning up a highchair tray, always sweep food to the centre of the tray, this makes it easier to pick up with kitchen towel or a cloth and you are less likely to knock it off with your elbows when you are reaching across to get that last bit from the corner.
- Bicarbonate of soda on a damp sponge easily removes grease from oven, splashback etc.
- to remove marks from saucepans use salt & lemon and they'll gleam!
- Half fill a bowl with water and add a lemon, cut in half. Microwave for a couple of minutes.
The steam will help loosen the dirt on the inside of the microwave to make it easier to clean and the lemon makes it smell lovely and fresh
- clean sticky tape off scissors easily using nail polish remover - works like a charm!
- To remove permanent marker ink - on plastic, wood, ceramic and most hard materials, use hairspray, a small amount will do, use a cotton wool or soft cloth.
- Car wax applied to a sticking door will ease opening and closing.
- To get rid of tough stains on clothes, put a scoop of soda crystals in your washing machine - much cheaper than the magic powder that comes in the big pink tub and works just as well.
- Make a gental air freshner for a baby or childs room by adding half a cap of fabric softner to an old spray bottle and top up with water. It smells lovely and will save money too
- Put a bowl of water with half a lemon in your oven and put the heat on low for 20 minutes. It cleans the oven better than any other cleaner.
- instead of buying a new washing-up brush, stick it in the dishwasher with the rest of the load which will sterilise and revive saving both plastic and money.
- when putting winter rainproof covers on your patio furniture/table etc place a round object like an old football underneath the cover in the middle of the table, giving the cover a dome shape. so when it rains the water just doesnt sit flat on the garden tabletop in puddles, it gently rolls off down the sides
- How to clean burnt-on fabric (polyester etc) from the base of your iron - mix equal measures of vinegar and salt and heat. Rub onto the burnt area. Works a treat!
- even small children can be made to change their own duvet covers if you give them 2 or 3 clothes pegs.
Let them crawl up inside the cover to put the top corners in place. Peg them in place (on the outside!) then stand on the bed and shake the rest of the duvet into place.
- After giving your children a haircut, use selotape to remove small unwanted hair from your children's clothes! Easy
- Make sure you always keep a carton of longlife milk in your kitchen cupboard and a loaf of bread in your freezer, great for those days when snow or illness strikes and you can't make it to the shops.
- Bulk buy socks for your child - all the same colour and type. It's cheaper plus it saves loads of time sorting the laundry!
- When my scissors get dull, I layer about 7 pieces of foil and cut through them, and the scissors are sharp once again.
- buy large pegs to pin your corners in place when changing duvet covers
- My young daughter has lots of wooden puzzles with the pieces which fit in the holes but we were always losing pieces because they don't have boxes. I bought some large plastic wallets with the press stud fastening (the ones which look like a large plastic envelope) which the puzzles fit into easily. No more missing pieces!
- Have a basket for toys in each room of the house. They've got something to play with without going to hunt and you've got somewhere easy to tidy toys without getting sidetracked by going to another room.
- I have a brilliant tip for cleaning silver..... Boil a saucepan of water, scrunch up kitchen foil and place your silver in the saucepan. boil for 5 minutes, and voila clean silver. (The foil reacts to remove tarnish. :)
- These days most people don't bother printing photographs.
If you do like to print them and put them in an album write a little note of the date and the names of the other children in the picture. When your child is older you probably won't remember who the other children in the birthday party photo were.
- To easily get pet hair of clothes, carpets or car upholstery, put on a latex rubber glove and rub over the area. The hairs will clump together and come off really easily.
- You know when the powder drawer on your washing machine starts to look all gunky and clogged? Hassle-free way to clean it... remove it completely and pop it in the dishwasher with the rest of the pots & pans!
Comes up brilliant every time.
- 'delicate, hand wash only' items can nearly all be put in an a old pillowcase with a knotted end and put on the hand wash cycle and use a gentle spin after
- If you are painting a room, keep a small amount of paint in an airtight pot so you can use it to paint over hand-prints/crayon etc, this way it's the right shade and you won't have to repaint the whole room.
- Clean tarnished silverware using whitening toothpaste and a cloth, just rub on and rinse off!
- If struggling to undo a tight screw always turn it slightly clockwise first -this will help to release the screw/rust and will avoid damaging the head of the screw. Then turn it anti-clockwise to undo.
- If your children collect beautiful stones and shells on the beach, stop them from turning dull and disappointing when they dry out - rub with a little olive oil and the colours will all come back!
- While on holiday separate dirty clothes into different plastic bags, ie; whites, darks, reds etc. You can just chuck each bag into the washing machine when you get home and not have to faff about sorting them.
- when cutting garlic - after you've finished, wash hands and fingers while rubbing a spoon or if you have a metal sink, run your hands along the rim with the water running.. this gets rid or the odour
- Knitting tip: If you (like me!) have a little person who wants a very specific motif knitted onto a jumper you are knitting and you cannot find a chart with the said image - (in my case a T-rex, just knit a sample square, wash in very hot water to felt the wool and cut out the motif and sew on the garment. Brilliant! As told to me by a very nice lady working in the knitting section of John Lewis.
- To clean out stubborn stains in a microwave.....place a bowl of warm water into the microwave and set the microwave to 2 minutes on go. When it has finished all the stubborn stains are loose and will come off with ease.
- To get wax crayon off carpet, cover it with brown paper and iron on a medium heat (take care with synthetic carpets) - the wax will transfer to the paper.
- Micro cleaning cloths are totally worth the money, I haven't spent a penny on specialist cleaning products for glass or stainless steel for 3 years. I just use a plant spray filled with tap water and my fab cloths which you can wash in the machine.
- Put the greaseproof paper on top of your cupboards- you won't have to spend hours cleaning it from kitchen grease!
- I only sew in my DS's surname in school uniform so when it's past down I don't have to re-do labels.
- For a clear complexion when stressed by children, drink hot water with lemon in the morning then scoop out the flesh from the lemon, fill it with salt then pop it in the fridge to keep it smelling fresh.
- This is very unpleasant, but if your child is sick, the best way to 'catch' and 'dispose of' the evidence is to line a plastic bowl with a carrier bag, and put some kitchen paper at the bottom. The paper will absorb a bit of the liquid, and you can tie the bag and dispose neatly. Disgusting, but you won't have to touch the content.
- put your name inside your sunglasses case and a mobile number
- When disposing of empty plastic bags, to avoid children playing with them, tie up very tightly into a small ball using the handles.
- Use soda crystals to clean the tea stains off spoons. Just make a strong solution and soak spoons for 10 minutes. Remember to rinse the spoons well!
- To keep the pesky flies/midgets away from the house in the summer, rub a small amount of vinegar on the window panes.
- Tip for a clean loo.
drop a couple of denture-cleaning tablets into the bowl. Leave overnight.
Pouring a can of coke down the bowl and leave for an hour will remove stains.
Too avoid blockages and to neutralize odours pour a cup of bicarbonate of soda into the pan once a week.
- once you have used tumble dryer sheets (a couple of times if you're me), use them to interleave laundry in the airing cupboard to keep it all smelling fresh
- GARDENING - No need to buy expensive fertiliser. Just dry out some nettles and comfrey leaves. Chop them up, put them in a container (I use a 4pint plastic milk bottle), ad water, leave for 2 weeks, hey presto! The best fertiliser ever!!!
- Don't leave important letters near your graffiti artist child's drawings or pens or you won't be able to actually read what they say.
- If you want to stop the snails etc eating your pot plants, put Vaseline round the pot so they slide off :)
- Dark wood flooring is much more practical than light wood. Hides all those coffee spills and other stains.
- If you have long hair (or your DD does) and you are fed up of removing hair from your vacuum every 5 mins, try giving the floor a quick wipe with a washing up brush before you vacuum - not the one you co your dishes with obviously!, the brush collects the hair really quickly
- Take everything in your freezer out of the boxes/ containers they came in and put anything that actually needs to be in something (meat, etc) into freezer bags. You will have so much more space!
- Bicarbonate of soda sprinkled on a car seat will remove the smell of vomit much more effectively than air fresheners and you can vacuum it off.
- before putting the suitcases away [in the loft/another inaccessible place] wash and dry your beach towels and put them inside. we put the cases in bin-liners and a big X with masking tape on the one with the towels inside!
- to keep dust down to a minimum in the home I always dust with a damp cloth rather than polish - it picks so much more dust up instead of sending it back into the air.
- For tough stains on the kids clothes try applying washing up liquid and leaving for 10 minutes before washing in the machine. It works wonders.
- Gardening - Use the water from boiling beetroot to put on your plants, make a great fertiliser.
- Newspaper is great for absorbing odours. Scrunch a piece into a ball and leave it inside the salad tray of your fridge, or inside a lunch box, overnight.
- Another use for old toothbrushes....use one to brush the carpet near where you dry your hair - you'll be amazed at the handfuls of hair that come up with very little effort
- Keep Old Toothbrushes! - brilliant for cleaning around the bottom of taps, scrubbing away at flipflops and other rubber type shoes AND removing gunk from the depths of your plugholes - very satisfying!
- Kids Clean Up.
Put on some loud music and give the kids a duster while you whizz around the house with the vacuum.... tons of fun and burn some calories!
- Use permanent marker to write your child's name on Micropore tape (the stuff you use to fix dressings) and stick it onto drinks bottles, lunch boxes and so on. If you hand wash the item it will stay on indefinitely.
- If you have sliding patio doors and would like to open the door without your lo escaping, then a stair gate will do the trick! Also stops pets coming into the house.
- Keep old, stained kids T-shirt to cut up and use as dusters
- Buy the leading brand of washing up liquid and then water it down 1:10. It lasts much longer than cheaper brands and watered down is still just as good at getting the grease off.
- Keep a toothbrush to hand for scrubbing shirt collars and cuffs. Add a drop of detergent or washing up liquid prior to washing for an extra boost in the removal of 'tide marks'!
- For tidying up fiddly little toys in a flash, try keeping some decorative hat boxes in the corner of your lounge, it makes it a doddle!
- Keep a pile of clother hangers by the tumble dryer and hang clothes on them as soon as they come out of the dryer before you fold and crease them. This saves on ironing time considerably later and some clothes wont even require ironing at all!
- For storing things in your freezer, be sure you always have a roll of masking tape and a marker pen in your kitchen drawer. When you have yet another enormous quantity of small pots of baby food to freeze, simply stick a long length of tape on your worktop and write the name of the food as much as you need before cutting into strips and putting the pieces of tape on the pots.
- Cut dishwasher tablets in half, they work just as well and it's twice as many washes per pack!
- If you are having problems with your utilities company and are going nowhere fast, save yourself hours of hassle and an expensive telephone bill by emailing the press department. Explain the problem and suggest that you will take the matter further and may even contact the national press for advice. This usually does the trick!
- Don't feel guilty if your house isn't pristine all the time. Children never remember a bit of mess, but they will remember the time you built a den behind the sofa and ate a picnic lunch in there.
- My second favourite household chore is ironing. My first one being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.
- Remove playdough from the radiators if you're intending to turn them on. Unless you like a streaky, mottled effect, that is.
- Set a timer with an alarm, and tell the children they have 10 minutes to tidy as much as they can of their room. I wish I had thought of it years ago.
- Seem to be missing your underwear from the clean washing pile? Make sure check every place your toddler likes to post things through... including the letterbox!
- Make sure each of your children has socks in just one (different) colour - it makes life so much easier!
- Never allow yourself to be tempted into leaving the cleaning of a Weetabix-covered highchair for later.
- To remove stains from baby bibs, soak them in hot water with two sterilising tablets before putting them in the washing machine.
- Have seperate laundry baskets for each family member, put clean washing into the individual baskets and get your dc's to take their own basket and put their clothes away.