Webchat with Kim Woodburn

Kim Woodburn

Kim Woodburn, of Kim & Aggie fame, joined us for a live webchat on 22 Sept 2009. This is an edited transcript. She's famous for her no-nonsense advice on programmes such as How Clean Is Your House and Too Posh to Wash, and books such as Cleaning Bible. She was aghast at our slovenly ways, but didn't flinch from tackling the mucky stuff such as nasty toilets and smelly washing machines.

Washing machines | Microwaves/ovens | Toilets | Floor tiles | Shower screens | Sinks | Baths/tiles | Fruit flies | Damp/mould | Irons | Carpets


Smelly washing machines

Letter Qtwirlymum: I have a smelly washing machine. I put it on a hot wash with white vinegar every now and then, but the clothes are still coming out musty. Also there is horrible black mould on the rubber seal. Hope you can help. 

Letter A

KimWoodburn: All you have to do is get all the washing out and with toothpaste (not the one with gel in but the cheapest white one) simply take a cloth and put the toothpaste on and rub like mad. Even on the barrel. When you have done that, take some biological powder and clothes softener, put that lot in and put on the hottest wash and it should work a dream!


Letter Qthereistheball: Hello, I posted about my revolting microwave earlier. It has a grill at the top which smokes when it is used. 

Letter A

KimWoodburn: It smokes when it is used, lovey, because it is filthy! Take a glass bowl, boil hot water, fill the bowl to about 2" before the top. Take two thick slices of lemon, put in water and put the micro on for about two minutes. Not only cleans but smells gorgeous! You lazy beggar - do this at least once a week!

Letter QHousemum: Another vote for what to do with grills? Mine's in the oven not the microwave, but lots of smoke whenever it's used - what to do?

Letter A

KimWoodburn: One, you should never have let this oven build up! Every time you use it, give it a little wipe. If you let the oven get really, really bad you can buy sprays that are quite strong. Make sure you put kitchen gloves on. Open all the windows, the spray might not have a smell but it definitely has fumes! Warm the oven then turn it off. Spray inside and leave for a long time. Then wash off. You really should never resort to that though. Clean, woman!

Letter QHousemum: Thank you. I presume you mean wipe the grill elements after use (the oven sides are pristine as the cleaning cycle burns any residue to ash, which wipe away)? 

Letter A

KimWoodburn: Of course, dear.



Letter QDumbledoresgirl: I would like the definitive, guaranteed-to-work-every-time method for removing brown stains from below the waterline in a toilet bowl. Bleach or toilet cleaner combined with a good scrub sometimes lessens it a bit, but then it builds up again. I want a sparkling look to my loo bowl. Also, under the rim, what is the best way to get rid of that yellow crust other than using a toothbrush and removing a tiny bit each time? 

Letter A

KimWoodburn: Brown marks are because you are from a hard water area. Take zero, zero, zero sandpaper and bicarbonate of soda and give it a jolly good rub. Please don't let it build up - don't be lazy! As for the mould, put an inch of warm water and an inch of bleach in a spray bottle and spray. Then scrub off with a toothbrush if it's quite hard. Once again though, open those windows!

Floor tiles 

Letter QGentleotter: How can I get really old stone flags to come up nicely? They are rough slate. 

Letter A

KimWoodburn: If it's rough and porous you can hire a stone cleaner. They are wonderful! On your hands and knees, use a rough scrubbing brush, biological washing powder, warm water. Dip and scrub, scrub. They should come up beautifully. 

Letter QFlymetodanoon: I inherited unsealed quarry tiles in my kitchen and despite trying strong washing-up liquid solution, biological powder solution and patent degreasers it still looks unclean and with grease spots. Advice, please. 

Letter A

KimWoodburn: OK, so quarry tiles. It's dead easy - they were the first tiles to go in houses. Just scrub them. Hot soapy water and a scrubbing brush and buff them. If it is the groating, use some bleach. It really won't harm at all.

Shower screens

Letter QCathcarter: I live in a hard water area and the shower screen has deeply ingrained water marks. I have tried vinegar and lots of products and it looks as though they've come out when wet but when it dries they reapper. Please help!

Letter AKimWoodburn: If you have a window, open the window whenever you are in the bathroom. I don't care what temperature it is, you should never get the hard water build-up. If you have no window, go to the nearest window and leave the bathroom door open and let it dry the room. So simple, but very important. Please, please don't let it dry out without the added window. Ventilation, ventilation.


Letter QHarrietToo: Can you tell me what the best way to keep a stainless steel sink shiny is? Ours always has tea stains and hard water stains on it?

Letter A

KimWoodburn: It really is so, so easy. Take a scouring pad (nylon), throw some washing up liquid on it, go like the scrubbers and you will be fine. For the more stubborn stains, white toothpaste will do the job. You can also use vinegar (I really do swear by this stuff).


Letter QMamaG: I have a blue streak on my bath where a tap was left dripping for 2 1/2 weeks (hmm at DH). How can I get rid of it? Also, what's the best way to clean a yukky oven (not stainless steel, that black stuff on a Stoves oven)? Where do you get your fancy rubber gloves from? 

Letter A

KimWoodburn: Oh goodness, MamaG, take a paper towel, soak it in thick bleach and stick it to the blue marks. Leave for as long as it takes to come off. The oven should have been answered, but the local craft shops have all of the bits and bobs you need to create my gorgeous gloves!

Letter QLizziemum: We live in the Chiltern hills and the water is very chalky. When we moved into our house there was/is a build of limescale on the brass bathroom taps. Can you let me know how to remove it without ruining the taps.

Letter A

KimWoodburn: Hi Lizziemum, now this is only for solid brass taps: wrap a paper towel right around the tap, then take pure vinegar and soak it around the brass. Then leave and you should find that all the green marks are off. Use warm soapy water to wash again. If it not solid brass you can buy a special product from any hardware store.

TLetter Qortoise: How do I whiten tile grout? I have tried bicarb so many times and bleach but it still looks terrible. 

Letter A

KimWoodburn: Not quite sure why bleach isn't working - you may need to use thick bleach, cover it and take the toothbrush at it and it should go. I have never known a case where this hasn't worked. Just make sure it is pure bleach.

Fruit flies

Letter QWhoSaidIwasGhandi: I have an awful problem with fruit flies in the kitchen and utility room. I clean the benches down constantly and all the fruit is put in the fridge and never allowed to overripen but they still won't leave. It's driving me crazy and as I'm pregnant and trying to nest it's making things even worse! Hope you have some pearls of wisdom.

Letter A

KimWoodburn: Lovely, they won't come in if nothing is out. They aren't keen on lemon, so you could always put a lemon in a hot bowl of water. I wonder if your neighbour is a mucky one and attracts them? Last resort is to ring up and get expert bug advice.

MamaG: I can answer that one for you! Make a fruit fly trap. Get an old jam jar, break a banana into the bottle then cover with cling flim. Make a few tiny holes in the cling film and flies will all go in, but not come out. Then dispose of the jar! Trust me, it really does work dear.

Damp and mould 

Letter QMumof2rugrats: What can I do with damp? We have redecorated and I have the window open first thing in the morning but nothing works.

Letter A

KimWoodburn: Now if you open the windows regularly, you really need to bring someone in. You may well need treatment from a professional. But windows open - even fans for extra circulation will help! Good luck!


Letter QVinegarTits: What can i use to clean the brown stuff off my iron?


Letter A

KimWoodburn: Oh god, aren't they awful! Right, all you need to do is go the ironmongers, get the zero zero zero cloth and you can rub to get it off. When you finish, press the steam button and put it away dry. It baffles me how people, don't do this. 


Letter QLedodgyDailyMailstinksofp...: Any tips on removing fake tan from a carpet? My little girl adores you by the way, she calls it The Dirty Programme. 

Letter A

KimWoodburn: Oh god, I don't know why people wear it! I can't answer if I don't know more details. But please learn a lesson - stop using that fake tan, it smells awful. Go white and look beautiful.

Letter QLedodgyDailyMailstinksofp...: Kim, do you mean you need more details on my false tan or carpet situation? If so it's a make-up one, not a stinky developing-in four-hours one. I look pasty without it. I live in Liverpool and we don't have much sun here, as you know. 

Letter A

KimWoodburn: No, no, I mean the carpet, silly. OK, now it will take time, but get white toilet soap, a rough face cloth, soak in warm water and rub GENTLY in circles. You can also, but please do be careful, take peroxide and then put it gently on the area (but only a little bit) as it will make it lighter. Take the cloth (which has been in warm water) and gently rub. Good luck! It will take a lot of work (and please lovey, remember not to use that horrible stuff).  


Letter QILoveTIFFANY: Which biscuits, Kim?

Letter A

KimWoodburn: Oooh, well I personally love Nice biscuits. I love them - even I have a slip (but never in company). Thanks for the questions - remember to clean, clean. Ta ra now.

Last updated: 9 months ago