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YourLIFE: ..get a cleaner, healthier home; KIM AND AGGIE ON HOW TO.


THEY'RE the terrifying queens of clean who are on a crusade to make sure we declare war on dust, wash down our wallpaper and even polish the rim around our toilets.

But TV cleaners Kim and Aggie from Channel 4's How Clean Is Your House? don't expect us to do it all without some help.

The two women have penned a book called The Cleaning Bible: Kim and Aggie's Complete Guide to Modern Household Management, which is packed full of handy tips - like using toothpaste to make your taps shiny.

Aggie MacKenzie says: "This book is about much more than just cleaning' it's about running your home. This doesn't have to be difficult' in fact it can give a huge amount of satisfaction and pleasure. Really, there's nothing nicer than sitting down and admiring what you've achieved once all the jobs are done."

Here the pair give us an exclusive extract - with their top tips on how to take the elbow grease out of cleaning each room...


The sink

THIS is where we wash and prepare food and clean utensils, so it must be kept clean. Wipe down the sink before and after every use and disinfect it at least once a week, taking care to make sure that there are no food particles trapped in the waste or overflow where micro-organisms can breed.

To disinfect, fill the sink with warm water and a capful of household chlorine bleach. Let the water flood into the overflow and scrub with an old toothbrush. Release the water and scrub the waste and plug clean.

The toaster

ALWAYS unplug the toaster before cleaning or removing bread that is stuck inside. Empty the crumb tray and turn the toaster upside down over a sheet of newspaper to dislodge crumbs.

Scorch marks on the case around the slots will rub away with a paste of bicarbonate of soda and a drop of water, or a dab of cream cleaner on a damp cloth.

Chopping boards

THESE must be thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water and wiped dry with paper towel after each separate use to prevent cross-contamination between raw fish and meat and vegetables and noncooked foods. Using separate boards for each type of food also minimises this risk.

To remove the smell from a wooden board, rub the surface with dry mustard powder, leave for a short while then wash and dry, or rub with half a lemon.

The oven

THIS must rate as one of the worst jobs in the home. Ovens end up most heavily soiled when grease is baked on during repeated use without any cleaning.

To avoid lengthy cleaning and having to use caustic chemicals, wipe down the interior and door with warm soapy water every time you cook. You can line the bottom of the oven with foil to catch spills, but change this regularly.

The non-toxic method of cleaning the oven is to coat all the interior surfaces with a paste of bicarbonate of soda and a few drops of water.

Leave to soak for several hours or overnight, then scrub it off with warm water and a scouring pad. This requires plenty of elbow grease and residue can be tricky to shift. But you won't be using any harsh chemicals, so it's suitable for asthma and allergy sufferers, if you are pregnant, or have young children and pets present.


The toilet

IF there are several users, the toilet should be cleaned daily with disinfectant and given a good scrub once a week. It's important not only to clean the bowl, but under the rim too.

Lots of people like to use toilet brushes to avoid having to put their hands into the bowl, but there is no substitute for donning rubber gloves and having a good scrub to get the porcelain clean and shiny.

Sprinkle some scouring powder or disinfectant into the pan and let it soak while you get on with cleaning the bath and basin.

Once the cleaner has soaked for a few minutes take a cloth reserved solely for this use, or paper towel, and rub the cleaner around the pan, under the rim and around the seat hinges - use an old toothbrush for the tricky bits.

When the whole surface is scrubbed, flush the loo, swish the clean water around any cleaner that remains and flush again.

Putting neat bleach into the bowl is an effective disinfectant, but don't leave it for more than half an hour before flushing because it can damage the finish of the glaze of the porcelain.

The basin

THIS and the tap handles must be cleaned regularly because they come into contact with hands contaminated after using the toilet.

A cream, powder or liquid cleaner is suitable for most surfaces. Once a week, work cleaner into the drainer, the overflow and around the base of the taps where limescale can form. Use an old toothbrush to get into awkward places.

Remove hardened limescale deposits from taps with vinegar, but not gold-plated taps. Polish taps to a high shine with a soft cloth - a dab of white toothpaste will help to buff them and is safe to use on all finishes.

The bath

TO clean a very dirty bath, fill it with warm water and add a couple of scoops of biological washing detergent, then leave it to soak overnight. For regular use, wash high gloss surfaces with a mild solution of washing-up liquid then buff dry with a towel.


Mattress care

ALWAYS protect your mattress with a washable cover to keep it clean. Wash this cover frequently and remove any spots or soiling from it as soon as possible, using a foamy mix of handwash laudry detergent or shaving foam.

A solution of clear vinegar will help remove the smell of urine, but dab it away with clean water. To remove unpleasant odours from a mattress, sprinkle it liberally with bicarbonate of soda, leave it for a few hours and then thoroughly vacuum off the powder. Always make sure the mattress is completely dry before remaking the bed with sheets - use a hairdryer if necessary.


THERE'S no need to use chemical spray cleaners for regular cleaning, just buff with a microfibre cloth or mix half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle.

Extract from The Cleaning Bible: Kim and Aggie's Complete Guide to Modern Household Management, by Kim Woodburn and Aggie MacKenzie, published by Michael Joseph.



Picture: ZEFA
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 30, 2006
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