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DIY Wall Cleaner and Cleaning Tips

Stick it to grime, stains and scuffs with our ultimate do-it-yourself guide to floor cleaning and DIY wall cleaner.

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1. DIY Cleaner for Floors

Clean a wooden floor with herbal tea? You can with this DIY cleaner, as long as it’s combined with a few other ingredients. The tannic acid in some herbs – in this case, peppermint – attacks dirt without damaging the finish of the floor. Wring the mop several times as you clean; letting the floor get too wet could warp the floorboards.

Pep-it-Up Floor Wash

To make the peppermint tea good and strong, use 6 tea bags to 1 litre water and let the tea steep for at least 2-3 hours.

1 litre water
6 peppermint tea bags
1 litre white vinegar
2 tablespoons baby oil
1 teaspoon washing-up liquid

In a large saucepan, boil 1 litre water, remove from heat and add 6 peppermint tea bags. Let steep for 2 hours. Pour the tea into a mop bucket and add vinegar, baby oil and washing-up liquid. Stir with a large spoon to mix. Dip a clean mop into the solution, wring or squeeze it out and mop away.

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2. DIY Cleaner: Vinegar for Tile and Linoleum

These materials are practical choices for flooring in kitchens, bathrooms, and mudrooms – all of which receive some of the most punishing wear in the house. Keep your frequent cleanups of these areas simple by mopping with this DIY solution of ½ cup white vinegar to 4 litres warm water.

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3. DIY Cleaner With Tea

Rural Japanese housekeepers traditionally strewed still-damp tea leaves over the floor before sweeping – and some no doubt still do. Dust and dirt cling to leaves and are easier to push into a dust pan. You can then throw the contents into a garden bed or compost pile. (Talk about an eco-friendly DIY cleanser!) Just don’t use tea leaves on unbleached wood or carpeting, since tea may stain.

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4. DIY Tip: Protect Floors When Rearranging Furniture

If you have to move heavy furniture out of the way to clean or are rearranging the living room for a big party, protect wooden floors – and save yourself the trouble of dealing with scratches later with this DIY tip – by pulling heavy socks over furniture legs and securing them with masking tape. This trick will also make it easier to push heavy furniture around. For everyday floor protection, consider putting band-aids or soft patches on the bottom of furniture legs. If you have a rocking chair, fix a long strip of masking tape to the bottom of each rocker to help to keep wooden floors unspoiled.

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5. DIY Cleaner for Crayon Marks on Walls

Junior may be a real Rembrandt, but even so, you probably don’t want him defacing your walls with crayons. Try these DIY techniques to clean up surprise murals.

• Lightly rub the area with a clean, dry fabric softener sheet.

• Rub vigorously with a clean art-gum eraser – or ask your young artist to do it.

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6. DIY Cleaner for Scuffs on Hardwood Floors

Go into the bathroom for this DIY cleaner that can remove scuff marks. First, try squeezing a little toothpaste (the non-gel, non-whitening kind) onto an old toothbrush, scrub the marks gently and wipe up the paste with a damp cloth. If that doesn’t work, dab a little baby oil or petroleum jelly onto a dry cloth and rub the mark, then remove any residue with a cotton rag or paper towel.

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7. DIY Cleaner for Waxy Buildup

If you wax a vinyl or linoleum floor, you know all too well how wax builds up over time. Here are two easy DIY cleaners to remove it:

• Club Soda for Vinyl: Working in sections, pour a little club soda onto a vinyl floor and scrub it with the abrasive side of a kitchen sponge. Let the soda sit for 5 minutes, then wipe up the loosened wax with a wad of cheesecloth or panty hose.

• Rubbing Alcohol for Linoleum: Mop a linoleum floor with a solution of 3 cups water to 1 cup rubbing alcohol. Use a sponge mop to scrub it in well, then rinse it thoroughly.

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8. DIY Cleaner for Heel Marks on Vinyl

Vinyl floors are highly susceptible to heel marks, especially from rubber heels. An easy DIY way to wipe the marks off? Just spray them with WD-40, let sit for 5-6 minutes, and then rub the marks with a soft cloth.

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9. DIY Cleaner for Wood-Paneled Walls

Most wood panelling needs only a good dusting every once in a while, but you can give it a more thorough cleaning with a simple homemade solution – one best applied with a pair of tights, whose texture is perfect for abrasive yet gentle scrubbing. Combine 500ml water, 250ml white vinegar and 60ml lemon juice in a bucket and mix well. Dip a handful of wadded-up tights into the solution and wipe the panelling, working from the bottom of the wall upwards so you won’t have to deal with drips.

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10. DIY Cleaner for Wallpaper

How can you restore luster to dingy washable wallpaper? With this DIY solution! First fill a pail with 1 litre water and mix in ½ teaspoon dishwashing liquid. Then dip a soft cloth in the liquid and wring it out until no excess water remains. Gently rub the wallpaper with the cloth and blot it dry with a lint-free towel. If wallpaper is soiled with a greasy stain, try one of these remedies:

• Brush talcum powder onto the stain, let sit for at least half an hour, and then brush it off; repeat as necessary.

• Fold a brown paper bag and hold it over the stain. Press a warm iron to the spot so that the grease is drawn into the paper. Repeat as necessary until the spot is gone, repositioning the bag each time.

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