The Best of '1001 Greener Household Cleaning Tips' Book - Part 1

I have sifted through John Schulter’s book ‘1001 Greener Household Hints‘ and put together a list of the most useful, bizarre, and hilarious home cleaning tips for our readers. Each tip has been hand picked as a solution to a problem or scenario that I have come across in one of my client’s homes.

You will find clean-green ways of freshening your carpet, extending the life of cut flowers, keeping blankets smelling fresh in storage, and much more.

Funny and Old Fashioned Tip:

For all of your Corduroy Clothes! To avoid crushing the pile while ironing corduroy, simply turn the garment inside out


Moths: To repel moths, wipe drawers and cupboards with a strong ammonia solution.

Fleas: Adding Brewers Yeast to pet food will keep down the flea population

Fly’s: Grow pots of basil and leave in affected areas to keep fly’s away

Puppy’s: Yes, your darling little puppy is a pest if he is chewing everything in sight. Sprinkle red pepper or oil of cloves on items – once your pup gets a taste, they will not come back to that item.

Funny and Old Fashioned Tip:

  • BBQ plate: Sprinkle with salt while still very hot, leave until it cools, and then wash with soap and water.
  • China: to clean stained cracks, dampen the crack then rub in baking powder. Leave for two hours then wash. Repeat if necessary.
  • To prevent the bacon from splattering when cooking, dust both sides with flour.
  • Wooden chopping boards: Once a week, rub bicarb onto the board and then spray with vinegar. Let it stand and bubble for 5 minutes and then rinse clean.

General Household Cleaning Tips:

  • Heaters should be stored in garbage bags at the end of winter to keep them dust-free.
  • Chandeliers: Chandeliers do not need dismantling for cleaning, just immerse each pendant in hot water and vinegar for a few seconds, and allow to drip dry (place a towel underneath to catch the drips).
  • For a blocked drain: I’ve tried this in a house with a septic system and it worked a treat. Add a handful (or more) of bicarb soda into the drain, followed by ½ cup of vinegar. Leave for at least an hour. My own personal tip for minor blockages is to fill a bucket with hot water and pour from a height into the drain hole. This will melt and flush out a lot of debris.
  • Fly Stains: for the marks that flies and other insects have made on window sills and walls, wait for a rainy day and then wash off with soapy water. The moisture in the air will make the job easier.

If you use an air freshener then you could try this natural recipe from the book.  The mixture that you can use is better for your family’s health and for the environment than aerosol cans.

I believe the best method for keeping smells out of a home is to open the windows and keep them clean. The added bonus is opening windows helps to control mould, which you can read about in the article I wrote Common Household Moulds and Your Health’.

I also liked these two tips for getting rid of odors fast.

  • To freshen the air after cooking, boil a few slices of lemon in a pan of water.
  • Apple can prevent strong food smells when cooking. A slice in the pan when frying fish will tone down the odour.


  • Bindii’s: The best method of control is to dig them out as early as possible. If you have too many, drench them in boiling salty water. Do not spill on surrounding grass and repeat if necessary.


  • To extend the life of Roses: Add two tablespoons of salt to the vase water
  • To extend the life of Lillies: Add 1/2 cup Vinegar to 600ml water.
  • Non Renewable Fuels:

    • Batteries: Do not store old with new as the stronger will charge the weaker, thus reducing their life.
    • Driving: Studies show aggressive drivers reach their destination at about the same time as defensive drivers, but they use nearly 40% more fuel. So the best way to drive in traffic is smooth.


    • If carpet smells stale after rain, mix 1 cup bicarb with 10 drops Lavender oil, sprinkle over the carpet. Leave it overnight and vacuum the next day.
    • To enhance the colours of washable items, add the following to your wash. Black and brown: One teaspoon of brown vinegar.  Blue: A few teaspoons of salt
    • When storing blankets, place them in a plastic bag with a new cake of soap to keep them smelling fresh.
    • To give felt hats a new lease on life, gently rub with fine sandpaper or an emery board. Alternatively, hold over a steaming kettle for a few minutes, then brush against the pile with a stiff brush.
    • To remove fluff on flannelette sheets, wash with salt and vinegar in the water. To prevent piling, use a dryer after washing and add a few clean new tennis balls.


    • Smelting new Aluminum cans use 95% more energy than recycling old ones. The energy saved recycling one can power a TV for three hours.
    • Artificial Christmas trees are made of plastic and metal, and thus difficult to recycle. Use them for as long as possible. When you no longer want the tree, consider donating it to a charity or using the branches to make wreaths.

    Here are the Top 5 Bizarre Tips from the book that I will never try!

    For swollen feet, cut a potato in half and rub it over your feet in a circular motion. Let it dry and leave overnight as it will help reduce swelling.
    Moisturizer: One tablespoon of yogurt, one tablespoon of honey. Massage into face then wipe off.
    Face cleanser : grate a peeled potato and add oat flour to form a paste. Leave on skin for 15 minutes and then rinse with warm, followed by cold water.
    To eliminate that filmy build up on the inside of a car windscreen, simply rub with a fresh cut potato and then polish with a soft cloth. 
    And that takes us to the halfway point of John Schulter’s green cleaning book. If you enjoyed this post, please share it and stay tuned for Part Two. Please comment if you have any hot home cleaning tips to share. Soon I will be posting a series of videos that are used to train my team of professional cleaners. The videos will feature many secret home cleaning tips that I have learned over 10+ years in the industry. Stay Tuned.
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