Christmas time wouldn’t be the same without households across the UK preparing by setting up elaborate festive decorations.
However, when the holiday season is over and the decorations come back down, often families are left clearing up messes and marks left behind.
This year though, cleaning expert Tim Keaveney, from Homethings, has put together a number of hacks to help your keep your house clean and tidy throughout the holiday period.
His tips cover issues such as tree sap from real Christmas trees, candle wax created when burning festive candles and how to heal scratch marks left by wreaths on your front door.
Here’s how to keep your home in order during Christmas…
1. Christmas tree sap
Real Christmas trees are the business. The sticky sap they’re prone to dripping, less so.
If it gets on the carpet, you’re at risk of a bald patch if you try to scrape it off directly. Instead, harden the sap using rubbing alcohol, hand sanitiser or even ice first. Then carefully chip it away.
Tim Keaveney suggested applying rubbing alcohol onto tree sap on a carpet to harden it. Then chip it away (stock image)
2. Fake snow
Since it’s often made of plastic, fake snow is terrible for the planet. Instead, try a more eco-friendly option such as a sprinkling of salt or baking powder if you need a dusting of snow for any decorations.
If you’ve already sprayed canned snow at home, use a non-toxic cleaning spray and soft cloth to help ease it off any surfaces without damage.
3. Candle wax
Candles bring together any table setting, but don’t let wax spillages spoil woodwork or linens. Arm yourself for the aftermath with this clever hack.
First scrape away any excess wax. Next, place kitchen paper underneath and on top of your tablecloth to soak up the wax, using a hairdryer to melt it.
Rubbing alcohol can be used to remove oily residue left behind.
If you had melted wax on a table cloth try and scrape away and excess wax you can. Then place kitchen roll underneath and on top of the cloth to soak up the wax, using a hairdryer to melt it (stock image)
If you’ve overfilled the base of your Christmas tree, you can remove watermarks from wooden floors by getting out that hairdryer again.
Aim it at the stain on a low heat setting, being sure to move the hairdryer around to avoid concentrated blasts.
This will help dry up the moisture. Alternatively, try equal parts vinegar – to remove the stain – and olive oil – to polish the wood.
As a last resort, rub petroleum jelly over the surface and let it sit overnight. Just wipe clean in the morning.
Whether it’s come from Santa or the fireplace, soot can seriously spoil your carpets.
Avoid using a dustpan and brush as this will only grind soot particles further into fabric fibres.
Instead, hoover up the worst using a nozzle attachment. Afterwards, a sprinkling of talcum powder will help absorb any stains, and can be followed by a second go with the hoover.
Avoid using a dustpan and brush when trying to clear up soot. Try hoovering it instead with a nozzle attachment. Then sprinkle talcum powder on the soot to absorb the stain before hoovering a second time (stock image)
6. Wall decorations
Steer clear of Blu Tack and tape when hanging decorations. They’ll only peel away paint and leave your walls looking worse for wear in the new year.
Try using existing fittings around your home instead. If you’ve already got yourself into a sticky situation, use baby oil on a sponge to dab any remaining residue sticky tape has left.
Let it sit for 20 minutes before wiping away.
Wreaths have had a revival this year thanks to lockdown crafters. If you’ve already been tempted to nail your masterpiece to the front door, rather than buy a proper hook, all is not lost.
This trick will heal scratches and even minimise holes left behind on wooden surfaces.
Use a combination of olive oil and sea salt to create a thick paste, and apply this to smooth and polish the surface before wiping down with a damp cloth.
This works best for unpainted doors. Otherwise, you’ll need a lick of paint to spruce things up!
Use olive oil and salt to create a thick paste which can be applied to wooden surfaces that have scratches or nail holes in from wreaths. Smooth and polish this before wiping down with a damp cloth and repainting the affected area if necessary