Can you solve these cleaning catastrophes? | homify

Can you solve these cleaning catastrophes?

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
House in Belgrano GUTMAN+LEHRER ARQUITECTAS Modern kitchen
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Here on homify, we're all about helping you with better and cleaner interiors (without dialling up professional designers or cleaners each and every week). If you need to paint that front door, we have you covered. If you need to spruce up that bathroom for company, we also have advice on that (just see: Essentials For Your Guest Bathroom).

But what if you were really put to the test in terms of tough cleaning – how would you fare then? Care to find out?

Find below, for your convenience, some nice little scenarios that all of us experience at one time or another, and see how you would do in the situation. Scroll to the very bottom for the correct answers.

Good luck!

Scenario 1: Those leftovers on your top fridge shelf have leaked and caused quite a stink. How do you clean it up and get rid of the stench?

a) Remove the drawers/shelves and wash by hand. After drying, set a dish of coffee grounds in the back of your fridge.  

b) Using soap and water, mop up that mess. The smell will evaporate after a day or two.  

c) Use warm soapy water to clean up the drips and spills, then place a sliced lemon in the back of the fridge.

Scenario 2: The outfit you were planning on wearing today smells horrid. How do you freshen it up in mere minutes?

a) Hang it outside for some fresh air and cross your fingers it works. 

b) Hang it in the bathroom while you shower – the steam will help get rid of the smell.  

c) Spray vodka all over your outfit, then wait for it to dry.

Scenario 3: You discover your cast iron pan looks a bit rusty, as you probably used soap on it the last time you cooked. How do you fix it quickly and easily?

Lifestyle Eva Solo KitchenKitchen utensils
Eva Solo


Eva Solo

a) Wash with hot soapy water, then treat to a nice steel wool scrubbing. Then re-season in the oven with some vegetable oil.  

b) Rinse that pan in hot water before scrubbing off the rust with some copper wool. Re-season in the oven using vegetable oil.  

c) Rinse it in hot water, then scrub off the rust using copper wool. Re-season the pan by cooking your favourite fat-heavy dish.

Scenario 4: You notice that your air vents are clogged with dust. How do you efficiently improve your home’s air circulation?

a) Use your vacuum’s brush attachment and suck up the dust.  

b) Take off the vent covers and dust them by hand using a paper towel.  

c) Take off those vent covers and run them through the dishwasher with no detergent.

Scenario 5: You overlooked cleaning that sofa/couch for quite a while, and now it presents a myriad of not-so-pleasant smells. How do you banish the stink?

Re-Upholstery Plumbs Living roomSofas & armchairs



a) Say a little prayer while you spray it down with your wrinkle-releaser spray.  

b) Coat the sofa in baking soda, let it sit for a few minutes, then vacuum it up.  

c) Pull off those cushion covers and wash them like you do your clothing.

Scenario 6: Your microwave’s interior is covered in spills and spots from sauces and splatters, and it’s finally time to clean it up. What is the easiest and quickest way to a spotless microwave?

Classic Contemporary Bespoke Kitchen, Kent Humphrey Munson Classic style kitchen
Humphrey Munson

Classic Contemporary Bespoke Kitchen, Kent

Humphrey Munson

a) Mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 cup of water, then wipe down with a clean cloth. 

b) Microwave a bowl of water, vinegar, and lemon slices, wait 1 minute, then sponge down. 

c) Scrub off the grime with steel wool and the toughest grease-cutting dish soap on the market.

Scenario 7: You turn on your shower, but only a few of the nozzles seem to be working. How do you fix this?

a) Use a bathroom-appliance cleaner.  

b) Fill a plastic bag with vinegar, then secure it to the shower head overnight using a rubber band.  

c) Fill a plastic bag with vinegar and baking soda, then secure it to the shower head overnight using a rubber band.

Scenario 8: There’s a nice stain on your bathroom counter, presumably from somebody’s rusty shaving cream can. How do we make that countertop look brand new?

a) Make a paste of 2 drops of vinegar and 3 tablespoons of baking soda. Rub the paste on the stain, then let it sit for 1-2 hours. Repeat if necessary.  

b) Wearing rubber gloves, scrub at the stain with a sponge using a 1:1 bleach and water solution.  

c) Add a squeeze of lemon juice to cream of tartar sauce to make a paste. Scrub this onto the stain with a toothbrush, and let sit for 2-3 hours.

Scenario 9: Somebody knocked over a bottle of glitter all over your coffee table and carpet. How do you clean it up without spreading it around the room?

a) Take some play dough or other clay, and use it to pick up the glitter.  

b) Vacuum on a low setting, ensuring that no fans nearby are turned on.  

c) Take a piece of duct tape and dab it on the glitter, switching to a fresh piece whenever the glitter no longer sticks. 

How’d you do? Check out the correct answers below to see how you scored (and if you can actually clean up after yourself). 

Scenario 1: a. After washing those shelves by hand (not missing any spills) and drying them properly, the coffee grounds (or activated charcoal) will absorb the lingering odours quite nicely.

Scenario 2: c. Spraying your outfit with vodka will induce a boozy smell for a short while, but as the vodka evaporates, it will take its own smell (as well as the others on the fabric) away.  

Scenario 3: a. Soap and steel wool (copper wool is too abrasive). Then re-season in the oven however you prefer to re-season.  

Scenario 4: c. The dishwasher is much quicker and better at cleaning those vent covers. Just make sure that they are metal or dishwasher-safe plastic, and that you dry them promptly afterwards to avoid rust.  

Scenario 5: b. A coating of baking soda will do the trick, otherwise try some carpet cleaner. But the wrinkle-releasing spray won’t get rid of the bad odours, and washing your couch cushions could damage them depending on the fabric.  

Scenario 6: b. As the lemon liquid heats up, it steams your microwave’s insides, including the crusted-on food. This makes wiping much easier.

Scenario 7: b. Good old vinegar successfully de-scales the mineral build up on and inside the shower head. Vinegar and baking soda will react to form water with salt, which won’t help your situation. If you have very hard water, you may need to take off the shower head, dump out some rocks of the build up, and then soak the head in vinegar overnight before reattaching.   

Scenario 8: c. The bleach could work, but will take longer and smell worse. Vinegar and baking soda will react to form water and salt, which will be ineffective unless you’re actively scrubbing that stain.  

Scenario 9: a. Duct tape may leave residue, while the vacuum could blow the glitter around the house. Play dough will pick up the glitter the easiest without spreading it around.

What other home cleaning tricks do you have for us?

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