Is there anything that shouldn’t be cleaned? We spend so much time scrubbing, polishing, dusting and vacuuming, so it would be good to know a few things that we don’t have to put our hands to. Well, here’s half a dozen:
1. Pearls. While other jewellery needs cleaning, pearls don’t need much, if any. If pearls are worn frequently, the constant contact with your skin will buff them nicely, using body oils as a polish. However, if your pearls start looking a little dingy, then the most they need is a gentle wipe with a damp cloth and very little else – followed by patting dry. The string does get gungy. This is not a DIY job – take your string of pearls into the jewellers to be re-strung.
2. Chimneys. If you try to clean your own chimneys, you need your head examining, or else you’re hungry for a lot of heavy duty cleaning. You need specialist equipment to clean chimneys – self-sufficiency books giving descriptions involving live geese and holly bushes aside – and you won’t find this equipment at your local hardware store. If you try doing anything more than putting a dustpan and brush over the ledge at the back of the typical open fireplace, you will fill your living room with soot. Call in a professional chimney cleaner.
3. Old copper. Yes, that green stuff is corrosion. However, many people think the green patina on copper is rather attractive and give it the name “verdigris”. While many brown-coloured metals (e.g. bronze and brass) can be cleaned using natural methods with a mixture of salt and vinegar, copper should be left. If you try cleaning off the verdigris, you will only have to do it again very soon after. However, if you want to clean a copper vase, figurine or bracelet, use the salt and vinegar method – let the mixture sit for five minutes before scrubbing off and rinsing well.
4. Cats. Unless you have pedigree show cats, you do not need to wash a cat. Yes, you will need to groom a long-haired cat by brushing it regularly. But you don’t need to bathe a cat. Even if the cat gets fleas, don’t try to shampoo it. Instead, use a natural method that’s gentle on your cat’s skin to get rid of the fleas by putting a little essential oil of pennyroyal on a grooming brush or mitt and rubbing it all over your cat. Alternatively, pick fresh pennyroyal and rub this over your cat. Tuck a few sprigs into your cat’s favourite sleeping spot after washing it. If fleas have been a problem, consider professional carpet cleaning. At the very least, give it a good vacuuming.
5. The lens of a CD player or similar. At least, you shouldn’t clean this with a duster or cleaning cloth – even a microfibre cloth. However, cleaning it is important if you want to enjoy good music. Use a proper lens cleaning disk on all laser-powered disk readers, from your stereo to your DVD player to your computer.
6. Cricket bats. Getting these wet – let alone soapy – will ruin them, so don’t wash them. Those red marks are badges of honour! A little linseed oil on the face of the bat (never around the splice) when storing the bat at the end of the season is all you need to do. If the bat has got muddy (how did you manage that?), gently wipe the mud off with a damp cloth, followed by drying with another cloth.
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