If you live in fear of spilling coffee on your new white sweater or wine on the carpet of your flat, you're not alone.
Chances are you're one of countless Gen Zers who feels lost in the laundry aisle. And cleaning hacks are going viral all over TikTok as "cleaning influencers" wave around the shiny products that promise to leave your home sparkling and fix all your household woes in seconds flat.
But a quick scroll through the app makes me wonder if these are really "hacks" or just this generation learning how to clean.
Tips and tricks for cleaning your shower or sewing on a button are nothing new. They're all the things your parents know how to do, but you never learned before leaving home.
So, here's a roundup of the home hacks you really need to not only survive but live your best domestic life.
How to remove stains
Spilled red wine on your white waffle duvet cover or recently fallen down a muddy hill in your new blue mom jeans? Sums up my week.
But stains don't have to be scary. There are a few things to remember when it comes to successfully removing them. First, don't leave it too long or it will set. Blot the stain with a paper towel, don't rub it in. Use cold water as warm water will set stains, especially protein stains, and don't let them dry. It also pays to check the labels on your clothes before treating stains. And if all else fails, soaking in a bucket of Napisan overnight should do the trick. Most importantly, don't give up if it doesn't come out in the first wash.
For more complicated surfaces like carpet - who wants to pay for a carpet cleaner? - you can even apply vodka to the stain to clean it.
How to sew on a button
If you've ever lost a button on your way out the door to an event, it might pay to get yourself a little emergency sewing kit. All you need is a needle and thread, scissors and a little bit of practice.
To sew on a flat button, tie a knot at the end of your thread by wrapping it around your finger, rolling it off and then pulling it tight. Push the needle through the fabric of your garment until you get to the knot, then position your button where you want it and push the needle through one of the holes.
You can stitch it on in a cross shape by sewing diagonally, or for a button with two holes simply repeat the stitch across a few times. To finish off, wrap your thread around the button several times, creating a loop, then put your needle through and pull tight to secure.
How to clean a stubborn pan
If you've recently managed to burn some soup on the bottom of a saucepan, it's tempting to take a scouring pad in hand and go to town, but you don't want to ruin the protective coating on the pan.
Instead, cover the burnt parts with baking soda, adding a bit of hot water to make a paste. Scrunch up some tinfoil and scrub it over the stains until clean, then rinse with warm soapy water.
How to clean your shower
The shower. That haven of cleanliness that sometimes isn't so clean. Soap scum and water drops build up over time, the drain gets clogged with hair.
But you don't need an expensive chemical cleaner to scrub away the grime. All you need is a humble bottle of dishwashing liquid, a scrubbing brush, and a good playlist. You can also use a dish brush to get in all the nooks and crannies.
Just make sure you don't use the same one for your dishes that you do for your shower.
How to clean white shoes
The white sneaker trend is here to stay - so chances are you need a way to keep them clean. We're on our feet from dawn till dusk and often don't realise how grubby our shoes are until we get a fresh new pair. But it turns out there are countless ways to clean them.
Different methods work for different shoe fabrics. So for white canvas shoes like Chucks, remove the shoelaces and use a soft toothbrush to scrub off any loose dirt. Then mix 3 Tbsp of baking soda with 1 Tbsp of white vinegar to form a paste. Apply with the toothbrush all over the shoes, scrubbing to remove stains, and allow to harden on the shoes. When it's dry, brush off the baking soda and use a soft cloth or paper towel to wipe off the rest.
To clean leather shoes, dip a toothbrush into a mixture of dishwashing liquid and warm water and gently scrub the shoes all over. Wipe clean with a damp cloth, then stuff them with paper towels to maintain the shape of the shoes and absorb moisture.
You can also pop the laces in a snap-lock bag with a little bit of bleach and hot water, soak for as long as you want then add them to your next white laundry load.
How to clean jewellery
If you have staple jewellery items you wear every day, they're probably due for a clean. To thoroughly clean bracelets, rings or necklaces, you can soak them in a dishwashing liquid and warm water solution for five minutes, then use a soft toothbrush to gently clean away dirt before thoroughly rinsing.
Silver cleaner is best for silver jewellery, and a drop of toothpaste will help restore shine. Wipe off with a soft cloth.
How to clean make-up brushes
Your make-up brushes could do with a clean more often than you realise, what with all the buildup from your make-up products. Here's how to do it so your brushes won't lose their shape. And the best part? You can use your own shampoo.
Do not soak your brushes: not only will it warp the handle, it can loosen the glue holding the bristles together and you don't want stray brush hairs on your face. Instead, swirl some shampoo on the back of your hand or another surface like a cleansing mat with the brush.
Rinse and re-dip until the bristles are clean. Dry upside down if possible - again, you don't want the water to run into the brush handle.