Although a twinkling tree, delicious roast dinner, and treats and drinks aplenty all contribute to the magic of Christmas, the extra guests and extravagant meals can also leave you with unwanted spills and stains. But hark! The cleaning angels sing – our in-depth, expert tests reveal the best products to use to keep your house tidy with minimum effort this Christmas.
From washing-up liquid and dishwasher tablets to carpet stain removers and vacuum cleaners, we’ve tested all the products you’ll need to get your house back to ship-shape, so that you can enjoy the festive season. Whether you’re facing gravy-encrusted baking trays or a carpet strewn with pine needles, here are our top tips:
Washing up after Christmas dinner
Whoever’s in charge of washing up your post-Christmas dinner dishes is likely to be tackling charred roasting tins and the grease left over from roasting potatoes and turkey. Nobody wants to miss the Queen’s speech because they’re stuck at the sink scrubbing away at baked-on food, so we’ve highlighted the best washing-up liquids to help you tackle the toughest jobs.
Baked-on fat is the most difficult foodstuff to remove by hand, so this year we enhanced the ‘tough grease’ element of our washing-up liquid tests, and it revealed some big differences between products. Only our three new Best Buy washing-up liquids excelled at this part of the test. One great-value option costs less than £1 per bottle, so you’ll have plenty left in your budget for a few more mince pies.
To find out which products we’re talking about, head to our Best Buy washing-up liquids.
If you’d rather put everything in the dishwasher and head straight back to the festive fun, you’ll want to be sure your plates will be sparkling when the cycle finishes. Head to our dishwasher tablets reviews to find out which brands came out squeaky clean in our tests.
Tackling stains around the house
With more people in the house and an abundance of drinks and snacks, the chances of spills and stains is higher than normal. As you’re clearing away the wrapping paper, you might find some half-eaten chocolate coins that have been discarded in haste by one of Santa’s little helpers. Later in the day, you might be facing wine or gravy on the carpet. If you do find yourself with an emergency clean-up operation on your hands, don’t fret.
Follow our tips to get your carpet looking fresh again:
- Start from the edge of the stain and work your way inwards.
- Blot the stain; never rub it.
- Use carpet stain remover – apply small quantities at a time using a cloth. Don’t apply directly to the stain; work into the spot with a small brush or sponge.
- Thoroughly rinse afterwards to avoid leaving any stain remover residue in the carpet.
- Finish by drying the area with a hairdryer if possible.
Cleaning up Christmas tree needles
A natural Christmas tree will fill your house with festive cheer, but it’s also going to leave annoying pine needles in its wake. If you can place it on a hard floor, the hassle of the clean-up will be greatly reduced, but needles in your carpet create a lot more work.
Our extensive guide on how to choose a Christmas tree includes tips on how to care for your tree over the festive period and what to do with it when the season is over. Taking heed of these maintenance tips will help reduce the amount of needles that fall off over the festive period.
But some shedding is inevitable, so here are our tips for tackling them quickly so that you can get back to the fun:
- Consider a tree skirt: This sits around the base of the tree and catches the needles as they fall, meaning you won’t be left picking them out of the carpet when the tree is taken down.
- Use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner: Pine needles are not a friend of vacuums, even Best Buy vacuum cleaners. Avoid running straight over them with the main head of the vacuum, as they can get stuck in the rollers and potentially cause damage. Instead, suck them up using the open hose attachment.
- Pick them up with duct tape: If you do have a carpet full of pine needles and don’t think your vacuum can handle them, a roll of duct tape could be the answer. Put some tape around your hands, with the adhesive side facing outwards, and pat around the base of the tree to collect the fallen needles.