When TV cleaning expert Lynsey Crombie, 42, moved into her five-bedroom home in Peterborough five years ago, she encountered an unexpected challenge – cleaning an en-suite bathroom that hadn’t been touched for nine years.
The previous owner had rented the house out to different tenants over the years.
The last tenant had seen the en-suite bathroom hadn’t been cleaned for a very long time so put a bed in front of the door and decided not to use it at all.
‘So when I cleaned that bath plughole, you wouldn’t believe what came out,’ says Lynsey who can regularly be seen on This Morning sharing her cleaning know-how.
‘It was full of hair and gunk and covered in limescale. I started pulling at some hair and it just went on and on. It wasn’t pleasant.
‘I had to buy one those big five-litre industrial bottles of bleach to clean that bathroom.
‘It’s my daughter’s en-suite now but I’ve never used it. I haven’t brought myself to sit on that toilet. Even though it’s all new now I still think it has a funny smell. I don’t know if it’s just in my head. It’s like the bathroom is haunted by a smell…’
On top of giving the house a thorough clean, Lynsey redecorated throughout, put new carpets in and changed the kitchen.
But the entire ground floor renovation didn’t happen until a few months until lockdown.
When Covid restrictions on the building work were lifted, walls were demolished, an extension went up and the whole ground floor was reconfigured.
‘Originally we had a dark, tunnelly kitchen, which was too small for the house. There was a separate dining room at the front, a lounge at the back, an office and a downstairs toilet but the flow of the house didn’t work.’
After five months of building work the ground floor now boasts an extension with an open-plan kitchen diner, a family room, a separate lounge and downstairs toilet.
The office was moved into the garage, which shares space with a storage area for Lynsey’s cleaning supplies, including floor-to-ceiling storage for the array of cleaning products she receives from brands for product testing, plus her collection of 18 vacuum cleaners.
Inside the house she replaced traditional banisters on the staircase with glass panels.
‘Everyone asks if it’s difficult to keep clean but it’s easier as you don’t have dust settling between the spindles,’ says Lynsey.
‘Also my kids are teenagers so they aren’t putting their sticky fingers on it. I should imagine it would be a different story with toddlers.’
Lynsey is a fan of keeping things minimal and avoiding clutter, so extra storage space in the utility room and kitchen were important.
‘I would never have the toaster out on show in the kitchen. It makes cleaning so much easier when you have less clutter so I don’t have lots of plants or picture frames in the lounge.
‘When we built the utility room we decided to use one wall just for shoes and coats so you will never see shoes or coats in the house – you come in and put them straight away.’
Even the pet dog, Hattie the cockapoo, does her bit in keeping the place tidy.
‘When she comes in from a walk she goes into the utility room and sits in her basket until I’ve wiped her paws,’ says Lynsey.
‘Even though the renovations were only done two years ago, Lynsey already has plans to move, ideally to a village in Cambridgeshire.
‘It’s been my dream to live in a village and I’d like a bigger garden. But who knows?
‘I’m browsing for places but there’s no rush…’
Lynsey’s top cleaning tips
- Most people are busy so I recommend the 15-minute cleaning method. Spend five minutes in three high traffic areas. Set a five-minute timer on your phone, do as much as you can in that room, and don’t let anything distract you. It’s a good way to keep the house clean and tidy and do it super-quickly.
- My favourite cleaning product is just a bottle of washing up liquid because you can clean anything with warm soapy water. Just add a splash of white vinegar to make it stronger.
- Keep clutter to a minimum. Once a month have a mini declutter where, for example, you’ll go through a couple of drawers in the kitchen. Keep that going every month because if you keep the clutter down you’ll keep the mess down so it will be easier to keep clean.
- With cleaning products think about what you’ve got in your kitchen. Old school ingredients such as white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and lemon – they are inexpensive and will clean anything in your house.
- Never leave the cleaning to one person. If you live with other people it’s a team effort. If you have teens, make sure they open their bedroom window every day.
- Airing a bedroom makes a difference – then you won’t need to spray it with products.
Follow Lynsey on Instagram @Lynsey_QueenofClean
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