This year British Science Week (10-19 March) has teamed up with Roald Dahl scientist George Kranky to celebrate the publication of George's Marvellous Experiments, a book of fun science you can try at home which has been published alongside a brand new edition of George's Marvellous Medicine.
We asked TV science expert and YouTube star Greg Foot to show us how the book can be an inspiration for some simple but scientific solutions to everyday annoyances in the home.
Make your own whitening paste
Got some bicarbonate of soda and peppermint oil? Then you can make your own whitening toothpaste, says Greg.
Simply mix together bicarbonate of soda, water and 1-2 drops of peppermint oil; the bicarb works as a natural abrasive to scrub off stains.
Remember though that you need fluoride to prevent cavities, so don’t forget to use fluoride-heavy toothpaste too.
Stop your shoes smelling
Rely on your trusty bicarbonate of soda again for this trick to stop shoes from smelling. Leave some in the offending shoes overnight, tip out in the morning and you’ll have fresher smelling shoes – the alkaline bicarbonate of soda will help neutralise acidic odours.
Make your own kitchen cleaning spray
Sticky kitchen surfaces getting on your nerves? Try shaking up water, white vinegar and tea tree oil to make a DIY cleaning spray. Tip it into an old spray bottle and you’re good to go. White vinegar is made of diluted acetic acid, which will help wipe away stains and even kill some germs, whilst the tea tree oil will leave your kitchen smelling clean and fresh.
Make your own shoe polish
Grab some olive oil and lemon for a simple stand in to shoe polish. Dab the mixture on your shoes and buff away for a perfect polish. Oils are used to keep leather soft and supple, and this mix will add some shine to keep you looking your best.
Clean your shower head the natural way
De-scaling your shower head can seem like a big effort, but there’s an easy way you can do it with some simple ingredients.
Pour some vinegar into a sandwich bag and attach it to your shower head with a rubber hand, making sure it’s submerged into the vinegar. Leave it to soak overnight and it’ll be clearer.
“The pesky limescale is made of minerals that precipitate out of hard water, but it’ll dissolve away when exposed to an acid like vinegar. Out of vinegar? Try lemon juice, which contains citric acid,” Greg comments.
Make your own candles
Save old candle stubs because they’ll come in handy. Pop a load into a bain-marie and melt them down; stir in your favourite scented oil and pour into a teacup. Pop a piece of string in the middle, all the way to the bottom, as the wick.
Get grease stains out of a top
Dropped something a bit greasy down your top? Don’t turn to expensive stain removers – turn to white chalk instead.
Rub chalk over the offending stain, stick it in the machine like usual, and it should all come out. The chalk absorbs the grease and the laundry detergent can then remove it.
Get rid of water marks
Who hasn’t put a wet-bottomed mug onto a coffee glass table and left a water ring behind?
To get rid of it, blast it with a hairdryer; put the hairdryer on high, hold it really close to the ring and you should see it disappear.
The heat will dry out the water that has soaked into the table from the offending glass.
Clean your microwave the easy way
Food splatters on the microwave can be really difficult to get off. Instead of hours of spent scrubbing and soaking, simply fill a microwave-safe bowl with 1 or 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and a few drops of essential oil. Pop the bowl in the microwave and run it on high for 5 minutes.
The dried-on stains will have absorbed the evaporated water and softened enough for you to wipe them clean with a damp towel.
Greg Foot has a new podcast called The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread?. Find out more at www.gregfoot.com
George's Marvellous Experiments and George's Marvellous Medicine are published by Puffin Books, out now.