5 spring cleaning tips & tricks
Sure, you diligently run the vacuum over the floor once or twice a week, and scrub down the bathrooms on Saturdays.
But even the most meticulous house cleaner tends to cast a blind eye upon some of the dustiest, dingiest parts of the house. And most everyone has a room or two jammed full of unwanted clutter or clothing.
It’s almost spring, and time to celebrate with a shiny-clean, well-organized house. We’ve taken a few tips from the pros at “House Beautiful” and “Good Housekeeping.”
1. The great unwashed:
Think about the tasks that you ignore every year. When was the last time you cleaned the baseboard, dusted the tops of the artwork on the wall, or took a soft cloth to get the dust off the walls and the cobwebs out of the corners, for that matter?
It’s time to shake out those rugs, brush off (or lightly vacuum) the lampshades and polish the light fixtures. Are you ready to look out at the glorious spring flowers from your living room or bedroom window? Wouldn’t it help if you could see out those windows? For this task, especially if it involves balancing on ladders to reach the second floor, we’ll let you call in a pro. Look to Groupon or Living Social for many deals on home professionals and earn Cash Back from ShopAtHome.com.
2. Steel yourself:
Those stainless steel appliances and the sink looked lovely when they were new, didn’t they? Microfiber cloths work the best on stainless steel. While some fingerprints and dirt can be removed with warm water, vinegar or household window cleaner will do the trick. Use a small amount of wax-based stainless steel cleaner once in a while to polish the appliance or sink.
3. Wall-to-wall clean:
A little detergent in warm water and a sponge is generally all it takes to get rid of the marks on walls, doors and floorboards. If there’s just too much damage to those walls, or they’re filled with dings and tiny holes, get out the spackle and the paint. The good news is that paint is inexpensive. Look for one with a “built in” primer. HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams Ovation Interior Latex Paint, $27.48 (plus Cash Back), Lowes.com
4. Crush kitchen chaos:
Start by taking a good look in that fridge. That two-year-old bottle of marinade and the horseradish sauce that expired six months ago have to go. And studies have found that the spot in the fridge with the most bacteria growing is your veggie bin, so start composting. Once you’ve recycled, tossed and composted, it’s time to pull out the shelves and drawers and scrub them out.
Next, move onto the microwave. Put a half a lemon in a bowl full of water, and microwave for three minutes. This will soften the gunk on the walls and make it easier to wipe down – and it will deodorize the microwave.
Finally, if you’re having trouble finding all those great cleaning tools for the spring cleaning project, find a handy tool to keep them organized. OXO Good Grips Turntable, $11.99-$16.99 (plus Cash Back), Bedbathandbeyond.com
5. What’s underfoot?:
If it’s hardwood you’re walking on, give it some love with a cleaner like Murphy Oil Soap, which also works well on marble, tile and granite. While you’re working those floors, give the baseboards a scrubbing. If it’s carpet you’re treading on, get a pro in at least once a year to get them clean. Small area rugs can be shaken, and stains can be carefully cleaned with a mild detergent in the sink. Once a year, rotate your rugs so they’ll wear more evenly, and clean the floor under the rug to pick up the dust and dirt that sifts through. Finally, your treasured silk or wool Oriental rugs should be professionally cleaned every few years. It’s worth the investment.