Spring Cleaning

by John Philip Green

Spring has sprung, and it’s time for spring cleaning! This is a traditional time to air out the house and get rid of those winter blues. You can hire a cleaning service to do this type of work for you, or you can get the whole family involved in the job of spring cleaning. Either way, whether you choose a cleaning service or make spring cleaning a family affair, here are some tips and things to consider:

  • Make a list of each room in the house, including utility rooms, walk-in closets, and laundry rooms.
  • Underneath each room name, write down the things that need spring cleaning. For instance, in a bedroom, you might list cleaning the vent covers, washing the curtains, wiping the window blinds, cleaning the windows.
  • Don’t forget items that are not room-specific, such as gutters or air filters on the furnace.
  • Spring cleaning is also a great time to put away your winter wardrobe and bring out your spring and summer clothes.
  • As you go through closets and storage areas, have three boxes near you: one for items you will throw away, another for items you will donate or sell, and the third for items that belong in a different part of the house. This will help you concentrate on the task at hand; you can deal with the items in the boxes later. Be ruthless when going through storage areas-a good formula is if you haven’t used the item in the past two years, get rid of it.
  • If you decide to hire a cleaning service to do your spring cleaning, just separate the list into items that a cleaning service can handle, while saving the jobs that require making decisions for yourself or family members.

Special Cleaning Tips from Professional Housekeepers

  1. SCRUB!: Table salt and baking soda aren’t just for making cookies. The pantry staples also pull double duty as mild abrasives, which make them great — and cheap — cleaners. Make a paste out of water and baking soda for scrubbing or add some salt to a damp cloth to wipe away dirt and grime. You can also sprinkle baking soda on a carpet and vacuum it up to deodorize a room. Or get rid of red pasta sauce stains on plastic containers by mixing baking soda with water and letting it sit overnight. You can add salt and oil to caked-on spills inside an oven, and let it cool overnight. The next morning, the grime should come right off.
  2. WASH!: Lemons and white vinegar are easy on the wallet and tough on stains. Mix vinegar with hot water to mop your floors. Do a one-to-one ratio with water and add to a spray bottle to create a solution that will clean glass, windows and countertops. To disinfect and clean the dishwasher, pour straight white vinegar into the detergent space and run the machine without dishes. Lemon juice will get rid of tarnish from copper. (You can also try white toothpaste.) Or you can add a half cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle of a washing machine and it act as a mild bleach to brighten dingy whites.
  3. REUSE!: Turning old towels and T-shirts into rags isn’t just thrifty, it’s also better for the environment so grab an old sock or short, put away the paper towels and leave the pre-soaped wipes at the store. Use old newspapers to get a streak-free shine on your windows.