Spring Cleaning Tips
Spring has sprung, and its time for some spring cleaning. I have been cleaning like crazy the past few days, and still have much to do. I like to start my spring cleaning by cleaning up my plant beds and planting some fresh flowers outside to spruce things up. I got these pretty daisies, along with some other flowers over the weekend. Nothing says spring like some pretty fresh flowers and a clean house. Here are some simple tips and tricks that I use to clean my home. I try not to use many special cleaning products in my home. Most cleaning is done with simple cleaning products. I like to use warm soapy water for much of my cleaning. For warm soapy water, I simply use dish-washing liquid.
Garage, Carport, and Driveway Cleaning
- Be sure to keep the floors clean where you step out of your car. Most dirt is tracked in from outside the home. Placing a carpet runner in the garage leading up to the door will help remove some of the dirt from your feet before you enter your home.
- Rent a pressure washer to clean the hard surfaces leading up to your door, driveways, sidewalks, and deck surfaces. Pressure washing removes any unsafe slippery mold, ugly oil stains from cars, and dirt that can be tracked into your home.
- If your family agrees, require them to remove their shoes at the front door. One of my dear friends gave me the best idea to encourage shoe removal at the front door. Place a bench by your front door with a big basket of slippers. Be sure to have enough for guests.
- Ovens – most of our ovens are self-cleaning, which makes things so much easier. After the self cleaning cycle is over, and the oven has cooled, use a dish cloth or damp sponge to wipe out your oven. If your oven does not have a self cleaning feature, use a chemical oven cleaner, and be sure to ventilate well.
- Stove or cook-top – for glass topped stoves, there is a special glass cook-top cream cleanser which is a must have. For stubborn spots, use a razor blade.
- Refrigerator – check all condiment expiration dates, and dispose of any expired items. Clean shelves and baskets with warm soapy water, but not in the dishwasher.
- Wood Cabinets – Use a magic eraser sponge and warm soapy water to wipe down all cabinet surfaces. Follow with an oil soap.
- Microwaves – microwave a coffee cup full of water until it boils. The steam from the water will help soften the dried food spots. Wipe clean with warm soapy water.
- Stainless steel sinks and faucets, but not stainless appliances, use comet or barkeepers friend.
- Coffee makers – Pour about a cup of bleach, some dish-washing liquid, and water into the carafe. Let it soak until its clean. Pour straight vinegar into the water compartment and run it in the carafe. Run plain water through the machine, about 3 – 4 times, until the vinegar smell disappears.
- To get a shine on stainless steel appliances, there is a special stainless steel spray cleanser that works well.
- For all other surfaces, counter-tops, and appliances, I just use warm soapy water.
- For toilets, use bleach and comet or a toilet bowl cleaner and a scrub brush for under the rim. To use bleach and comet, first use comet in the bowl, and scrub everything with a toilet brush, then pour about a cup of bleach in the bowl, and let it set. For tough water stains, use a pumice stick.
- For bath tubs and showers use comet and lots of elbow grease with a magic eraser. Lysol full strength can help clean grout and caulk in the shower. For tough grout stains on white grout, use bleach and a grout brush.
- Don’t use a feather duster, it just spreads dust around.
- Dry dusting is acceptable for routine cleaning, but for deeper cleaning use a rag and warm soapy water.
- On all wood furniture, follow the warm soapy water with a furniture polish.
- All nic nacs should be hand washed.
- All silk plants that can be hand washed should be. For large silk plants, either take them outside for a good hose down, or spray with silk plant cleaner.
Glass and Windows
- Dust blinds with a fabric sheet.
- Remove all draperies and wash.
- Use warm soapy water to clean window sill and frame.
- For the glass cleaning, I like to use the following:
Add 2 cupfuls of vinegar (about 2 tablespoons) to a spray bottle. Then fill the bottle with hot water. Add 1 drop of dish-washing liquid. Use newspapers or paper towels to clean your glass.
- Tile, linoleum, or laminate floors – use hot water, a touch of dish-washing liquid, and 1/4 cup bleach per gallon of water
- Grout – a grout brush, straight bleach can be used on white grout, a color safe grout cleaner should be used on colored grouts. Remember to seal grout after all your hard work cleaning.
- Wood Floors – hot water, a touch of dish-washing liquid and vinegar, 1/4 cup vinegar per gallon of water
- Area Carpets – I like to take mine outside and drape over 2 workhorses or a ladder. Then add soap, dish-washing liquid or laundry detergent, and water. If you have a pressure washer, put it on a low setting and rinse well. I just use my garden hose and a nozzle to spray the carpet.
- Carpet – Steam cleaning with a powerful machine, a rental works well. Pet stains should be treated with an enzyme cleaner. Enzyme cleaners can be found at pet stores. Pet stains are very difficult to remove, urine can seep through the carpet, through the pad, and permeate the plywood or cement underneath. If all else fails, you may have to peel up the carpet and pour straight bleach on the sub-floor and let it destroy the smell.
- It is very important to get a professional to properly clean your unit. You should find a company that will take apart the inside part of your A/C, and clean it thoroughly. At the end of my last A/C unit’s life, I could not find a company to clean it, everyone just wanted to replace it. So I took matters into my own hands and set out to clean it on my own.
- The first time I opened up my unit, I found that the fan and coils were covered in black mold. I felt comfortable, because I am slightly mechanically inclined, so I turned off the power and started cleaning. If you attempt cleaning on your own, be sure to let it dry completely before turning the power back on. Don’t use bleach, because it can rust the fan, coils, and drain pan. Use the special coil cleaner that can be found at your local home supply store. Remember, I don’t recommend for you to clean the inside of your own A/C unit, but if you insist, you do so at your own risk, and make sure the breaker is off!
- For the outside, spray with a garden hose.
- For the drain hose, add one cup of bleach once a month, followed by a gallon of water. If you can, consider adding a UV light to your A/C unit to prevent mold growth.
- When your A/C is back on, spray Lysol by the air intake for about 1 minute. This will help disinfect the vents.
- Change the A/C filter according to manufacturer directions. Most filters a 1 month.
- I have a sectional and a recliner that I can’t wait to trade in for leather. Until I can get rid of them though, I have to clean them every 3 months, sometimes more frequently. I was renting a machine every time, but after talking to my dear neighbor, we found an easy and economical solution to my frequent upholstery cleaning.
- First, I mix oxy-clean and hot water in my garden sprayer, then I spray the couch and chair down. I use a brush or rag to clean the fabric, then I use my shop vac, with the upholstery attachment to extract the water. After that, I use vinegar and hot water in the sprayer and spray the couch and chair again. I will go back over the couch with the shop vac.
- You can also just use an upholstery cleaning solution instead of the oxy-clean and vinegar.
- Be sure to find the source of the bad smell, and remove it. While your cleaning, open all the windows so the air can circulate.
- For upholstery, use Febreeze.
- For carpets use baking soda before vacuuming.
- For lasting freshness, there are so many products that make our house smell good. My favorite way to make the house smell great, aside from cooking something yummy, is to use Yankee Candle tarts or fragranced oil in an oil or tart warmer.
For lots of cleaning tips, I have found that the website thrifty fun has lots of great information in their forums. Do you have any great cleaning tips, or perhaps tips and tricks easier than these? I would love to hear them! Please leave your cleaning tips and tricks for spring cleaning in the comment section below.