Spring is a time of re-birth, nature’s way of starting fresh. Winter’s crustiness breaks down to make way for the colors and cleanliness of spring. Spring cleaning is a great way to scrub away the crustiness in our homes. The other day I opened up my oven and was like, “sweet Lord of a General Electric, there is four inches of gunk baked into the bottom of my stove!”
My refrigerator is shameful, my baseboards have dust bunnies that are eating dust bunnies and my windows…well, let’s just say the dirt provides a nice shading effect on those warm days. My house needs scrubbed from floor to ceiling, every square inch scrubbed and disinfected and buffed clean. I’m sure you’ve started thinking about doing the same. Get to it but don’t overlook these important things:
If you’re anything like me, your washer gets a whole lot of wear and tear and not a lot of tender loving care! It’s important to keep it clean so that it runs well and doesn’t build up mildew. The best way to do this is to run an empty load but instead of using detergent use a cup of white vinegar. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and is a green way to clean. Wash the lid of your machine and also clean out the detergent, softener and bleach dispensers. If you have an energy efficient washer, don’t forget to rinse out the filter. Then wipe down the entire washer with vinegar and water and vacuum the dust behind it too.
It’s important to maintenance your dryer at least once a year because accumulations of lint are a fire hazard. Plus, it makes your machine more efficient. Start with removing the lint trap and use a vacuum or shop vac to suck out any lint debris. Also, vacuum underneath and behind the dryer as lint and dust accumulates in those places too. Make a visual inspection of your dryer vent. If it looks like it’s in bad shape, consider having your local appliance store out for an inspection. If it looks like it’s in good shape and just needs a good cleaning, unplug the dryer and disconnect the vent. Vacuum out the lint and then reconnect everything and let the dyer run (empty) for a few minutes. This will allow any lint that you dislodged to get kicked out. Don’t forget to wipe down the top, sides and front of the machine with vinegar and water as well. Consider putting your dryer on hiatus while you take advantage of the sunshine and fresh springtime breezes by putting your clothes out to dry on a line. Spring and summer is a great time to do this!
How often you replace or clean your filters depends largely on the type of filters you use but spring time is always a good time to replace old filters. We spend a large amount of time in our homes and having a good air filter can insure good air quality, a reduction in allergens and a cleaner, less dusty home! They can be bought at reasonable prices at most hardware stores. When you install a new one, write the date on it so that there is no question as to when you installed it and when you need to change it (typically monthly or every 2-3 months depending on the filter).
Just like your washer, your dishwasher probably works overtime to keep your dishes clean. Don’t forget to give it some attention to keep it running smoothly and to ensure it doesn’t contaminate your dishes! Dishwashers tend to get a gunky build-up over time but this is an easy fix. Empty the dishwasher and place a bowl on the top rack and fill it with white vinegar. Run the dishwasher with nothing else in it but the bowl. At mid-cycle, turn the machine off and let the vinegar steam for about 20 minutes, then continue washing. If mildew is a problem you can use a little Clorox but never use it if your dishwasher is stainless steel on the inside or on the door. Finish by wiping around the door, the edging and underneath. To keep a dishwasher running at its best, clean it this way at least once a month.
Most of us don’t take the time to service our vacuum cleaners on a regular basis but that’s a mistake if we want to make sure it keeps doing a good job of removing dirt from our homes. Clean the brushes and remove or cut away strings that are wound around inside of it. Wipe it all down with soap and water (do not run the vacuum until it’s completely dry unless you want a muddy mess). Clean all of the attachments change the belt if necessary and switch out the bag or filter if that needs changed. Don’t forget to wipe the handle with a disinfectant wipe.
Chances are, the inside of your refrigerator was already on your spring cleaning “to do” list but when was the last time you pulled the refrigerator out of its place and vacuumed under and behind it? The coils back there can get mighty dusty and do need cleaned from time to time. Likewise, the vents need wiped down too. While you’re at it, don’t forget to wipe down the top. That is often an overlooked.
The Couch Cushions
If you’re anything like me, you barely have enough time to vacuum the living room let alone enough time to vacuum the furniture but since your vacuum is nice and clean now after reading above, make good use of it by cleaning under the couch cushions. Vacuum the couch itself as well. It’s one of those places where we get comfortable and tend to shed a lot of dead skin. Gross I know, but true.
And since we’re on the topic of places that get covered with dust mites and dead skin…let’s talk about your mattress. It’s not good enough to flip it over and vacuum underneath your bed. Your mattress needs some attention too. Start with vacuuming. Most vacuums have hand held attachments. Use them to clean the entire mattress. After that, go out and rent a steam cleaner if you don’t own one. Use it on your mattress and then allow it to dry. Then cover it with a great mattress cover that can be easily removed and washed on a weekly basis. This, along with changing your sheets weekly, will ensure that your mattress stays clean and fresh.
Whew, that newly clean vacuum cleaner is getting quite the workout, no? It’s going to be bikini-ready come summer! Give it some more to do by dusting lamp shades. Obviously, you’ll need to use an attachment for this job. Use it to clean the entire shade. Chances are it will look like a completely different color. I did this last spring and was astounded to find that those beautiful cream colored lamp shades that I loved so much were actually bright white in color. It’s shameful, I know but lamp shades are just one of those things that we don’t often have time to clean. Be sure to remember to give them a good dusting this year.
Besides our homes, one of the other places we spend a lot of time in is our cars. Don’t leave them out of your spring cleaning endeavors. The outside is a quick and easy job. In fact, let the kids do this job. They will enjoy spraying each other with the hose and are the perfect height for detailing car rims. Most people decide to wash their cars on a sunny day but the best time to wash your car is on a rainy day. This saves on water! Just stand outside in the rain and scrub and the rain will do the rest! It’s important to detail the inside of your car from time to time too. Wipe down all of the surfaces, take all things and trash out. Vacuum the carpets and if it’s a nice day, shampoo the carpets too, leaving the doors and windows open so that it can dry quickly. Wash all windows from the inside, clean under seats and hang a nice smelling scent from the rearview mirror.
With all the chores are done, you can sit back and enjoy the beautiful weather and stop and smell the springtime flowers. Happy Spring cleaning!