By Nikki Willhite
that time of year again that we prepare for our spring cleaning. Is this
something you do yearly, or does it sound like an old-fashioned concept?
Just what is spring cleaning, and why do some people do it?
One reason is that the house can
get pretty stuffy in the winter. In the spring we once again open our
windows, air out the house, and shake the dust off the furniture.
It's kind of like changing the
smoke alarm batteries when the time changes. You have to set a time to
do it. There is dust accumulating on the top of your door frames. This
is not something that you think about every day. Yet, it's your house,
and you are responsible for keeping it clean. Spring cleaning is when we
get out the ladder and climb up and wipe it off. Then when the wind
comes whipping through the windows, it's not going to fly all over the
As I constantly repeat in this
e-zine, if you take care of your things (which includes maintaining and
cleaning), they will last longer, so you will save money. I have
compiled a list of items that are good to put on your spring cleaning
list. Some of these should be done more than once a year; but even once
a year is better than letting them go even longer.
Remember, that spring cleaning
is traditionally done over a period of a few weeks. Make a schedule and
stick to it. You can use it year after year, making minor adjustments.
Then you don't have to spend any time planning- just doing the work.
Spring Cleaning Checklist
*Dust all the hard to reach
places in your home, such as ceiling lights, above doors, floorboards
and above tall pieces of furniture. Don't forget under things, like your
computer. Attach a fabric softener sheet to the end of a long pole and
it is easy to do the floorboards without bending. Depending on your
house, you may also be able to reach all the high areas also.
Be sure and start at the top
when you dust. All the dust is going to fall, and after you do a room,
you will want to vacuum it.
*Wash your walls, especially in
the kitchen where grease and grime accumulate. The bathroom also needs a
good cleaning. As to the rest of the house- painting is often easier.
Washing down all the walls in your home can be a daunting task. Some
people just spot clean them. Unless they are abused, they will be fine
until the next time you have to paint.
*Wash your windows, and clean
the screens. Take the screens down, and hose them off (both sides). Wash
the windows using a squeegee or newspaper. Make your own cleaning
solution. There are many recipes, but my favorite is to just add a few
Tablespoons of ammonia, and a dab of vinegar, to a spray bottle filled
*Clean window blinds. Vacuum
drapes. You should have a special attachment with your vacuum to run
over the fabric of the drapes. You can clean your blinds this way too.
However, for a good cleaning you may need to take them down and soak in
the bathtub. You can also lay them outside and wash down using the hose.
Be sure and turn to get both sides. If you put them in the bathtub, add
a little bleach to whiten the cords. Outside the sun should do it.
*Clean your carpets. It prolongs
the life of your carpet to give it a good yearly cleaning. Check with
your friends to see if they have a cleaning machine, or rent one from
the store. A good place to buy a strong cleaning solution at a good
price is a janitorial supply store
If this isn't an option, here
are some other things you can do:
Sprinkle 2 Cups of cornmeal and
1 Cup of Borax on your carpet for 1 hour. Then vacuum thoroughly.
Or try plain baking soda in the
*Remove mildew from walls,
windows, bathrooms, etc. Just mix a Cup of bleach into a gallon of water
and mix well. Apply to mildew and it will kill it. Use a spray bottle
for large areas and a toothbrush for small places. Be sure and rinse
when you are done.
*Polish your wood. A lot of
people think you don't need to do this, as the wood is initially covered
with polyurethane or varnish. However, this protective covering wears
off. I've seen wood that has been maintained, and wood that has been
left alone. There is a BIG difference. Keep the moisture in your wood,
protect it from water, and it will keep it's luster and look like new.
If it is not in too bad shape, you can sometimes bring back it's shine
and luster by rubbing on Liquid Gold. It may even mask minor scratches
and other light damage.
Here is a recipe for homemade
furniture polish. Mix the ingredients well , apply to the wood and let
sit a few minutes, and then buff smooth.
The juice from 1 lemon
*If you have an silver or brass,
Here is one way to
inexpensively and quickly clean your silver. Line a large pan with
aluminum foil (no gaps). Add your silver. Make sure each piece touches
the foil. Completely cover with warm water and add 2 Tablespoons of
baking soda. Let set 10 minutes.
*Pull out the refrigerator,
clean behind it, and check your manual to see if there is maintenance to
do on the coils or other parts of the appliance.
*Clean the inside of your
dishwasher. Add 1/2 Cup of Vinegar and run it though a cycle.
*Clean the drip pans under your
*Empty the crumbs out of the
bottom of your toaster.
*Clean the can opener, paying
particular attention to the blade area.
*Sterilize all your phones.
These are big breeders of germs- should be done often.
Bathroom and Utility Areas
*Clean shower and bath stalls,
including grout. Attack your grout with a toothbrush and some vinegar.
If your grout is dry and cracking, you will have to replace it or risk
*Clean your shower
curtains. Put them in the washing machine with some vinegar. Lay in the
sun to dry.
*Clean the washer and dryer.
Check the hoses for elasticity. Replace if necessary. Make sure dryer
lint is being vented outside and not under the house (fire hazard).
*Turn mattresses. This should
be done quarterly to extend their life.
Some of these
things you can do once a year and forget about them. Get organized. Make
your list and stick to it, adjusting it when necessary. You will save time
and money- and your house will be healthier and more pleasant.