Contributing Writer: Andrea Lopez —
Winter is winding down, and it is time to get ready for the new season. The warm spring breeze in the air means that it’s time to open the windows and start spring cleaning. Although cleaning may not be everyone’s favorite thing to do, there things that you can do to make it a more pleasurable experience! Here are twelve tips from GoodHouseKeeping.com to start you off in the right path.
1. Defunk Your Fabrics: Wash the mattress pad, pillow coverings, and pillows from everyone’s bed (all pillow types except foam can go into the washer, but check the labels for specific laundering instructions). Then do a second load with your bath mat, shower curtain, and even the curtain liner on the gentle cycle with color-safe bleach.
2. Sanitize Your Work Station: Wipe down your computer screen with a lightly dampened microfiber cloth. Do the same with the mouse pad, then load a fun wallpaper on the screen.
3. Manage Microwave Messes: Fresh lemons smell clean so try this: Cut one in half, put the pieces in a microwave-safe bowl with water to cover, and cook on High for two to three minutes. The steam will soften hardened food inside the oven while you enjoy the citrus scent. Then grate the fruit in the garbage disposal to eliminate any musty odor and greasy gunk.
4. Shake It Out: Gather up throw rugs and take them outside for a good shake. Then air them on a clothesline or railing for several hours.
5. Purge the Fridge: Pull the trash can over and dump lingering leftovers, spoiled food, and open bottles of condiments, like grill marinade from last summer. You could remove all the glass shelves and bins and wash them or give them a fast once-over with a wet cloth or sponge. Don’t forget fingerprints and splatters on the door front and handle. A fresh box of baking soda absorbs odors, too.
6. Cut Table Clutter: Switch from tablecloths to place mats, and arrange a bowl of fruit or a vase of fresh flowers in the middle of the kitchen table. The mats are easier to keep clean — plus, if your table looks set, it’s a less likely landing pad for mail and other clutter.
7. Bring Spring Indoors: Buy a few potted plants and tuck them into nicer pots. It’s still too chilly for planting, but meantime you can enjoy their pretty petals.
8. Banish Garbage Odors: Take plastic garbage cans outside for a quick hosing out, and leave them upside down to dry. Then sprinkle the bottoms with baking soda to keep cans odor free.
9. De-Germ Sponges: Soaking a sponge in bleach killed 99.9 percent of the three bacteria strains from all our test sponges (scrub and regular cellulose), a benchmark based on the EPA’s requirement for sanitation of non-food-contact surfaces. Mix 3/4 cup of bleach in one gallon of water, and soak the sponge for five minutes.
10. Clean the Corners: If you celebrate Passover — thought to be one origin of spring cleaning, since it’s Jewish tradition to clean the home from top to bottom to get rid of any leavened bread forbidden on the holiday — you may have already done a number on your kitchen. But even if you won’t be at a seder, it’s a perfect time to sweep up or vacuum crumbs wherever they lurk.
11. Toss Old Toiletries: In the bathroom, see if your loofah or toothbrush needs replacing. You should get a new brush every three months and a new scrubber every 30 days, but toss immediately if the bristles are frayed or the loofah is mil-dewy. Also, check the cabinet for expired cold medicines and trash them.
12. Zap Oven Spills: Burned-on blobs welded to the bottom of your oven can give off odors and smoke. If you have time to run a self-cleaning cycle — even a short two-hour one — it’s your best bet (and you can go do something else while it works). If not, just focus on the worst stains. Take a metal spatula and gently chip off any loose pieces — with any luck, this alone might do the trick. If not, liberally spritz with full-strength ammonia from a spray bottle. Leave it for at least five minutes, then sprinkle on enough baking soda to completely cover the stain; add just a few drops of white vinegar. Let it bubble for a minute or two, then whisk away the grime with a scrub sponge. Rinse with a clean, wet, regular sponge.