Spring Cleaning 101

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By Dawn Klavon

Spring has sprung, and that means it’s time to clear out the clutter, clean out the nooks and crannies, and freshen up your living space. Seems too daunting to get started? Even doctors at the Cleveland Clinic report that spring cleaning offers fringe benefits — it de-stresses, gets you moving, and helps fend off depression. And local experts gave valuable advice to get you started:

“Keep your music loud, your coffee hot, and your focus on one section!” advised Katie Stepp of Katie’s Cleaning Service in Manassas.

Prince William Living offers these helpful suggestions to get you on the road to a clean, organized home to give you peace of mind and feeling accomplished.

Clean Up Your Act

  • Make a schedule. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and there’s no law that says you have to complete all your tasks immediately. BUT, having a plan can help keep you on track for success. Make a list of the items you hope to accomplish, in order, after assessing what needs the most attention. Perform your
    cleaning room by room to make the most thorough impact.
  • De-clutter. Now is the time to sort through old books, clothes, makeup, shoes, non-perishables, and toys to rid your home of broken, dirty, and unnecessary items. Do you really need 42 coffee mugs? Is your kitchen junk drawer filled to the brim? When sorting through your kids’ toys, consider donating gently used toys, throwing away broken ones, and sanitizing whatever you keep.

The easiest way to sanitize toys is with your dishwasher or washing machine. Plastic toys can be placed on a quick cycle in the dishwasher but avoid the heated dry option. Stuffed animals can be placed in a mesh drawstring bag or a pillowcase and placed in the gentle cycle in the washing machine. Check toys’ labels for further cleaning instructions. The general rule of thumb: If you haven’t used the items in a few months, say
goodbye to the clutter.

Donating is a great way to get rid of gently used items. Try an internet search for “donation centers near me” to find organizations accepting these items. The Prince William County Solid Waste Division offers an environmentally appropriate space for almost everything. For more information, visit the A to Z Disposal Guide.

Sanitize and disinfect your electronics: Don’t forget to turn your phone off, wipe it with a microfiber cloth, then wipe with a Clorox wipe and let air dry for five minutes. Follow up one more time with the swipe of a paper towel or microfiber cloth.

mop

Spruce Up Your Bedroom

  • Bedroom cleaning: Wash sheets, pillows, and bulky bedding. After stripping your bed, take a few minutes to do battle with dust mites in your mattress. Use an iron or a garment steamer on the surface of the mattress to kill dust mites and then your vacuum can finish it off. Pull out the crevice and upholstery tools to deep clean the sides and top, then spray a disinfectant (like Lysol) to complete the sanitizing of your mattress.
  • Organize your closets: Closets are a safe spot to store junk and unused items, but why not do a deep purge and declutter, wipe down shelves and corners, and sweep, mop, or vacuum? Remember to always work from top to bottom — from the ceiling down — which forces dust and dirt downward so you don’t have to re-clean your area.

A few dusting tips: Remember to dust your furniture and fixtures before vacuuming. Stepp advises to always do a dry dust first and then a wet dust so you’re not smearing the dust around with a wet solution.

Cleaning windows and dusting blinds: Direct sun can lead to streaking, so clean windows on a cloudy day.

window cleaning

Stepp advises: “Don’t waste money on Windex — equal parts vinegar and water gets mirrors clean and streak-free for a fraction of the cost, and splash some essential oils in there for a fragrant smell!”

After lowering blinds and shades, dust with a duster and then vacuum your drapes and fabric shades. Remember to clean the floor below where you dusted; Stepp suggests you don’t sweep, because it pushes particles all over. “Grab a microfiber dust mop, spray a little of the vinegar solution on the bottom, and make keeping your floors clean a breeze!” she said.

On to the Kitchen and Bathrooms

Don’t be afraid to dig deep in the kitchen and bathroom cleansing. Here are a few reminders about spots you may not realize need to be scrubbed.

Give your fridge a deep clean: You already know to wipe down your refrigerator’s inside shelving, but now is the time to remove bins and shelves, and wash them in warm, soapy water. You’ll make them look substantially better, while removing spilled food and bacteria.

Does your kitchen sink stink? Slice up some lemon or orange rinds and run them through your garbage disposal, followed by cold water. Your sink will smell citrusy fresh!

Tackle the sticky stains in your microwave: Fill a microwave-safe bowl with a chopped up lemon or lime and one cup of water. Cook on high until the water is boiling, steaming the microwave window. Stop the microwave and let the interior cool for a few minutes, then open the door and wipe out the inside with a
sponge. And just like that, your microwave is spic and span!

Improve your cutting boards: Do you see stains on your cutting boards? Good Housekeeping suggests running the cut side of a lemon over the board. It will remove food stains and freshen up the board’s smell as well.

Shiny pots! Here’s a strange-but-true tip: Tarnish on copper pots and cooking accessories can be dissolved with plain ol’ ketchup. Rub some over your copper pots and add a touch of salt to the scrub for stubborn spots. It works like a charm!

Give your reusable bags a bath: Do you have a stash of reusable grocery bags? If you’re like us, they get grimy from constant use. If they are made of cloth and machine-wash safe, pop them in the washer. Otherwise, use a damp sponge or cloth with a mild soap and give them a once over.

Is your oven gross? Many are self-cleaning and work miracles of their own when it comes to removing baked-on grime. Otherwise place a hot, wet cloth on top of burned spots to help soften the grime, then sprinkle baking powder on it and scrub with a steel wool pad. Rinse and wipe dry. Try to keep up with
oven cleaning and tend to it once a month, to make it easier in the long run.

Clean Up Above: Ceiling fans and lighting fixtures need to be cleaned every so often to reduce dust particle buildup. Pick up one of those extendable dusters from a hardware store and go to work on ceiling fans, hanging and recessed lights, and moldings.

Give your shower curtain a once-over: Either toss it and start over with a new one, or machine wash your shower curtain. Throw a few bath towels in your washing machine and add your plastic, vinyl, or fabric shower curtains. Wash on the gentle cycle with detergent and make sure they are air-dried before using in
the shower.

Clean all the gunk out of your trash cans: It may not be the most fun thing, but take some time to scrub the inside of your trash cans. It will keep odors under control. Use a hose to get the can wet and scrub the inside with dish soap, rinse and dry. Keep Clorox wipes nearby to routinely sanitize the trash can to combat
drips, spills and overflow.

Is your grout getting grody? Brighten grout with a dedicated grout cleaner. Let it set for several minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush and rinse. Voila — bright and clean!

Halls and Living Room

Don’t forget to clean your doormats! Here’s a trick: Use a mat outside your door and another one inside your door for double protection from bringing dirt into your home. For outdoor mats, you can clean them by hosing them off and air drying. Vacuum indoor mats on both sides to push trapped dirt out onto the floor so it’s easier to vacuum up.

Spruce up rugs and carpets: Touch up carpets between professional cleanings by buying or renting a portable carpet cleaner. Got stinky pet odors? Sprinkle carpet deodorizer or baking soda on carpets, then work into your carpet with a soft brush and let it sit for up to 30 minutes. Vacuum the baking powder and deodorizer up off the carpet for rejuvenated floors.

Vacuum soft furniture: The best way to clean sofas, couches, and the like is to move them away from walls and vacuum behind and under them. Use your vacuum’s upholstery tool to go all over every crevice of your cushions and get rid of dust and crumbs.

If you can check all these to-do items off your spring cleaning list, you’re well on your way to a sanitized, organized, harmonized home!

Dawn Klavon is a contributing writer for Prince William Living. Reach her at dklavon@princewilliamliving.com.

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