Make way for spring cleaning fever!
As we near spring, we often take time for a little deep cleaning. We wash the windows, scour the baseboards, deep clean appliances, and dust the ceiling fans. Nothing beats a fresh start!
But in our excitement, it's easy to overlook something important: making sure that what our cleaner leaves behind isn't worse than the grime itself! Perhaps it's time for a refresher. I'll help you get started with 5 often missed spring cleaning areas, and how to tackle each of them in the most efficient and safe way possible.
1. CEILING FANS (estimated time: 5 minutes each fan)
We're beginning at the top! It's that time of year again to reverse your fans. Last fall we reversed our ceiling fans to push warm air downward. Now we're going to switch them to the forward (counterclockwise) direction to help with cooling. But before we do that, we're going to stop and clean them! If your fan has a large amount of dust and lint, I recommend starting with the vacuum nozzle to remove as much as possible. Lightly spray the inside of an old pillow case with your favorite all purpose cleaner or diluted vinegar, and pull over each fan blade to trap the dust inside. Take care to cover furniture below to protect against escaped particles.
AVOID: aerosol furniture dusting sprays
2. TRASH CANS (estimated time: 30 minutes)
I KNOW how tempting it can be to simply throw away your trash cans and buy new. Between the smell and the sticky mystery mess under the lid? I get it! But trust me, you'll be glad you didn't, because I'm going to walk you through it! Take your waste cans outside and spray with the garden hose to loosen the worst of the mess. Follow with a good dose of all purpose cleaner and wipe down inside and out. If you need additional assurances against bacterial contamination, add a spray nozzle to a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution and spray evenly. Dry thoroughly in the sun, allowing the UV rays to lend an antimicrobial hand.
AVOID: bleach based cleaning products
3. WINDOWS (estimated time: 1 hour)
If you're feeling industrious, start by taking down curtains and blinds. Take them outside to be shaken out or dusted, and allow them to air as you set to work on the windows. Add white vinegar and water (distilled is best) into a spray bottle. I prefer a 50/50 mixture. Spray evenly across glass surface, and beginning at the top, wipe clean using a microfiber cloth, t-shirt rag, or newspaper. The scent of vinegar will be strong until the window dries, and then will quickly fade. If it bothers you too much, try adding 10 drops of citrus essential oil to the solution during mixing. This method works well both in and outside of the window. Don't forget to clean the windowsill and track. Bonus: This is a great time to open windows and bring in some fresh air!
AVOID: commercial glass cleaners
4. OVEN (estimated time: 20 minutes)
Holiday baking always takes its toll on my oven, leaving me with a disgusting and embarrassing mess year after year. Although my oven is equipped with a fancy steam cleaning feature, I choose to do it by hand to avoid the known risk of dangerous off-gassing. You can easily do the same by mixing a paste of baking soda and liquid castile soap in a bowl. Then using a rag, work a dab of the creamy mixture in circles onto the bottom of the oven and inside of the glass, until thinly and evenly distributed. Allow to sit for 10-20 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with salt and dampen your rag with warm water. Loosen the mixture on the surface, scrubbing as you go. It should take 2-3 passes to completely remove, rinsing the rag in between. To add an extra sparkle, finish with a spray of diluted vinegar and wipe with a clean cloth.
AVOID: commercial oven cleaners
5. FIXTURES (estimated time: 1 hour)
Moving room to room, carefully take down light fixture covers to remove dead bugs and debris. Clean with diluted vinegar. Wipe down switch pates, doorknobs and doors. Pay close attention to door frames, where grime from hands is often overlooked. This is a great time to spot clean baseboards and wipe out cobwebs. Lastly, remove floor vents if possible and wash them with non toxic all purpose cleaner or soapy water outside, or in a bucket/bathtub. Replace after drying.
AVOID: commercial glass cleaners, bleach based products, and aerosol furniture sprays
All of these projects can be completed in just 3 hours! Is your home spring ready?