Spring Cleaning Hacks: Tips and Tricks to Make Chores Easier
With the arrival of spring comes the warmth and rejuvenation we have been longing for after months of winter. While we’d probably like to rush outside at the first signs of spring, we know that our houses could probably use a good, deep cleaning after hibernating inside all winter long. Here are some quick and easy tips for deep cleaning your home; many of them use ingredients and tools you already have on hand—which might help you get outside faster!
Living room, family room or den—whatever you call it, it’s a good place to start your cleaning since it probably sees a lot of traffic and is the room that you and your family spend the most time in. Start by picking up any clutter that may be in the room. Throw away trash, recycle books and magazines, then gather items that don’t belong in the living room and put them in their proper place.
With the stage clear, it’s time to dust. Dust the ceilings, walls, light fixtures, ceiling fan and any furniture that gathers unwanted particles. Use a broom or a duster with a handle extension to get these tough, out-of-reach places. An easy way to clean the ceiling fan is to take a pillow case and place it on the blade. Then press both hands against the blade and glide the dust right off. Empty the bulk of the dust in the trash, then simply toss the case in the laundry.
Next, clean the blinds and curtains. Cleaning both sides of your blinds without getting tangled up can be a hassle. A quick solution to this problem is to grab a sock and slip it on your hand. Then dip it into a 50/50 cleaning solution of water and white vinegar and simply swipe each slat. Give your curtains a quick vacuum and be amazed at how fresh and bright they look if it’s been awhile since you’ve last done this task.
Now’s a great time to freshen up your carpets and upholstery, too. Consider using carpet spot cleaner or homemade upholstery cleaner on your chairs and couches to remove stains. Simply sprinkle some baking soda on the stain and let sit for 10 minutes before vacuuming it up. Next, mix 1 tablespoon of dish soap, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 2 cups of hot water. Use a clean cloth to dab the stain with this mixture, and continue blotting until the stain is gone.
Places that are out of your normal sight range tend to get neglected. The oven is a great example of kitchen appliances that get left out of your everyday cleaning routine. To make a DIY oven cleaner, mix 5 tablespoons of baking soda, 5 drops of dish soap and 4 tablespoons of vinegar. Stir the ingredients until a paste forms. Then, use a sponge to coat the inside of the oven with the paste. Close the oven and let the paste sit for 15 minutes. Once the time is up, scrub the oven until all of the muck and grime comes off. If you want to add a little extra power to cut through the grease, take half a lemon and add some salt and a few drops of dish soap to the lemon, and use that to scrub.
Another area in the kitchen that might need some extra attention is your cabinets. Over the years, dirt and grime tend to build up on cabinets. The scary thing is that you may not even notice this funky film. So, how do you clean something that you may not even be able to see? It may sound strange, but a great way to get the greasy, oily gunk off your cabinets is by using oil. A mixture of one part vegetable oil and two parts baking soda can help cut through the grime on your cabinets. Simply take a sponge or a clean cloth and work a bit of the mixture onto the cabinets, then wipe clean with another fresh, damp cloth. And to really deep clean all of the grooves, try using a soft toothbrush.
Between the sink, toilet and bath tub, there are plenty of places for mold and bacteria to hide in your bathroom. Spring is a great time to deep clean any germs that may still be hanging around from winter sicknesses.
Start with small tasks like running the toothbrush holder and soap dish through the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning. Next, move onto the sink. You may notice a buildup of hair clogging the sink; a clever way to attack this situation is with an old mascara brush (surely you have an old tube of mascara lying around somewhere) and plunge it as far as you can into the depth of your sink drain to see how much gunk you can fish out.
Time to clean the grout between your shower tiles? Here’s a homemade grout cleaner you can make with things you likely already have in your home. All it takes is ¾ cup of baking soda and ¼ cup of bleach. Mix until a paste forms, then coat the dirty grout lines with the paste. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before taking an old toothbrush and scrubbing the tiles for a deeper clean. Once you’ve finished, use a damp rag to rinse the cleaner away. Or if you have a handheld shower head, use that to rinse for an easier clean up.
Aside from the minor dusting and mopping and/or vacuuming floors, your main focus in the bedroom should be your bed. Start by stripping off bedding and tossing your sheets, comforter and pillow cases into the wash. This may be as far as many of us go to routinely clean our bedding—but there is a way to do a much-needed deep clean.
Though covered in layers of mattress pads and sheets, a mattress can still harbor plenty of dirt, dust, spills, stains, dust mites and more. It’s enough to make anyone cringe and want to burn their mattress on the spot! Luckily, there is an easy way to clean and deodorize your mattress. Start by using a clean upholstery attachment and vacuuming the mattress. This will help collect any dirt, dust and dead skin that may be lingering in the crevices.
Next deodorize your mattress by sifting baking soda over it. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer that will help get rid of any smells. Let the baking soda sit for 30 minutes, then vacuum it up. If you like essential oils and have a favorite, add a few drops to the baking soda for a lovely fresh scent.
Lastly, finish by getting rid of any stains your mattress might have. Generally, most mattresses have some protein stains from bodily fluids. Although this may sound horrifying, it’s a fact of life from which no one is immune. The best way to target these stains is by filling an empty spray bottle with 8 ounces of hydrogen peroxide, 3 tablespoons of baking soda and a couple drops of dish soap. Give it a good shake, then spray the mixture all over the stained area. Within a few minutes you will see the stains start to disappear. To get rid of the gritty baking soda residue, wait an hour or so for the mattress to dry, then run the vacuum across the mattress.
A clean home is a happy home. Do yourself a favor and get the chores done and out of the way so that you and your family can get outside and enjoy the sunshine!