Apr 2012 5

Spring Cleaning and Maintenance

Posted by Jay Banks
Spring Cleaning by Storebukkebruse Spring Cleaning by Storebukkebruse

Spring is in the air, and that also means it’s time for the annual ritual called spring cleaning. It’s hardly something we look forward to, but the sense of renewal that comes after is worth the effort. A good plan is the best place to start. It’s important to take as much time as necessary to do a little deep cleaning and preventive maintenance well beyond the routine tasks.

At one time, the whole process of spring cleaning involved a complete cleaning of every square inch of the home. Families would often spend many days creating that spring-fresh feeling. Today’s spring cleaning may not be as complicated, but there are still tasks that need to be performed to keep your home healthy.

Storing seasonal clothing, checking appliances, and controlling the clutter are necessary activities. Places like the garage, otherwise neglected, will also deserve some attention. Spring is a great time to inspect and clean window treatments, whether you need to pay attention to blinds, window casing, sills, or window hardware. Bedding and mattresses occasionally need to be inspected and cleaned as well. Use this time to check mattress pads and pillow covers. Take a few minutes to clean the ceiling fans. Whether you perform these tasks yourself or pay somebody else to do it, here are some useful tips for cleaning your place and getting ready for summer months.

Room by Room

The big cleaning job may become more straightforward, even fun, with a plan, a checklist, and a rewarding celebration, of course. One of the hardest parts is deciding what to tackle first. Create an action plan and assign tasks to family members, professionals, or friends willing to help. Hold a meeting and brainstorm. Don’t forget about rewards that will motivate everyone to do their best!

Don’t skip reading the labels of each product used to avoid accidents. Consider any special equipment that will be needed, and consider buying safety items like goggles or protective gloves. Children can ease your way by doing less demanding cleaning tasks that might be appropriate for them. However, some cleaning products should be kept out of their reach, so make sure to check the labels. Remember: safety is the priority.

Bathroom


  • athroom Cleaning by Melissa Barrett2 Bathroom Cleaning by Melissa Barrett
    Get rid of expired cosmetics and medications. If you’re not sure about proper disposal of specific products, contact your local household hazardous waste collection centre or similar authority.
  • Organize toiletries.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with an extension attachment and soft cloths to clean walls and ceilings. Determine the water resistance of all wall coverings before washing. For walls with a rough texture, use old nylon stockings instead of a sponge.
  • Wash mirrors, other glass surfaces, and windows with suitable cloth.
  • Clean the exterior of the toilet tank and base. Clean the bowl interior. Scrubbing products are recommended.
  • Scrubbing products serve well in shower cleaning, too.
  • Clean floors with a broom, vacuum cleaner, and sponge mop. Finish with a dry cleaner.

Bedroom

  • Launder or dry-clean winter bedding and store. Special bags are great for minimizing storage space for off-season items.
  • Wash curtains thoroughly to remove dust particles. Dry them outdoors and save energy while also getting a lovely, fresh smell.
  • Wash mirrors and inside of windows. Vacuum and wipe walls and ceilings (the same procedures as in the bathroom).
  • Shampoo or stem-clean carpets, area rugs, and upholstery.
  • Be patient with taking all books and accessories off shelves and clean surfaces beneath.
  • Toss or give away unwanted items. Consider donating to a shelter, hospital, or church.
  • Make sure to clean any hard-to-reach spaces. This is vitally important to avoid dust mites.
  • Protect your wood furniture with a moisturizing furniture polish. Harsh winter conditions could easily cause it to dry and possibly crack. Use a soft cloth.

Home Office

  • Home Office by Bruno De Regge Home Office by Bruno De Regge
    Treat curtains, windows, walls, ceilings, carpets, and rugs as in previous rooms.
  • Clean out files. Shred papers you no longer need. Review and update contracts.
  • Properly dispose of or give away any unwanted software, hardware, or electronics. Donate working items that are no longer necessary for you. Look for information regarding e-waste recycling centres in your area.

Kitchen

  • Clean your refrigerator, freezer, oven, and microwave. Don’t forget about interiors and racks. You can try putting lemon juice in the microwave. Heat water to boil for couple of minutes, and the steam will loosen food particles stuck to the interior. The citric acid in the juice also helps with grease.
  • Dust the tops of cabinets and refrigerator, cookbooks, and cookbook shelves. Give away any items you’re not using.
  • Clean and polish counters, drawers, and shelves.
  • Reorganize pantries, cabinets, drawers, and racks so you can find everything quickly.
  • Sweep, vacuum, and mop floors. Save this task for your last in the room.

Living Room

  • Replace heavy, cold-weather fabrics with lighter ones.
  • Clean out your fireplace for the season. To keep the dust down, sprinkle damp coffee grounds over the fireplace ashes. Gently scrub the walls of the firebox with a stiff-bristle brush. Vacuum up only after you’ve removed the ashes. You can easily clean the fireplace tools by dipping fine-grade steel wool into vegetable oil and rubbing the tools gently.

Outdoors

  • Spring Cleanup by Dave Parker Spring Cleanup by Dave Parker
    Remove, wash, and store storm windows.
  • Wash outside of windows and rinse removable screens.
  • Scrub, brush, mop, and apply detergent to porch ceilings, floors, and walls.
  • Replace broken bricks or flagstones.
  • Clean gutters and rain spouts.
  • Scrub outdoor furniture, umbrellas, and awnings.
  • Clean garage. Get rid of unwanted items and organize containers with tools. Sweep and wash the floor.
  • Check your outdoor lighting and sprinkler system. Consider buying energy-efficient, solar-powered outdoor lighting.
  • Trim and remove dead tree limbs. Do some basic landscaping repairs on the lawn, shrubbery, and plants. Give some attention to the exterior doors, fence, and exterior repairs. Lawn maintenance or pest prevention might need to be performed as well. Consult a professional if necessary.

Using Homemade Cleaning Products

The variety of supplies stocked in the cleaning aisles of stores can be overwhelming. If you are tempted to clean out the local store of all the cleaning “wonders,” consider alternatives that are definitely cheaper and in many cases more efficient and healthy.

Instead of glass cleaner from the store, you can make your own recipe with a few ingredients. Carefully mix together one cup of rubbing alcohol, one cup of water, and a tablespoon of vinegar. Put them into a new, empty spray bottle (do not reuse an old one), label as glass cleaner, and keep safely stored out of reach of pets and curious children. Homemade glass cleaner can compete with the cleaning products of big brands, and this powerful mixture of alcohol and vinegar can be also used to shine hard tiles, chrome, and similar materials.

Other ingredients of homemade cleaning products include baking soda, which works well for surfaces that need gentle scrubbing. It’s also effective in removing smelly odours — that’s why it can be useful for bathroom and kitchen cleaning. Baking soda removes stains and softens laundry, too.

  • Essential oils add a pleasant scent to homemade solutions, but be careful, as a little goes a long way.
  • Lemons are great for scrubbing copper-bottom pots and the lemon juice, a natural bleach, works in cleaning pans.
  • Salt can help you to get rid of rust and mildew, as well as polish copper and silver.
  • Silver can be alternatively cleaned with toothpaste, which can be also used to remove stains on white clothing or white shoes — simply anywhere where a light scrubbing is needed.
  • Vinegar is a fabric softener and serves well when put in the rinse cycle of the washing machine. Mopping with this great all-purpose cleaner is an inexpensive way to keep floors clean. Carefully combined with baking soda, it makes a great foaming toilet cleaner.
  • Hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant and one of the most effective blood stain removers.

Cleaning Professionals

Vancouver Carpet Cleaning Vancouver Carpet Cleaning

Having a cleaning service isn’t a luxury anymore. Hiring some cleaning help can be a way to balance your busy life and get more leisure time. A cleaning service provides professional assistance that can be invaluable — especially when you tackle some serious problems. Having a consistently clean house prevents insect infestations, clears clutter, and avoids potential fire hazards. The offer in Vancouver is rich and differentiated. Below are listed some of the numerous companies that can help you:

AspenClean

AspenClean, a West-Vancouver-based company and maid service, is well recognized due to its extensive offer of cleaning services. If you’re looking for an “eco-friendly” option, AspenClean may be the right choice. Its owner, Alica Sokolowski, explains that their goal is to remove bottles of chemical-based cleaning products from people’s homes and provide them with a sustainable alternative that works “just as well — or even better.“

Vancouver Carpet Cleaning

A company that specializes in carpet cleaning since 1985, Vancouver Carpet Cleaning nowadays offers more than that. It uses natural cleaning products as well, mainly lemon-based. Whether it’s your carpet, upholstery, air conditioning, or duct that needs professional help after winter, you should try calling them.

Molly Maid

Molly Maid is often proclaimed to be the best cleaning service in the whole of Vancouver. The company emphasizes the importance of keeping the environment in mind, and their Green Housekeeping program has been extremely successful. Molly Maid’s website also includes valuable information on topics related to spring cleaning, such as green cleaning tips or simple solutions for spring cleaning.

"Well done is better than well said."

Once the last checkbox has been ticked and your house is gleaming from roof to basement, celebrate a job well done. It’s sure to be a well earned spring bonus!

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