Anyone who lives in a house knows that cleaning is big part of having a comfortable, livable home. Even tiny home advocates still have to deal with dust bunnies, dirty windows and the fridge. Spring cleaning is synonymous with “a clean sweep” … cleaning the house from top to bottom, which can be a formidable task!
But there are some shortcuts that can make spring cleaning less-formidable so you don’t resort to ignoring the prospect altogether like these folks:
- “Instead of cleaning house I just watch an episode of Hoarders and think, ‘Wow, my house looks great.’”
- “Someone sent me an email about using vodka for cleaning around the house. It worked! The more vodka I drank, the cleaner the house looked.”
- “Always keep several get-well cards on the mantel. That way, if unexpected guests arrive, they’ll think you’ve been sick and unable to clean.”
While cleaning is no fun, everyone loves the end result. Tailored Living® offers spring cleaning tips from the experts—fellow homemakers—to help you achieve the peace of mind and physical well-being that result from a sparkling clean home.
Kitchen cleaning tips
Contrary to what advertisers tell you, you don’t need a different cleaner for every type of surface in your kitchen. Those who actually live in, cook in, and clean kitchens tout natural, non-toxic solutions to clean every surface from floors to countertops and the top of the fridge. For most jobs, all you need is white vinegar, fresh lemons and baking soda to keep your kitchen clean and chemical-free.
- Unclog and deodorize drains and garbage disposals with vinegar and baking soda. Pour 1/2 cup baking soda followed by one cup vinegar into the drain. The foaming action clears clogs, grimy buildup and odor-causing bacteria. Wait five minutes and flush with hot tap water.
- Freshen up the garbage disposal by dropping in one-half of a cut-up lemon and some ice cubes and run with lots of water until the lemon is history! You’ll love the citrusy smell. (Run the garbage disposal every night before bed; you never know what’s in there.)
- Use the other half of the lemon like a scrub sponge to remove hard water stains and rust from stainless steel faucets and fixtures, then rinse and dry.
- Use equal parts white vinegar and water to clean the inside of your fridge. Use a micro-fiber cloth to wipe down walls, shelves, drawers and doors, including sealing gaskets. Use vinegar full-strength on the top of the fridge (and the stove hood) to cut the grimy buildup. Put a new, open box of baking soda in the clean fridge to absorb odors.
- Deep clean a microwave by placing a cup of water in a bowl with either two tablespoons white vinegar or sliced lemon peel, and microwave on high for five minutes. Let it set with the steam for another five minutes and wipe it clean. Even baked-on food comes right off. (Use a cover when microwaving food to prevent future messes.)
- Clean a coffee maker with 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar. Use a regular filter and, halfway through the cycle, turn it off for 30 minutes to steam-clean, then finish the cycle. Final rinse with two cycles of fresh water.
- Clean your dishwasher by filling a mug with vinegar or baking soda (or a mug of each) and place right-side up in the top rack without any other dishes in the dishwasher. Run a normal cycle for a shiny interior.
- Clean stainless steel sinks by sprinkling baking soda on a damp sink and scrubbing with a sponge.
Bathroom cleaning tips
- Hang onto those used fabric softener sheets. They are a quick scrub-up-and-toss for bathroom fixtures, sinks, and washer and dryer tops. They pick up dust, remove grime and create shine. They also remove soap scum and hard water stains from shower doors, leaving a water-repellant finish so water beads up and runs off.
- Pour 1/2 cup of vinegar in the toilet and let it set for a few minutes while you wipe down the toilet rim, lid and sides with a vinegar spray. Then brush and flush.
- Clean the toilet while you sleep by pouring in a can of Pepsi or Coca Cola and letting it set overnight.
- If your showerhead is clogged or covered with hardwater stains, you can clean it by letting it soak in vinegar overnight. If it’s detachable, just place in a container and cover with vinegar. If it’s not detachable, fill a Ziplock baggie with vinegar and secure the bag over the showerhead so it’s fully submerged. Sparkling clean by morning! (Works for kitchen faucets too.)
- For bathtubs and showers, coat the surface with a 1:1 paste of baking soda and water, then spray with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water and wipe it clean. Works for both tile or vinyl shower stalls.
Spring cleaning tips for the whole house
When cleaning, follow the old rule of top to bottom and front to back. It saves time and you won’t be covering any territory twice. Usually, doing the floors last is a good idea so any dust or debris from other cleaning will be removed.
- Vacuuming is the best way to clean floors, removing dust, dirt and pet hair. A Swiffer with a microfiber cloth is a great quick pick-up for hard-surface floors.
- Most hard floors can be mopped with a mild vinegar mixture that will not leave any chemical residue on the floor. Add 1/2 cup of white vinegar to one gallon of warm water (32:1 ratio), with optional two tablespoons of mild dish soap. Wring out your mop as dry as you can and mop section by section, in one direction, refreshing the mop regularly. Do not saturate the floor and wipe up any puddles. No need to rinse; the vinegar is a natural disinfectant and the smell will disappear as the floor dries.
- Wash windows on a cloudy day to avoid streaking from sunshine drying the windows too quickly. Make a solution of two cups water to 1/4 cup vinegar (8:1 ratio) with a squirt of liquid dish soap. Spray on or clean the window with a wet cloth and wipe dry with a coffee filter, wadded newspaper or a microfiber cloth. Puts a shine on mirrors, too.
- Use the dishwasher (apart from the dishes) with your regular soap to clean plastic toys, pet dishes, plastic hairbrushes, stove and refrigerator racks, kitchen sponges and brushes, oven exhaust fan covers and filters, light fixture globes, switch plates and outlet covers, garden tools, and grill grates.
- Chrome and stainless steel fixtures can be cleaned and shined with a light spray of undiluted white vinegar and buffing with a soft cloth.
- Clear away dust and cobwebs from walls and corners with a Swiffer or wrap a towel or old pantyhose over a broom to clean hard-to-reach places.
- Sprinkle carpets with baking soda 30 minutes before vacuuming to freshen. If there are major stains on the carpet then you’ll need to get professional carpet cleaning Florence, SC.
- Dust blinds or shutters by closing and wiping from top to bottom with a dry microfiber cloth. Then flip slats to opposite direction to wipe the other side. Or, latest craze, wrap a pair of tongs with microfiber and clamp the tongs on a slat to clean both sides at the same time.
- Use lint rollers to remove pet hair from upholstered surfaces, as well as dust from lampshades, drapes and throw pillows you can’t wash.
How to clean all those pesky electronics
- Clean computer monitors and TV screens with a dry microfiber cloth to remove dust and fingerprints. For tougher grime, dampen the cloth with water (no running water!) and gently rub the screen clean with a circular motion. Turn off the power first.
- For keyboards, don’t spray any solution directly on the keyboard, use a dampened cloth to clean. Q-Tips dipped in rubbing alcohol clean between keys and disinfect at the same time. Compressed air will remove any stubborn crumbs or dust.
- Disinfect cellphones and tablets in basically the same way, using a manufacturer-approved cleaning product and a microfiber cloth. Power down, don’t saturate, and be sure to completely dry before use.
As you clean, it’s a good time to fill a donation box with things that no longer give joy but only create clutter. Change your color scheme or add bright accent colors in pillows, rugs or decorative art to celebrate Spring and your sparkling clean home! If additional storage will help organize your space and enhance your life, a Tailored Living designer can help with closet organizers, home offices, entryways, garage cabinets, custom garage flooring, pantry storage, and more. Call 866-641-8958 (US) or 866-973-8221 (CAN) today to schedule a free, in-home consultation or go online to www.tailoredliving.com to find a designer near you. If you’re concerned with what may be in cleaning products you use in your home, check the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Household Products Database to research by product name.