Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #52: Spring Cleaning

It’s spring and that means it’s time for some mega cleaning. Here are a few tips to spruce up your house and banish the winter doldrums. And remember: you don't have to tackle everything on the list at once. Spread it out over a few days and delegate tasks among family members!

1. Window Coverings. Take down and wash fabric treatments or dry clean custom drapery. Draperies can also be dusted by lightly vacuuming them with a brush attachment. Blow dust off wooden blinds with a hair dryer set on cool, or wear a pair of soft cotton gloves treated with non-wax furniture polish and wipe the slats with your fingers.

2. Wash Windows: Vacuum inside panes, sills, screens and window frames with a vacuum dust brush and crevice attachment. Use a squeegee with a sponge attachment to wash windows. Start at top right corner, dragging the squeegee to the left. Dry scraper after each pass.

3. Rotate and flip mattresses. Launder dust ruffles and bedspreads and vacuum box springs. Deodorize mattresses with a sprinkling of baking soda. Let it sit for a few minutes, then brush clean and vacuum. Make sure any winter bedding is clean before storing them away for summer as odor attracts moths.

4. Clean the stove. Remove hardened food from grates, knobs and drip pans by soaking them in hot, sudsy water and thoroughly scouring them. Scrub area under the burners where spills collect and suck up what you can with a vacuum hose. This is a good time to clean the oven, too! Don’t forget to pull it away from wall if possible and clean behind!

5. Clean the fridge and freezer: Completely empty both, throwing out anything spoiled or past its expiration date. Store the remaining items in a cooler while you wipe down and deodorize shelves and walls. (Try a solution of 1 tablespoon baking soda to 1 quart of water). Don’t forget dust bunnies and dirt hiding behind and under the fridge.

6. Clear Out Cabinets: Remove contents one cabinet at a time and get rid of expired or unused foods. Donate any unopened foods that are still good to a local food pantry. Clean shelves, replace torn shelf paper, and get rid of any dishtowels that have attained rag status. This is also a good time to weed out dishes and cookware you no longer use. Seriously—do you really need fifty plastic glasses from McDonald’s?

7. Change Out Your Closet and Dresser: Separate clothes into piles to toss, donate, mend or take to the dry cleaner. Moths are drawn to perspiration and food stains, so make sure winter clothing is clean before storing. As you put things away, turn hangers around backwards, turning them the right way when you wear an item. Anything not worn in six months should be tossed or donated.

8. Clean Carpets: For deep cleaning, consider hiring a pro. Improper use of equipment can result in over-soaking and moisture retention that can cause mildew or damage flooring underneath. Choose a company that uses the extraction method of cleaning or rotary followed by extraction. Spot-clean the carpet if it is in relatively good shape. (If you have pets or small children, I highly recommend the Bissell Spot Lifter—it’s portable, lightweight and easy to use!)

9. Spiff up the Bathroom: Cloth shower curtains can be machine washed with a little bleach to rid mildew trapped in the folds. Wipe down plastic curtains with a bleach solution to rid them of mildew, and replace them regularly. Clean shower-doors with a glass cleaner. Clean the tracks by wrapping a toothbrush with #000 fine steel wool and wedging it back and forth. Don’t forget to snake out tub and sink drains. You’d be amazed what kind of gunk collects in them!

10. Purge: Moving through each room individually, fill a basket with things you rarely use or just take up space. Donate items in good condition to local charities such as Good Will, The Salvation Army, a local shelter or St. Vincent de Paul. Go through each room more than once and be brutal! Let children help by suggesting they donate unused toys to a local charity.

11. Replace Batteries in smoke detectors and carbon-monoxide detectors. Remove dust with your vacuum's brush attachment. Test flashlight batteries and bulbs, and inspect pressure gauges on fire extinguishers and have them serviced immediately if necessary.

12. Remember Ceiling Fans and Chandeliers. Both can be cleaned using soft gloves and either non-wax furniture polish for fans or glass cleaner for chandeliers. Make sure you clean the bulbs, too, as dust can reduce their brightness. Replace burned out bulbs with longer-lasting energy efficient ones.

13. Clean and Replace Filters. This should be done in both fall and spring. Outside air-conditioning units, clothes dryers, furnaces (in fall), and refrigerators all have filters that should be cleaned regularly, but don’t neglect vents in the kitchen and bathroom, either.

And one more:

14. Love Your Vacuum Cleaner. Cut away threads or hair from the rotating beater or wheels and install a new bag. If you have a bagless vacuum, thoroughly clean the canister. Replace the belt if it is stretched or cracked.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens:

Adelle Laudan * Kat Oxley * Kaige
Tempest Knight * Debbie Mumford * Shelley Munro
Alice Audrey * Jennifer Shirk * PussReboots
Gina Ardito * Darla * Debora * Jennifer McKenzie
Tara Nichols * Nina Pierce * Paige Tyler
Inez Kelley * Ms Menozzi * AJ Chase
A. Catherine Noon * Gwen Mitchell
Chloe Devlin * Jenna Bayley-Burke * Eden

(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Kaige said...

Waaaahhh! But I'd rather just go sit on the back patio and bask in the sun. Maybe I should take the time to give the patio a good sweep and go buy some plants to spruce up the place.

Happy TT!

Adelle said...

You were right! I'm breaking out in hives. Gotta go..... so allergic to housework! ahhhhhh!!!!

Heather said...

ROFL Kaige and Adelle!

Kaige~ I think sprucing up the patio definitely counts towards spring cleaning.

Adelle~ Need some calomine lotion dear? ROFL

Alice Audrey said...

I know you must be suffering from cabin fever, but come one! No way I'd do all this.

Heather said...

Alice~ Yes, we are experiencing a bit of cabin fever here, LOL. You don't have to do your spring cleaning all in one day, though. Spread it out over a long weekend! Hehe....

pussreboots said...

Dust ruffles? Custom treatments? Not at this house. Happy TT.

Shelley Munro said...

Eeeek!! Don't put horrid visions into my mind. LOL I hate housework.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oh, poo. Now I feel like a slacker. I SO need to clean my curtains and inside my kitchen cabinets.

Gina Ardito said...

You mean people actually DO this stuff?! (shiver!) How 'bout I just leave my dust bunnies alone 'til I sell the house (in 20 years or so) and start all over someplace else?

Darla said...

Well.... I've flipped the mattresses. Maybe next spring I'll get to something else one the list. :)

debora said...

HA! - My TT was chores I hate - wanna come to my house and help me learn the joy of doing the things on your wonderful list? Happy Spring cleaning to you :)

Jennifer McKenzie said...

That made me tired just reading it. Of course, I'm lazy. LOL.
*sigh* I know I have to do this stuff.

Tara S Nichols said...

s tracking mud through my house all season so I have to wait until summer to actually clean up what they brought in. ugh. Dog shoes anyone?

Heather said...

Puss~ I did rotate my matress a few weeks ago, but my window treatments consist of ugly off-white verticall blinds supplied by management. I hate them. They were a major pain when my cat was still alive, as I was taking a lint brush to them once a week.

Shelley~ I hate housework too, but I hate living in a sty worse. LOL

Jennifer S~ LOL...didn't mean to make you feel like a slacker. Kitchen cupboards I can deal with, but you have noooo idea how much I put off cleaning the bathroom. Yuck!

Heather said...

Gina~ Yes, people actually clean their homes! LOL I do hear you on starting someplace else, though. I'm tired of my apartment and am in desperate need of new scenery -- not to mention new carpet and fresh-painted walls.

Darla~ ROFL I admit -- it much easier when I had a matress that could be flipped every 6 months than one that needed to be rotated (the consequence of having a pillow-top mattress *sigh*).

Debora~ Ha! Nice try. I didn't say I enjoyed spring cleaning, but I do love how fresh a thoroughly clean home smells.

Heather said...

Jennifer M~ LOL - yeah, I don't like doing a lot of this stuff, either, and admit there are some things that won't get done. Like pulling the fridge and stove out. I can't do those on my own due to neck issues. I do intend to pop the top of the range and scour that, though...eventually.

Tara~ I don't have the dog-tracking-mud problem, but I am tired of people tracking salt across my living room. There's a reason for the mat inside the front door, people - use it, and if you're staying a while, leave your shoes by the door!

A. Catherine Noon said...

I love it! What great suggestions! I particularly like the idea of cleaning blinds with gloves and cleanser. Terrific!

Heather said...

Thanks Catherine, and thanks for visiting! :)

Chloe Devlin said...

It's scary how many of those things I don't do. But I'm going to start. There's some great ideas there and I need them for spring cleaning.


Paige Tyler said...

Eeeek! That's quite a list! LOL!


My TT is at

Eden said...

Great tips! I'll have to start my own cleaning soon. I've started, its just the continuing that's difficult.

And you say you can use the hoover on the windows? *manic gleam in eye*

Heather said...

Eden~ yes, you can use the hoover on windows - among other things! LOL

Hi Chloe and Paige~ Thanks for visiting!

Debbie Mumford said...

OMG, Diva! You have waaaaay too much cleaning energy. You better channel some of that into writing! *lol*

Heather said...

Debbie~ Darn, you found me out! Now you know what I do when I should be writing. LOL

Gwen Mitchell said...

A woman after my own heart! You go girl!

These things are all on my list too! *g*

Annie said...

You are way more ambitious than I. But I did get some hydrogen peroxide and spread it with q-tips on the embedded grime around the sink and faucets today. Bubble, bubble, and then wipe, wipe - pristine clean. And rubbing alcohol makes the faucets shine like new. I did that too.

Kathleen Oxley said...

This list scares me!! So many things that I need to do that I don't want to do. *sigh*

travelingmama said...

I'm totally inspired! Off to go clean out a closet...

Heather said...

Thanks Gwen! Good luck with your spring cleaning!

Annie~ Not that ambitious at all - really. While I've done some cleaning, I've not been able to do the deep-clean I'd like to due to being sick.

Aw, need to be scared. Pick a project and do a little on it at a time. ;)

Thanks for stopping by, Tina - good luck with that closet!