It’s that time of year! Many people take this seasonal opportunity to heavy clean and organize their life. Fortunately in Orlando, it is nice year round; however, Spring is also one of the busiest times for moving. Whether you are planning to clean your house to prepare it for sale, have already bought your first house or simply live in your dream home, here are 10 spring cleaning recommendations to keep you on track!
- Organize Your Closets Spring is a great time to organize your closets and get rid of any unused clothing or accessories. It will make your life easier and if you donate your items, you will be giving someone else a gift!
- Wash Walls, Cabinets, Baseboards and Woodwork To clean painted walls, cabinets, baseboards and woodwork, you can begin with a clean cloth or sponge and water. If that doesn’t work, you can add a small amount of mild dishwashing liquid to the water. For tough stains, you can try a little Formula 409 or Fantastic, but be sure to rinse with water. Last resort – try a magic eraser for stubborn marks (I’ve used one to remove an ink stain with little effort).
- Take Care of Your Stainless Steel To keep your stainless steel shiny and clean, use a small amount of stainless steel cleaner along with a microfiber cloth once or twice a week. Using too much can make it look greasy! Also, never use anything abrasive, not even mild products like Soft Scrub. If you do you could scratch and ruin the surface.
- Care for Your Countertops & Tile If you have granite countertops, it is important to have them sealed several times as soon as they’re installed. You’ll know they’re sealed properly when water beads and forms droplets on the surface. Then it is recommended that they are sealed again one year later. To remove grime and mildew, mix ½ cup of ammonia with a gallon of water. For coffee and juice stains, try using a little hydrogen peroxide in water, plus a few drops of ammonia. For everyday wear-and-tear, buff away small scratches with superfine dry steel wool, called “grade 0000.”
- Clean Your Carpet and Upholstery Time to move the furniture and vacuum in those hard to reach places. It helps if you have someone to help you move the heavy items. Despite the amount of times you vacuum, however, carpets and fabric tend to capture and harbor dirt. Not to mention the body oil and germs they’ve absorbed over the winter. If you have synthetic carpeting, you can either rent or buy a shampooer. Be sure to open the windows and turn on the ceiling fans to let air flow and help the carpets dry. If you have wool carpets or rugs, or any that are valuable or delicate, you should contact a professional for cleaning. To keep carpets looking nice, you should remove your shoes when you get home and ask your guests to do the same. It is best, however to leave your socks on because walking around in bare feet leaves natural oils which attract dirt.
- Take Care of Your Tile and Wood Floors When cleaning bathroom and kitchen tile floors, it is best to use a cleaner that has “neutral pH” on the label. For a home “recipe” you can mix ½ cup of baking soda into 2 gallons water and mix thoroughly. Apply with a string or sponge mop. For grout, use the same baking soda and water mixture, and scrub with a toothbrush. The keep your wood floors looking new, use trivets or saucers under plants to avoid water damage, and furniture protectors to avoid scratches. Damp-mop once a week with a mild soap (i.e., Murphy Oil Soap).
- Clean Your Ceiling Fixtures & Check Your Coils Remove dust and dirt from ceiling fans and air-conditioner vents with a feather duster with some polish — or use a cloth and a vacuum with a soft nozzle attachment. You should clean the refrigerator’s condenser coil, usually found behind the toe grille, with a long-handled bottle brush and a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to remove dust and lint. Built-up dust can shut down the unit by causing it to overheat. To remove dust from coils on the back side of the fridge, carefully pull the refrigerator out several feet and vacuum thoroughly.
- Clean the Light Fixtures You can use all-purpose cleaner, a sponge, and a polish cloth. If your home has skylights or tall ceilings, you will need a step ladder and/or extended-reach cleaning tools.
- Clean the Windows and Curtains Using a rubber-edged squeegee is much quicker and more effective than cloth, newspaper or paper towels. They come in a variety of sizes — and a screw-on extension will let you reach high spots. To start, dip a sponge into a bucket of warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap. Wet window; rub dirt away. Dampen the squeegee; start in an upper corner, draw it down from top to bottom. Repeat, overlapping strokes and wiping rubber edge with sponge after each stroke. Dry the windowsills with a cloth. For curtains, you can vacuum and steam-clean them, take them down and wash them in the washing machine (if labeled safe) or have them dry-cleaned by a professional.
- Wash Your Blinds Once or twice a year, wipe wooden blinds with a few drops of gentle wood cleaner on a nearly dry sponge. Aluminum blinds can be washed outdoors: Place them on an old sheet on a slanted surface, and scrub with water and a noncorrosive cleaner. Use a hose to rinse well, and then dry the blinds thoroughly with a towel to prevent rust.
Want to be green while you clean? Here are a few basic “recipes” and techniques to get you started:
- Glass: Mix 1/4 cup vinegar with 1 quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray on glass and wipe clean with old newspaper or a lint-free cloth.
- Countertops and bathroom tile: Mix 2 parts vinegar and 1 part baking soda with 4 parts water. Apply with a sponge, scour, and wipe away.
- Floors: Mix 4 cups of white distilled vinegar with about a gallon of hot water. If desired, add a few drops of pure peppermint or lemon oil for a pleasant scent. After damp mopping the floors, the smell of vinegar will dissipate quickly, leaving behind only the scent of the oil.
- Wood furniture: Mix equal parts of lemon juice and olive and oil. Apply a small amount to a cloth, and rub onto the furniture in long, even strokes.
- Toilet bowl cleaner: Sprinkle a toilet brush with baking soda and scrub away! Occasionally disinfect your toilet by scrubbing with borax instead. Wipe the outside of the toilet clean with straight vinegar.
- Disinfectant: Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar, 3 cups hot water, and 1/4 teaspoon liquid castile soap. Wipe on with dampened cloth or use a spray bottle. Wipe clean.
- Mold and mildew: Wipe with straight vinegar.
- Air freshener: Sprinkle essential oil on a cotton ball, and stash it in a corner of the room. If you have kids, make sure it is out of their reach as essential oils are very strong and could irritate their skin. Lavender is a relaxing scent that is great for bedrooms, and cinnamon, clove, and citrus oils are great for the rest of the house. You can stash a few in the car too—try peppermint, which may help you to stay alert.
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