With the official start of spring in less than one week, it’s time to fling open the windows, let out that stuffy winter air and repair the damage to the interior of the home. You know – the mud, muck and grime that accumulates over the harsher season.
Spring cleaning is a huge job, but, like eating an elephant, it’s one that can be taken on one bite at a time. We’ve rounded up some simple sunshine-and-fresh-air cleaning hacks to get you started on your spring cleaning.
Wash the windows
It doesn’t do any good to have gorgeous sunlight streaming through the windows if they’re still covered in winter grime. And, cleaning windows doesn’t have to be the time-consuming chore so many think it is.
Always wait until the sun isn’t shining on the window to begin the job. Then, gather up your tools. You’ll need a bucket, dishwashing soap, a strip applicator for large windows, a squeegee, two lint-free rags (microfiber cloths, old linen napkins or cloth diapers are ideal) and a chamois.
Squirt just a few drops of detergent into a bucket of water and use one of the rags (or the strip applicator), dipped into the solution, to wash the window. Then, use the squeegee to wipe the soap from the window.
“Starting at the top left, pull the squeegee over the soapy pane in a reverse-S pattern (left-handers would start at the top right),” suggests the experts at thisoldhouse.com. “At the end of each stroke, wipe the squeegee’s blade clean with a lint-free rag.” Cloth diapers or old linen napkins are perfect for this task. Use a chamois to remove any moisture left around the edges.
Clean and lubricate the tracks
Now that the windows are clean, don’t neglect the tracks. Sliding door tracks act as a catch-all for dirt tracked in from the outdoors, pet hair and other debris. When enough gunk builds up, the door and the screen fail to work properly.
The basic track cleaning is easy; just use the vacuum cleaner to suck up the loose dirt and then a vinegar-soaked rag to clean what’s left.
Lubricate the rails with WD-40 or a non-stick silicone lubricant, such as one manufactured by Dupont that you can buy at any large hardware store or the 3M product, available at auto products retailers.
If the bottom of the sliding doors haven’t been cleaned in some time, you may want to remove the doors and clean and lubricate those as well. You’ll find a handy walk-through of the process at wikihow.com.
Dust the blinds
We found an amazingly simple blind-cleaning hack at momasaurus.com that involves socks and kitchen tongs. Simply slide a sock over each “claw” of the tongs, secure with a rubber band and swipe each blind while pinching the tongs. Erin, Momasaurus’ diva, suggests you put on your favorite playlist and “shake your hips” as you dust – burn calories AND spring clean!
Clean air vents
Sure, we don’t often catch our guests looking up, but if they do, do you really want them seeing the dirt and fuzz hanging from the HVAC vent covers? Not only are dirty covers embarrassing, but they harbor allergens – something that in spring we have enough of.
The first step is to ensure that the heating/air-conditioning system is off. Then, cover anything below the vents that the grime might fall onto, such as furniture and carpets. Vacuum the vents or wipe them with a microfiber cloth. Use a magic eraser on tougher grime.
If it’s been a long time between cleanings, you may have to remove the vent covers and soak them in a sink or bathtub full of hot, soapy water. Allow them to dry completely before replacing them.
Once the vents are clean, change the main HVAC filter so you can start spring with fresh air circulating throughout the home.