Sure, the calendar says the new year begins on January 1, but in fact, it’s spring cleaning time that marks the true renewal we all look for each year.
Ashley Brown, who writes the 7th House From the Left blog loves the annual spring cleaning ritual in her home. She looks forward to is just as a kid looks forward to the Tooth Fairy, she says. She and her husband Greg actually spend a couple of days getting the house cleaned, polished, cleared out and repaired.
We asked her to share with us her top ten spring cleaning tips and tricks.
Spring Cleaning Tip No. 1
Let’s face it, keeping the shower glass spick-and-span can be a real pain. Over the past year, the Mister and I have learned that with two easy steps and an extra 55 seconds before getting out of the shower (yes, I actually timed it), you can cut down on an hour or more of scrubbing later.
The first thing we do is use a shower and bath squeegee to remove the water from the glass shower door– yep, after every shower. Doing this will drastically cut down on water spots and water deposit build up, keeping the glass looking extra sparkly, fresh and clean. After some quick squeegee action, we spray down the tile with Method Daily Shower Cleaner. It dissolves mildew stains and prevents soap scum build-up like a champ.
To keep things extra convenient, we store the shower cleaner and the squeegee inside the shower. We hung the squeegee just inside the glass door (so you can’t see it from the outside of the shower) on a 3M Command Hook. This really helps us remember to spend those extra 55 seconds.
Spring Cleaning Tip No. 2
To be honest, I’ve never really been into making my own detergents, cleaning solutions, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about keeping things as natural and non-toxic as possible. That’s why I love Method products so much. However, when it comes to making my own cleaning supplies, I’m always a little skeptical. Last year, a friend of mine told me about a recipe for a natural, non-toxic version for what I call “goo remover”. I reluctantly decided to give it a try, and over a year later I can tell you with certainty that it really works.
All you need are equal parts of baking soda and organic unrefined virgin coconut oil. To fill a 4oz mason jar, you’ll need 1/3 cup of each ingredient.
Right out of the jar, the coconut oil is pretty hard–kind of like the consistency of creamy wax. Because of this, after I measured out the coconut oil, I popped it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, then added the baking soda. While the mixture was still warm, I poured it right into the canning jar. I let it sit out on the kitchen counter overnight with the lid off to solidify.
To use it, all you have to do is take a bit of the mixture, rub it on the sticky area, and let it sit. About five minutes later, use a paper towel or cleaning cloth to rub off the “goo remover”. Rinse the surface using warm water and a bit of dish detergent. I used this to remove labels from my (unnecessary) pickle jar collection and it worked like a charm.
Spring Cleaning Tip No. 3
Coming in at a lofty 6’6”, my husband is a pretty tall guy. He definitely has height on his side when it comes to cleaning the hard-to-reach areas of the house, especially the crown moulding. Luckily, when he isn’t around to help my 5’7”-self out, I have a trick up my sleeve.
All you have to do is take a broom, drape a cleaning cloth on the end of the broom and wrap large rubber band around the cleaning cloth to hold it in place. Before I start wiping down the moulding, I like to spray some Method All Purpose Cleaner on the cloth. That way, it gets dusted and cleaned all at once.
Spring Cleaning Tip No. 4
Dusting fabric lamp shades can be tricky, even when using the amazing Swiffer dusters. Dust particles get stuck to the fibers of the fabric and are really hard to remove.
An easy solution to this problem is to use a lint roller. The adhesive on the lint roller grabs onto the dust particles and lifts them out of the fabric weave. This tip also works really great for bedspreads! If you think about it, they collect dust just like your bedside tables and dresser, so it’s a good idea to dust roll them once in a while. For larger areas, like bedspreads, I love using the Unger Pro Lint Roller. It’s 8-inch-wide, has a big handle (similar to a paint roller) and covers a lot more surface area at once.
Spring Cleaning Tip No. 5
Did you know you can clean glass light fixtures by putting them in the dishwasher? If you’re too busy to dust, wipe down and make sure they’re crystal clear, or if they just need a good, deep clean, you can remove the globes from most lighting fixtures and put them straight into the dish washer. Just don’t try this with any metal hardware pieces or electrical parts!
After cleaning the light fixtures, I always run the dishwasher one more time, but this time empty with a pack of Dishwasher Magic to get rid of any residual dust or gunk. Then you can check the dishwasher off the list of things to clean as well.
Spring Cleaning Tip No. 6
Mircrofiber cloths are absolutely great to have around the house. They’re safe for pretty much any surface and they pick up and hold dirt and dust like no other. I love using Rubbermaid’s Bleach-Safe Microfiber Cloths. On top of being safe for use with chlorine bleach, they’re super durable and color-coded. (Each pack of four comes with four different colors to help tell them apart.)
I use the red cloths for cleaning the bathrooms, green for the kitchen, blue for furniture throughout the house and yellow for widows and moulding.
Rather than running the washing machine to wash just a few cleaning cloths, I have two labeled Sterilite Storage Boxes to organize the cleaning cloths: one for clean cloths, and one for dirty. When the ‘dirty’ bin is full, I simply toss them all in the washer and wash them with hot water and a bit of bleach. That way, we conserve a bit of water and energy and we don’t risk putting the cleaning cloths in with our regular clothes and towels.
Spring Cleaning Tip No. 7
It’s very important to switch out your air filter every month to keep your heat and air conditioning running at top performance. Changing the air filters every month significantly cuts down on dust and allergens throughout the house, as well.
One great way to remind yourself when to change your filter is to write the date you changed the filter on the frame of the filter itself with a permanent marker.
If the marker trick doesn’t work for you, try changing your filter on the day you pay your rent/mortgage every month. Eventually, it’ll become a habit and save you some extra pennies on energy costs. No matter how you decide to remind yourself to change the filter, a great way to save time and money is to buy several air filters at a time (we normally buy up to six at a time and store them in the back of our coat closet). That way, you won’t be able to use forgetting to get one at the store as an excuse.
Spring Cleaning Tip No. 8
The linseed oil seals and protects the wood against dirt and grime buildup, but it doesn’t leave a slick finish that might make the tool slip out of your hand. This has come in handy not only for conditioning older tools but for also preventing newer tools from becoming dry or rotted.
Spring Cleaning Tip No. 9
Bar Keeper’s Friend is one of our all-time favorite cleaning agents, inside and outside the house. We love it because it’s not extremely harsh, and you can use it on a lot of nonporous surfaces. It’s great for porcelain, glass cooktops, quartz counters and stainless steel. You can also use it to remove grease and grime from tools in the toolshed to keep them nice for the next time you use them. Bar Keeper’s Friend even removes rust like a champ.
If you really want to keep your tools looking and working great, hit them with a bit of WD-40 when you’re done to keep them clean and protected.
Spring Cleaning Tip No. 10
I absolutely love the feeling of a freshly spring-cleaned house. It’s almost magical. My last tip is, in my opinion, the best of the bunch because it helps you keep that freshly spring-cleaned feeling around even longer. It could cut down on the cleaning time next time you’re ready to deep-clean the entire house, too.
Each night before you go to bed, set a timer for ten minutes, then use that ten minutes to do some quick “bumblebee-style” cleaning (Think of Flight of the Bumblebee being played in your head). In those 10 minutes, we do five things:
- Wipe down the kitchen counters using Method All Purpose Spray
- Straighten the pillows on the sofa
- Start the dishwasher
- Touch up the floors with a quick run of the stick vacuum – or as we call it the “quick vac” (we’re fans of the Electrolux 2-in-1 Cordless Stick and Handheld Vacuum)
- Take the trash out.
If you can do this every night (or even every other night!), it will really help keep your house in tip-top shape, not to mention, the house will be more pleasant to wake up to in the mornings.
Ashley received a Home Depot gift card, but the ideas and opinions she expressed are her own.