March 27, 2015
Spring cleaning. Either you love it or you hate it. Well for all of you who love it, you’re probably getting pretty excited! For those of you who hate it, just remember not to overwhelm yourself. Believe it or not, most chores only take 10 minutes. If you start room by room, it won’t seem like such a daunting task! If you’re like me you need the music up loud the windows open… around here, that’s usually in April some time. Check out these tips to help you get through the big spring clean and have a sparkling apartment!
Circle Your Way Around: Always begin on the right side of your stove, then move clockwise around the room. The stove is typically the dirtiest part of the kitchen, so ending with it keeps you from spreading dirt and grease. Soak drip pans in warm soapy water. By the time you’ve worked your way around, they’ll be easier to clean.
Sanitize the Sink: It’s hard to believe, but your dirty kitchen sink has more bacteria than your toilet seat. To disinfect, clean your sink with soap and water first, then spray a mist of vinegar followed by a mist of hydrogen peroxide, and let air-dry. (Don’t mix the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide together—spray one after the other.) If your sink is stainless steel, make it sparkle afterward by putting a few drops of mineral oil on a soft cloth and buffing. This prevents water buildup, which deters mold and keeps the sink looking clean longer.
Love Your Oven: Keep the heart of your kitchen clean by lining the bottom with a nonstick ovenliner. It can be wiped with a paper towel, put in the dishwasher and used over and over.
Disinfect the Disposal: To get rid of odors, drop in a cut-up lemon, some salt and a few ice cubes. The lemon deodorizes, and the ice and salt clean away residue.
Microfiber Is Your Friend: Use microfiber cloths instead of paper towels. When wet, they sanitize and clean floors, counters, glass and tile, and eliminate the need for other cleaning products. They’re reusable (machine-wash, hang to dry) and are very cost effective.
Zap the Sponge: We all know that sponges can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Disinfect yours every night by squeezing it out and microwaving it on high for a minute. When it’s shredded and smelly, replace it.
Get a Cleaner Liner: Mold and mildew attacking your shower curtain liner? Throw it in the wash with a few towels, which will help scrub it clean, then hang it back up to dry. Or, purchase a new one every few months. They are usually only a few dollars at your local store.
Tame the Toilet: Drop a teaspoon of Tang Drink Mix in the bowl. The citric acid acts like a scrubber…and it’s nontoxic. Let it sit for a few minutes, then swish and flush. If your toilet tends to develop small spots of mold, pick up some Tilex Mold and Mildew Remover spray. A few spritzes around the waterline, wait 20 minutes, then flush! No scrubbing required.
Corral Strays: Keep drains free of hair and clogs by using a product like Drano or Liquid-Plumr to make sure potential clogs are gone, then pour boiling water down drains once a week to keep problem-free. Get rid of those annoying stray hairs on the floor by sweeping them up with a damp wad of toilet paper every morning.
Sparkling Shower: A hand-held kitchen dish scrubber filled with 50% Dawn dish soap and 50% vinegar will scrub your shower clean easy peasy! Keep the scrubber right in the shower for a quick and easy wipe down once a week.
Pick the Right Broom: For indoors, choose one with finer bristles to pick up smaller dirt particles. For outdoors, go for stronger, stiffer bristles, which work better to clear porous surfaces.
Super Storage: Store brooms with the handle down. It makes them easier to find and protects the bristles.
Banish Dust Bunnies: Pick the proper dustpan. Minimize that annoying line of dust by choosing a dustpan with a rubber edge.
Start with the Bed: If your bed is made, your bedroom looks neat, says Marla Cilley. When you wake up, pull the covers up to your chin, then scissor-kick your way out of bed so it’ll be half made. Finish the job before you walk away.
Address Your Drawers: Most women have drawers full of clothes they don’t wear, and their dresser tops then become repositories for things they can’t store. Get rid of things you haven’t worn in a year and vow to put away your clean laundry each week.
Keep Just the Essentials: Have a “pamper basket” next to your bed with a book, some moisturizer, your knitting or something else you like to do in bed, says Cilley. Then keep your clock, a lamp and a box of tissues on your nightstand.
Multitask: While on the phone, fold laundry, fluff pillows, pick up stray magazines and books, load/unload the dishwasher, or dust.
Know the Hot Spots: Papers, odd toys and other things usually pile up on the dining room table or kitchen counter. Once you’ve got your table cleaned off, file papers or toss them. One piece of paper multiplies like rabbits!
Go Corner to Corner: When you’re vacuuming, begin in the farthest corner and work toward the door, using slow, repetitive front-to-back motions in an overlapping sequence. As you look over the freshly vacuumed floor, you shouldn’t see any footprints.
Velcro Away Clutter: Label the bottom of each electronic game controller (Xbox, for example), and then Velcro it to the console. You’ll never search for them again.
Make a Lost-and-Found: Every house needs one. Use a cute vintage lunch box or lidded storage container to stash lost game pieces, stray screws and buttons, and similar small items. When you need the item, you’ll know where to look first.
Do Quick Rescues: Do a 5-minute sweep through each room, taking a laundry basket with you. Place in it anything that doesn’t belong in that room, then put away the stuff that does belong there.
Stop Clutter at the Front Door: Mount a plastic or cloth shoe rack inside your front entry closet door, and use it to stash all kinds of living room and family room miscellany—toys, hats, gloves, magazines. You can even designate one of the pockets for mail you’re not sure whether to save or toss.