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Spring is here which means it’s time to whip your house into shape. After months of being locked up tight I can’t wait to open all the windows and clean everything . My Grandma was the person who taught me the importance of cleaning the things you normally don’t think about or those things you easily overlook. Today we’re going to go over the places or things in your home you’ll want to clean and I’ll give my opinion on products I like and use. Let’s jump in…
Spring Cleaning 101
- Ceiling and Walls
You may notice a few cobwebs in a corner or behind the TV stand. Everybody gets those and hopefully brushes them away. But have you ever really checked your walls for dust? Especially if you live in a home with forced hot air heating!? If you’ve never dusted or wiped your walls/ceiling down before you might as well start right now. If you have a smooth ceiling you can use a Swiffer or soft broom to thoroughly wipe any dirt, dust or cobwebs from it. I have popcorn ceilings so I can’t use a Swiffer. I recommend using a bristled cleaner like a Webster on textured surfaces. My Webster bit the dust so I’m using the hose and attachments on my vacuum cleaner to sweep up cobwebs on my ceiling and ceiling trim. I go from room to room in my one story home until I’ve finished all of them.
Once my ceilings are wiped or swept I take my Swiffer and sweep down all my walls and doors. (You can use a broom or Webster here also if you don’t own a Swiffer.) Make sure you’re changing your Swiffer cloths once it looks dirty or dingy. You may only need to change it once or twice. Concentrate on areas behind furniture and above heat sources. Don’t worry if the dust falls onto furniture or the floor because we’ll be cleaning that later on. When all of your walls have been brushed or wiped down it’s time to move to the next step.
- Upper Cabinets, Tall Shelves, Door and Window frames and Ceiling Fans
When it comes to dusting high places different people have different products they may like and use. If you have a favorite technique use it but if you’re looking for a new way to clean you can follow along and try one of my recommendations.
Starting with the ceiling fans use a ladder or step stool (if you’re comfortable standing on one) and wipe each blade top down with a soft cloth. Dust away any cobwebs, too. If you’re more comfortable standing on the floor you can use a telescoping Swiffer Duster or anything else with a tilting head to dust the blade tops down.
Once the fans are wiped clean and free of dust you can move on to your kitchen cabinets. I’m referring to the upper cabinets that are open on the very top. If your cabinets go the whole way to the ceiling or have a built in bulkhead soffit you can skip this step. It helps to have a dust buster or a vacuum with an extra long hose for this job but you can use a hand broom also. Starting at one end of the top, sweep the dust and debris towards the opposite end. Continue sweeping until everything is on a pile and you can sweep it onto your dustpan. Or using your dust buster, start at one end and sweep up all dirt, dust and debris from one end to the other. Do this for all of your cabinet tops. Wipe down the fronts of your cabinets now.
Next move onto the door and window frames. Wipe/dust the top of each one. I either use a microfiber dusting cloth, Swiffer Duster or Norwex Envirowand. You can even run the cloth or duster over the top of the door, too. If the door usually stays open there’s a good chance it will have dust on top. And don’t forget to dust your blinds! I recently bought one of those little three fingered cleaner things to use on blinds and it’s easy and quick to use.
If you have any tall shelves or wall shelves now is the time to give them a good cleaning. Wipe down the very top first and work your way down. Remove nick-knacks and fully dust each shelf if there is more than one.
- Pictures, Lamps and Furniture
Start at your highest points where you have pictures or wall decor and remove them. Wipe and dust each piece then either hang it back up or replace it with seasonal decor. Move onto lampshades and the lamp itself. I prefer to use my vacuum attachments to clean my shades. It really gets the dust out of fabric shades better than a feather duster. Don’t forget to dust the bulb – carefully. Using whatever dusting method you prefer wipe down all of your hard surfaces (coffee table, side tables, entertainment center, etc.).
At this point your house should be completely dusted. Go ahead and vacuum every room to gather all the dirt and dust stirred up which has now settled down on the floor.
- Windows and Doors
Are you excited to wash your windows? I know they get a bad rap but the house feels so much brighter when they’re clean. Start in your main living areas. Here we’re going to clean the glass but we’re also going to clean around the glass also. I like to use a spray cleaner like Windex or a bucket of warm water with some vinegar to wipe down the window frames. You can either wipe all your frames then go back and clean the glass or clean the frame and window then move to the next one, it’s up to you. When you go to clean the actual glass I have a couple products I recommend.
Kaywos Cloth – I recently discussed this awesome cloth in one of my First Friday Faves posts. It has not disappointed me yet! You simply rinse the entire cloth then wring it out. Wipe over your entire window working from top to bottom and let it dry. There is no need to dry with a separate cloth. The result is virtually streak free windows!
Norwex Window Kit – Norwex sells an awesome ‘super powered’ cloth that works great at cleaning everything from windows to counters and more. I love to use it on windows then follow with there drying cloth designed specifically for windows and glass. These products deliver fabulous results and leave your windows virtually streak free.
Windex, Glass Plus, etc. – You can use pretty much any cleaner from liquid to foam and get decent results. You’ll spray the glass and wipe it down with a paper towel or coffee filter until dry. Unfortunately I get streaks a large percentage of the time when using this method.
I recommend washing your windows on a cloudy day or when the sun isn’t beating down on them in order to help prevent them from streaking.
Take down your curtains or window coverings and give them a good fluff. Depending on what shape they’re in you may need to wash them but if they aren’t dirty then you can probably skip the washing machine. Throw them in the dryer and run the fluff or air cycle to get the dust out of them. Replace them when finished.
Now we’re going to wipe down all of the doors throughout the house. You can also wipe down your cupboards, too. I like to take a bucket and pour about 1/4 cup of white vinegar in it then fill the bucket about half full with warm water. Sometimes I’ll add a drop or two of Dawn dish washing liquid. The Dawn dish washing liquid isn’t necessary but it is very helpful when battling grease and grime.
I use an old dish rag or wash rag and soak it in the water, wring it out and then wipe down the front and back of each door. It’s amazing at how much dirt and grime can accumulate around the knob and at the bottom where pets rub against. Rinse your rag every so often and continue until all of your doors are fresh and clean. I usually let my closets hang open until the doors are completely dry on the inside which doesn’t take long.
I recommend wiping your cupboards down at this time now. Refresh your bucket with new vinegar, water and dish soap. Wipe the entire front and inside of each cabinet door with your wash cloth. If your cabinet doors are really greasy (especially above the stove) you may want to clean that part last and add more Dawn or another type of degreaser to your water.
phase 5 – the final phase
It’s time to break out the vacuum again. This time we’re going to vacuum all of the soft furniture. Everything from the sofa and loveseat to the ottoman and cat jungle gym. Sweep over all your fabric furniture. Make sure to lift each cushion and get those pretzel crumbs and cheerios but watch out for loose change, hair ties, cat toys and matchbox cars. Sometimes it’s like a treasure trove in there!
When the furniture has been swept move onto the floors. Take advantage of your vacuum’s accessories and use them to reach into the deepest, darkest corners of your rooms. Sweep behind and under the things you typically don’t.
When everything is vacuumed grab a glass of wine, sit back and relax. You’ve worked hard and now is the time to kick your feet up and enjoy your clean fresh house. More importantly, don’t feel like you need to conquer your entire house in one day. Spread it out over a couple of days making sure to end each day with a clean floor. Don’t knock all of your dust down to the floor and leave it there for three days or you risk spreading it throughout the house again.
Hopefully you’ll feel as accomplished as I do after tackling this project!