When you think of spring you may not immediately think of cleaning. You may think of flowers, or spring break or longer daylight hours. But spring cleaning has long been a tradition that may actually have religious and culturally significant roots. It’s not hard to put together a list of household chores to incorporate in a spring cleaning binge. There are many that we do on a regular (or not so regular) basis that can get amped up, and plenty of others we can think of to include in an annual cleanse. But if you want to go beyond the bathroom scrubbing, curtain laundering and carpet shampooing of most spring cleaning lists, try these readily missed areas you may otherwise forget need cleaned.
Tracks of Sliding Doors: If you’re tracking dirt into your house, you’re probably collecting dirt on your door tracks. Open your sliding doors and examine the tracks. If there’s loose dirt, vacuum it up. If there’s more caked-on gunk, use an old toothbrush to scrub it free, then vacuum or mop it up with a sponge.
Baseboards: We vacuum and mop, but what about the dust and dirt that doesn’t quite make it to the floor? Baseboards are great at collecting grime. Mix water with a little dishwashing liquid and use a sponge or rag to wipe up your baseboards, trim, and window sills.
Area Rugs: It might be kind of obvious to clean your wall-to-wall carpeting. Stains are noticeable and carpets might start to look a little dingy. Or smell a little funky. But, if you have hardwoods or tile, don’t forget to clean your area rugs as well. And not just vacuuming the surfaces. Once you’ve done that, flip up the corners and vacuum the underside of the rug. If manageable, roll the rug up and do a hardcore scrubbing of the floor underneath. It’s amazing how much dust and dirt accumulates under rugs.
Mattress: We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, so it makes sense to clean our sleeping space. Don’t stop at just the sheets and linens. Mattresses accumulate sweat, dust, dirt, hair and dead skin cells. Gross. Not to mention crumbs or stains from your midnight snacking. Once you’ve removed all the linen, vacuum the top with a clean upholstery attachment. Then, sift baking soda over the entire top and allow it to sit for half an hour to an hour before vacuuming up. If you’re able, haul the mattress outside to give it a good old airing out. Don’t forget to replace (or purchase!) the mattress cover. It will help protect against future grime.
Dishwasher/Sink/Disposal: Food particles can really gunk up a dishwasher and cause that really unpleasant smell that sometimes assails us when we open the door. Take out all the racks and really get your head in there. Scrub out the bottom, around the heating element and under the edge of the door, removing any food particles or soapy scum. Pour 2 cups of vinegar into the bottom of the dishwasher and run a cycle sans dishes. For your sink, wash it down with simple soap and water. Then use baking soda and water to form a paste and let it sit for 30 minutes before washing it down. Scrub around the drain and into the disposal as well. Then dump two cups of ice and a disposal bomb down the garbage disposal. Run hot water and turn the disposal on. The ice will sharpen the blades and dislodge debris, while the disposal bomb will help freshen.
Your Cleaning Tools: If the tools we are using to clean aren’t clean then we’re spending a lot of time accomplishing nothing. Throw rags and dust cloths in the washer on a hot water cycle–certain mop heads can be washed too. Soak sponges, scrub brushes, toilet brushes and broom heads in a hot water and soap (or bleach, if you’re not against it) solution. Clean out the hair and grime from your vacuum head, using scissors to cut the hair, clean the filter per your manufacturer’s recommendations and clean all the hose attachments in soapy water, allowing them to dry completely before using.
Ceiling Fans: Spring is in the air and you’re probably going to be turning to your ceiling fans soon to help circulate it. Make sure you aren’t spilling a ton of dust that has accumulated on top of the blades. Take an old pillow case and slide it over each blade, using the fabric to dust the top as you pull it off. This allows the dust to collect in the pillowcase rather than falling onto your bed or other furniture.
Washing Machine: As with your dishwasher or vacuum, you can’t expect your washer to clean your clothes if you don’t clean it. Fill the drum with hot water on your largest load setting. Add 4 cups of vinegar and 1 cup of baking soda and allow the machine to agitate for a few minutes. Open the lid and allow the water to sit for an hour or so. Meanwhile wipe down the outside, and scrub at the crud that gathers around the lid, knobs and crevices. Finish the cycle and then run an empty one to wash away all the grime. While you’re at it, wipe the inside of your dryer out with soap and water and clean out the vent hose and lint trap to keep it functioning efficiently.
Garbage Disposal Bombs:
1/2 cup salt
1 teaspoon liquid dish soap
Mix together the baking soda and salt. Grate the lemon peel into the mixture. Cut the lemon in half, and squeeze in the juice. Add the liquid dish soap and blend the whole mixture together. Aim for a coarse sand texture that is moist, but not wet. Add more lemon juice or baking soda as necessary. Press the mixture into molds, or use a cookie scoop, or 1 Tablespoon measuring spoon to form drops on a cookie sheet. Allow to dry overnight.
Do you have any spring cleaning tips or to-dos?