Few things usher out the cold, stale doldrums of winter like a healthy dose of spring cleaning.  I’m talking about tossing open those shades, throwing open the windows, and really getting down and dirty!  Before you know it, your house will smell, look, and feel as fresh as that warm spring breeze.

Feeling the urge to spring clean is one thing.  Knowing how to do it better and smarter is another.  The first thing you should do is get organized. Decide what needs to be done and make a to-do list that is challenging yet doable.  Include the other members of the family — especially the children.  Give everyone several tasks they can complete without much struggle.  Reward little successes and celebrate jobs well done. Who says cleaning can’t be fun?

Now that everyone has received their marching orders, there are several tips you can employ to produce impressive results without breaking your back!  Consider the following as you begin your quest:

Before you begin, make sure you have all the supplies that you need.  Nothing derails a spring cleanup effort faster than a lack of supplies.

If you don’t own a window squeegee, get one.  Not only do they make window cleaning streak free, they can also be used to remove pet hair from carpets and upholstery.

When cleaning windows, forego the expensive cleaners and make your own solution instead.  Equal parts white vinegar and warm water works wonders. No vinegar? Use one teaspoon of dish detergent instead.

Do not wash windows in the hot sun.  The heat will dry out your solution before you have a chance to wipe it away, leaving hard-to-deal-with streaks.

Do not neglect your window treatments.  Vinyl blinds can be removed, taken outside, and hosed down.  Wooden blinds can be treated with a mild combination of wood cleaner and hot water.  Check to see if your draperies can be laundered in a traditional washer/dryer. If not, hanging them outside on a clear, breezy day will do wonders.

Dusting is usually the bane of any cleaner’s existence. Although still a tedious task in many ways, it is possible to save some time when dusting by starting high and moving down.  This will catch dust as it falls without forcing you to redo anything.

Dryer sheets work as inexpensive alternatives to pricey dust cloths and generally do just as well, if not better.  For hard to reach spaces, tie a towel to the end of a broom and dust ceilings, walls, door frames, etc. Don’t forget to clean ceiling fans and light fixtures.

When you get to the bathroom, dryer sheets can also be used to remove buildup on shower doors and even ceramic tile.  For toilets, use a can of cola to get your bowl sparkling clean. (For cola lovers out there, this is likely a very disturbing thought.)

In both the bathroom and kitchen, a typical sponge can get dirty very fast.  Instead of tossing a used sponge, put it in the microwave for one minute and it will reappear clean and disinfected.

On the topic of microwaves, get rid of baked on food by filling a microwave safe bowl with 1-2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of white vinegar.  Heat for five minutes and those stubborn stains will come out in a jiffy.

Cleaning a stovetop can also give one fits, but it doesn’t have to.  After cleaning it, rub the top with a small amount of car wax and buff with a normal towel.  Not only will your stovetop shine, spills will wipe up quickly and easily.

Use spring cleaning as a time to empty out places that can quickly and easily get bogged down with stuff.  Medicine cabinets, hall closets, and refrigerators are especially good targets for your cleanup efforts. In the case of expired medicines, contact your local hospital or police department for information on safe and proper drug disposal.


By Jamee Larson