Do you feel that? No, not the warmer temperatures, birdsong and brighter sunlight. We’re talking about the itchy feeling that forewarns the annual ritual of throwing everything on the front lawn and deep cleaning the house. It’s time for spring cleaning!
Spring cleaning has been a ritual worldwide since the B.C.E. age (who knew!). In North America, the tradition of starting in March is thought to date back to the 19th century because the weather was warm enough to leave doors and windows open so wind could blow dust and dirt out of the house during the cleaning process. This is also when coal furnaces could be turned off and soot could be cleaned off the walls and furniture. There’s actually a lot of history behind spring cleaning!
There are many articles offering advice and tips on deep cleaning during this time of year, but we assume you have a system down by now. Instead, we curated a list of five places and items around the house that are easy to miss, or maybe this will be the first time they are cleaned. These are also items that should be cleaned more than once a year, so you’ll be able to add them to your to-do list.
Yes, you read that correctly. Have you ever cleaned your lampshades beyond a cursory dusting? Fabric shades can be a magnet for dust, dirt, hair and pet fur that a duster just won’t get through. If your lampshade is sturdy enough, you can use a vacuum to do a deep clean.
Use a bristled brush to sweep off the top layer of dust, then use a brush attachment and vacuum from the top to the bottom of the shade. Follow up with a lint roller to pick up anything that’s left. If the shade is backed by plastic, you can wipe that down with a moist cloth. Cut through stubborn dirt stains on plastic by mixing a mild detergent with water.
If your lamp shade is made of metal, use a soft cloth and warm, soapy water to clean dust off. If you see tarnish, use a polish specifically made for whatever metal your lamp is made from. Follow any manufacturer instructions included with your lamp.
2. Heating Registers
Chances are good that you’ve been running the heat over the last few months. Heating registers and vents can harbor dust and allergens that are then circulated throughout the room. A buildup of dirt also means your heating system has to work harder to warm up your home, which just means bigger utility bills.
Turn off the heat before you begin. Remove the vent covers and wash them with dish soap and a sponge. Use a duster with stiff bristles and a rounded head to clean inside the ducts. If you have a radiator, dust between the fins but don’t use water to avoid rust.
Are we alone in thinking microwaves can be particularly annoying to clean? Chiseling dried food and mysterious stains off the sides of the microwave is not fun. Luckily, we found an easy method to steam clean your microwave during the spring cleaning process that doesn’t involve attacking a week-old buildup of food with a chisel.
Fill a bowl with water and either lemon juice or vinegar; we recommend two cups of water to two tablespoons of citrus or vinegar. If you use vinegar, you can add a drop of essential oil to cover the smell. Microwave the mixture for five minutes and then let it sit for another five to 10 minutes while the steam does its job. Be careful when taking the bowl out; it’s going to be pretty hot. Wipe down the inside of the microwave and tray with a damp cloth or sponge; everything should come right off.
This is a great way to easily clean your microwave as often as needed!
4. Kitchen Sponges
Did you know that the kitchen sponge is the biggest source of germs in the kitchen (if not the entire house)?
According to a test conducted by NSF International, kitchen sponges held at least three times more coliform bacteria than any items in the bathroom, including toothbrush holders and bathroom faucet handles. FYI, coliform is the family of bacteria that E. coli belongs to. Feel a little gross? No worries, kitchen sponges can be disinfected in-between uses!
To clean your sponge between uses, wet it and microwave it for two minutes. The heat will kill most of the bacteria and spores residing in the sponge. Always make sure the sponge is soaking wet because a dry sponge will catch fire! You can also pop the sponge in the top rack of your dishwasher.
If the idea of putting your sponge in the dishwasher or microwave doesn’t appeal to you, there are other cleaning methods. Soak your sponge in a bleach and water mix or in white vinegar for five minutes. It’s important to note these methods will not disinfect your sponge as thoroughly as the microwave or dishwasher.
We recommend cleaning your sponge every day when you run the dishwasher. Replace it every week or when it becomes slimy or develops an odor.
5. Remote controls
What’s the one item in the house everyone is guaranteed to handle almost every day? The remote control. Think about it, everyone in the family (and guests) handles it and may even do so while eating. Have you ever cleaned yours?
Mix just enough dish soap with water to get a sudsy mixture. Take the batteries out of the remote and clean the remote with a cotton swab and the soap mixture (after blotting to remove extra liquid). Be sure to get the crevices around buttons. Be careful to blot as you go so liquid doesn’t get into the device. The soap mixture should be enough to get any dirt, oil from hands or sticky spots off (let’s be real, we’ve all had a mysterious stickiness on remote controls). If you can take your remote apart, do so and clean all the parts.
Wipe down your remote every time you clean the room that the T.V. is in and you’ll have no trouble keeping it clean.
photo used with permission from Pexels
We hope this list has helped you hit some oft-forgotten places around the house and maybe even think of a few more. We also have a post to help you create cleaning schedules so you can stay on top of everything.
Do you have spring cleaning tips for us? Share them in the comments below!
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