|Spring Cleaning Tips: Should You or Shouldnt You?
by Marjorie Dorfman
Its that time of year, not as the Christmas song says, "when the world falls in love," but rather when the world looks around and queries, "where the hell did all this junk come from?" Apart from the possibility that you are actually in someone elses house, the stark realization that you need to organize and cleanse is upon you. Restrain your urge to be merry and tackle it head on (if you can find your head, that is). Here we go, some spring-cleaning tips from someone who has some nerve writing about this topic.
|A Clean Sweep
Lets start with some general tips, which may or may not help your situation.
Make a checklist of chores to help get you organized before you begin. This can get a bit tricky particularly if you cant remember where you put the list. For this reason, write the list in duplicate and always keep it tacked to your cleaning smock. Although you should write the list in duplicate, do not check it twice. If you do, you are sure to find some things you missed and your entire cleaning time will be absorbed in updating your list. Leave that job to that fat guy with the beard in the red suit.
Start at the top when you dust and work your way down. This is contrary advice to the suggested path when trying to climb the social ladder, but that can be dusty too, depending on how often you try to climb it.
Wash walls from the bottom up to avoid streaking. Do not confuse your walls with other pieces of furniture in which you must proceed in the other direction. Failure to follow instructions can be disastrous, not to mention rather dusty.
Avoid unnecessary trips back and forth by having all your cleaning tools with you at all times. Dont forget that showing favoritism by leaving some tools behind for certain jobs can cause resentment among your collection and possibly eventual mutiny. Also, avoid cleaning after you have ingested more than a significant portion of roughage. Trips elsewhere can only confuse the cleaning issue, both for you and your tools.
Use old socks as mitts for cleaning difficult woodwork. The most important rule of thumb as far as this tip is concerned is to make sure no one is wearing the socks at the time. Results can be upsetting particularly if the wearer of the socks has somewhere else to go.
Clean as you go along because it takes less time to remove new dirt than old. Do not mix cleaning products. Ammonia and bleach are a fatal combination and have caused the demise of many a household cleaner (person).
Leave baking soda on carpeting overnight. This will allow enough time for the absorption of unwanted odors. Unfortunately, it does not work for unwanted relatives or relatives with unwanted odors. For the elimination of nasty neighbors and relatives, there is some hope with the ammonia and bleach mixture listed above, but if you decide to use this approach prepare to spend some time in prison.
Wash small knick-knacks. Dont dust them. They wont know the difference and this is not only more thorough it also reduces the chance that you will break them.
The next series of tips relate specifically to cleaning walls, both interior and exterior. Heed them carefully and watch out, lest you bang into one in your haste to clean well.
To remove heel marks, rub them off with the eraser from a pencil. Swear to yourself that you will never walk on that wall again!
For a really great wall cleaner, mix 1/2 cup ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda to 1 gallon of wash water.
Nylon socks work better than sponges or cloth on textured walls.
Wallpaper needs to be dusted from the top down. (Otherwise, you will need an additional dusting when finished.) Tie a dust-cloth over your broom and distract the wallpaper and dust by whistling while you work. (Tip stolen from seven dwarves.)
An art-gum eraser works wonders on removing pencil marks and other non-greasy spots from non-washable papers.
For best results in cleaning exterior walls, use a water hose to spray the outside of your home. The force of the spray will remove unwanted dirt and cobwebs. (The spiders wont come back and get you even if they want to, so dont be afraid to destroy their homes. After all, they dont pay rent, do they?)
Make your own spray cleaner. Fill a spritzer bottle with 3 tablespoons ammonia, 1 tablespoon vinegar and the remainder with water. Wrap a cloth around a ruler, spray the cloth and run the flat ends across each blind. (Your blinds wont master the art of measuring, but they will look a lot cleaner afterward! If they just won't come clean or are too stained you may consider shopping online for blinds from blindster.com inexpensive and they carry many styles including heat resistant shades.)
Save those old newspapers for when you do your windows. They will make them shine. (However, make sure the date on the newspaper you are using was a sunny one with no intermittent showers. Otherwise, all may be lost.)
Do not pick a beautiful warm day to do your windows (avoid rainstorms and blizzards as well). Overcast and average temperatures are best to avoid streaks.
Dry windows outside in one direction, and then inside in the other direction. This exercise will keep you on your toes in addition to being privy to the knowledge of which side is the offender if one of them is streaked.
Diluted rubbing alcohol on a cloth rubbed onto the entire surface will clean windowsills very effectively. Dust off the sill with a clean cloth.
To remove the dull haze from mirrors, apply some rubbing alcohol. It will also remove spots from bathroom fixtures.
White vinegar applied to glass shower doors will make them sparkle.
An effective shower cleaner can be made from 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 cup ammonia. 1/4 cup baking soda added to 1 gallon of warm water.
To remove water spots on metal frames, apply some lemon furniture oil.
Use kerosene to remove rusty tile marks.
If you run the shower on hot for about five minutes, a lot of dirt will steam loose. (Too bad you cant lose weight the same way. Or can you?)
Lighter fluid will remove most stains from porcelain sinks and bathtubs. In this case, cleaning may or may not be hazardous to your health.)
To clean grout, wash with two tablespoons of chlorine bleach mixed in one quart of water. After drying thoroughly, then apply several coats of lemon oil. Let dry thoroughly for one hour between coats.
An equal combination of water and vinegar polished with a dry cloth will make dull walls shine.
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Don't miss this excellent book:
Spring Cleaning: The Spirit of Keeping Home
by Monica Nassif, Patrick Fox
Nassif gives housework's homely image a makeover in this pretty little guide to sweeping, mopping and de-junking in the grand tradition of the Spring clean. Acknowledging that few people have time for the full-blown, traditional affair, in which everything in sight gets scrubbed and polished, Nassif encourages her readers to approach cleaning as a ritual, one task at a time, and to look at "caring for your home as an extension of caring for yourself." As she moves through particular areas of the house, Nassif gives task-by-task guidelines complete with tool lists, time estimates and suggestions for celebrating a "job well done."
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