Spring is almost upon us, and with it comes that "joie de vivre" to do our annual spring cleaning (NOT!). And, while we all make sure to clean from high to low (and betwixt and between), there are always those overlooked areas, rooms, spots and items in our homes that also need our TLC. Read on to make sure your home is spotless this spring!
The Fridge (Behind, Under and On Top)- There's lots of food particles and crumbs underneath and behind the refrigerator, so slide it out to vacuum and wash behind it. If you can’t slide it out, simply cover a fly swatter with an old, lightly dampened sock to reach into those crevices.- Clean the drip pan. Believe it or not, this is a roach's favorite happy hour spot and drinking fountain (yuck)! To clean it, scrub with white vinegar and a toothbrush, then wipe clean with a dry microfiber brush.- Carefully vacuum the coils with an upholstery attachment, but be sure to turn the refrigerator's power off first. You'll want to clean these coils thoroughly, because the fridge won’t work as efficiently if they're clogged. It will use more energy and cost you more money!- Clean any rubber gaskets or seals with white vinegar. If you keep vodka in your freezer, use that instead. Vodka is a natural sanitizer and terrific multi-tasker that kills 99.9 percent of germs, bacteria and mold. Afterwards, apply a thin layer of Vaseline to the seals to keep them from drying out and molding over.
The Sink (Applies to All Sinks)- Remove any yuck you see using your hands.- Pour a cup of baking soda, followed by cup of white vinegar, down the drain. Once it stops bubbling, pour a kettle of hot water down the drain. (Side note: If you’re not sure that your baking soda is still good, you can test it by adding some vinegar — if it doesn’t bubble, chuck it!)- Clean your garbage disposal the same way. To sharpen the blades, run a few ice cubes (or those leftover eggshells from breakfast) through the mechanism.
The Dishwasher- Do the Tang-o: Fill the dispenser with TANG, Crystal Light or Country Time Lemonade and run the dishwasher for a full-cycle (sans dishes) to eliminate streaks, scum and mineral build-up — it’s the citric acid that does it!
Fireplaces (Soot Can Trigger Allergies and Breathing Problems)- Sprinkle wet coffee grounds or tea leaves over the ashes to make cleaning them up easier.- Once absorbed, use a fireplace shovel to scoop the ashes into a bucket or paper bag. (Remember to save them, as these ashes are great for cleaning glass doors.)- Use a damp paper towel to wipe down the fireplace, then finish with a soft microfiber cloth. Alternatively, mix one part white vinegar with one part warm water in a spray bottle and dampen the dingy area. Then, simply wipe the fireplace clean.- Once you start a new fire, throw a handful of salt into the flames. This helps keep the chimney clean.
Microwave- Place a lemon (cut in half) into a bowl of water and microwave for five minutes.- Let cool and remove bowl.- Wipe down the inside of the microwave with a paper towel or a microfiber cloth.
Real Plants (Go Bananas!)- House plants are a great natural air freshener, but if they aren’t dusted off and cleaned, they become harbingers of molds and dusts that may worsen allergies. So peel that banana and use the soft inside to dust, shine and freshen the foliage. It leaves behind a tropical scent! (You can also use mayonnaise to dust house plants. It works to polish furniture, too!)
Artificial Plants- Place the plant upside-down in a paper bag (any supermarket variety will do) and add a cup of salt.- Fold the bag and shake thoroughly. Remove the plant and use a blow dryer or toothbrush to dislodge any remaining salt.
WindowsWhile you probably won’t forget to clean them, you probably should — at least on sunny days. Under direct sunshine, windows dry too fast and become streaky. Wait for a cloudy day!