Winter Cleaning For Spring Enjoyment
We all know that spring screams spring cleaning … but these cold winter months have us stuck indoors, dreaming of the throw-open-your-windows-and-doors weather that spring brings. Why not take advantage of this stuck-inside season and get ahead of the so-called spring-cleaning game by attacking those cleaning jobs now? When it’s finally warm again, you won’t have to spend your days tackling these tasks, and instead, can start soaking up the spring sun!
Closets/drawers/basement/attic/garage storage areas. This one comes first on the list, because you can get started with purging and organizing your stuff long before the weather turns nice – laying a nice groundwork for all the heavy-duty cleaning to come. For added efficiency, pre-gather suitable containers for carting away no-longer needed or wanted items, plus a list of local organizations that accept donations – or even better, ones that will come and pick up your donations.
Curtains/drapes/blinds. Some curtains can go right into the washing machine, but many will require professional dry cleaning. For washable types, you’ll want a detergent formulated specifically for delicate fabrics and/or to guard against color fading. For vinyl blinds, especially if you don’t wipe or vacuum them regularly, be prepared to take them down for a good soak and scrub in the tub.
Carpets/rugs. It is strongly recommended that you clean your carpets and rugs at least once every 12 to 18 months (why, you ask? Your carpet contains roughly 200,000 bacteria per square inch on average, making it technically 4,000 times more germier than a toilet seat; it can hide one pound of dirt per yard and still appear clean; 2,000 dust mites can survive on a single ounce of carpet dust; and even the most powerful vacuums struggle to extract dirt and germs from the base of carpet fibers). Steam- or dry-machine clean your rugs, which can be done by a professional or with rented equipment, to help get rid of this grossness. Go ahead and book your slot now to get ahead of the upcoming spring-cleaning rush.
Mattresses. Flip, rotate, and vacuum mattresses thoroughly with an upholstery attachment at least twice a year. And once spring does finally return, if you’re able, move mattresses outside for a few hours of fresh air and bright sunshine to kill off any dust mites that might have taken up residency.
Heavy bed linens. Wool blankets need professional dry cleaning, but virtually everything else can go right into the wash with a mild detergent. Note that down and other heavy comforters and quilts need front-loading machines and dryers with extra-large capacities (think laundromat), both to ensure cleanliness and to avoid damaging the filling. Avoid using fabric softeners with down and use dryer or tennis balls to restore maximum fluffiness.
Pillows. It’s best to wash bed pillows at least once every six months. For regularly-maintained pillows, a daily detergent should do the trick; for heavier soils, though, add a detergent booster such as OxiClean or Borax. Never use bleach or fabric softeners, which will damage the filling. Use dryer or tennis balls for fluffing.
Furniture upholstery. While regular vacuuming is best for preserving upholstered furniture, deep cleaning at least once a year is recommended. How you clean depends entirely on the material, and most sofas and chairs will be clearly labeled (usually under the cushions) with cleaning instructions. For fabrics that can withstand a little moisture, steam cleaning – often with the same machine you rent for cleaning carpets – is one great option. Sprinkling with baking soda or even a bit of rug cleaner then vacuuming after 30 or so minutes is an effective, dry alternative.
Bathroom. In addition to deep cleaning the bathrooms, and tidying up items under the sinks, a few other things to address specifically include: de-clogging drains; cleaning steam exhaust fans; washing or replacing mildewed shower curtains and liners; and addressing any hard soap scum buildup on shower doors and walls.
Floors. The floors in your home bear the biggest burdens of both winter (wet, salt, and grit) and early spring (mud). Your last big task of the pre-spring cleaning season should be to deep clean your floors, plus any needed stripping, waxing, and re-sealing.
Owner of MaidPro of Raleigh and Wake Forest.