Spring cleaning, along with daffodils and hyacinths blooming, is the big farewell to winter! It’s time to refresh and clear out all vestiges of bad weather and being stuck indoors. But the resultant clean house comes at a price, time and energy spent cleaning! Tailored Living® knows the value of a calm and welcoming home and would like to make it easier for you to not only have a cleaner home but also to have more time to enjoy it. So, here are some cleaning shortcuts that can get you to your goal quicker than you might imagine.
A helper is always good, and house cleaning should be a family affair with everyone participating
Use an all-purpose cleaner for multiple surfaces
Despite what the $320 billion-plus cleaning industry promotes, you don’t need a different cleaner for every surface in your home. Whether you buy ready-made or DIY your own solution, you can cut down on products, saving time and money with an all-purpose cleaner. Vinegar, water, and dish soap have been proven as an effective cleaning solution for throughout the home, and vinegar is a safe, natural disinfectant:
- Spray appliances, including stainless steel, with a 50/50 white vinegar and water solution, then wipe dry with the grain to restore shine.
- Clean the refrigerator inside with a 50/50 white vinegar and water solution, wiping down walls, shelves, drawers, and doors, including sealing gaskets.
- Use vinegar full-strength on the top of the fridge and the stove hood to cut that extra-grimy buildup.
- The same 50/50 white vinegar and water solution can be used to clean countertops in kitchens and bathrooms, except for granite or marble surfaces.
- For carpet stains fill a spray bottle with two cups warm water, one-fourth cup of white vinegar, and one tablespoon clear dish soap. Spray area liberally and work into fibers. Let soak for 5-10 minutes and then blot with a clean, dry towel, repeating until stain is removed.
- Mop hard surface floors with one-half cup of white vinegar in a gallon of warm water, with optional teaspoon of mild dish soap. No need to rinse and the vinegar smell will disappear as the floor dries.
- Clean a clogged, scaly showerhead by letting it soak in vinegar overnight (works for kitchen faucets too). If it’s detachable, place in a container and cover with vinegar. If it’s not detachable, fill a Ziplock baggie with vinegar and secure the bag over the showerhead so it’s fully submerged. In the morning, use a scrubber brush to remove gunk, rinse and dry.
- Mirrors, windows, glass tabletops, and glass doors come sparking clean with the 50/50 vinegar and water solution.
- Deep clean a microwave with a cup of water and two tablespoons white vinegar in a microwave- safe bowl on high for five minutes. Let it set with the steam for another five minutes to loosen stuck on food and wipe it clean.
Assemble all your cleaning supplies before you start
Having all your cleaning supplies together in a tote or carrier saves time hunting them down, and you can take them easily from room to room. Keep your cleaning items accessible, labeled, and grouped together. Here are suggested contents for your cleaning tote:
- Spray window/mirror cleaner or all-surface cleaner
- Roll of paper towels and microfiber cloths
- Wood furniture polish and spot foam cleaner for rugs and upholstery
- Lint rollers to remove pet hair and dust from lampshades, drapes, and throw pillows.
- Baby wipes are effective to spot-clean fabrics. They contain very little moisture, have gentle cleaning agents, and dry quickly. Don't confuse them with cleaning wipes, which contain bleach or other harsh chemicals.
Save time by having everything you need with you as you clean
Microfiber cloths are cleaning gold
Having the right tools is half the battle, microfiber cloths are recommended for just about any cleaning project. Use wet for cleaning and dry for dusting. When using wet, wring out as dry as possible to increase absorbency and the fiber's ability to pick up dirt:
- Clean mirrors and windows.
- General dusting of furniture.
- Shining chrome fixtures in kitchens and bathrooms.
- Safely clean computer monitors, cell phones, cameras, iPods, and plasma TV screens. A dry microfiber cloth will remove dust and fingerprints. For tougher grime, lightly dampen the cloth and clean with a circular motion. Turn off the power first.
- Washable microfiber can be cut to fit your Swiffer and save money on disposable cloths.
You can’t beat the handy, dandy vacuum for eliminating dust and dirt
Dust mops, brooms, and Swiffers are ideal for quick sweep cleans, but you just can’t beat a vacuum cleaner with all its attachments for really deep cleaning. Dust, dirt, and pet hair aren’t just moved around, they are sucked up and away. Attachments designed for narrow spaces, upholstery, and brush cleaning let you clean many surfaces quickly. When you utilize your vacuum and its attachments as designed, you can power through room after room more efficiently:
- Vacuums clean carpet and all types of hard surface floors.
- The crevice tool has a narrow nozzle that fits in tight spots, drawers, and corners. Use along baseboards and on stairs along the edges and in corners.
- A flex crevice tool is non-standard, a flexible and narrow tool that allows going under furniture to get at those spots most vacuum cleaners can’t reach. For a clever DIY version, click here.
- The upholstery attachment is safe for cleaning delicate fabric surfaces like drapes, lampshades, mattresses, couches, and chairs.
- A dust brush attachment has a circular brush head that picks up dust without scratching surfaces. Clean window blinds, shelves, wooden surfaces, walls, baseboards, vents, and registers.
Make quick work of a dusty entryway from top to bottom with your vacuum and its specialty attachments
Have a plan of attack to win the war on dirt
Consider the order of the chores and make every step count. For example, you don’t want to dust off the ceiling fan after you’ve dusted all the furniture that sits below it. Work top-to-bottom, side to side, and back to front to avoid having to clean the same area twice. If taking on the whole house in a weekend is too much, go room by room until it’s all clean.
- Swiffer or wipe down the ceiling, ceiling fans, and walls as a first step, down to the baseboards.
- Leave vacuuming/mopping the floor to last so there are no residuals of other cleaning efforts.
- Sprinkle carpets with baking soda 30 minutes before vacuuming to freshen and eliminate odors.
- Save window washing for a cloudy day to avoid streaking from sunshine drying the windows too quickly.
- Soft surfaces like drapes and curtains can be time-consuming to vacuum. They can be refreshed by running them through the air-fluff cycle (no heat) in the dryer along with a damp towel spritzed with Febreze or a favorite essential oil for 15-20 minutes. Hang them back in the windows immediately to avoid wrinkles. This also works to refresh bedspreads, comforters, and pillows between washings.
- Effortlessly improve air quality with The Hardest Working Plants That Clean The Air In Your Home.
Let the dishwasher help you clean more than dishes
You can use your dishwasher for more than just dishes. While you’re doing your thing, the dishwasher can help out by cleaning some unpleasant little items to save you the time. Use a mesh bag or dishwasher basket for small or loose items and put heaviest pieces in the bottom rack.
- Oven exhaust fan filters and vent covers
- Silicone oven mitts and trivets
- Appliance knobs
- Kitchen sponges and scrub brushes
- Microwave turntables
- Fridge shelves and drawers
- Shower caddies, soap dishes, toothbrush holders
- Then, clean your dishwasher by filling a mug with vinegar or baking soda (or a mug of each) and place right-side up in the top rack without any other dishes in the dishwasher and run a normal cycle.
Custom storage cabinets can make any room clutter-free and easy to keep clean
Adopting spring cleaning shortcuts will help with cleaning year-round. Imagine just 10 minutes to keep the kitchen or bathroom shining! But if clutter gets in the way of power cleaning, it might be time to look at storage and organization solutions for your home. Call 866-712-3404 today or go online to www.tailoredliving.com to find a designer near you and schedule a free, in-home or virtual* consultation. With a place for everything, it’s much easier to keep the house clean and the family on board so you can live clutter-free in every area of your home from closets to garage storage cabinets.
*Virtual consultations are not available at all locations.