Spring cleaning is an annual chore we typically dread. After all, who has time to do a deep scrub of their entire home from top to bottom? Who wants to do that in between softball games and picnics and spring outings?
Alas, the pandemic has wiped out all our seasonal obligations and we have literally nowhere to be. We need to stay home--so there's no time like the present to wash and wipe and organize every last corner of every single room. And while you might think you're on top of things (and BTW if you are, kudos! It's hard to get anything done with kids stuck at home!), there are likely still spots you're neglecting. So we've tapped home expert Marty Basher to share the most commonly forgotten spring-cleaning spaces.
Door frames — As you move through the house, don’t forget the edges of doors: whether they are closet doors, cupboards, medicine cabinets or the front door, they can all accumulate dirt and grime that you may not notice day to day. For example, kitchen cabinets can get sticky and grimy on the front and edges, from the steam produced by cooking. Same for bathroom cabinets. Most doors have a small amount of gap at the top, and that air flow can help dust accumulate. Wipe down the edges of all these surfaces for an extra level of clean.
Ceiling fans — Another dust accumulator are the blades on ceiling fans. As hot air rises, taking dust and debris with it, the blades can end up getting thick, stuck on coating over winter, when they’re less in use. Light fixtures and chandeliers also have this issue. Lightbulbs in particular attract dust through the electromagnetic waves they emit, creating a magnetic field that inevitably attracts dust.
Area rugs — You might have thought to rent a steam cleaner or hire a service for the broadloom in the bedroom, but what about the area rugs that you’ve placed here and there? The amount of dust and grime that accumulates but isn’t necessarily visible can be surprising! A run around with the vacuum might not be enough. If they’ve been in your home for a while, consider a professional rug cleaning service.
Closet revamp — Everyone knows about decluttering closets and adding hooks and shelving to make it more user friendly but the change of season is also the ideal time to change how you use your closets entirely. Whether it’s the front hall closet or the walk in bedroom closet, use the space seasonally and find storage for out of season items. You don’t need to be looking at mittens and boots in July, so set up one storage space as the alternative seasonal storage area and twice a year, spring and fall, you can shift clothes and accessories back and forth. The advantage to this method is that you have less stuff in your main storage spaces that you use daily, which allows you to see what you have to wear that is seasonally appropriate.
Phones and remotes — How often have you thought of wiping down your smartphone or television remotes? It might have occurred to you in a public space like a hotel, but even at home, these often used items are some of the filthiest items you own. Ideally, you’ll get into the habit of wiping these down regularly!
Garbage bins — Even the indoor bins that you line with bags need a good going over once in a while, to catch dirt and germs that got through or around the liners. Hosing them out and washing them outside is a great job for kids; let the bins dry in the sunshine before you bring them back in.
Check your lint traps — Do you find that your dryer is taking a long time to dry your clothes? While most people know to check the lint trap that is right inside the dryer, you also need to clean the rest of the hose and vent to the outside. Over time, lint and other debris can get stuck in there and they could be a fire hazard, given the heat that emanates from a dryer.
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Wash the washing machine — Every time you run a load of laundry, your machine is accumulating some amount of soap residue, dirt, dust and skin flakes from clothing, sheets and towels. Since most washers aren’t self-cleaning, it’s important to wash it out too. You can run a cycle with some bleach; just be sure to run another so that the washer is thoroughly rinsed and bleach doesn’t get on your next load of colors!
Time to move the fridge — The coils and fan area at the back of your refrigerator can definitely get gummed up over time. Unplug your unit and pull it away gently from the wall. While the coils can be at the front / bottom of the fridge, they are sometimes found at the back and the condenser fan is definitely back there. Use a vacuum to remove all of the dust and debris that has accumulated for better overall functioning and efficiency.
Get to ground level and look under appliances — If it’s not built-in, move it! Even removing the warming drawer at the base of your stove will reveal all manner of crumbs and detritus that are attractive to bugs and vermin, so getting down to ground level and making sure that you clean under appliances where food is prepared is just good sense!
Eliminate mattress dust — Most people remember to flip and rotate their mattress but what about cleaning it? It’s great if you have a cover for it, but that isn’t foolproof protection for dirt, dust bunnies and so on. A better option is to remove (and wash) the cover, and vacuum your mattress, including the nooks and crannies at the edges. If you sprinkle it with baking soda and let that sit for an hour before vacuuming, you will pick up a lot more debris and the soda will deodorize your mattress from any lingering scents.
Wash your pillows — Washing pillow cases is a no brainer but as they aren’t drool proof, washing your pillows once in a while is a good idea too. Double check the labels to make sure that you can do it! This task can be a bit much for a standard washing machine, so you might need to take them to a laundromat with a high capacity machine to get the job done but you’ll sleep better for the effort!
While this might seem like a daunting list of tasks, on top of the normal spring cleaning effort, just remember that you don’t have it get it all done in one day. Take it a room at a time, over several weeks, but you’ll be glad of the effort when it’s all done and you have a sparkling clean, fresh space to call home.
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This is not a paid post. Tips by Marty Basher, design expert with Modular Closets.