SPRING CLEANING

Top Ten Things To Do

Spring is in the air. It’s time to clear out the winter’s dirt, dust and dank odors. Unfortunately, the last thing on your mind is cleaning when the singing birds and fresh smells of outside are calling to you. But, you can have the freshness of springtime in your home too, if you take the time to work on this list of 10 areas of your home. Use this as a guide and you will be on your way to taming spring fever, and replacing it with peace and tranquility in your home or office.

#1 CLEANING THE CARPETS

If there was ever a time of year to have your carpets professionally done, spring is the time to do it. That way you can ensure that all the deep down embedded dirt, mud, pet dander and grime that have had time to collect and settle through the winter are pulled up and removed from your carpet. Take the time to be thorough with this. Have the carpet technician get underneath furniture, and behind bookshelves and entertainment units. This is an especially good idea for people with young children and those susceptible to seasonal allergies. Remember, a healthy home starts with clean carpets. Also, if you have pets, you know that they have spent a lot of time indoors due to winter. And it’s no secret that your furry friends can wreak havoc on your carpet. Having your carpets professionally steam cleaned can get rid of pet stains and odors right down to the padding and floor underneath.

#2 UPHOLSTERY CLEANING

During the cold winter months, most of us tend to spend a lot more time indoors and in front of the television. This can leave our furniture a hotbed of odor, flaky skin, and pet dander. If you are going to take the time to clean your carpets you should take equal time in caring for your upholstery. Just remember that fabric cleaning is a tricky business, and really should be left up to professionals. This can easily and conveniently be done at the same time you schedule your carpet cleaning. A frequent deep clean of your upholstery will prolong the life of your furniture. Fresh clean furniture is a treat not only for you, but also very inviting for your guests.

#3 AIR DUCT CLEANING

Your home ventilation system attracts dirt, animal dander, pollen, dust and other airborne irritants. The buildup of contaminants makes your duct system a hotbed for fungus, mold spores, bacteria and mildew. With warmer weather approaching, many of us will be looking forward to use our air conditioners. Without proper duct and vent cleaning, the blast of cool air won’t be the only thing pouring out. These filthy microbes will be tossed out and into our homes too. This can be a major trigger for allergies. Don’t forget to clean your dryer vents and ducts as well. (Please read our article on this) Make sure your air filters are changed at this time too. Wood burning fire places should be cleaned out at this time of year too. This is better done in the spring because the temperatures are warm enough that you don’t need to worry about lighting it. Duct and vent cleaning should be done thoroughly twice a year. It will keep your home and your family healthy.

#4 TILE & GROUT CLEANING

Ceramic tile is a popular choice in many homes for entryways, kitchens and bathrooms. It is versatile and durable, which is part of its appeal. But, because it is usually found in such high traffic areas, it tends to fall victim to food and drink spills or tracked in dirt and mud. This can leave grout lines looking dark and dirty. Often times using your home mop actually contributes more to the dingy look than it does to helping it stay clean. Having your tile and grout lines professionally cleaned helps remove years of dirt and grime, and really brightens up the home.

#5 WINDOWS

There is nothing that makes our home as inviting and warm as clean windows. And after Mother Nature’s winter wrath, the outside of our homes can really take a beating, and our windows tend to be the most obviously affected. So put on some upbeat music and get down to it. The best time to wash windows is on a cloudy, but not rainy day. Working in direct sunlight causes streaks because the cleaning solution dries before you can wipe it off. Cool, clear water is the choice of most professional window washers. If windows are very dirty you can add 2 to 3 tablespoons of vinegar per gallon of water. Use horizontal strokes on the inside and vertical on the outside so you know which side the streaks are on. To dry windows, a wad of crumpled newspaper works just as well as expensive paper towels. Wear rubber gloves to keep your hands free of ink. This is also a good time to vacuum the frames and window sills. If you are really energetic you can also take down the drapes, curtains and blinds and have them cleaned as well. This is also a good time to make sure that the locks and latches work properly.

#6 THE GARAGE

Now that the warmer weather is approaching many of us will tend to have our garage doors open more often. Between spending more time outdoors and our kids coming in and out with their toys and bikes, this is a fact of life. For many people, it is also a horrifying thought that our neighbors are going to able to look into what is commonly used as the household dumping ground. Now is the time to schedule a garage clean out and create adequate storage for your garden equipment, tools, recreational vehicles, pool toys and camping equipment. The first thing you are going to want to do is get everything off the ground and give the garage floor a good sweeping and/or power washing. Use this opportunity to go through your storage items to decide whether or not they are worth keeping or if you should toss them or give them a new home. Remember to store like items together. Large Tupperware tubs are great for holding larger, bulky items and are often see through, so you know what they are holding without opening them. Get rid of old or expired paints, chemicals, oils and cleaners. Expired chemicals are a health hazard. And make sure whatever you keep has a child proof cap. A peg board up on one wall is good for holding larger tools and keeping them together.

#7 HOME EXTERIOR

If you have taken the time to power wash your garage floor, it’s a good idea to also take the time to do the same to the outside of your house, exterior of windows, driveway and sidewalks. This is a pretty quick and easy way to get rid of the dirt, dust, and other debris that have settled on you home throughout the winter. Remember that oil and chemical stains on your driveway can be soaked up with cat litter. Check the condition of the gutters. Have them cleaned out, and make sure they are in good repair. Check the roof for leaks and damaged or missing tiles and shingles. Make sure your window and door screens are free of holes and tears. Also check if the window joints need to be caulked. Look at the house itself. Will your paint job last another year, or should it be touched up? Is there siding that is coming loose? Does the brick need tuck pointing? Check the home’s foundation for cracks and holes, which can be caused by rising and falling temperatures. If there are cracks, fill them immediately. This step also will help seal the building, keeping bugs and rodents away. Be sure to check the outdoor lighting. Replace the bad fixtures and burnt out bulbs. Make sure decks and porches are secure with no missing or loose planks or rotting wood. Finally, have your chimney inspected to make sure it is free of leaks, debris and build up.

#8 YARDWORK

It’s time to get your yard and garden ready for the endless hours that you will spend outside this coming spring and summer. I know that many of us look forward to breathing in the smell of fresh cut grass, but don’t break out the lawnmower just yet. First take the time to go around and clean up the debris that winter storms may have scatter across the yard. Aerate your lawn. This should be done twice a year. This reduces the soil compaction and allows air and water to cycle in and out of the soil. Your lawn will thank you by growing thick and healthy every year. Then sharpen your lawnmower blade. Check your garden equipment for rust and wear, and make sure your hoses are free of holes. Replace what needs to be. Clean your patio furniture; yet another good job for the pressure washer. Once you’ve cleaned them up apply a coat of rust resistant paint so you won’t have to do it again next year. Then there are the flower beds. Before you come home loaded down with beautiful perennials or annuals you need to make sure you do some weed prevention and control. There are many different chemicals that can be added to the soil to prevent weeds. Prune the trees and shrubs. Have your sprinkler system put back on the timer and maintenanced if need be. If you have a pool, remove all debris and check the filtration system.

#9 AROUND THE HOUSE

The easiest and most basic rule when in comes to in home spring cleaning is to start at the top and work your way down. This not only works for the house but in each room as well. Begin by dusting all the cobwebs out of the corners of the ceilings. Clean out the light fixtures and replace any burnt out bulbs. In bedrooms, clear of the tops of dressers and end tables, vacuum and flip the mattresses. This is the time of year to replace bedding and pillows if need be. Go through the closets and dressers and get rid of any worn, stained or torn clothing. Donate what is still in good condition. In the bathrooms, tackle the tub and shower, making sure to pay attention to the grout lines. Clean the mirrors, vanities, door, and light switch. Make sure your shower curtains are clean and free of tears and holes. Replace burnt out lightbulbs. When cleaning the toilet, don’t just take a brush to the inside of the bowl. Remember the tank and the base as well. Make sure to use a cleaner that has a sanitizing agent in it. Clean out drawers and cupboards. Throw out old hair products and make up. In all rooms, clean the floors whether they be carpet, hardwood or tile. In the kitchen, deep clean the oven, microwave and refrigerator. Be sure to pull out the fridge. Vaccuum the coils, and sweep and mop the floor underneath. Clean all interior windows. Declutter your junk drawers and coat closets. Finish everything off with a spray of your favorite scented deodorizer or scented candles.

#10 SPRING CLEANING FOR YOUR VEHICLE

Often times in the midst of spring cleaning our poor vehicles tend to get neglected. We must remember that they have weathered winters wrath as well. Start with a good hand washing to check out the condition of your paint and make note of any scratches or chips. If you find minor paint damage, buy some touch-up paint as soon as possible and apply it to keep rust from forming. Clean the grease, salt and dirt out of your wheel wells and repair any rust, and check tires for wear and proper tread depth. Check the windshield for any chips or cracks and repair them and replace the worn out wiper blades. As far as the interior goes, if your car’s carpet is subjected to a lot of salty water during the winter, a rug shampoo can help remove salt from the carpet’s fibers and prevent rust from forming underneath. Clean your car’s vinyl with a vinyl treatment product to prevent drying and cracking. Clean your windows inside and out to improve visibility. And of course, visiting your local mechanic for a maintenance check is always a good idea when the season’s change.

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