Spring Cleaning 101

Tomorrow is the first day of spring (YAY!) which, in my house, means it is time for spring cleaning. Getting your home clean and refreshed doesn’t have to take up your entire weekend. Just devoting a few hours to tackling and completing some spring cleaning tasks will get your home looking great and ready for the warmer beautiful spring & summer months. Get a jump on your spring cleaning by focusing on some essential chores I’ve listed below. And, feel free to comment below with your own spring cleaning tips & tricks. Now let’s start wishing for some beautiful spring weather!


Ackerman Kitchen by Joan Schindler

Shine Your Stainless Steel: To keep your stainless steel bright and clean, use a light mist of wax-based aerosol spray. Wipe down the surface of the appliance with a clean, lint-free cloth. Avoid using cleaners with bleach because these cleaners will cause the surface to dry out and lose some of the luster. Remember, don’t use anything abrasive, like Scotch-Brite pads, that can scratch and ruin the appliance’s surface.

Clean Painted Walls: To clean your painted walls, first try just using a clean cloth or sponge and water. If that doesn’t work, dip the cloth or sponge into water mixed with a little dishwashing liquid.  Still can’t get that stubborn stain out? Try applying a few drops of soap directly onto a wet cloth or sponge. You could also apply a little soap right onto the stain. If you decide to use a stronger cleaning product (i.e. Formula 409), just remember they have harsh solvents in them and can soften the paint surface.

clean101541997.jpg.rendition.largestDe-clutter your wardrobe: Go through your closet and remove items that you no longer wear, that are beyond repair, or that don’t fit anymore. Donate gently worn items to charity where they’ll get a second life. Go green and consider adding damaged garments (if they’re made of an absorbent fabric) to your rag collection where they’ll replace wasteful paper towels. Organize the items remaining in your closet according to type (i.e. blouses, pants, skirts) and color. Starting your morning each day with an organized closet makes getting dressed a breeze!

Wash the Windows: Be sure to pick a cloudy day to wash windows. “If it’s too sunny, the cleaning solution will dry too fast and you’ll have streaks,” says Donna Smallin, author of Cleaning Plain & Simple. A good DIY window cleaning solution can be made by combining  ½ cup of sudsy ammonia (which is a specific type of ammonia), 1 pint of rubbing alcohol, 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, and 1 gallon of water. Got any sliding glass doors? Clean the sliding glass door tracks before the nice weather and outdoor entertaining season hits. (You’ll be thanking yourself when you notice less debris getting tracked inside!) Smallin advises scrubbing the tracks with a dry toothbrush to loosen dirt and then using your vacuum hose attachment to remove it. Finish by wiping with a wet sponge.

Clean the “Often Forgotten” Spots: In the daily rush of life, we often miss some spots when doing our routine cleaning and chores. Make sure to get to and clean your home’s baseboards, door frames, blinds, crown molding, and windowsills. Wash them down with a soft sponge and some dishwashing liquid mixed in a bucket of warm water.

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Dust Light Bulbs: Believe it or not, dusting your light bulbs can help extend their life expectancy and efficiency. Before cleaning, change any light bulbs that have burned out. Unscrew light bulbs and polish the bulbs with a soft cloth dampened with water. Be careful not to get the metal screw base wet! To reach and clean the bulbs in recessed ceiling fixtures, use a telescoping lamb’s wool duster.

Deep Clean Carpets and Rugs: For synthetic carpeting, you can rent or buy a rug cleaner/ shampooer/extractor – a machine that cleans the fibers and removes traces of soap using hot water. Open windows and let air flow to help carpets dry. Be careful! If you have wool carpets or rugs, or any that are valuable or delicate, always contact a professional for cleaning

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Clean the Inside of the Refrigerator: uh-oh. Nobody likes this chore! Here is how to make cleaning out your fridge more manageable.

  • First throw out old food.
  • Wash the interior with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda for every quart of warm water. Wash removable shelves and drawers in the solution. Make sure to allow glass shelves to warm up to room temperature first. If you don’t the warm water may cause the cold glass to crack.
  •  Loosen hardened spills by wetting the area with the above solution, allowing the residue to soften.
  • Use a toothbrush to scrub all those nooks & crannies.
  • Vacuum or brush dust from underneath and behind your fridge.
  • Once your fridge is looking refreshed, keep it streamlined and organized for good by organize food in clearly labeled baskets and/or containers.

Sources: MarthaStewart.com, HGTV.com, House Beautiful, and BHG.com

PS- Willing to devote some more time to spring cleaning? For some more in-depth cleaning guides, check out these room-by-room spring cleaning check lists.

Clever Ways to Save in the Kitchen and Laundry Room

 

Home appliances save us a bunch of time, a bunch of energy, and a bunch of money.  We are always on the lookout for finding simple clever ways to save more time and money; and, we’re happy to pass them along.

Stains: The key to successful stain removal is pre-treating BEFORE you wash.  Keep a clean paintbrush next to your washing machine.  Instead of pouring liquid detergent on stains, paint it on.  This allows you to better target the stained area and reduces waste and spills.

** If ring around the collar is a challenge, try the paintbrish technique using a bit of hair shampoo on your dress shirts and blouses.

Keep it Clean: Run your front load washer once a month using hot water and some white vinegar.  Do not use any detergent. This will help clean out any soap residue and avoid possible service issues. If your washer has a clear window, you can look to see if the water has plenty of suds as the machine is running.  If this is the case, chances are you are either using non High Efficency (HE) detergent, or you’re just using too much.

Maintenance: Open and close washer faucets monthly, especially if you have hard water. This will help keep them from sticking when you need to turn them off in an emergency. And always turn them off when you leave for vacation to avoid returning home to any possible leaks.

Dryer Vents: The Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates there are 24,000 clothes dryer fires each year in the United States, amounting to $96,000,000 in estimated property damage. Lack of maintenance is the leading cause of dryer fires and LINT is the leading material to ignite. Be sure to check your dryer’s venting system on a regular basis. It not only improves performance but it may save your life.

Cupcakes & Muffins:   If you don’t have enough cupcake or muffin batter to fill all the openings in your tin, pour a little water into the empty ones.  This helps prevent the pan from burning and can help make cleanup a bit easier.

Breads: If baking bread is your thing, this may be the best time saver yet:  Set your covered bowl of dough in the sink with warm water.  This can really speed up the rising time and get you baking instead of waiting.

Dishwashing Dilemma: If you are doing dishes by hand and find yourself with drinking glasses that are stuck together:  Fill the top glass with cold water, then dip the outer glass in hot water.  They should come apart without strain or breakage.

** As a matter of record, we always prefer you do your dishes using an automatic dishwasher purchased at Orville’s.

 Oven Racks: To clean oven racks, take them outside and put them in a large garbage bag.  With the bag held open, spray the racks with oven cleaner, and then tuck the bag around them. Put the bag in direct sunlight for several hours-or all day, if possible.  Then remove and discard the bag. Spray the racks with a garden hose. The racks should come out sparkling clean with very little scrubbing

Cookies If your oven has 3 racks you can use all 3 for cookies but it’s not recommended for cupcakes. Baking cookies on different cookie sheets will give different results when baking with dark cookie sheets or pans lower the temperature by 25 degrees to prevent burning.

Have a tip of your own you’d like to share?  We’d love to hear from you.  Please feel free to comment below.