Spring cleaning guide

As the seasons change and temperatures rise, many will turn to an annual spring cleaning to bring their houses to rights.

Starting any cleaning venture can be a lot to take on, and spring cleaning is no exception.

HowStuffWorks.com suggests starting off with getting a cleaning kit together before starting any heavy duty scrubbing.

Suggestions include antibacterial cleaners for the kitchen and bathroom, vinegar-based cleaners for mirrors or glass and stain removers for carpets and upholstery. And while the cleaners are great, don’t forget the tools that might be needed: a vacuum, broom and dustpan, cloths, sponges, mops and dusters.

Kathy Dodrill, family consumer science educator with the OSU Extension Office of Washington County, said spring cleaning should be done in sections to make it manageable.

Distractions are easy to come by while cleaning, but try to ignore them, she advised.

“Stay focused wherever you start,” she said.

Tracey Doull, lifestyle expert for GalTime.com and founder of Kitchen Moxie, where tips for dinner parties abound, said the priority should be the most used rooms in the house.

“The rooms we spend the most time in are usually the ones that need the most cleaning,” she said. “Start with the kitchen and the laundry room-the highest traffic areas of the home. Part of cleaning is purging and organizing.”

Doull added that by cleaning and organizing, a habit of “spring” clean can be started.

“Begin by cleaning out cabinets, getting rid of or passing along items you don’t need or use,” she said. “By clearing out the space, you’ll have more room to organize, making it easier to keep things ‘spring’ clean all year long.”

The bedroom

Dodrill said people can start spring cleaning in many places, but there is one common suggestion.

“Start with the bedroom,” she said. “Just kind of move from there.”

Dodrill said it’s important to go through and strip the beds, but cleaning goes beyond that.

“Certainly start with dusting and go on to launder all the fabrics, bedding, mattress covers, bed skirts and blankets,” she said.

Doull said it’s also the time to flip the mattress and go through closets.

“Flip and air out that mattress, vacuum under the bed and in the closets,” she said.

Dodrill added that clothing in closets should be gone through and items that aren’t going to be worn should be thrown out or given away. She also said washing clothing will help with a secondary problem.

“It seems like most people I talk to have had a problem with stink bugs,” Dodrill said. “They like to hide on fabrics and they like to hide between the mattress and box springs. By laundering all the fabrics, you’ll hopefully minimize the problem.”

The bathroom

Though cleaning the bathroom is usually on a to-do list, there are some extras that should be accounted for during spring cleaning.

Doull said the traditional cleanings should take place, along with something extra.

“In addition to regular cleaning, the toilet, shower, and tub, make sure to go through the medicine cabinet and throw out medicines that are out of date,” she said.

Dodrill said expired medicines can be taken to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and they can dispose of the prescriptions properly.

Sheriff Larry Mincks said prescriptions are accepted 24/7 at a drop box at the Fourth Street location, so people can get in and out.

Dodrill also said it is important to look at expiration dates on anything that might be in the cabinet.

“Even sunscreen has an expiration date,” she said. “Just get rid of those things that are cluttering up the place, even cleaning supplies. Many rely on bleach…it has a shelf life. If you’re going to spend all that time and effort on cleaning, you want to be effective.”

The kitchen

For many, the world revolves around the kitchen, where not only meals are made, but much activity occurs.

“For most of us the kitchen is the heart of the home,” Doull said. “I suggest getting started there and then moving on to the next most used room in your house.”

Doull said almost everybody overlooks crevices in the fridge where germs can collect.

“Begin by cleaning out your fridge/freezer,” she said. “Remove the veggie and fruit drawers and get into those nooks and crannies we overlook most of the time…Clean out your pantry, again paying attention to ‘use by’ dates. Use the sniff test for dried spices and cooking oils. If they don’t smell as they should, it’s time to replace them.”

Doull added that the “when in doubt, throw it out” rule should be used for not only food, but spices as well.

It is very easy to neglect the stove and dishwasher during regular cleaning times, so it’s important to make sure they get a thorough cleaning.

“Don’t forget your dishwasher,” Doull added. “Yes, this may be your kitchen workhorse, but is often neglected when it comes to cleaning.”

It’s important to move appliances around as well.

“Move out the refrigerator in the kitchen (and vacuum behind it),” she said.

Cathy Mace, 61, of Little Hocking, said the best way to clean a kitchen floor is the old-fashioned way.

“I just get on my hands and knees and clean,” she said. “Otherwise you can’t get into all the little crevices and things like that.”

Marietta resident Sharon Hendrickson, 71, said she has used myriad cleaning solutions to clean her floors in the kitchen over the years.

“I’ve used everything on the market,” she said. “(Now) I usually use Mean Green for general cleaning.”

For the wood floors that those in her house, Hendrickson said to stay away from harsher cleaners.

“On my wood floors, I use Murphy’s Oil Soap,” she said. “It’s just something I started years ago, and it’s just one of those things I’ve stuck with.”

The living room

The living room often sees a lot of traffic, whether it’s people just moving through or staying and watching a movie or two.

Doull said it is important to get organized there as well.

“Organize books, DVDs, and games,” she said. “Steam clean upholstery and carpets. Use a conditioning treatment on furniture to moisturize wood after all the dry heat in the house all winter.”

While many may insist on cleaning their own carpets and upholstery, Rick Metts, owner of Metts Cleaning Services, 140 Rummer Road, said it’s better to have a professional do it.

“Nowadays, most people try to do it (themselves) when something’s new, and it voids the warranty,” Metts said, adding that most new couches, chairs and love seats need to be professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months to keep the warranty.

Metts said the cost for cleaning is $69.95 for two rooms that are 40 square feet each, and it’s $30 per additional room.

Sometimes shampooers can be effective on carpets, but Metts said to make sure that if one is rented the water gets cycled out frequently and the carpet gets rinsed three to four times, just make sure all the shampoo is out.

Outside

While spring cleaning the inside of the house, don’t forget to take the cleaning outside to deal with the exterior of the house, too.

“Now’s a good time too, if you have some form of siding, to clean the outside of that,” Dodrill said.

She added that it is also important to clean windows, not just inside, but outside as well.

Mace said classic Windex is OK to use, but there’s something else that might cut down on streaks and doesn’t contain a lot of chemicals.

“Vinegar’s a great cleaner,” she said. “It cleans just about anything. For streak free (windows) use (vinegar) and newspaper instead of paper towels.”

Mace added that spring is a good time to “open up the windows and air your place out.”

HowStuffWorks.com suggests checking for loose or cracked siding, missing shingles on the roof and even cleaning out the gutters that may have accumulated debris over the winter. It’s also suggested to start thinking ahead to the growing season by pruning trees if necessary and planting new trees or flowers.

Spring cleaning weekend, week or month?

Spring cleaning can be a daunting task for even the most seasoned cleaner, so finding ways to make it a little less stressful might be difficult.

Dodrill suggests pacing.

“Don’t try to do it all in one day; try to break it down into manageable pieces,” she said.

Meanwhile, Doull says it’s entirely up to each individual how much time to dedicate to each room and suggests children should also get in on the action.

“(The timeframe) really is up to you,” she said. “Each room, depending on size, should be able to be completed in a day or two. A good idea is to get the whole family in on the action-especially when it comes to purging. Have your kids clean out their own closets, or go through cabinets, toy baskets in the family room – they will find ‘treasures’ they haven’t seen or played with in ages and also can pick some items to give away they no longer use.”