Spring Cleaning Should Start from the Top Down

Poppy Slater

By Jim Walker

Signal Staff Writer

The whole idea of “spring cleaning” is to do things more comprehensively than you do the rest of the year. It’s all about a fresh new start.

So merely doing your floors and countertops and bathroom fixtures won’t be enough. You have to look at the big picture, and notice all the dirt harbors you’ve become accustomed to ignoring. This includes your walls and windows, curtains and blinds, appliances, bookshelves and even your HVAC system.

Spring is also a great time to declutter. Shed some stuff, such as clothing you’ll never wear again. What about that cat tree? Frisky has been gone for two years now. It’s time to stop mourning.

John Smith is the owner/operator of the Molly Maid cleaning service in Canyon Country, which has served the Santa Clarita Valley for more than 25 years.

“We believe a clean home is a happy home,” he said.

“Cleaning your home is about loving the space you spend most of your life in,” Smith emphasized.

“Homes are living beings. Take care of them and they will take care of you.”

And, while his experts can certainly get your home spring-shiny, he approves of the tips offered here for do-it-yourselfers. These begin with making a plan and schedule, so you will stay on task — and working from the top down.

Doormats Vacuum indoor doormats on both sides and hose off outside mats.

Windows and Blinds Dust your lowered blinds and shades, and then raise them and clean your windows inside and out.

Dust Ceiling Fixtures and Fans Use an extendable duster on ceiling fans, hanging lights and moldings. And, yes, do this first, before you clean everything below them.

Wipe Down Walls Use a damp microfiber cloth. Be sure to start from top to bottom, and be sure to do the door frames and baseboards.

Freshen Musty Carpets After vacuuming, clean your carpets (or have them cleaned). If you can’t clean them, deodorize them by working baking soda or carpet deodorizer into the carpet with a soft brush, and then vacuuming.

Granite Countertops Use a mild granite cleaner to remove dirt and stains, and then use granite polish to restore the shine.

Deep Clean the Refrigerator Empty your refrigerator (and freezer). This is a good time to get rid of items you never use, and open up space. Wipe down the interior and wash the shelves and bins in soapy water.

Clean the Oven Use your oven’s self-cleaning function, if it has one. Otherwise, you’ll be scrubbing or using oven cleaner, which works well, but is pretty nasty.

Kitchen Cabinets Use a cabinet cleaner that will remove grease while leaving paint undamaged – or one that moisturizes unpainted wood.

Shower Heads To clean shower heads and improve water flow, soak them in equal parts water and white vinegar. This can be done without removing them by tying a plastic bag that is filled with the water and vinegar solution around the head.

Organize and Dust Bookshelves Remove your books, dust the shelves and then dust each book before you put it back on the shelf. This is a good time to get rid of a few books, if necessary.

Replace Air Conditioning Filters With modern HVAC systems, this is easy. Just be sure to install them facing correctly for the direction of the airflow.

Kill Dust Mites in Your Mattress Vacuum, using the upholstery and crevice tools, and sanitize with a disinfectant spray or steamer.

Washing Machine Use bleach and the washer cleaning cycle, if your machine has one, or use a washing machine cleaner.

Dryer Clean all lint and dust from your dyer, including the vent hose. Collected dust has been known to cause fires, and it definitely makes your dryer less efficient.

Scrub Trash Cans Take them outside, use a hose and dish soap, and allow them to dry completely before bringing them back inside.

“I’ve taught meditation for 20 years, and I know that when a home is nice and clean, it’s so much easier to find peace in your heart,” Smith said. “I got into this business because I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces after we’ve cleaned their homes.”

Safety Tips

Here are ways to prevent cleaning and organizing accidents.

Never Mix Cleansers Cleaning chemicals are often effective because they employ bases or acids to produce cleaning actions. However, when mixed together, certain cleaning products can be extremely hazardous. Never mix products containing acids and bases. Common cleaning products containing acids include tub and tile cleaners, vinegar and mold removers. Products containing bases include bleaches, glass cleaners and drain cleaners.

Avoid Falls Falls are a major contributor to home injuries. Be especially careful when climbing ladders, and do not lean too far to either side. If possible, have someone hold the ladder steady. Wear nonskid shoes and go slowly. Do not climb on furniture or stack items to reach high spots like top shelves, as this can create a precarious situation.

Lift With Care Use proper lifting techniques, which include lifting with the legs while keeping the back straight. If the item is too heavy, wait and ask for help.

Wear Masks and Safety Gear Protect the eyes, hands and lungs by wearing safety goggles, durable gloves and a dust mask. (MC)

Spring Cleaning Should Start from the Top Down

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