Spring Cleaning Checklist

By Nikki Willhite

Next on the agenda for many of us will be Spring Cleaning. It will be time to open the windows, air out the house, shake out the rugs, and do those tasks we do once a year to make our homes fresh and clean.

I have to admit, I was not taught to clean in my home. My grandmother would pay a visit several times a year, and spend a lot of the time cleaning our home. I never really understood it until I got older, and realized that the house needed it.

My mother was an artist, and cleaning was not her forte. When one of my older sisters got married, my grandmother came to visit her, and she taught her how to clean house.

I remember how surprised my sister was when my grandmother climbed up a ladder to clean off the top of the moldings over the doors. She asked her why in the world she would climb up and clean a place that nobody could ever possibly see.

My grandmother’s answer was “If you don’t do it, who will?”

I think that sums up spring cleaning. If you should get ill, someone may come over and bring you food, but nobody, but nobody, is going to pull out the refrigerator, clean behind it, and vacuum the coils, except you.

If you don’t take the sofa cushions outside and beat out the dust, they will become like powder puffs. When you sit on them, the dust will rise like steam. It’s both embarrassing, and unhealthy.

Spring cleaning does not have to be expensive. It is a lot of work, but doesn’t involved a lot of money. You can make all your own cleaning solutions using just a few ingredients.

Some people use nothing but ammonia. You can use it to clean walls, windows, floors, the sinks and tile. You can use vinegar to remove mold, grime, mildew and grease. You can use bleach to sterilize, but NEVER mix it with ammonia, or toxic fumes will result.

A checklist is a handy item to have for your spring cleaning. Cleaning has never been my forte either, but this year I am determined to get my house sparkling clean.

We are all limited in the amount of time, and energy that we have. I am compiling a list of chores to do. If you run out of steam, just stop, and pick it up another time.

Start at the Top

Begin at the ceiling getting rid of cobwebs. Attach a cardboard tube to your vacuum hose to reach it if needed, or use a long stick with a piece of felt wrapped around it. Be sure and look up in the tops of closets. Ceiling vents also collect a lot of dust. You may have to remove them to get it all.

Moldings and Woodwork

Dust moldings, including above the doorways. If you have wood wrapped windows, get the tops of those moldings also. You will also find dust on the top of picture frames, the blades on ceiling fans, and above cupboards.

If the wood trim and wooden interior doors are in bad shape in your home, you can often restore them by the use of a product like Liquid Gold. If you have wooden sills under your windows, it is a good idea to wax them once a year to prevent water damage. Use a paste wax.

Walls and Windows

Wash down your walls. Start at the bottom to avoid streaks.

Many people don’t have the energy to rub down all their walls. If you do, great. If not, just clean them where they need it the most, which will probably be your children’s rooms, and areas around light switches and doorknobs.

For crayon marks, try heating the crayon marks with a blow dryer to soften the marks before you try and get them off.

Clean the windows. Your windows will stay cleaner if you also clean the screens. You can take them down and spray them with the garden hose, or you can dust with a paintbrush.

Clean your skylights.

Kitchens

Wipe down and disinfect cupboards. If you want to change the shelf paper, think about using wallpaper. Buy one roll and you have enough to do your whole kitchen at an economical price. Be sure and buy the pre-pasted with glue type. After immersing in the water to activate the paste, let it sit the required time before you use it. Many people get in a rush, and forget you need to let the paper sit for a few minutes for the glue to activate.

Clean the refrigerator. Take out the drawers, and wipe down every part of it. Pull it out and clean behind it. Wipe down the outside, and vacuum the coils.

Clean small appliances, including the can opener, which often collects germs.

Clean the stove, oven and microwave. Replace the burner pads if necessary. Set a pan of ammonia in the oven overnight to loosen grime and then wipe clean in the morning. Heat a little ammonia in the microwave to clean and freshen.

To freshen the drain, pour 1/2 cup baking soda, and then 1/2 cup vinegar down the drain. Wait 5 minutes, and then rinse with hot water.

Bathrooms

Clean the caulking. If it is dry and brittle, replace it. Water is the biggest enemy to your home. It is incredible the amount of damage it can do, and where it can go, if not controlled. Make sure water is not leaking anywhere.

If your bathroom has an odor you can’t get rid of, liquid has probably run under the toilet or flooring. You may be able to get rid of the smell by taking up the toilet and cleaning the flooring. If it is bad, you will not get rid of the smell until you take up the flooring and replace it. You may also have to replace some of the sub flooring if water has reached it and it is damaged.

Clean or replace the shower curtain. The shower curtain can go in the washing machine with a little bleach. Put it in the sun to dry.

Clean under the cupboards.

Freshen drains same as the kitchen.

Utility Room

Check washer for scum buildup and remove. Run a wash cycle with bleach, and rinse with vinegar.

Check dryer exhaust to be sure there is no lint buildup.

Clean and freshen basins and drains.

Linens and Upholstery

Shake out linens and rugs, or beat with a broom, and hang in the sun to freshen.

Take sofa cushions outside and beat with a broom to remove dust.

Vacuum or clean drapes.

Clean upholstery or spot clean stains. To remove stains, try shaving cream, or hair spray.

Floors

Sweep floors, mop and vacuum. When you vacuum, get under the bed, and move furniture to reach areas otherwise neglected.

You can freshen your carpet by sprinkling it with a mixture of baking soda and cornstarch. Use about 1 cup per room. Leave on for 30 minutes, and then vacuum.

Remove the floor vents and vacuum or pick up the trash that has fallen into them.

Misc

Clean blinds and dust pleated lampshades with a soft paint brush. If the blinds are very grimy, put them in the bathtub to soak, or take them outside and lay them on the grass and clean, remembering to turn the handle and do both sides.

Clean and sterilize trash cans.

Clean the telephones, computer pad, and doorknobs.

Clean the dust off silk flowers by shaking in a bag with salt, or buy one of the commercial spray cleaners.

Take fresh plants outside and hose off dust and trim dead leaves.

Carefully dust light bulbs.

To wax your furniture, you can make your own polish by mixing 3 parts olive oil with 1 part either vinegar or lemon juice.

Check the fireplace flu for cretonne buildup, or have professionally cleaned.

Turn the mattresses and change the batteries in your smoke alarms if you are not on another schedule for those tasks.

I hope that many will find this list helpful to make spring cleaning both easier and more economical.

About the Author: Nikki Willhite has been writing and publishing articles on the Internet on the topic of Frugal Living for over a decade. Visit her at http://www.frugalhappyfamilies.com, where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal Happy Families- more than just money! Article first published at http://www.allthingsfrugal.com

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