Clean up! Here are nine spring cleaning chores that most people forget and why you'll be glad you did them shared by organization expert Donna Smallin Kuper at unclutter.com
The annual rite of spring cleaning dates back to the days of kerosene lamps and coal burning stoves. The lamps and stoves were used all winter long, leaving a heavy layer of soot and smoke on every surface come spring. And you thought you had it rough! As you tackle the deep cleaning of your home this spring, don’t forget some of the most commonly missed spots that can save you time and money throughout the year—and maybe even save your life.
It's time to clean up those forgotten areas and here's how!
1.Take Inventory of Cleaning Tools and Products
Cleaning is faster and easier when you have the right tools. Are your cleaning tools in good working order? If not, repair or replace them. Pare down cleaning products to the minimum needed and get rid of the ones you don’t use. Give them away or follow the directions on each product’s label for proper disposal.
2. Remove Trapped Lint from Your Dryer
Dryer lint buildup is the leading cause of home fires. It’s not enough to just clean the lint filter after every use. Be sure to clean the dryer exhaust vent, hose and lint filter trap, especially if your dryer has been running hot or taking longer than usual to dry clothes. You’ll need a special dryer vent cleaning kit, but it’s worth the cost to keep you and your family safe. You’ll want to clean it at least once a year.
3. Wash the Inside of Your Washer
No, it does not clean up itself every time you do a load of laundry. To clean the drum, run an empty load with your usual amount of detergent or a packet of washing machine cleaner. Remove the detergent dispenser as well and place it under running water to remove detergent residue.
4. Clean Up Your Refrigerator’s Coils, Condenser Fan and Door Gasket
Unplug your refrigerator and pull it out from the wall. Remove the grille on the lower front to expose the coils. (The coils may be on the back of your refrigerator.) Use a coil cleaning brush and vacuum to remove dust, pet hair, and other debris.
Use the same tools to clean the condenser fan, usually located behind a door at the back of your refrigerator. Clean the drip pan and the floor area before moving the refrigerator back into place.
Clean the rubber door gasket with a damp sponge to remove food drips that could make the gasket stick and tear. Doing these three simple things twice a year will not only improve energy efficiency and performance but also help to prevent costly refrigerator repairs.
5. Don’t Forget Smoke Detectors
Remove and wipe cover with a damp cloth. Vacuum the interior and replace the batteries, then test them to make sure that they are all in working order.
6. Change Furnace Filters If you can’t see light through your furnace filter, it needs to be replaced. Obstructed airflow can cause your heating and air conditioning system to shut down. Set a reminder to check filters every month and replace as needed.
7. Clean Ceiling Fixtures and Bulbs
The easiest way to clean fan blades is to cover them one at a time with a pillowcase and then pull it towards you. When you’re done, empty the pillowcase outdoors and throw it in the wash. Glass fixtures can be washed in warm, sudsy water, or even in the dishwasher. Did you know that a dirty light bulb emits 20 percent less light than a clean one? So while you’re at it, turn off the lights and make sure the bulbs are cool, then use a damp microfiber cloth to remove any grime.
8. Launder Winter Clothing and Bedding
When putting away clothing and linens for the summer, it’s important to put them away clean. Otherwise, any perspiration, odors, and stains on natural fabrics may attract clothes moths. Save yourself some time by washing and storing only the clothes you wore this past winter and donate the rest.
9. Remove Grime from Kitchen Cabinet Doors
Clean the front of your kitchen cabinets using a wood cleaner and wipe in the direction of the grain. This is important because grime left too long will eventually adhere to the finish, and then any attempt to remove it may remove the finish along with it. Pay special attention to the area around the door pulls.
Don’t think you have to do all your spring cleaning at once. Commit to clean up one room at a time, or spend just 15 to 30 minutes a day. Delegate big jobs like carpet cleaning and window washing to professionals, or hire a cleaning service to do some of the work for you. It’s worth it to have a cleaner, healthier, happier home.
Organizing and cleaning expert Donna Smallin Kuper is the author of a dozen best-selling books on uncluttering, organizing, cleaning and simplifying life. Currently writing for Home Depot, Donna’s work has appeared in Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple and Woman’s Day as well as online publications such as Today.com and BobVila.com. An array of cleaning supplies and appliances that can be used to keep any home organized can be found online at Home Depot. You may also want to check out Donna's article on Books Gone Wild? How to Organize Books.
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