Sunday, May 10, 2009

Spring Cleaning (Part 3)

OK. It's almost Summer and we need to be done with our Spring cleaning because the beach is calling and we need to work on our tan.

This post will cover cleaning floors and rugs.

1. One of the most important things you can do to keep your floors in good shape is to put a good quality door mat at each entrance to your home. Secondly, have family members remove their shoes at the door.

2. Next, vacuum your floors. If you have a canister vacuum, you can use the floor attachment to clean all of the hard floors and the carpet attachment (with beater brush) for the carpets and rugs. If you have an upright vacuum, vacuum each area with the appropriate setting on the vacuum. You might need to use a dust mop to get under furniture or into corners where the vacuum cannot reach.

3. Every type of hard flooring has a different guidelines for care. If you had your flooring installed then the retailer/installer probably gave you car instructions. If you inherited the flooring with your home, then you need to try your cleaning procedure in a small area that won't show (like in a closet or behind a door).

4. I clean wood, laminate, brick, and ceramic tile with a mixture of 1/4 cup vinegar to 1 gallon water. Make sure your mop is dampened with the mixture and doesn't leave puddles on the floor. Don't every use vinegar on marble floors. It will leave marks on the marble. In fact, if you have a marble floor, use a special marble floor cleaner.

5. When you are mopping, be sure to mop all the way up to the baseboards, behind and under furniture, and under throw rugs.


1. First, vacuum rugs "slowly". I say "slowly" because most of us tend to vacuum as if we are in a race and we don't give the vacuum a chance to pick up the dust and dirt. Once or twice a year, have someone help you flip a large rug over and vacuum the back side. This will help to remove imbedded dirt. For smaller rugs, a simple shake outside will get rid of a lot of the bad stuff.

2. To spot clean an area rug, use a little rug shampoo mixed with water. Dip a small cleaning brush into this solution and scrub the spot. Lay a clean towel over the wet spot. Press down on the towel to absorb the cleaning liquid. You can even stand on the towel if you want to. Now, add some clear water into the area to rinse the cleaning solution. Lay another clean towel over the area and press to remove the water. Remove the towel and let the rug air dry.

3. If you have carpeting throughout your house, you can use the above procedure to spot clean soiled areas. For allover cleaning, you'll do best to hire a truck-mounted cleaning service. If you have children or pets, I'd also pay the extra to get the stain protection service.

Spring Cleaning Your Home (part 2)

Spring is in full swing. We still have more time for that Spring cleaning. In the previous blog I talked about cleaning windows and upholstered furniture. Today, we'll talk about cleaning walls and wood furniture.

Cleaning walls:

1. First, dust your walls with one of those fuzzy dusters on a long pole. If you don't have one of those, wrap an old towel, pillow case, or undershirt around a broom's bristles. Wipe the walls, starting at the top and working your way down to the bottom. You won't believe how much dust accumulates on your walls. (Don't be alarmed if you come across a few spiders)

2. Next, mix up a cleaning liquid. I use 1/4 cup ammonia with 1 gallon of water and 2-3 drops of dish detergent. If you have really greasy walls (like in the kitchen) I would mix some Greased Lightning with water and use that.

3. For stubborn spots, use a little baking soda on a sponge and rub very gently to remove crayon marks, scuff marks etc.

4. Now, working from the bottom to the top, wipe the walls with a clean microfiber cloth dipped into your cleaning solution and rung out. If you don't have a microfiber cloth, you can use old washcloths or dishcloths. I have found that sponges wear out too quickly and fall apart.

5. Finally, wipe the walls with a clean rag, dipped in clean water and wrung out. You don't need to dry the wall unless you've used too much water and it's dripping down the wall.

6. At my house, I only do the dusting step for most walls and follow with the cleaning step only on the walls in high traffic areas. That said, I do wipe my bathroom walls with cleaner every week because I live with my husband and son. (ha-ha)

Wood Furniture:

It's important to know what kind of wood finish is on your furniture before you clean it. If you purchased it new, it came with a care label. If it is a hand-me-down or family heirloom, ask the previous owner how they took care of it. If it is a valuable antique, and needs serious cleaning, please seek an antique dealer's advice.

1. First things first. Remove every item from the furniture. Don't try to clean around lamps, cushions, knick-knacks, etc.

2. If you have oiled furniture, dust with a dry cloth. Then, apply furniture oil with a seperate clean cloth.

3. If you have varnished or lacquered furniture (as most of us do) then dust it first with a soft cloth. Then, clean it with a damp cloth and a mild detergent like dishwashing detergent (just a few drops). On several of my pieces, I have refinished them with a poly finish because they get a lot of use. I simply spray with my multipurpose vinegar cleaner and wipe clean. If you want the recipe for my vinegar cleaner, see my blog called "The Sparkle Effect".

4. If you want your furniture to really shine, use an aerosol cleaner like Old English. Spray onto your clean rag, apply to the wood in a circular motion. Turn the rag over and then buff until the wood shines.

The professional organizer in me must remind you that the less clutter you have on your wood furniture, the easier this process will be and the less you will have to dust.

The next blog will be about cleaning floors and rugs.