Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring Cleaning Your Home (Part 1)

Spring cleaning is one of those chores that has fallen out of favor. Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers would practically tear their houses apart and put them back together every spring. With central heat and air conditioning and powerful vacuum cleaners, we no longer need to disrupt our lives with that heavy duty chore. Having said that, there is a need to take care of some cleaning chores that never seem to get done. Spring is a good time to do it.

Today, we'll talk about windows and upholstered furniture.

Window Spring Cleaning:
1. Take down all window treatments.
2. Curtains can be washed, dry-cleaned, tumbled in the dryer on "air", or simply vacuumed. Be sure to check the fabric care label. If you have very large, heavy drapes it might be better to leave them hanging and vacuum them before steaming them with a hand steamer to freshen them.
3. Shades can be left in place, as well, if they are too cumbersome to remove. Vacuum them and then wipe with a microfiber cloth. If they are really grimy mini-blinds, you can remove them and wash them in your bathtub with a degreaser cleaner. Rinse them and hang them over the shower curtain rod to let them dry. Be sure to line your tub with an old towel to protect it from scratches from the blinds.
4. If your window screens have been on the windows all winter, take them down and spray them outside with an attachment on your garden hose. Let them dry in the sun.
5. Now its time to clean the windows. I use an old dishpan filled with warm water, 1 drop of dishwashing soap, and a Tablespoon of ammonia. Use an old rag or a special window mop to apply the washing liquid to one window at a time. Always start at the top of the window. Then I use a squeegee to clear away the water. Put an old towel down on the window sill to catch any drips. Each time you swipe the squeegee, wipe it off with a dry rag. Some people dry with newspapers, but I find that I get newsprint all over myself and the surrounding window frame. Its better to use a microfiber cloth or an old bath towel.
6. Wipe down the window sill.
7. Put the screen back in and hang up your shades and curtains.
8. Stand back and admire the sun shining in.
9. As you can tell, this is a pretty big job. I only clean a few windows at a time.

Upholstered Furniture:
1. Remove all throw pillows, blankets, and throws.
2. Vacuum all cushions, front and back.
3. Vacuum the entire sofa or chair on all four sides. Check for cobwebs under the furniture as well.
4. Vacuum in the cracks of the furniture, using the skinny tool that comes with your vacuum cleaner. Beware, you might come across some treasures (money, old teddy graham crackers, or candy wrappers )
5. Spot clean any dirty areas you might come across.
6. If you have a sofa bed, vacuum the mattress and the framework it rests on. Your overnight guests will appreciate that.
7. I like to spray lysol or a deodorizing spray on everything while I have it taken apart.
8. Wash your throw pillow covers and throws, or simly tumble them in your dryer on "Air" for a few minutes to freshen them up.
9. Vacuum the floor and baseboards before you push the furniture back in place.
10. Sit back on your clean furniture and rest. You deserve it.