Spring Cleaning Shouldn't Take Over Your Life

With our Okanagan spring in full swing, tackling that Spring Cleaning list is going to be something you’ll be unable to avoid much longer. So if you want to move past the weekly dusting, sweeping, and general cleanup you’ll want to follow this handy guide. In 1 day, we promise you’ll get your house deep cleaned, and finally off the to-do list!

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9 AM – 10 AM: Bathroom

Start with vacuuming and wiping the walls and ceilings. If these surfaces are cleared of the relatively small amount of grime that builds up on an annual basis, you won't have to deal with the really hard to remove still later down the road. Vacuum first, using a soft attachment (like a brush), then wipe with a all purpose cleaner that is safe for painted surfaces. Make sure to pay extra attention to the wall that is behind you each morning - it's most likely got overspray from perfume, hair products, and makeup.

Throw rugs or mats into the washing machine.

Wash your mirrors and the insides of windows. Use microfiber cloths or newspaper as they won't leave lint.

Spray and soak. Rub or spray your preferred strong cleaning agents into shower walls, tubs, floors, sinks, and waste bins or containers and then leave to handle a task in another room. Fifteen or 20 minutes later (this is a great time to move the rugs and mats from the washer to the dryer), come back and rinse everything from the top down, starting with the showerhead. You can use this same method with the toilet. Move from the top of the tank to the rim, bowl and base. Be sure not to use any of the cloths you used in the bathroom anywhere else before laundering them in very hot water to remove any bacteria. I know we're all trying to be environmentally friendly, but if you plan on using paper towels, the bathroom is the room to do it. 

Clean and rinse the floor. Depending on your floor surface, you'll have a favorite cleanser to use. After you've let the cleanser soak, as mentioned above, wipe the floor with a water-soaked mop on your way out. Turn on the bathroom fan, and close the door to keep the kids and pets out of the bathroom until the floor is dry.

10 AM – 12:00 PM: Bedrooms

Vacuum, wipe walls and ceilings, and dust all surfaces.  Same thing that you did in the bathroom. Pay special attention to switch plates and the outside edges of doors, where people tend to grab. The oils from our hands can greatly increase the amount of dirt that adheres to surfaces.

A breath of fresh air. Want to reduce the allergens in your mattress? On a day that is warm and dry enough (and doesn't have a high pollen count!), open the bedroom windows, and strip the bed. Getting some of that fresh Okanagan air into the room and through the mattress for a few hours can do wonders for any stale smells in the bedroom.

Take out the trash. Empty out the waste baskets and garbage cans throughout the bedrooms. Be sure to disinfect and sanitize the bins to keep them smelling fresh.

Wash all the bedding. Once all the linens—sheets, pillowcases, quilts, duvet covers, mattress pads, skirts, shams—are off the beds, chances are good you'll have multiple loads of laundry to do. The best practice is to wash them in order of what goes on the bed first (i.e., start with skirts and mattress pads; end with shams). This way, you can put them back on the beds as they come out of the dryer and won't have to worry about them sitting in piles and getting wrinkled. If you're making the switch to lighter quilts for the warmer weather, wash the winter bedding before putting it away. All sorts of insects, like moths, will be attracted to the body oils, perspiration and perfumes that may be left behind.

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Clean window treatments. For heavy drapes, you can use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum, or if you prefer, you can have them dry cleaned. Lighter drapery can usually go in the dryer on the fluff cycle with a dryer sheet, but be sure to check all labels beforehand for sure.

Wash mirrors and the insides of windows.

Shampoo or steam-clean wall-to-wall carpets and area rugs. Whether you do it yourself or call a professional, cleaning your carpets just makes good sense. Some carpet manufacturers can even void the warranty if you can't prove that you've had your carpets deep cleaned every year. If you're planning on doing it yourself, you can either buy a professional-grade carpet cleaner or rent one at your nearest grocery store (Nesters, Superstore, Save On Foods, and others). You can typically rent one in 24 hour increments for a very reasonable fee.

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM: Kitchen

Clean out the refrigerator and freezer. Empty the contents of both the fridge and freezer and store them in a cooler. Turn off the fridge, and let the shelves and drawers come to room temperature before you wash them. Glass and ceramic surfaces in your appliance can and often do crack if they come into contact with hot water, so you may want to move on to the next task while you wait. Once they've warmed up, wipe with a mixture of 2 tablespoons baking soda and a quart of hot water. Rinse and dry. Go over the door seals with hot water and mild dishwashing liquid, and pluck out crumbs and other debris. If there are a lot of crumbs that are hard to get to, consider using a crevice tool on your vacuum to retrieve them. Dry all the surfaces well. As you replace the food back into the fridge and freezer, check expiry dates on products. This is a great opportunity to make sure that that mayonnaise from 6 years ago finally finds the garbage can.  

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Degrease cooking appliances. Take off stove grates and other removable parts, and scrub them with soapy steel wool pads. If you notice that the grease won't seem to come off, try letting them sit overnight in an airtight bag with a bit of ammonia. Make sure the bag has a good zipper seal to keep the smell in the bag. The next day, you'll be able to simply wipe them with a clean cloth. Clean the oven using your preferred cleaners. To get stuck-on food particles off the inside of the microwave, put a microwave-safe bowl of water with some lemon juice inside and heat it to boiling for 2 or 3 minutes. The steam will loosen gunk, and the lemon's acid will help lift grease. You'll be able to wipe the interior of the microwave clean, and your kitchen will smell heavenly.

Clean window treatments and wash the insides of windows.

Wash surfaces and cabinets. The tops of cabinets and the fridge may be sticky from grease, so a solution of warm water and dishwashing liquid will work best. Another great tool for this sticky mess are foam "magic erasers". You can also use the mixture or the foam erasers in drawers and on shelves (and spray antibacterial cleanser inside the cabinet where you store trash). Pay attention to the utensils drawer and the pantry, since they always seem to collect the most crumbs.

Take out the trash. With all the items you just purged from the fridge and freezer, you’re probably going to have a pretty full garbage can inside the house. Now is a great time to take the contents out to the bin outside, and sanitize the smelly garbage can that has been stinking up your kitchen. Be sure to disinfect and clean your garbage bins, recycling containers, and any other trash or compost containers that you may have inside.

1:30 PM – 3 PM: Garage

Get ready. Before you tackle this job, you’ll need to be equipped with the proper supplies - packing tape, sturdy storage boxes or carboard boxes, and some garbage bags. As you move through the mess, you can determine what might be good to sell in garage sales, what you plan on keeping, and what can be thrown out. Be sure to label boxes that you are planning on keeping with what is inside (even generally), so you can always find what you’re looking for in a pinch. If you have any old electronics or small appliances that you find and want to dispose of properly, look for a Central Okanagan Return-It Depot near you.

Ditch the stinky can. Many of us in the Okanagan region keep our garbage cans just inside the garage, and with our hot weather, the smell from our bins is downright foul come Springtime - and we experience that stench each time we enter the garage. Unfortunately, as we have the standardized cans, it isn’t as simple as just going to the store and getting a new one. Now, you could try to hose it down yourself, but you run the risk of getting that dirty water all over yourself and your property, or you could simply hire someone else to tackle this task for you. Bin cleaning companies, like local Kelowna company BC Bin Wash, specialize in cleaning those bins for you. They come by on garbage day (after they are emptied) and get your bins smelling great again.

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3 PM – 5 PM: Living Room, Family Room and Dining Room

Dust ceiling fans. For my ceiling fans, I prefer an extendable duster with a microfiber head that bends to a 90-degree angle so I don't have to get on a ladder or on a chair. But I'm quite short. If you don't mind the chair, an old pillow case that is clean and no longer being used also works great for cleaning the fan blades. Just place the fan blade inside the open pillow case and use the inside surface to capture all the dust on the blade. Once done you can just toss the pillowcase in the wash for next time. The extendable dusters are good to keep around the house though, as they are also useful for the tops of bookcases and shelves.

Vacuum and wipe walls and ceilings.

Care for your couch. Sofas and upholstered chairs get tons of use in our homes. Yet, some people never clean them. Gross, right? Just because you don't see stains and the buildup, doesn't mean there aren't dust mites lurking in your couch (they feed on skin flakes shed by humans and animal dander). Again, you can either get this done professionally, or rent machines that will give your furniture some TLC. Hardware stores usually have upholstery-cleaning machines or carpet-cleaning machines with upholstery wands available for rent, which will give your sofa and chairs a deep clean.

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Wash your lightbulbs. Once your lights are cool to the touch, you can give them a wipe with a damp microfiber cloth. Never wipe a warm or hot bulb. A dirty bulb can emit up to 20% less light than a clean one, so make sure that this one gets done as it will save you some money!

Clean window treatments and wash the insides of windows.

Clean and dust electronics. Spray compressed air into crevices, and any intake fans. Then, moving from top to bottom, use microfiber or electrostatic cloths to make sure you do not scratch or damage any of your electronics. For monitors and TV's, be sure to use a non-alcohol based cleaner as they can damage the LCD screens. Clean underneath speakers, stereos, computers, DVD players and TVs too. Wipe away from ventilation areas so you don't push dust back in. 

Sweep out your fireplace (if you have one), storing any unused logs.

Clean the carpets using the rented or purchased machine 

Order pizza for dinner. Let's be honest, after all that work and your nice clean house, there is no way that you're cooking tonight!