Whatever You Do, Don’t Skip These 11 Spots When Spring Cleaning
Author: Lisa Marie Conklin Date Posted:6 October 2017
Washing windows and scheduling a carpet cleaning may be a good start to spring cleaning, but your home isn't white-glove test clean if you neglect these 11 things.
Underside of chairs and tables
You're probably not going to find gum stuck to the table (at least we hope not!) but the underside of tables and chairs deserve some attention. "This is an often overlooked spot that gets grimy and gross as people pull their chairs up to the table with their dirty hands," says professional organizer, Jamie Novak, author of Keep This, Toss That. If you have young children, you have an additional reason to clean: Chances are there are probably bits of food and streaks of ketchup on the underside of the table. Curious kids may be tempted to pick at the underside of the table and put the dried up food in their mouth.
Sconces, chandeliers, and other lighting
Is your eyesight getting bad or is your room really that dim? Although we usually dust the fan blades, we often neglect the actual globes and lamp shades of lighting fixtures. "At first glance, these may not seem dusty, but once you wipe one you will see a noticeable difference," says Novak. Remove the globes and wash in soapy water, rinse, and air dry. Dust the inside of a lampshade and then wash with soapy water in the sink. Rinse and let air dry. After you clean the lighting fixtures, replace with energy efficient bulbs.
The area behind your kitchen sink, stove, or prep area largely goes unnoticed because we focus more attention on the countertop areas where we can clearly see the messy surface. Over time, the splatters and grease can accumulate quite a buildup, Novak says. "A quick wipe and it may be very noticeable just how dirty the area has become." Don't forgot about your bathroom backsplash area and the sneaky grime buildup you can't see because it is behind the faucet. A toothbrush will get into the crevices around the base of the faucet and handles.
According to Novak, small appliances are something we shouldn't miss during spring cleaning. Can openers, toasters, coffee makers, and toaster ovens are our daily culinary heroes of the kitchen and all that constant use takes a toll. We either put them away dirty or leave them exposed to the grease and food splatters. Empty the crumb trays on the toaster, and clean the can openers to prevent food contamination.
Why would we need to clean something that churns up food from dishes or food prep if we're rinsing it down with water with each use? There is always some amount of food left behind, especially in the crevices in the actual disposal and the rubber ring. These leftover pieces linger and become a breeding ground for bacteria which can make us ill when it comes into contact with our food we're rinsing in the sink or by touching it with our hands. Meg Roberts, president of Molly Maids, says even pesky fruit flies can be attracted to the garbage disposal. To clean it, make sure the disposal is turned off. "Put on a glove, use a cloth soaked in disinfectant and wipe the underside of the black, rubber ring," says Roberts.
Washer and dryer
Your clothes may smell April fresh, but according to Anna Caricari, Two Maids & A Mop area representative, the laundry room is constantly accumulating dust. "Rust and mold can also grow quickly because of the use of water and chemicals," says Caricari. If your washing machine isn't smelling so fresh, wipe down around the barrel and compartments. For top loaders, fill the washer with hot water and pour 2 cups of vinegar and 1/4 cup of baking soda. Cycle through a wash and rinse. For front loaders, mix the above ingredients and add 1/4 cup water to make a detergent and place into the detergent tray. Don't forget the dryer vents, which when plugged contain flammable material. Always remove the lint after each cycle but during spring cleaning seep under and behind the washer and inspect the dryer vent. Dryer vents can make for a cozy home for rodents or birds. If you have a gas dryer, lint-clogged exhaust vents can force carbon monoxide into your home.
Under bathroom and kitchen sink
We may open those cabinets on a daily basis but usually just reach for the stuff in the front. Do we know what's lurking in the back? Robert Weitz, a certified microbial investigator and founder of RTK Environmental Group says we should definitely put these on our spring-cleaning checklist. The only way we will know if there is a leak or water damage is to have a clear and clean view. "You may have a problematic leak that is causing unhealthy mold or staining, which can lead to much greater problems," says Weitz.
One of the rites of spring is opening windows to let the fresh air in. We may feel like we're "airing out"the house, but we could actually be blowing more dust around if we forget about certain items. Stuffed animals, accent pillows, curtains, and throw rugs are favorite hangouts of dust and allergens. Be sure to wash or dry clean to cut down on dust and allergens and you may avoid some springtime sniffles. If allergies or asthma are a problematic, Kimberly Byrne, RN and pediatric asthma program manager at Banner Children's at Cardon Children's Medical Center suggests vacuuming carpets and rugs weekly with HEPA filter bags to keep dust and allergens from recirculating back into the air. Bedding, curtains, and washable rugs should be washed in hot water once a week. Dust isn't the only trigger for asthma.
You probably wipe down the top of the toothbrush holder during your weekly cleaning but something nasty is in the bottom of the holder you shouldn't ignore during spring cleaning. "Residue from water and toothpaste tends to run down to the bottom of the holder, forming a dark and moist place where bacteria can grow rapidly," says Becca Napelbaum, cleaning expert at on-demand home service app, Handy. "Make sure to give your toothbrush holder a good clean during your big spring clean and then clean it regularly to prevent the bacteria from traveling to your hands and mouth."
If you want to maintain the beauty of your wood kitchen cabinets, your spring cleaning list should definitely include these. "Dust can mix with grease and break down the finish on your kitchen cabinets," says Leslie Reichert, Green Cleaning Coach. "You have to be careful around those corners where people's hand prints get sticky. The oils in our hands mix with the finish and break down the stain. Don't neglect the tops of cabinets either. "Tops of cabinets can get permanent damage from dust mixing with grease. It forms a thick layer that can't be removed without damaging the wood,' says Reichert. Try rubbing alcohol to cut the grease and follow up with soap and water.
Spring reminds us to flip or rotate our mattress but we probably don't think about cleaning the mattress—it's always covered with sheets so it must be dust-proof, right? According to Napelbaum, they harbor dead cells and dust, which can irritate our sleep. If that makes your skin crawl, make sure you know how to prevent and destroy bed bugs. "Make sure to give it a good vacuum with an upholstery attachment and give it a good whack whilst it is propped upwards against the wall. To remove odors, lie the mattress back down and sprinkle with baking soda. Leave the baking soda on for two hours before vacuuming it off," says Napelbaum.