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How to Make Spring Cleaning More Effective

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

The days are getting longer and warmer. It’s time to start thinking about spring cleaning—tackling those less-than-routine household cleaning chores.

To make spring cleaning more effective, work from the top down, knocking down cobwebs up high before dusting mid-level areas and finally, vacuuming.

Janet Yuckel is owner of Done Right Cleaning in Brewerton.
Janet Yuckel is owner of Done Right Cleaning in Brewerton.

Janet Yuckel, owner of Done Right Cleaning in Brewerton, uses vacuuming as much as possible since this method removes dust instead of stirring it up with sweeping.

“We have extension pieces for vacuums and dusters,” she said.

That helps reach behind and under large pieces of furniture and appliances that are difficult to move and can prevent the need to climb on stepladders as often.

Yuckel emphasized the importance of following package directions. For example, most products should be tested on an inconspicuous area before using them to avoid damaging surfaces and wiping it up too soon may mean that the product has insufficient time to work.

Cleaning Venetian blinds is tough for many people. Yuckel uses a cleaning cloth dampened with a solution of Pine-Sol and water or a degreasing cleaning if they have substantial build-up. She sometimes soaks blinds in the bathtub with hot water and a cleaning solution for stubborn gunk.

To clean out the windows, Yuckel vacuums out debris and dead bugs and scrubs the small areas with a toothbrush and Pine-Sol.

“Vacuum your forced air heat vents-—you can get a good foot or so in the vents with the extensions—that way, it’s not blowing dust in when you switch to A/C,” Yuckel said.

If climbing and crouching to clean trim and baseboards has become challenging for you, follow Yuckel’s lead and use the vacuum wand with the brush, followed by a damp sponge mop.

Reach fly specks and other smudges on painted walls and ceilings with a lightweight Swiffer-style mop. (Test an inconspicuous area first to ensure the disposable mop head will not damage the surface.)

Oftentimes, using the right product can make all the difference in tacking tough cleaning chores.

Zep, an acid bowl cleaner available at OfficeMax.com, lifts the most stubborn toilet rust and stains. For rust in a Fiberglas tub, use a damp Magic Eraser sponge. However, avoid over scrubbing, since it can be abrasive. Another good stain remover, Amodex, sold at Lowe’s, is ideal for removing stains such as permanent marker, printer toner and ink. Use it first and without any water for the best results.

Shower doors and walls are often places where soap scum and hard water deposits build up. To deep clean these areas, Les Green, owner of L&L Green Residential Cleaning in Fulton, applies a light solution of Dawn dish soap—a few squirts in one gallon of water.

“Let it sit a few minutes, then take a low abrasive sponge and go over it,” Green said. “Then use the squeegee on it. Make sure it has a wet surface first. Handle the squeegee two inches from the glass to give you a better angle of the ‘cutting edge.’ Wipe off the squeegee and do it again.”

Few people like cleaning windows because every swipe seems to leave streaks instead of clean, clear glass. Green again uses his trusty squeegee and a light vinegar solution, ½ cup of white vinegar to a gallon of water.

Erica Gray, general manager of The Maids in Syracuse, said that using newspaper or coffee filters to wipe away the glass cleaner will leave no streaks. Cloth rags and paper towels get wet quickly and cause streaks.

“You want absorbent materials,” she said. “Some cloths get tainted with other cleaners. That can leave streaks.”

To keep cleaning easier, she recommends assembling a caddy of the cleaning supplies you use the most.

“You can take it with you room to room and you won’t have to run around the house searching for everything,” Gray said.

She likes using Magic Erasers for wall scuffs and build-up on shower walls.

“They work great inside the fridge for that residual jelly that hardens in there,” Gray added.

If a deep spring-cleaning day seems overwhelming, ask family for help or enlist a cleaning service.

“We do a lot of one to two times a year cleaning appointments to help people get back on track,” Gray said. “You don’t have to commit to a more frequent schedule.”