Spring is almost here, and you know what that means: Flowers are beginning to bloom, temperatures are warming up, and it’s time to give your space a good scrubbing.
Yes, after the long, cold (did I mention long?) winter, it’s time to break out the big guns and ready your home for warmer weather.
“Cleaning is not the kind of thing you want to learn on the job,” says expert Melissa Maker, founder of Clean My Space, an upscale housekeeping service in Toronto, Ontario. “You’ll save a ton of time if you do your research, get your tools ready, and then go in.”
Consider this your primer.
1. Soak your oven racks in the tub
Forget the self-clean option on your oven, which often takes several stinky hours to complete.
Instead, line your bathtub with a towel and place the oven racks on top. Let the hot water run until the racks are covered, then add one cup of powdered laundry or dishwasher detergent. Swish it around until the soap dissolves, then let the racks sit overnight.
Your racks will emerge grease-free without much, er, elbow grease.
2. Clean your bed with booze
We knew vodka was good for a buzz, but it turns out that it can also kill odor-causing bacteria and disinfect, according to Jolie Kerr, author of My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag and Other Things You Can’t Ask Martha.
Simply fill a spray bottle with the cheap stuff (save the Grey Goose for your own swilling), add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (try lavender oil, which also has antifungal and antibacterial properties), and lightly spritz evenly across your mattress.
Let it air-dry before making your bed.
3. Dust your ceiling fans with pillowcases
Not only are ceiling fans hard to reach, but in wiping them clean, you often inadvertently cause all of that dust to mushroom up into a cloud and fall onto the floor or furniture below it.
To avoid this, slip an old pillowcase over the fan blade and slowly pull it toward you. The dust will collect inside the case, leaving the fan — and your floor — ready for the white-glove treatment.
4. Say sayonara to soap scum
If you’re mortified by the scum that rings your tub, simply rub a thin layer of baby oil along the grime lines on the sides of your tub, says Julie Edelman, author of The Accidental Housewife.
Doing so causes future dirt and soap residue to bead up and run down the drain rather than sticking to the tub walls.
5. Give your pillows the fold-over test
While it may be perfectly broken in, your pillow needs to be replaced every couple of years.
To find out if yours is ready for a replacement, Melissa Maker suggests this simple test: try folding the pillow in half. If it springs back, it will live to see another slumber. If it stays in the folded position, it’s time to swap it for a new model.
6. Get streak-free windows, finally
Forget balled-up newspaper. The easiest, most effective way to clean your windows is to fill a bucket with hot water, a teaspoon of dish soap, and one cup of white vinegar.
Using a double-sided squeegee, clean sponge, or cloth, apply the mixture to the windows; use a blade squeegee to remove excess water. “No streaks, tons of time saved,” says Maker.
That’s our kind of cleaning.