It's the time of year when you need to remove the dirt and dust. Here are seven suggestions for spring-cleaning at your house:
1 | Deep clean the fridge
Give your refrigerator a break and remove dust and dirt that can make it work harder in hot weather. Unplug the refrigerator, then take the grill off the bottom and use a vacuum cleaner hose and nozzle to gently draw out all dust on coils underneath. You can also buy a condenser coil brush at the hardware store to use to knock off more dust. You won't hurt the condenser drip pan by doing this; it's sealed and attached to the machine. Then take all the food out and clean inside walls and shelves. Before putting food back, pull the refrigerator out from the wall, and vacuum the back of the unit. That way you can clean the floor under the fridge as well.
2 | Help for an awful laundry room
You probably regularly clean the dryer's lint trap, but your washing machine may need this kind of help, too. With older machines, consult your manual to locate this device and for tips for cleaning. New high-efficiency washers – both front and top loaders – do not have a removable lint filter.
But you can run a cleaning cycle now and then to prevent lint buildup and keep the machine from developing odors. Fill the machine with super-hot water and add a cup of white vinegar and half a cup of baking soda. You can also run a little vinegar through the softener and bleach dispensers. Let the mixture sit in the tub for an hour and then complete the wash cycle. Use a damp, soapy cloth to wipe clean inside surfaces of the top of the wash basin to get rid of dirt and lint build-up too. This is also a good time of year to have the vent of your dryer's lint trap cleaned out.
3 | Dealing with dust
If you live in the desert, you're always at war with dust. One possible way to cut back on dust is to have a serious cleaning of ductwork. Superficial duct cleaning can be a waste. Pick a company that will clean the supply and return air ducts, check them for leaks or disconnected joints, and clean your evaporative coils, air handler cabinet and supply registers. Workers should use an eight-inch diameter vacuum hose and a duct scrubbing device. A semi-rigid air hose that uses about 200 psi pressure and a multi-directional pressure tip is a good scrubber. Handheld units are not adequate and should only be used in areas with limited access. Good companies will also clean out your dryer vent as well.
4 | Grimy grout
Have you gotten so used to living with the dirty grout on the kitchen floor that you can't see it anymore? If you have porcelain or ceramic tile, there are solutions. You can clean the grout and then seal it against future dust. Jason Kahler of First Class Green Cleaning in Phoenix recommends against using any cleaning compounds on tiles or stone that can leave a sticky residue that will attract more dirt. Just plain hot water or a steam cleaning will work best.
5 | Clean your carpets regularly
When you're walking around outside your home, your shoes pick up dust and debris and even greasy asphalt off the driveway. The best defense is to get your family members to remove their shoes before they come in the house and wear a cleaner pair of "indoor shoes," Jason Kahler also told us. Vacuuming daily is recommended for high-traffic areas and at least weekly for the rest of the carpet. Regular cleaning done by a professional carpet cleaner will help keep carpets from wearing out quickly, and now is a good time to do that.
6 | Dingy blinds and shutters
If shutters are really grimy, use a damp cloth and mild soap and water to get them clean. The same process will work on vinyl vertical blinds. But for blinds covered with fabric or cellular shades, use a vacuum cleaner hose with a brush attachment and clean gently. If dirt or an insect gets caught inside a "cell," set your hair dryer on low heat and blow it out.
7 | Clean out cabinets
Throw away any caustic or dangerous chemicals in bathrooms and kitchen or move them to a safer place. Check under faucets for possible leaks. Cleaning up spilled food on pantry shelves is a great way to fight against ants that can invade this summer.
Do just a few of these suggestions and you'll be surprised at the difference they'll make in your home.