Monday, February 6, 2017

Parenting Pointers: DIY Winter Home Cleaning Tips from the Pros

Now that the holidays are over, it’s a great time to get a head start on spring cleaning. You’re stuck indoors anyway, so why not? Give your home a deep clean now so when warmer weather arrives, you can get out and enjoy it.

Here are five spring cleaning chores you can do now—and some bonus tips on how to get professional house cleaning results all year long.

Clean Out Your Cleaning Closet
Are your cleaning tools in good working order? Or is it time to toss that broom with bent bristles or that chewed-up mop head? When’s the last time you replaced your vacuum cleaner filter? Cleaning professionals know that cleaning is faster and easier when you have the right tools, so invest in good-quality tools and take good care of them.
Next, take a look at your cleaning products. Get rid of the ones you don’t use; give them away or follow the directions on each product’s label for proper disposal. Place your cleaning products and tools in a bucket or caddy so you have everything you need in one place. You can carry them with you from room to room like professionals do.

Clear the Clutter
It’s a new year, so out with the old! Give yourself permission to let go of anything that’s just taking up valuable space. If you don’t love it or use it, lose it. Decluttering will make your home easier to clean. Get paid to declutter when you turn that clutter into cash with the OfferUp app for your smartphone, or donate it all and take the tax write-off. You can even use a website like Donation Town to find a local charity that will come and pick up your donations.

Let There Be Light
Even in the darkest winter months, you can light up your days. Remove glass shades from lighting fixtures and wash them in warm, sudsy water, or even in your dishwasher. Use a clean, unused paintbrush to brush the dust off pleated lamp shades or a lint roller on regular lamp shades. If there are stains or dark spots on your lamp shade, replace it with a new one.
Don’t forget to clean the bulbs—a dirty lightbulb emits 20 percent less light than a clean one. After making sure the bulbs are cool to the touch, use a damp microfiber cloth or paper towel to remove grime.
Here’s a trick for cleaning ceiling lamp fixtures with fan blades: Cover one blade at a time with a pillowcase. Grab the open end of the top layer with your free hand and use it as dusting cloth, stroking dust and dirt into the bottom layer as you pull the pillow case toward you. When you’re done, empty the pillowcase outdoors and throw it in the wash.

De-Grime Kitchen Cabinet Doors
This is a chore that often gets skipped, but grime left too long will eventually adhere to your cabinets’ finish and then any attempt to remove it will result in removing the finish. Clean the front of your kitchen cabinets using a special wood cleaner, like oil soap mixed as directed with warm water. Dip a microfiber cloth or towel in the solution, wring it out and use it to wipe cabinet fronts in the direction of the grain. Pay special attention to the area around the door pulls.

Get Down and Dirty
Tackling this next cleaning chore can prevent costly refrigerator repairs while improving your fridge’s energy-efficiency. First, unplug and pull your refrigerator away from the wall. Remove the grille on the lower front of your refrigerator to expose the refrigerator coils. (Your coils may be on the back of your refrigerator instead.) Use a coil cleaning brush and vacuum to remove dust, pet hair and other debris.
Use the same tools to clean the condenser fan, usually located behind a door at the back of your refrigerator. Clean the drip pan, too, and the floor area before moving the refrigerator back into place. Then clean the rubber door gasket with a damp sponge to remove food drips that could make the gasket stick and tear.

“Work Smarter, Not Harder” Tips from the Pros
Don’t fight gravity. Clean each room from top to bottom: ceilings first and floors last.
Let cleaning products do the work for you. Give sprays time to penetrate surfaces; dirt and stains will wipe away quicker and easier.
 Feeling overwhelmed? Zero in on one project or room at a time and schedule cleaning sessions in 15- to 30-minute increments.
And when you’re all done? Reward yourself. Take a bubble bath or put your feet up and relax with your favorite magazine and beverage. You deserve it!

Organizing and cleaning expert Donna Smallin Kuper is the author of a dozen best-selling books on uncluttering, organizing, cleaning and simplifying life. Currently writing for Home Depot, Donna is often quoted by the media, in Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple and Woman’s Day. An array of lighting options to transform your space can be found at Home Depot online.

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