Spring cleaning is more than doing the windows

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It’s hard to think about spring cleaning when it still looks and feels like winter outside, but very soon the season will be upon us. Getting the right tools and solvents ready now will give you a leg up on applying elbow grease.

You don’t have to go broke buying the latest and greatest cleaners, either. There are plenty of do-it-yourself cleaning solvents you can make that clean as well – if not better – than the stuff sold in stores.

WINDOWS

Housewife How-To’s has a recipe for window cleaner that will make the glass sparkle

 

WINDOW WASHING FLUID

  • 1 part rubbing alcohol or water
  • 1 part white vinegar
  • 3 drops dishwashing liquid (make sure it doesn’t contain moisturizers or other additives)
  • Spray bottle
  • Squeegee or newspapers
  •  

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and go at it. The website recommends washing the inside of windows with a side-to-side motion and the outside windows with an up-and-down motion. That way you can easily tell which side the smudge is on.

And shoot for an overcast day to do the windows – direct sunlight and heat will produce streaks regardless of what solvent you use.

 

GREASY STOVETOPS

If you have greasy stovetops that need attention, you can create your own cleaning fluid that won’t be harsh on the environment. Here are suggestions from apartmenttherapy.com:

 

Recipe No. 1:Pour vinegar into a spray bottle and apply a generous mist to the greasy surface. Let the vinegar soak in for 10 minutes, then rub clean with a dishcloth or nonabrasive scrubber. If vinegar is too smelly for you, dilute it with half vinegar and half water or add essential oils.

 

Recipe No. 2:Sprinkle a bit of baking soda on a damp dishcloth or nonabrasive scrubber and wipe down the greasy surfaces. Follow this up with a wipe using a clean damp dishcloth to remove any residue. Not too much elbow grease though – baking soda can be abrasive and possibly damage your stovetop if you scrub too hard.

 

Recipe No. 3:Fight grease with grease! Moisten a paper towel with vegetable oil and rub it over a particularly stubborn stain. Follow that up with one of the two methods mentioned earlier so there are no greasy leftovers.

 

DIRTY WALLS

Kids, dogs and just life in general during the winter can result in marks, scuffs and dirt on your painted walls.

 

The DIY Network recommends using a homemade cleaner involving – you guessed it – vinegar.

 

First, determine what kind of paint you’re dealing with. Semigloss or enamel paint will stand up to a washing, but flat, stain or eggshell finishes may need gentler treatment.

 

Step No. 1 is to dust your walls. Use a brush or the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner.

 

Then try using just water. Use a sponge dipped in water, squeezing out as much water as possible. If that doesn’t do the trick, add a few drops of dishwashing soap. Still not coming off? Mix a cup of ammonia, a half-cup of vinegar and a quarter cup of baking soda in a gallon of warm water.

 

Place towels along the baseboard to protect the baseboard and your floor. Starting at the top of the wall, using a just-damp sponge, work your way down with the cleaner, and then wipe it with just water to rinse it off. It might help to have two buckets and sponges, one with the cleaner and the other with plain water.

 

Once you have washed and rinsed a section of wall, dry it off with a cloth or towel.

 

That might just be the tip of the spring cleaning iceberg facing you and your family, but it’s a good start.

 

 


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