When it’s time for spring cleaning, you think of opening all the windows, letting the fresh breezes replace the stale air in the rooms while you sweep and mop and dust the surfaces ignored all through the winter. But there are more shadowy areas in your home that need attention. Spending just a few minutes on these five often overlooked spots will transform your space into a cleaner, more liveable environment, perfect for spring and summer fun and relaxation.
Who knows what’s living in those jelly jars at the very back of your refrigerator shelves? Take your time, going from section of section, pulling out-of-date foods, making sure to rinse and recycle what containers you can. You can wipe down the shelves with a damp towel, or use a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle for interior cleaning.
Food keeps longer in the freezer, but it can still pass a useable date. Throw out what you can’t eat and again clean out the interior. If the freezer needs defrosting, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
The exterior of the refrigerator needs your attention, too. By vacuuming accumulated dust from the underside and from the inner workings you help it operate more efficiently, thus keeping your summer treats cooler with less impact on your utility bill. Some refrigerators have a hatch in the back you can open to access the coils for cleaning. Again follow your manufacturer’s instructions, but it’s always a good idea to unplug the unit before doing this kind of work. And don’t be afraid to ask for help if you can’t roll the refrigerator away from the wall on your own.
Your Beds and Pillows
Sure, you’ve cleaned all your linens, packed away all the heavy blankets, and changed your sheets but there’s a little more cleaning to be done around your bed. Pull out your trusty vacuum and be sure to get all the old dust around the mattress and frame, between the mattress and the boxspring, and along the baseboard behind the bed.
Sometimes laundering your sheets and blankets isn’t enough. Many pillows are machine washable. Check the label for instructions, but often adding some white vinegar or baking soda to the wash water can help in stain removal and general freshening.
You might empty out your computer’s trash as often as you empty the one from the kitchen. Your file system could be perfectly organized and you might rebuild your desktop religiously. But actual dirt and dust, not the virtual kind, can also clog up your system.
A can of compressed air is a great way to get the dust out of your tower’s vents. Be sure to test the can a couple of times, clearing any accelerant or other moisture from the compressed air, before turning the blast on your computer.
You can even mix up a solution of 50/50 white vinegar and DISTILLED water and use it to dampen a cloth and clean your screen and keyboard. Isopropyl alcohol can also be used instead of vinegar, but be sure that the water is distilled. If it isn’t the minerals will leave residue on your surfaces. And check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if you shouldn’t use an alcohol solution on the screens.
The Trash Can
While you’re cleaning all these items, you’re no doubt throwing away out-of-date food and the dirty cleaning supplies. Don’t ignore where you’re disposing all of these things. Your trash can is a natural magnet for all kinds of dirt and grime. Giving it a clean will immediately refresh the area.
The water/vinegar solution is a good place to start for cleaning the trash can, but because of the nature of the grime, a more aggressive approach might be necessary. Disinfectant sprays or wipes should inhibit the growth of anything nasty or potentially harmful to your health. And don’t just clean the top and exterior, get inside and wash out the entire can.
There’s another item that’s used in your cleaning routine that’s often ignored from getting the attention it deserves: your vacuum cleaner. If the bag is full you replace it. Or if it’s a bagless, you empty the dust. But there’s more you can be doing for your trusty cleaning companion.
Making sure the unit is unplugged, take these simple steps to prolong the life and maintain the functionality of your vacuum. Using a sharp pair of scissors, carefully cut any long hairs or carpet fibers that have wrapped around the roller brush. Be sure to not cut the bristles, only the material wrapped around them. Once cut, any debris can be easily removed by hand.
Many vacuums have filters that can be detached for washing. Follow your manufacturer’s directions, being sure to dry them completely before reinstalling into your device and using it again. Once that’s done, give your vacuum a good exterior dusting. Once it’s looking cherry, you’ll be proud to roll it out for a quick pass on the floors.
Now your spring cleaning is really complete. With these mystery spots taken care of, your indoor space will be refreshed and as rejuvenating as all the fresh air and sunshine of the coming months.