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How to Spring Clean


Tackling the Kitchen and Bathroom
Scrubbing a gas stovetip like this one can be a pain, but it's worth it.
Scrubbing a gas stovetip like this one can be a pain, but it's worth it.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Now that you've got the basics down, let's turn to the individual rooms of your house and the areas that need special attention. I have to admit, the kitchen and bathrooms can be especially gross when you're spring cleaning, so let's get them out of the way.

Even if you're good at rotating food, you probably have some that's expired. Take everything out of the fridge and pantry, and if you're in doubt, ditch it. Wash all of them down inside and out with your all-purpose cleaner (for me that means changing out the bucket several times). One important task that often gets ignored is cleaning the refrigerator coils. They're usually on the back, but check the manual. These coils get dusty and that makes your refrigerator work even harder to keep things cool. Don't neglect cleaning the gaskets around doors, because if they get full of crumbs they don't seal as well.

Other major appliances in the kitchen that need your attention include the dishwasher. Look in the bottom for a strainer that catches food, take it out, dump any gunk and clean it. Wipe down the inside with your basic cleaner. You can buy a bottle of dishwasher cleaner to run through a cycle, but you can also just put in some borax and run it empty.

The stove can be a challenge. If you have a lovely, sealed-top electric range, that's one thing. If you have a gas stove like me, cleaning the top means copious amounts of scrubbing and vowing I'll be better about getting up spills immediately. Many ovens have cleaning cycles, which essentially burn off any spilled food, so use that if you have it. If (yes, like me) yours doesn't, try scrubbing with a thick layer of baking soda instead of oven cleaner.

In the bathrooms, use this time to clean really carefully in small cracks around the sink, grout, and bottom of the toilet. If you have a fan installed, clean or replace the filter. If you have soap scum build-up, vinegar can break it down. Make sure your drains are running smoothly, using a drain cleaner or pour baking soda and then vinegar down each one. The medicine cabinet or closet can also be full of products potentially gone bad, although cosmetics don't always have expiration dates. Definitely throw away expired medicine, and take the time to restock your first aid kit.


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