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Spring Cleaning Tips for Germaphobes

It's time to clean like you've never cleaned before.
It's time to clean like you've never cleaned before.
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The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and a year's worth of dust and grime is looming. Your inner Howard Hughes is cringing at the thought of all the grease and mildew that has amassed within the walls of your precious nest.

Alas, the time for a nice and thorough spring cleaning has arrived. We're talking wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling, not-even-a-dust-mite-could-survive sort of cleaning. Yes, there will be the usual flipping of the mattress, moving out the furniture and scrubbing in the drawers of the fridge. But if you want to assuage your lurking germaphobe and achieve a truly clean house, you're going to have to kick it up a notch and delve into some areas you probably hadn't even thought of. Here are some tips for spring cleaning your house until it shines like the top of the Chrysler Building. Even Miss Hannigan would approve.

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If you want to get through your spring cleaning while retaining your sanity, it's a good idea to come up with a plan. You'll probably find it's best to work one room at a time, rather than bopping back and forth between rooms. There's a sense of accomplishment that will come from completing a room and closing the door, and you're going to need to summon that feeling somewhere around the middle of your project.

An important rule of thumb is to work from top to bottom in each room. If not, that pesky thing called gravity is going to make you do double duty on the dusting and washing. Walls, in particular, get pretty grimy from day to day, so they're a great place to start in each room. No shortcuts! Take down curtains and art; they'll need to be cleaned, too. Use your vacuum attachment to remove dust from windowsills and baseboards, then get out your mops and sponges and start washing. Use a toothbrush for dirty crevices, and be sure to change your water frequently so you're not adding grime instead of removing it. Work around the room in sections, but be sure to work all of each section at once so you don't have to backtrack.

A squeegee will probably leave the least amount of streaks.
A squeegee will probably leave the least amount of streaks.
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Windows are a grim and grimy job, but if you want your house to sparkle, they're where it's at. Even if you "do windows," you probably don't do window screens very often. So, get started by removing all of your screens and propping them up in a place where they can be hosed off. A pressure washer is best if you really want to get all of the dirt and dust out of each little hole. Then, use your pressure washer to hose off the exterior of all the windows. Be sure to get the frames as well as the glass. But wait! You're not done yet. You'll also need to hand wash the panes to make sure they actually get clean and free of streaks. Hopefully, you have windows that tilt so you can get to both sides from safely inside your house. If not, it's time to invest in a tall ladder. Soft cloths seem to work better than paper towels because they don't leave a trail of lint. And a cleaning solution that contains vinegar is less likely to streak.

Hang your curtains outside to line dry if you can. This will prevent them from shrinking in the dryer.
Hang your curtains outside to line dry if you can. This will prevent them from shrinking in the dryer.
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Another area that traps a lot of dust and dirt are fabrics -- upholstery, curtains, and even lampshades. This year, it's time to add these to your spring cleaning list. Upholstery will always benefit from a thorough vacuuming. Be sure to concentrate on the areas under and in between cushions, where all the crumbs have landed. If your covers are removable, take them off and toss them in the wash. Your curtains may be OK with just a once-over with your vacuum, but it's likely that they could use a hot water washing as well. This, of course, depends on what kind of fabric they are, so be sure to read the cleaning instructions before tossing them into your washing machine. They may need to be dropped off at the dry cleaner. Your mattress is currently hosting millions of dust mites, so keep out the vacuum and its attachments. While you're at it, flip over your mattress so it wears evenly, and then vacuum the newly exposed side, too. And don't forget your fabric lampshades. Give them a quick swipe with a damp rag to get rid of accumulated dust.

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Sources

  • "How to Deep Clean Your Home." Mrscleanusa.com, 2010. http://www.mrscleanusa.com/en/cleaning-tips/tip/deep-cleaning-help.html
  • "Spring Cleaning Tips and Tricks." Rsu.edu, March, 2010. http://www.rsu.edu/health-center/healthy-you/2010/03.pdf

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