Spring Into a Cleaner Home

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

When I was growing up, one of my favorite things to do on a Friday night was to turn on ABC and settle in for a couple of hours of TGIF programming. The Tanner family from Full House seemed to settle in right along with me.

It’s no wonder, then, that when spring rolls around, I can’t help but think of Danny Tanner and his insatiable appetite for cleaning. While he may be overzealous with his obsessive behavior, he’s not alone when it comes to the annual spring-cleaning tradition. It’s actually a global practice spread across cultures that even has deep spiritual and religious roots for some. For me, it includes covering some basic must-dos:

Ditch the disorder. Desktops, vanity drawers and bathroom counters become home to unnecessary receipts, old makeup and unused toiletries throughout the year, so before I get my hands dirty cleaning them up, I always purge first. This goes for electronic files and emails, too.

Wash window screens. Take them off and hose them down outside. Brush with a mild dishwashing liquid and remember to rinse thoroughly.

Clean the fans. Vacuum first to remove the dust and wipe down where necessary. For standing fans, take them apart before cleaning, and remember to save the whole-house vacuum until after this is done.

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Wipe down the walls and vacuum the ceilings. My college roommate used to make fun of me for cleaning the walls — until she saw how dirty they were! My apartment has popcorn ceilings, so I can’t wipe them down. Vacuuming alone will have to do until I can smooth them out.

Deep-clean the carpet. Rent a carpet steam cleaner for a day to get the job done. This also helps solve another problem: Because you must remove the furniture in the room, you’ll get easy access to clean otherwise hard-to-reach spots. Remember to vacuum before steaming and follow the manufacturer instructions for the cleaning solution. In this case, too much solution can actually attract more dirt later. If you feel uncomfortable steam-cleaning on your own, consider hiring a professional.

Keep in mind that thorough spring-cleaning can often take more than a day. Dedicate at least two to three days for a good cleaning session, and involve your family members. Make it fun by pumping up the music and ordering pizza. And if you want to follow in the footsteps of Danny Tanner, clean your cleaning supplies when you’re done.