After a busy week of work, do you ever wake up Saturday morning and ask “who messed up my house?” With our busy lives, clutter and grime in our homes can build up quickly. Now that spring is in the air, it’s a better time than ever to clean and refresh your home. Cleaning your entire house can seem overwhelming, so efficiency is key. Start a list and prioritize by room, or project. If you have a timeline, be sure to calendar the list so you can stay on track. With a plan and the right tools, it’s not so daunting.
Empty out every cabinet. By removing everything, you can easily organize your kitchen items into four groups: keep, relocate, donate, or toss. Thoroughly clean shelves and doors and use a vacuum attachment for crevices. Be sure to dust/clean the items you are putting back. When cleaning out the pantry, check expiration dates of foods as well as whether packages are well sealed. Once opened, many foods’ shelf life will diminish. If you’ve inadvertently collected an abundance of canned goods from coupon specials or big box stores, consider donating to a local food bank.
Clean and disinfect using an appropriate product for your type of sink. If you prefer a natural method, many people use white vinegar. To clean and deodorize your disposal, place cut-up lemon, ice cubes and salt down the drain. Run disposal with water until cleared. Clean and shine the faucet. If you use a sponge in your kitchen, disinfect nightly by microwaving for a minute or two in a bowl with about one cup of warm, soapy water. After microwaving, let the sponge sit for five minutes to steam clean the interior. Baked on food will wipe away with ease. Make sure to carefully remove the water, it may still be very hot.
Clean thoroughly with appropriate products for your appliance. If you are lucky enough to have a self-cleaning oven, use the clean cycle, and when cool, wipe down thoroughly and don’t forget the racks. Depending on the type of oven you have, you may be able to use oven liners to make day-to-day cleaning easier. Many can be placed in the dishwasher and re-used.
Stove and Hood
Clean the exterior of the hood. Remove and clean the exhaust filter. You may be shocked at the amount of grease built up in the filter. Soak in very hot, soapy water. Clean with a scrub brush then rinse and dry thoroughly. Some filters can be placed in the dishwasher. If dishwashing, pre-clean so you don’t over-grease your dishwasher. To clean your stove, start by taking removable parts off, such as knobs and grates. Wash or soak in hot soapy water. If grates are too heavily soiled, an oven cleaning product may be needed. Check with manufacturer’s instructions and use in a well-ventilated area. Clean and shine the surface of the stove with a safe product that won’t scratch. You can make your own cleaner by combining one tablespoon of salt with one tablespoon of baking soda. Add one tablespoon of water and mix into a paste. Use a soft cloth to clean, rinse and shine.
Clean and shine the outside panel. Wipe around inside edges to remove any food particles. To clean and kill bacteria inside your dishwasher, add a quarter-cup of bleach to a dish cycle. Once the rinse cycle is finished, dishes and dishwasher will be safe and sanitized.
Remove everything and toss old and expired foods. If you’re unsure if the food is expired, check to see if something is growing on it! If so, pretty safe bet. Make a shopping list of what needs to be replaced. Clean shelves and bins with warm soapy water. Clean and organize the items you put back. Place a new open box of baking soda inside to absorb odors.
When cleaning a room, always clean floors last. Be sure your vacuum has a fresh bag or clean canister. Vacuum area rugs before removing, then vacuum floors thoroughly before damp mopping. Always be sure your floors are dry before replacing rugs.
Traditionally the least-fun area of the house to clean. If you enjoy having guests, however, it probably behooves you to scrub this room top to bottom. Clean ceilings and walls, especially in high humidity bathrooms where mold can form. Scrub your shower walls and floor with bathroom cleaner, thoroughly rinse and dry. Clean the shower curtain, or if it’s seen better days, update the look with a new one. Polish shower head, knobs and drain. Clean out under-sink, linen and medicine cabinets. Dispose of old medications properly. Polish mirrors, glass and faucets, scrub sink and toilet. Don’t forget the wastebasket. Clean inside and out. Always keep cleaning products and tools available in the bathroom so it’s easy to touch-up clean daily.
Closets can seem especially overwhelming. The first and most important step is to evaluate the space for functionality. Do you need to move or add shelves? Add a bar for hanging clothes? Make a list/plan for modifications and gather the necessary materials and tools. Start the project by removing everything, and then make the necessary modifications. Categorize the contents you removed as: Keep, Relocate, Donate, or Toss. Vacuum, dust and ONLY replace the “keep” items.
NOTE: Always use safe and appropriate cleaning products for your home and appliances. Use gloves or protective clothing when recommended.