With the warm spring weather comes the need of spring cleaning. When that sunshine starts shining through our windows, we can tell just how much they need cleaning. A recent survey shows that 90% of Americans take part in some form of spring cleaning. And this year as we are working to come out of the pandemic spring cleaning may be more important than in the past. Here are some basic ideas for making the most of your cleaning efforts.
The first thing to do is make a plan then work the plan. You don’t necessarily need a solid week of hard work to get this done. It can be done in small chunks of time. List the things that you want to clean and divide it up into tasks or rooms. Take inventory of the supplies you have on hand and add those you need to your grocery list.
Prioritize the rooms or tasks you plan to tackle. The same survey mentioned above reported that most of us feel the kitchen is the first priority. When cleaning your kitchen it is best to work from the top down. This includes vent hoods, lighting, and window and door frames. Then work your way down to the cabinets, light switches, counters, then baseboards and floors. Don’t forget to clean appliances. A clean appliance usually works more efficiently which can save you money on your electric bill. The refrigerator needs cleaning inside as well. Get rid of foods that are expired or leftovers that were never used. Wipe down shelves and drawers.
When cleaning kitchens and bathrooms, don’t forget to take it one step further and sanitize. A solution of 1 tablespoon plain, unscented bleach to 1 gallon of water will serve to sanitize surfaces. Allow the solution to stand on the surface for a few minutes, then air dry or wipe off with paper towels.
As you clean window and blinds, remember that if you try to do this all in one day, you may not be as thorough near the end as you were at the beginning of the process. Pace yourself and do this over a few days. Remove dirt and debris using a small broom or vacuum window frames and sills to get rid of dust, soot, cobwebs and dead insects. Wipe plastic or vinyl frames and sills with cleaning wipes or cleaners sprayed onto a cloth. Always read the labels of cleaning products to know if they are suitable for the surface you are cleaning.
Use a commercial glass or multi-surface cleaner to clean window glass. You can make your own glass cleaning solution by combining ½ cup of ammonia in a gallon of water. Wet a sponge or cloth with the solution, then rinse with a clean damp cloth and dry with a clean cloth or paper towels.
Blinds should be dusted regularly with a clean soft brush or the brush attachment of a vacuum. Use water and gently scrub with a sponge or soft cloth, then dry. Applying a furniture polish to the slats after cleaning will make the process easier the next time.
Dust and sunlight can break down the fibers of curtains and drapes making them fragile. If the care label says they are washable, launder on the delicate cycle. Otherwise, have them cleaned professionally. Many of today’s draperies are hard to take down and clean so a good vacuuming is appropriate, followed by spritzing with a fabric refresher to remove lingering odors.
Ceiling fans are a great way to reduce energy bills, but they are also a great collector of dust. Vacuum the blades or use a soft disposable duster to remove loose dust and debris. Spray a cleaning solution on a cloth and wipe the blades to remove more difficult dirt.
Clean walls with a soft brush attachment on your vacuum to clean any cobwebs out of corners. If needed, wipe walls down with a damp soft cloth. Be careful in choosing a cleaner so that it does not stain or remove paint from your walls. Upholstered furniture should be vacuumed and spritzed with a fabric refresher to neutralize odors.
I hope these hints will encourage and motivate you to accomplish those many cleaning tasks we sometimes dread. Plan your work and work your plan. You can do it!
Broccoli Strawberry Orzo Salad
3/4 cup orzo pasta (uncooked)
2 cups fresh broccoli (chopped)
2 cups fresh strawberries (diced)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing:
1 tablespoon lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar (or honey)
poppy seeds (1 teaspoon, optional)
Cook orzo pasta according to directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. In a large bowl, combine orzo
pasta, broccoli, strawberries, and sunflower seeds. Drizzle with lemon poppy seed vinaigrette and toss
to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.
Yield: 6 servings
Nutritional Analysis: 153 calories; 8 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 31 mg sodium; 18 g
carbohydrate; 3 g dietary fiber; 4 g total sugar; 4 g protein
Editor’s note: Information for this article was obtained from the Clean and Happy Nest April 2021 newsletter published by the American Cleaning Institute; Clean Windows written by Sheila Schaeffer, White County FCS agent, and published by Perdue University Cooperative Extension Service March 5, 2020; and Healthy Choices for Healthy Families newsletter published by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service Nutrition Education Program March/April 2021.
Reach Cecelia Hostilo, Trigg County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences, at P. O. Box 271 (2657 Old Hopkinsville Road), Cadiz, KY 42211, by phone at 270-522-3269, fax at 270-522-9192 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.