Spring Cleaning, Domestic Diva-Style


In the KristenSherlock’s Blog post Don’t Let Winter’s Bad Weather Spoil Your Exercise Time from January 14th 2011 we talked about ways to burn calories this past oh-so-cold winter when we didn’t feel like going outside. One of the suggestions most commented about was in regards to being a Domestic Diva while cleaning around the house. We forget that all the dusting, wiping, scrubbing, and vacuuming is making our body move (a lot!) and the more we move, the more we burn. So, with the sun shinning a little bit more here in North America, let’s talk about how we can be a Domestic Divas with these simple Spring Cleaning Tips.

Dust Lightbulbs

You will be amazed at how much more bright your light bulbs will glow with removing a layer of dust! Unscrew lightbulbs and polish the bulbs with a microfiber cloth dampened with water (avoid wetting the metal screw base). Clean the bulbs in recessed ceiling fixtures with a telescoping lamb’s wool duster.

Wash Your Blinds

This will certainly burn your calories AND make your home instantly cleaner. Once or twice a year, wipe wooden blinds with a few drops of gentle wood cleaner on a nearly dry sponge. Aluminum blinds can be washed outdoors: Place them on an old sheet on a slanted surface, and scrub with water and a noncorrosive cleaner. Use a hose to rinse well, and then dry the blinds thoroughly with a towel to prevent rust.

Clean Windows

While we’re on the topic of window blinds, we certainly can not forget the window itself. Good news: Dirty panes are no problem when you use rubber-edged squeegees, which are quicker and more effective than cloth or newspaper. They come in a variety of sizes — and a screw-on extension will let you reach high spots.

To start, dip a sponge into a bucket of warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap. Wet window; rub dirt away. Dampen squeegee; starting at an upper corner, draw it down pane from top to bottom. Repeat, overlapping strokes and wiping rubber edge with sponge after each stroke. (For large windows, ”snake” squeegee back and forth; then touch up edges.) Dry windowsills with a cloth. And don’t forget: Clean the window inside and out. What is the sense of cleaning the inside of the window if it means you will see the dirt splatter more clearly on the outside of the window?

Don’t Forget Your Curtains

Vacuum and steam-clean curtains or have them dry-cleaned. If you’ll be replacing heavy curtains with lighter ones as the weather gets warmer, it is especially important to remove dust and dirt before putting the curtains away for storage.

Ceiling Fan Switch Up

After dusting your ceiling fan with a wet cloth, while you are already up there, take a short moment to change the direction of your ceiling fans. While the standard clockwise direction in cold weather months creates an upward draft, redistributing the warm air hovering near the ceiling throughout the room, switch to the counterclockwise direction for a pleasant breeze during warm months. This creates a downward draft, redistributing the cool air lying near the floor throughout the room, thus cooling your home more efficiently. Most fans have a switch on the base to adjust the rotation.

Clean Out the Refrigerator

Before that spoiled spinach smell takes over your house, this task is a must do! Cleaning the refrigerator can be a daunting undertaking; make it more manageable by breaking it down into simple, small steps.

  • The first step is to wipe up spills immediately so surfaces won’t become stained.
  • Make it a habit to throw out old food once a week.
  • Every few months, wash the interior with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda for every quart of warm water. Wash removable shelves and drawers in the solution (let glass shelves come to room temperature first so warm water won’t crack them).
  • Loosen hardened spills on fixed parts by wetting the area with the solution, allowing the residue to soften.
  • Use a toothbrush to scrub crannies.
  • Twice a year, vacuum or brush dust from the condenser coils to keep the system from overheating.

Deep-Clean Carpets and Rugs

Only do this task after all the dusting and cleaning of windows, fans, moldings and light fixtures has been completed. No sense in cleaning your carpets first if you will only dirty them again with fallen dust particles.

For synthetic carpeting, rent or buy a shampooer/extractor — a machine that cleans the fibers and removes traces of soap using hot water. Open windows and let air flow to help carpets dry. If you have wool carpets or rugs, or any that are valuable or delicate, contact a professional for cleaning.

Lastly: Replace Batteries

Although this activity isn’t a calorie burner, this Spring Cleaning Tip is a MUST DO in protecting the ones we love. We should replace the batteries in our smoke detectors every six months. Use the day we set our clocks ahead as a reminder, and you’ll be unlikely to forget. Change the batteries again in fall, when you set your clocks back. Since Daylight Savings Time came early this year, changing your batteries in conjunction with a major holiday (IE: Easter and Halloween) is another great way to help remember this important task.

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