Spring Cleaning in 3...2...1...Go!

Now that Spring is upon us it's time to clean out all of the cobwebs. Here are 8 cleaning tips to getting it done quicker courtesy of Reader's Digest.

Make doormats welcoming

Shake 'em, wash 'em, swat 'em with a broom. Give them the toughest cleaning they can take. They?re your front line against tracked-in dirt?so keep them clean enough to function at peak efficiency.

Clean carpets and upholstery

Maintain your floors

Here is where I depart from Reader's Digest. They recommend using a "wash-and-wax" cleaner for your hardwood. NEVER use any sort of "wash-and-wax" cleaner on your wood floor. This includes Orange Oil, Bona Refresher, and Murphy's Oil Soap. The reason I am so adamant about this is because these products will actually end up costing you a lot of money. Let me explain. Every wood floor is going to require additional coating in the future whether it's oil or some sort of polyurethane. The products I mentioned earlier actually form a residue barrier that is incompatible with surface applied finishes. This could result in sanding your floor to correct the issues. And all you wanted to do was make your floor look nice again. So what do I recommend? It actually quite easy. First, dust mop with a microfiber not a Swiffer. Swiffers tend to drag debris across the floor potentially scratching the surface. Dust mop a couple days a week and call it good. If you spill something wipe it up as soon as reasonably possible. If needed use a floor cleaner recommended by the flooring manufacturer for sticky messes or shoe scuffs. The best cleaner I have discovered for all types of floor finishes is Pallmann Hardwood Floor Cleaner. It cleans well and does not leave a residue like some other cleaners. Next, clean the floor no more than once a month with cleaner remembering not to totally drench the floor. In this case less really is more. Finally, every 3 to 5 years contact your flooring professional to determine if your floor is due for a new coat of finish. For oiled floors every 1 to 2 years. Easy peasy!

Wash walls, cabinets, baseboards, and woodwork

The walls may not look as if they need a bath--dust and soot fall to the floor, right? Most of it does, but just enough clings to vertical surfaces to warrant a seasonal or pre-holiday bath. Use a sponge and hand dishwashing detergent, washing the surface in sections. A sponge mop makes it easier to reach higher spots. Use two buckets: one for dishwashing detergent solution and another for wringing your sponge. Dry the walls and woodwork with a clean cloth.

Vacuum with intelligence

The old rules mandated that you go through the labor-intensive task of dragging every stick of furniture off the carpet, just so the vacuum cleaner could cover every nook and cranny. Instead, simply move those big items a little to the left or to the right. Vacuum the area previously occupied by the furniture and then move it back into place. Make sure to check with the carpet manufacturer for approved vacuums. Vacuums like Dyson can actually damage the newer ultra-soft fibers.

Clean ceiling fixture

Remove dust and dirt from ceiling fans and air-conditioner vents with a cloth and a vacuum with a soft nozzle attachment.

Clean your light fixtures

A few minutes with a stepladder, all-purpose cleaner, a sponge, and a polish cloth will give new light to your life. If your home has skylights or tall ceilings, consider investing in a stepladder and extended-reach dust-and-dirt-removal tools, all of which are available at your local hardware store and at home supply stores.

Check your coils

You should clean the refrigerator?s condenser coil, usually found behind the toe grille, with a long-handled bottle brush and a vacuum cleaner with an attachment hose to remove dust and lint. Built-up dust can shut down the unit by causing it to overheat. To remove dust from coils attached to the hard-to-reach back side of the fridge, carefully pull the refrigerator out several feet (newer models roll on casters) and vacuum thoroughly; finish by sweeping or vacuuming the floor area you?ve revealed. Expect to rediscover coins, bottle caps, and twist ties that you and the cat knocked over the past year.

There you have it. Now don't kill yourself and try to get everything done in a day. Break it up into a few nights during the week. After all you'll want to enjoy your sparkly clean abode.