Winter is almost over and springtime is quickly approaching. Flowers will soon emerge from their snowy covers, the days will get longer and you will be able to open the windows and let the sunshine in. Then you take a good hard look at your home: pent up odors from being cooped up indoors for months, surfaces that have been heavily used throughout the past holiday season and an overall consensus that something needs to be done. The inevitable spring cleaning evokes fear in the hearts of even the cleanest domestic engineers, but fear no more! With effective cleaning products, the proper accessories, and a winning game plan, you can spring clean in a few hours for about the cost of two pizzas.
I prefer using products that do double duty, i.e., saving time and money while providing multiple benefits. Cleaners that remove dirt, grime, and grease while disinfecting and killing bacteria and germs maximize my cleaning time, keep my family healthier, and make my home sparkle.
Here are four favorites that will help make spring cleaning quicker and easier than ever before.
I like to use the citrus blend wipes in the kitchen and store the fresh scent canister in the bathrooms. The convenient wipes are quick to use; I like to freshen up the counter and cooktop after dinner to officially “close” the kitchen. Wiping off the vanity top and faucet before going to bed ensures an inviting and clean bathroom in the morning.
A healthy and clean lifestyle is especially important during the cold and flu season. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes can kill 99.9% of germs that can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours, 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, as well as killing Staph, E. Coli, Salmonella, MRSA and Strep.
The wipes are an efficient way to clean and disinfect multiple surfaces in an area. Be sure to clean off the homework area before serving dinner. Wipe off light switches and doorknobs in common areas and bedrooms. The kitchen will be shiny after you wipe down the faucets, handles, and inside the sink. Wiping all sides of vanity knobs and pulls as well as faucet handles and toilet levers will quickly remove germs and bacteria in shared bathrooms.
I have used this spray cleaner in the bathroom tub and shower as well as the toilet tank to clean tough stains, dirt, grease, and grime while disinfecting stains. It can also be used to clean bathroom and kitchen sinks and counter tops as well as kitchen appliances while leaving behind a fresh scent.
Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner + Bleach disinfects and kills 99.9% of common household bacteria in only 30 seconds. The Smart Tube technology means you can spray to the bottom of the bottle to use every drop of cleaning power.
My mother used Pine-Sol to clean the whole house back in the day; we did not clean – we Pine-Solled! I remember diluting the concentrated cleaner to wash floors and sinks, remove soap scum and hard water residue from shower stalls, freshen counter tops and inside the refrigerator, as well as lift rust from parts of the garage. In fact, Pine-Sol has been cleaning American homes since 1929.
Today’s Pine-Sol Pine Multi-Surface Cleaner disinfects and kills 99.9% of germs including Salmonella enterica, Staphylococcus aureus, Influenza A virus (Hong Kong strain) while leaving behind that distinctive pine scent. However, if your nose is sniffing out something a little different, you're in luck! Pine-Sol offers multiple scents, including my favorite, lavender. Many indoor and outdoor surfaces can be cleaned including fabric, laminates, porcelain, tile and vinyl. Best of all, most cleaning does not require rinsing after use.
A shiny toilet bowl has always been the mark of a clean bathroom to me. Cleaning the toilet, however, has often been a chore. Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner Clinging Bleach Gel makes cleaning the toilet bowl an easy task. Simply flush the toilet, apply the clinging gel under and around the rim to coat the toilet bowl, scrub with a brush, let sit for 10 minutes to remove tough stains while killing 99.9% of germs, then flush. You are done.
Having the correct cleaning supplies on hand will make the task more efficient. The less time spent cleaning means more time for exciting projects.
Cleaning Caddy – I have a set of cleaning supplies stored under the kitchen, bathroom, and powder room sinks so I have no excuses for a quick clean-up. If you have small children or pets that like to investigate the cabinets, be safe and use a child-proof cabinet lock or store the caddy on top of the linen closet or on a pantry shelf.
Cleaning Gloves – Protect your hands by wearing disposable latex or nitrile gloves for frequent changing or invest in a pair of heavy duty neoprene cleaning gloves for tough tasks.
Cleaning Towels – For best results, select towels that are lint-free and can be washed regularly.
Cleaning Sponges – I like sponges that fit in my hands so I can apply scrubbing pressure for those pesky hard-to-get-out stains.
Mops– Cotton mops and sponge heads are common choices; select one that fits your cleaning needs. Invest in a mop with a replaceable head for frequent use.
Bucket – Choose a bucket that will accommodate the size of your mop with room to spare. I like to have 2 buckets available – one with cleaner and one with rinse water (to prevent contaminating the cleaning bucket). Make sure that the bucket has sturdy handles to hold the water. Some buckets come with a mop twister attached to make wringing easier.
Brushes – a toilet brush, like the Clorox ToiletWand, can help remove stubborn spots and keep the toilet fresh.
Your plan of attack will ensure success and a clean home. I like to get everyone out of the house or wait until all are asleep so I can clean without distractions. Most of the time I can only tackle one area and then move onto the next. Having a stocked cleaning caddy under the sink in each bathroom and in the kitchen ensures that I will not get side tracked from the duties at hand.
How will you know when you are clean? My definition of clean is based upon seeing a “shine” and smelling a “fresh scent.” My measure of success – when I know that I am “clean enough” – is when my house smells fresh and the toilet bowl is shiny.
As with all cleaning products, be sure to read the instructions before use. The product label will identify proper use and precautions for best and safest results. Stone countertops, natural stone tiles, laminate and wood floors, and furniture grade cabinets may require specialty cleaners; multi-purpose cleaners may not be recommended and could be harmful to the surface.
As a rule, bleach and other cleaners do not mix. In fact, they could create a poisonous gas that could put a serious damper on your spring cleaning. After cleaning your surface, wipe down with water and allow to fully dry before use.
Cleaning can be strenuous – especially if you attack the project and plan to finish in a day. Do a few stretching exercises and gently move before lifting heavy cleaning buckets and contorting your body to reach those out-of-the-way spaces. Bending and stretching between tasks or cleaning areas will help keep you stay limber and refresh you before tackling the next space.
Use a ladder when cleaning a hard-to-reach object or overhead. Be sure that the ladder is on a level, solid surface before stepping on a rung. Enlist the aid of a helper if you will be reaching up for extended periods.
Wet floors are a potential slip hazard to those who think the floor is dry. Keep an eye out for others who may be in the vicinity.
Little helpers may want to assist you while you clean. Remember that these products are powerful and may not be suitable for use with small children – or pets – in the immediate vicinity.
Finally, I must encourage you to use personal protective equipment. Cleaners have odors and are chemical agents. If you are sensitive to strong odors and plan to clean for several hours, consider wearing a disposable mask or respirator. Always work in a well-ventilated area and keep the doors open for non-restrictive airflow. Safety glasses may seem excessive but are able to keep sprays out of your eyes when working on overhead cleaning projects. Protect your hands with disposable or heavy-duty gloves.
I love the smell of a freshly cleaned house. Dusty, dirty areas that are now shiny surfaces allow me to see my smiling reflection. It is a sign of accomplishment – no matter how short-lived! Even though I cannot control the germs and bacteria that enter my home, I can stop them before they spread. The disinfecting power in the wipes and sprays make my job easier as I fight to stop the spread of cold and flu from my family.
Finally, there are some additional and unexpected benefits to spring cleaning. While I cannot confirm or deny the old adage that “cleanliness is next to godliness,” I have heard that an hour of mopping will take off 150 calories. The joy of satisfaction in a job well done and the accompanying peace of mind are priceless!