The Best Players For Your Spring Clean A-Team
There’s an illness that has been documented by poets for centuries and I’ve got it. Spring Fever is that wonderfully amorphous disease we all recognize come March and April. While it remains a fuzzy medical condition, there has been a great deal of research on how seasonal changes affect our mood and behavior. I know how it affects me—it makes me want to spring clean!
While I don’t invite all my friends over to join in, I have built a cleaning team of DIY cleaners and equipment that make the job not necessarily fun, but at least enjoyable. Today, I’d like to introduce you to my Spring Clean A-Team.
Once you find that perfect all-purpose cleaner, you’ll probably go through gallons of it. Want to make sure it’s fantastic and cheap? Make it yourself—better, cheaper, faster!
Here’s one version for your consideration: Get a 16-oz or larger spray bottle and drop in the following:
- 1 teaspoon borax
- 1/2 teaspoon washing soda
- 1/2 teaspoon blue Dawn dishwashing liquid
- 2 two cups warm water
Optional: Add 20 drops of your favorite essential oil—lavender or lemon are great choices—to make it smell nice. Label clearly. Shake well and use as needed.
This cleaner has a long shelf life. Because it contains no vinegar or other acidic ingredient, this all-purpose cleaner is safe to use on quartz, granite, soapstone, and even marble surfaces. Cleans like a boss.
Soap and Scum Cleaner
This is the most amazing household super cleaner ever—a recipe and instructions sent to me more than 25 years ago by a reader who cleans dorms and apartments between tenants for a living. You can only imagine what he faces in the showers and tubs. This is magic.
- Pour 1 cup (yes, cup) blue Dawn into a 32-ounce spray bottle (1/2 cup Dawn if you are using a 16-ounce bottle).
- Fill the bottle the rest of the way with white vinegar.
- Apply sprayer top and shake gently to mix.
To Use: Open the windows and turn on the bathroom exhaust fan. Spray liberally on the tub, the shower walls, floor, doors, and even the faucets. That’s it. Walk away.
Allow to sit from 30 minutes minimum up to overnight, depending on the severity of the problem. All of the offensive gunk and grime will break down and become soft and gooey. Hours later, or in the morning, simply rinse it away.
For especially challenging situations—or if this is the initial treatment—use a sponge or brush to gently scrub the surfaces before rinsing.
For routine maintenance, just spray, wait, and rinse.
Deep Cleaning Brushes
I received this set as a gift from a friend who knows me well. I love to clean nooks and crannies, which is crazy, but true nonetheless. OXO Good Grips Kitchen Appliance Cleaning Set—tools that are perfect but not only for the kitchen. I use them on grout, in corners; along baseboards. And into the dishwasher they go almost daily, to get sanitized. Watch out nooks and crannies! Your dirty days are fast coming to an end.
Squeegee and Scrubber Set
I suppose that windows would win if I could have only one item on my spring clean list of dirty things to clean. There’s just nothing like looking at spring through sparkling, crystal-clear windows. Want to know the secret to the sparkle? A good squeegee and the best scrubber to go with it.
- MORE: Sparkling Clean Windows—Cheaper, Better, Faster!
Forget the paper towels. And the terry cloth. When it comes to serious cleaning of anything—especially glass and mirrors—there’s nothing more efficient than microfiber because it is lint-free and streak-free. A set will last for years. And years.
Just toss them in the laundry and they come out ready to work some more. VibraWipe Microfiber Cleaning Cloths continue to be my pick for Best Inexpensive™ microfiber cleaning cloths.
O-Cedar Microfiber Spray Mop
This is a fabulous mop. The large, dual-sided microfiber mop head flips allowing you to clean floors fast without having to change the mop pad. Use the refillable bottle to dispense your favorite cleaning solution and you are ready to clean and shine your floors. Use wet for a deeper clean to shine your floors or use dry for dusting your floors.
Kitchen Bar Mops
These are the small terry cloth kitchen towels I use for cleaning, wipe up, napkins, and just about everything I once relied on paper towels for around the house and kitchen! Don’t want to live without my bar mops. I rotate 6 dozen and use a number of these every day! Cannot imagine what I have avoided spending in paper towels over the many years I’ve been using bar mops.
Oh, I love this little gem with its long hose and multiple attachments. Once the reservoir reaches full temp, steam comes out at 250 F. at the nozzle—I tested it so I know it’s true. That is sufficient to clean grout, the crud that builds up around faucets, super hard places to reach in the oven, stovetop, and around the back of toilets; patio cushions, floor mats, and sliding door and window tracks.
McCulloch Heavy-Duty Steam Cleaner comes with accessory attachments to cover every clean job imaginable. It easily rolls behind me, following just like a loyal pet.
The manufacturer claims that this machine’s steam is hot enough to kill bedbugs and their eggs too, provided all come in contact with the steam. Thankfully I have not had the occasion to test this promise.
DO NOT use steam on wood or laminate floors. Even if you believe your floors are well-sealed, even if the owner manual that came with your steam mop suggests that would be a good thing to do. Why? Consider this: The way woodworkers bend wood is with steam. Wood absorbs moisture. It forces its way between joins and into cracks. Steam makes the wood soft, which can make it warp and swell. Steam can harm the sealant.
Laminate flooring is layers of manmade material held together with glue. Steam can melt glue and that can result in the layers separating. You might get away with steam cleaning wood and laminate for awhile, but why push your luck?
That’s what I call my Shark Navigator Pro Lift-Away Vacuum. I should make that plural because I do have three, and proudly so.
This vac is so lightweight I guess I could carry it up and down stairways, but having one on each floor of my home is just so handy. Besides, it’s my job to test multiple models and colors, right? Yes, indeed!
Here’s the deal with Shark vacuums: The manufacturer comes out with what seems like a new one with a new color and new model number every day! Here’s your cheat sheet: Make sure it has these words in the name somewhere: Shark, Navigator, Pro, and Lift-Away and you simply cannot go wrong.
What clean team would be complete without Mr. Scrappy, the finest and most convenient garbage disposer brush on the planet? (While there are less expensive “knock-off” versions of this tool, my experience is that they don’t perform well; one even broke, leaving the brush down in the disposal on the first cleaning attempt).
Mr. Scrappy gets in there and cleans the thing including the underside of those rubber flaps! Such a cool and amazing guy, Mr. Scrappy. No more funny smells coming from your kitchen sink, hear?
Spot Cleaning Machine
Okay, so it’s a bit of a luxury, I suppose, but having a wet/dry carpet spot and upholstery cleaning machine is so lovely. I wouldn’t want to hit the spring cleaning field without my Bissell SpotClean on the team.
I clean the arms of upholstered chairs before they start to look dirty (I know lots of hands and arms have touched them, so it’s only a matter of time).
I use Bissell to clean carpeted stairs—why do they get so dirty? I use it to deep-clean an ugly spill or greasy footprint. And once I start, it’s so cool to see all that dirt disappear, it’s hard to stop. Just one more stair, one more spot, please! I’m impulsive that way, I guess.
I use my Bissell in small areas the way I use my Hoover Steam VAC in the big ones. It’s so cute and works so well.
So, there’s my first-string, A-team line-up! Now that I think about it, I see no reason to wait until all threat of winter has passed before getting started with my spring cleaning.
Let’s go get ’em, team!
Question: How about you? Got the Spring Fever, yet?
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What is washing soda?
Hi Susan … Great question! You’ll find the answer and more ways to use it in 11 Ways Washing Soda Will Make Your Life Easier