There’s an illness that has been documented by poets for centuries and I’ve got it. It’s Spring Fever, that wonderfully amorphous disease we all recognize come April and May.
Spring fever remains a fuzzy medical category, but 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 clean!
While I don’t invite all my friends over to help, I have built quite a team that makes the job, if not fun, at least enjoyable. Today, I’d like to introduce you to each member of my awesome spring clean team.
I got the initial 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 specific cleaning tools 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.
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.
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.
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 (distilled if possible, but tap water is okay)
Optional: Add 20 drops of your favorite essential oil—lavender or lemon are great choices—to make it smell nice. Shake well and use as needed.
This cleaner has a long shelf life. Because it contains no vinegar 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 a window then spray liberally on the areas to be cleaned—meaning that skanky tub and shower walls, floor, doors, and even the faucets. 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.
I have no idea why the word “dish” is in the name of this product, but I don’t really care. It’s got the power of Blue Dawn on steroids, and that’s what matters to me.
Dawn Dish Power Dissolver dissolves burnt-on, baked-on, carbonized grease and foods from pots, pans, and baking sheets. It makes quick work of cleaning stovetops and ovens, too.
I use this stuff perhaps way too much if there could possibly be such a thing. And that may be because it is a little pricey. But I sure love knowing that it’s handy for those messy, icky jobs that I need to get in and out of fast and efficiently. I would not want to have a clean team without Dawn Dish Power Dissolver on it.
Oh, I love this little gem with its long hose and multiple attachments. Once her 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.
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.
McCulloch MC1275 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.
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 stairs, but having one on each floor of my home is just so handy. Besides, it’s my job to test several 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.
You know I’ve been in love with Bar Keepers Friend since before it was cool. In fact, I believe I introduced many of my readers to it for the first time, decades ago. Back then, it was only a powdered cleanser in a can.
Now, the folks at BKF have come out with several fabulous new versions including soft cleanser and the latest—Bar Keepers Friend MORE Foam Cleanser. Oh my, this stuff is amazing. Here’s why: It sticks to vertical surfaces without dripping down and getting all over the place. It is truly non-abrasive and will not scratch even the finest stainless steel refrigerator or other surfaces.
Bar Keepers Friend MORE Foam Cleanser cleans just about everything else as well, including tile, porcelain, ceramic, aluminum, copper, brass, chrome, and glass—and vinyl (follow instructions on the label). It removes tarnish (do not use on silver—unless it is sterling silver—or gold), tough stains, rust, and lime. Yep, love!
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?
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 Bissell 3624 SpotClean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner 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 that’s my A-team line-up. I do keep a B-team on the bench, which I will pull in as my spring clean game dictates.
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.
Go get ’em, team!
Question: How about you? Got the Spring Fever, yet?
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Originally published: 5-23-18; Updated 3-18-19