Spring Into Cleaning

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Tips from ACI (American Cleaning Institute)

Spring is a time to refresh and renew. Prior to our current modern conveniences homes were heated with coal, oil, and/or wood leading to a build-up of grime during winter. Historically homemakers opened up the entire house for a deep cleaning once winter was over. Thankfully many homes of today do not collect dirt at the same intensity as those of the past. Nevertheless, spring brings out the desire to dust off the winter grime and make our homes fresh again.

The American Cleaning Institute holds a wealth of knowledge regarding cleaning for every situation. ACI recommends the following strategies for spring cleaning success.

  1. Clear the clutter. Over time our homes can become full of items we do not use. Start by sorting through possessions and getting rid of things no longer needed. Depending on the item you may choose to recycle, sell, or donate it.
  2. Inventory Supplies. Ensure all necessary supplies are available before beginning cleaning.
  3. Plan. Decide if you want to clean one room at a time or divide cleaning into specific tasks – for example cleaning all the windows at once. Prioritize areas by greatest need and complete in that order.
  4. Recruit help. Enlist the family and make it a fun day. You can even hide treats in places that need to be cleaned. If family members cannot help, consider teaming up with a friend and clean each other’s homes together.

Lemons and cleaning spray bottle

Clean and Green – Homemade Cleaners

Cleaning supplies can make a dent in your pocketbook, especially if purchasing specific-use products. Some cleaners can easily be made at home, saving money and allowing you to know exactly what goes into the product. To be clear many surfaces can be effectively cleaned with soap and water. However certain situations require sanitizers, to further reduce germs, or disinfectants, to destroy germs. Regardless of the solution, always clearly label containers and follow product instructions.

Here are a few “recipes” to create your own DIY cleaning products:

All-Purpose Cleaner

2 tablespoons borax, ¼ cup vinegar, 2 cups hot water. Mix ingredients in a spray bottle or bucket. Apply and wipe clean.

Glass Cleaner

¼ cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 quart warm water. Mix ingredients, apply with a sponge or spray bottle. Wipe off with cotton or microfiber cloth.

Oven Cleaner

¾ cup baking soda, ¼ cup non-iodized salt, ¼ cup water, steel wool (if needed). Make a paste of the first three ingredients. Spread over inside of the oven (do not put on metal parts or openings). Leave overnight. Remove with a plastic spatula and wipe clean. Rub stubborn spots gently with steel wool.

For more information visit the Cleaning Institute. Homemade cleaner instructions provided by the University of Tennessee Extension.