Goodbye, winter; hello, spring! The days are getting longer; the weather is getting warmer; spring flowers in a riot of colours are popping up; and fresh, green leaves are starting to unfurl on the trees. Spring is the season of renewal, and the perfect time to bring that feeling of renewal into your home. Here are some tips for spring cleaning, inside and out!
And if you need assistance with your spring cleaning and organizing needs, please reach out to us. We have rosters of outstanding service providers who can help you.
Decluttering? Want to donate items? Please refer to the Decluttering/Donation section, for names of a number of GTA charities and shops.
Door mats – Vacuum or hose spray your indoor and outdoor mats on both sides, and then let them air dry. Or replace them with seasonal mats.
Windows – Start by wiping down the window with a microfiber cloth, to remove dust. Then use a commercial glass cleaner or a DIY mixture of one part white vinegar to 10 parts warm water, in a spray bottle. Spray generously over the glass, avoiding the window frames. (You don’t want to risk discoloring the frame’s finish.) Using a second clean cloth, wipe the window clean and dry. A great tip: Wipe one side of the window (either the inside or the outside) horizontally and the other vertically, so that if you see any streaks when you’re done, you’ll easily know whether they’re on the inside or the outside of the pane! Better yet, hire the pros at Shine Windows to do the work for you.
Furniture – Pull furniture away from walls and vacuum behind and underneath your sofas, tables and chairs. Then use the upholstery tool on your vacuum to clean cushions and the area beneath them. The crevice tool will help you get into all the hard to reach areas of your sofas and chairs. To clean your mattress, use your vacuum’s upholstery and crevice tools to clean the top and sides. After vacuuming, sanitize the mattress with a disinfectant spray, like Lysol.
Floors and carpets – Give your carpets a good vacuuming. Then roll back the edges of large carpets, or roll up smaller rugs, to give your floors underneath a good cleaning. If you want to deodorize your rugs, sprinkle them with baking soda; leave it on for several hours (or, ideally, overnight); then vacuum up the baking soda, and you’ll smell… well, nothing but a fresh, odor-free rug! Reach out to us for some superb carpet cleaners.
Kitchen cabinets – In a spray bottle, mix 2 cups of water, 1 cup of white vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of dishwashing detergent. (Dawn seems to work really well.) Shake to mix; spray down the sticky cabinet; and wipe away the grime with a sponge. Gently scrub with a toothbrush over stubborn areas. Finally, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe away any residue. Remember to always wipe in the direction of the grain (if applicable) and to wipe handles and knobs, and the insides of cabinet doors too.
Kitchen appliances – Our fridges, stoves, microwaves and dishwashers work hard for us every day of the year, but don’t often receive the regular cleaning that they should, to keep on working at their best. Your fridge should be emptied of food and given a good interior cleaning four times a year; your dishwasher should be cleaned monthly; and your microwave and stove/oven on a more regular basis, to keep the elbow grease required to clean them to a minimum. If you prefer to avoid using commercial cleaners and harsh chemicals, a simple Internet search will yield plenty of tips on how to clean and deodorize your appliances with natural cleansers, such as white vinegar, lemon, baking soda, hot water, etc.
Laundry appliances – Like your kitchen appliances, your washer and dryer get a good workout on a regular basis, and also need some tender loving care to keep them in tip-top shape (and smelling good). Again, the Internet will provide you with a variety of options for cleaning your washer, if you prefer to use natural cleaners, or you can use a commercial washing machine cleaner, ideally monthly. Whichever cleaner you use, run the empty washing machine through a normal cycle, on the hottest water temperature setting, and then dry the interior with a clean microfiber cloth and leave the door open to completely air out the machine. For your dryer, wash the lint filter (which should be emptied after every load of laundry) in a sink of hot, soapy water and let it air dry completely, before replacing it in the dryer. Cleaning your dryer vent should be done once or twice a year. Schedule a service appointment if it’s difficult to find or access your dryer duct and outside exhaust vent. If you want to clean the vent yourself, pick up a dryer vent cleaning kit and follow the instructions.
Bathroom – Is the grout between your tiles looking stained or discoloured? To keep it clean and stain-free, it’s a good idea to spray it with vinegar and wipe it down once a week. However, if it’s been a while, and a simple spray of vinegar won’t cut it, then try this: Cover grout lines with a paste of baking soda and water, then spray on a solution of one part water, one part white vinegar. Once the mixture stops foaming, scrub with a brush and rinse with plain water. If that doesn’t do the trick, you may have to turn to a stronger, commercial grout cleaner to get the job done.
Blinds, shades, and curtains – Dust your shades and blinds with a duster. To freshen up your drapes and curtains, toss them into the dryer for 15 minutes, on the “air-only” cycle, then rehang then immediately, to avoid wrinkles.
Ceiling fixtures – Use an extendable duster to clean hanging and recessed light fixtures, as well as to get rid of those cobwebs where your walls meet the ceiling!
Clothes closets and drawers – When switching over from your winter to your spring/summer clothes, go through each item of clothing first, and remove anything stained, in need of repair, or worn out. Deal with those items appropriately; dry clean or wash the rest, and store them away till next winter. Then check every piece of your spring/summer wardrobe as you take it out of storage. Repair or clean/wash whatever pieces need it, and set aside anything you’ll no longer wear, to be given to charity.
Patio furniture – Time to get your outdoor furniture ready for lounging in the warm sun! Regardless of the type/surface of your furniture, you can follow this easy formula: Wipe down the furniture with a slightly damp – or even a dry – cloth, to loosen and remove dirt and debris. Then give the surface a deeper clean with material-appropriate cleaning products. (Consult the care instructions that came with your furniture.) Finally, allow the furniture to dry completely before using it again or covering it up. The cushions on your outdoor pieces deserve a clean too! But, before you toss the covers into the washer, be sure to check whether they’re machine washable; if they aren’t, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the cloth tags. Wipe down synthetics and waterproof fabrics with a damp cloth, to remove dirt and dust. Then, use a solution of diluted dish soap and water to clean deeply without damaging the fabric. Occasionally, upholstered pieces can mould. If this happens, just scrub the mould with a dry brush, after dusting the surface with the dry cloth. Then wash according to the specifications of the fabric type.
Yard/Garden cleanup – Time to start tidying up by disposing of any fallen/dead brush, twigs, etc., and raking up your yard. Or call in a lawn and garden maintenance firm to take care of this for you.
Vehicle cleaning – Let’s not forget our trusty cars. They carry our family, pets, groceries, and more, all year long! Give the interior, including the trunk area, a good vacuuming and then wash the exterior, either yourself or at your favourite car wash. Or skip doing any of the work, and take in your vehicle for a complete detailing, to make it look brand new!
Looking for places to donate clothing, furniture, household items, books, toys, and/or electronics that you no longer need?
Contact these GTA organizations directly, taking note of what they will and will not accept, and whether they are operating during the current Covid-19 lockdown. Some are temporarily closed:
The Salvation Army – https://thriftstore.ca/donating-goods/
Diabetes Canada – https://declutter.diabetes.ca/what-you-can-donate
The Furniture Bank – https://www.furniturebank.org/
JRCC Furniture Depot – https://www.jrccfurnituredepot.org/donate-furniture/
Habitat for Humanity – https://www.habitatrestore.ca/service/donate-items/
Reboot Canada – https://www.rebootcanada.ca/
Value Village – https://www.valuevillage.com
Second Life Books: https://Secondlifebooks.net
Toronto Reference Library – https://tplfoundation.ca/donate-books/