I confess I’m a bit crazy-clean when it comes to my house. But I’m also practical because I don’t have a week to focus on pulling it apart for cleaning then putting everything back. So this year, I compiled some really simple Spring cleaning tips that won’t take long to do. This is not about home-made products or basic maintenance like deep-vacuuming furniture and draperies, dusting book cases, window blinds or light fixtures. It’s a room-by-room alcohol-based approach to getting rid of hidden dirt and germs on common surfaces. It requires very little equipment and can be completed in a few hours in all but the largest homes.
A bottle of 91% isopropyl alcohol
A cleaning product for surfaces (my current fave is Method All Purpose natural surface cleaner though I also use Mrs. Meyers).
Liquid dish soap
4 microfiber towels (1 for kitchen, 1 for bath, 2 for other rooms)
1-2 pairs non-latex gloves
1 roll of paper towels
Basket or tote for cleaning supplies
First, I wet a microfiber towel then generously add alcohol. The microfiber towel holds the alcohol well but it tends to evaporate quickly so it may need rewetting frequently (if the towel stops feeling cold, time to remoisten). Method surface spray is my back up for any extra-dirty surface. I use paper towels to dry things off, if needed (not usually needed since the alcohol evaporates – nice!). I use disposable non-latex gloves which are inexpensive and protect my hands from the drying effects of the alcohol. But any lightweight glove will do.
Where to start?
I begin in the room with the #1 most-often-used entry door for the house. For us, that’s the garage door in our mudroom (don’t forget to give the garage door opener button a wipe-down). Then I work on a room-by-room basis on each floor.
What to Clean in Every Room
Knobs, bolts and locks on both sides of every door.
Door frames above and below the knobs on each side to remove fingerprints and smudges.
Switches on under-cabinet lights.
On/off switches on table lamps.
Thermostats and alarm panels.
All cabinet knobs & handles.
All closet and drawer handles.
Remote controls for all TVs & electronics including VCRs, game consoles and streaming devices.
All of the above plus:
Bedside table top, knobs/handles.
Thermostats and burglar alarm panels.
On/off switches on table lamps.
Wooden surfaces around beds.
Remote controls for all TVs & electronics including VCRs, and streaming devices.
In the Family Room & Home Offices
In addition add:
Car and house keys, key fobs.
Cell phones & land-line phones & dial pads.
All electronics control panels & keyboards including TV, stereo.
Other electronics including ipods, tablets, cameras & gaming consoles.
Bar or drink refrigerator handles.
Tops, front and sides of desks/work tables.
Tops, backs, seats of wooden chairs.
In the Kitchen
Pay special attention to:
Handles on dishwasher, refrigerator, oven and small appliances (coffee pot, toaster).
Sink faucet, sprayer and other sink fixtures.
Microwave/speed-oven doors and touch pads.
Vent hood and timer control knobs/buttons.
Apron (front and sides) of dining tables, backs and seats of wooden chairs.
In the Bathroom
Add these areas:
Toilet flush handles (so easy to forget!)
Bottoms and edges of mirrors & medicine cabinets.
Cosmetic & medicine bottles.
Toothbrush handles & cups.
Shower door handles (inside and outside).
Toilet paper holder.
Additionally, rinse out trash baskets. with hot water a squirt of liquid soap and alcohol (or ammonia).
Woodwork on archways or doorways.
Doorbells and deadlock bolts.
In addition to cabinet and closet handles:
Washer/dryer controls and doors.
Vacuum cleaner controls and wands.
Wiping down these frequently used surfaces takes me just a few hours and gives me peace of mind. I also believe it helped keep us both free of colds and common illnesses throughout this past year.
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