Five frequently forgotten areas you should dust off, declutter and deep clean this season.
By Catherine Warmerdam
It’s easy to forget this area needs attention if you typically enter your home through the garage or back door. “Your front door is the first impression that people have of your home, and you want to make it welcoming,” says professional organizer Kim Salisbury, owner of Kim’s Closets Plus in Sacramento. She suggests using a broom to brush away spider webs, then wipe the door, frame and threshold with a damp cloth. Touch up any scuffs on painted doors, or repaint the entire doorway if necessary. Buy a new doormat or hose off an existing one. Remove webs and dust from exterior light fixtures. Wipe down flowerpots and replant anything that’s not thriving. “I also think a boxwood wreath looks beautiful on the door no matter the season,” says Salisbury.
Windows are at the top of the spring cleaning list, but the blinds, shades and curtains that cover them often get neglected. Jean McKenry of McKenry Drapery Service in Sacramento suggests cleaning metal or vinyl blinds in the bathtub with a little dish soap, taking care not to bend them. Stained-wood blinds or shutters, meanwhile, can be cleaned with furniture polish on a soft cloth. If the blinds are faux wood or painted, stick to dusting gently and wiping with a microfiber cloth moistened with soapy water. Roller shade care is dictated by the material from which they’re made. Vinyl shades can be vacuumed and wiped with a damp cloth; shades made from fabric or natural materials can be dusted gently or vacuumed with a soft brush attachment. Fabric drapes can be vacuumed for dust, but leave spot removal to the pros, McKenry advises. Indeed, before attempting any cleaning, always consult the manufacturer’s recommendations.
It’s easy to overlook these reliable workhorses, but appliances need tending to at least annually. Christopher Zajic of Zajic Appliance Service and Sales in Sacramento says that periodically clearing the dishwasher filter of debris and running white vinegar through a hot-water cycle can help remove odors and grime. Front-loading washing machines can also benefit from some TLC. Scrub the rubber door gasket with a bleach solution, then run bleach or a professional cleaning solution through a sanitizing cycle to freshen the tub. Hire professionals annually to remove lint buildup from dryer ducts. Keep the fridge going strong by using a bottle brush and vacuum to clear dust from the condenser coils underneath the appliance. “Dust bunnies build up in those coils and make your fridge run harder,” says Zajic.
MATTRESSES & BEDDING
We spend roughly a third of our day in bed but seldom think about the hard work our mattress does for us. Return the favor by using a quality mattress protector to prevent the absorption of stains and perspiration, says Nick Kirk of Mattress by Appointment in Sacramento. And vacuum thoroughly, “not just the top of the mattress but the sides, too, and the box spring if you have one,” using an upholstery attachment. Pillows should also be covered in protectors and laundered twice yearly. Vacations are an ideal time to remove bedding to allow your mattress to air out during your absence.
When was the last time you used that eyeliner? “If it was 1987, it’s time to say goodbye,” says Salisbury. Makeup, lotions and sunscreens do expire and need to be purged with regularity. Salisbury suggests laying everything out on a bath towel and throwing away any products that are past their prime. (A foul smell or odd texture are telltale signs that a product is beyond its shelf life.) Use baby shampoo to wash makeup brushes, then air dry. Salisbury is a fan of clear acrylic organizers for storing makeup either in a drawer or on the counter. “It can actually look pretty when everything is in its place,” she says. Finally, take care to discard any unused or expired medications. Contact your pharmacy about safe disposal options.