How to Maximize Spring Cleaning This Year

Monday, March 10, 2014

Frustrated Housekeeper

Though it may still be winter, it won't be long before the snow begins to melt and flowers take bloom throughout Canada - two of the more encouraging signs of that spring has officially arrived.

As emblematic as garden growth and snow's disappearance may be, so too is spring cleaning - the time that homeowners devote to their homes, ridding their residences of clutter that's accumulated over the past several months.


While there may be no one way in which to best accomplish spring cleaning tasks, just about everyone makes a mistake along the way that can trip up their level of efficiency. With this in mind, The Globe and Mail has compiled a list of mistakes that people will often make. By consulting them, Canadian homeowners and renters should be able to get the most out of their spring cleaning chores as the winter weather winds down.

  • Don't make stains worse. Prakash Chand, president of a leading maid service in Canada, told the paper that when homeowners try to get food or drink stains out of clothing or carpeting, they often make the spots worse by scrubbing them. Instead of further engraining it into the surface, it's far better to blot them with a dry cloth after applying some soda water.

  • Vacuum parallel, not perpendicular. The most effective way in which to pick up dirt and grime on the floors is by vacuuming in the direction that aligns with the baseboards of walls. For example, Chand noted that instead of vacuuming head on, it's better to vacuum parallel to it, thus picking up what's left behind instead of pushing it underneath.

  • Don't neglect hard-to-reach places. When something is in your direct field of vision, it's easy to forget. But Chand urged not to forget parts of the house that aren't readily viewable, such as the tops of ceiling fans or the refrigerator. Because dirt moves from top to bottom, cleaning off these hard-to-reach areas will help reduce the rate at which lower items get dusty again.

  • Use cleaning agents appropriate for job. Kim Dunn, an Ontario-based cleaning expert, told the Globe and Mail that people often take a one-size-fits-all approach to cleaning using the same thing for everything. This is inadvisable, though, as some agents are abrasive for certain surfaces, like granite or marble. Be sure to read the labels that come with each solution to see what the products are best for.

  • Don't hold on to sponges for too long. While sponges may serve as an efficient tool for cleaning, they become bacteria traps over time. For this reason, Dunn advised getting rid of sponges every week. Other cleaning gurus say that it's permissible to keep sponges, so long as they're regularly sterilized by sticking them in the microwave for about a minute on high.

  • Avoid washing windows when it's hot and sunny out. Dunn pointed out that while the sun is conducive for cleaning because it helps point out where fingerprints are, window cleaners that use ammonia may leave a permanent residue when the surface of the windows are hot to the touch.

  • Don't forget the little things. The toilet seat, sinks, table tops and counters may be easy to remember to clean, but the most touched things often get forgotten, such as light switches faucet knobs and door knobs. Dunn recommended disinfecting each of these on a weekly basis, including the remote control.

  • Let cleaner sit before wiping it up. Dunn said that cleaners need some time to cut in to dirt and grime. Thus, instead of spraying and wiping shortly thereafter, wait a good 60 seconds before drying things off with a cloth or paper towel.

Something else that could use a good cleaning is a home insurance policy. Not so much in that the policy itself is dirty but it may contain coverage options that are no longer necessary, or alternatively, not be comprehensive enough. In the winter, it's common for homeowners to update their properties with new furnishings or remodeling work. Any changes should be recorded and reported to the insurer so that they can help determine what's necessary to keep everything protected.