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Time for Spring Cleaning!


spring-cleaningSpring is here, and with it comes the favorite ritual of renters and homeowners, spring cleaning! Time to air out those stuffy upper bedrooms, crack open the vents, beat the carpets and sterilize the fridge, and usher the winter’s accumulated crud out the door. Here are some tips on getting things back to spic and span at the old homestead, with an eye on energy efficiency as well as cleanliness.

To Every Season, Turn, Turn, Turn…

While you’re dusting off the light fixtures and the ceiling fans, make sure that your blades are set to turn the right away. Many people are simply unaware of this, but ceiling fans are reversible for a reason. During the winter months, fan blades should turn clockwise, which creates a warming effect in the room by drawing air beneath the fan upwards. This then drives the warm air trapped at the ceiling down the walls, improving circulation and raising the effective temperature in the part of the room where people actually live. For the warm part of the year, reverse the direction (there’s usually a simple switch on the fan housing) so that the fan instead pushes air down in the center of the room, producing a cooling breeze.

Get With the Program!

Vents tend to accumulate dust over the winter, especially if the vents have been closed. Clean and re-open those ventilation ducts to assure proper airflow from your air conditioner. Don’t forget to reprogram your thermostat for the new conditions – you may have the heat set to come on in the morning, for example, but that might be something you can skip now that it’s no longer sub-freezing. Remember that setting your thermostat a few degrees warmer than usual can save a lot on air-conditioning costs – and if you haven’t yet looked at replacing your old or antiquated air conditioning system, this is the perfect time.

Keep It Natural

If you’re concerned about the level of chemical exposure in your home due to household products like bathroom cleaners, then give real consideration to switching to natural products. Note that this doesn’t mean gimmicky and expensive “all-natural” commercial products; you can do most housecleaning quite effectively using just soft cloths, vinegar, baking soda, and some lemons. (Keep a separate cloth for cleaning bathrooms, another for kitchens, and a third for ordinary rooms.)  A mixture of baking soda and water is an extremely effective, and inexpensive, cleaner for most household tasks. Vinegar diluted with water makes a fine anti-bacterial and anti-grease solvent. Truly epic stains can be eradicated with a careful mixture of baking soda and vinegar – but watch out! That’s a potent mix and can make a real mess if you aren’t careful. To clear the air of winter mustiness (or just cooking smells), you can boil lemon halves in an open pot and soon the whole house will smell divine.

Armed with these tips you can save some money on energy costs and improve your bottom line in the cleaning budget to boot – not a bad start to the spring. Happy cleaning!