It’s been a long winter, and hibernating has not done us any favors — many of us have probably put off giving our caves a deep clean. But now that it’s (mostly) above freezing, it’s time to throw open those windows, let in some fresh air and get scrubbing. Here’s how to do spring cleaning on a budget!
Here’s what you need to know before you tackle the deepest clean of the year.
1. Cleaning Tools
Sure, you’ve been vacuuming all along, but it’s time to go deeper. There’s no need to scrub on your hands and knees or wrestle with a mop. The Duop System ($35) can be used with a handle or your hand. Created for professional cleaners, it’s designed to reduce the risk of injury while cleaning. The handle height is easy to adjust, whether you’re dusting the ceiling or washing the kitchen floor. The interchangeable microfiber pads, which come in a variety of sizes, can be used dry or wet, moistened with water or a mild cleanser.
For other areas, try the reusable, washable All-Purpose Microfiber Cloths ($7.95 for 2) from Grove Collaborative. The microfiber really gets into nooks and crannies, for easy and thorough cleaning. If you aren’t familiar with this site, use my referral code to get a free 5-piece set of Mrs. Meyer’s household products! I’ll get a treat, too. 🙂
As you move around the house with your Duop and microfiber cloths, bring your water in a lightweight bucket, like the colorful Kikkerland Collapsible Bucket ($10). When you’re done cleaning, it collapses flat for easy storage.
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2. Vinegar – Your New Best Friend
For tasks that require more than water, there’s no need to purchase a product with a long list of mysterious — and potentially toxic — ingredients. Aunt Fannie’s All-Purpose Cleaning Vinegar ($8.50) comes in several scents and cleans with the power of vinegar.
Alyssa Kaldahl, merchandising manager at women’s apparel site Jane.com, suggests using vinegar for tough cleaning jobs. For instance, use equal parts vinegar and water on a sock to clean your blinds. Cleaning the fridge is a dreaded spring cleaning task, but here’s her fix.
“Throw away any expired food and then wipe down all the shelves and drawers with vinegar mixed with water in a spray bottle,” she said. “You can also add some lemon or other citrus essential oil to your mix if you want to leave a nice scent.”
To get out stubborn carpet stains, she suggests spraying the spot with one part vinegar and two parts water, putting a damp rag over the spot and ironing the rag. Repeat until stain is gone.
3. Homemade Stain Remover
Lisa Batra, a consignment clothing pro, knows stains. She said while it’s ideal to treat a stain ASAP, her team often doesn’t know how long a stain has been there. They inspect about 1,000 items each week and have had success with a homemade stain-remover recipe:
Combine one tablespoon baking soda, four tablespoons dish soap and eight tablespoons hydrogen peroxide in a small container and stir well. “Apply directly to the stain and rub gently with your finger, a piece of fabric or an old toothbrush,” she said. “Allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes and then wash normally.”
For surface stains, like on cabinets or counters, decluttering expert Kelly McClenahan, of the Live Uncluttered blog on PriceSelfStorage.com, suggests the Mr. Clean Extra Durable Magic Eraser ($5).
“Use them to remove almost any surface stains, especially the burner areas of the flat-top stove and those occasional crayon marks you may find on your walls,” McClenahan said.
She also recommends using cotton swabs and old toothbrushes “to get down to the details with hard-to-reach, itty-bitty spaces.”
5. Get Organized
According to McClenahan, no spring cleaning is complete without sorting your stuff. “Box up items you no longer need in your home,” she said. “Separate things you want to keep, store, donate and trash.”
A great way to organize the items that you’re keeping but not using currently is to store them in boxes with labels. The Brother P-Touch Handy Label Maker ($20) is fun and easy to use. It has different fonts and modes to add your own flair. For storage boxes, my go-to is the Container Store, which carries boxes of virtually any size, shape or color.
This article originally appeared on Credit.com. It has since been updated.
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