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Don’t Deep Clean in the Spring

Author: Mary Keating

For:  Active Blueprint (Duluth publication)

Date:  Spring Edition 2007

            1040 words         

Pick up a magazine or paper this spring and inevitably there will be at least one article promising to help solve the mystery surrounding spring cleaning. Further, the article will share with readers a handful of quick tips to locate dust bunnies, put an end to their restful winter slumber and deep clean in such a way as to end the reign of the bunny.

Don Aslett, America’s #1 cleaning expert and foremost seeker of dust bunnies said “contrary to popular belief and tradition, spring is possibly the worst time to do a heavy annual house cleaning.”

So let it be known that the expert said that it is ok to dream about a spring free from cleaning carpets, windows and walls.

 “Spring cleaning gives you a clean house for a month or two, like April and May. Then from June through September, the heavy outdoors-use season, the house accumulates dirt and grime, which then remains in your house all winter.”

However, with all that said, Aslett advocates ending ULOs, exercising the thumb and fingers this spring and shares his secret time for deep cleaning. Throughout this month’s magazine, readers will find out more about ULOs, discover thumb work exercises to replace the traditional deep spring cleaning rituals of the past and the key time to embark on deep cleaning. Just look for the little cleaning cartoons.

1) DE-CLUTTER

Forty percent of all cleaning time and expense is the direct cause of uncontrolled cutter or ULOs (unidentified lying objects.)

Litter has three general causes: 1) your family owns too much junk; 2) your home has inadequate storage spaces – racks, shelves, closets, hooks, towel bars, and toy boxes; 3) you (the adults) have accepted the position of “family janitor.”

Basically, Aslett proposes organizing the home rather than deep cleaning in the spring. Pick a rainy grey weekend to clean out closets, organize storage spaces and prepare for the summer.

2) CLEAN THE GARBAGE CANS

Aslett suggests to simply use your thumb this spring to pull the trigger on the sprayer, to squeeze the spray bottle and operate a pressure washer.

Saddle up the garbage cans, put the nozzle on the sprayer and blow the grime out of the bottom of the garage cans.

Another way to clean the cans is relatively simple. Turn the garbage can upside down on the automatic sprinkler and let the sprinkler do the work.

3) DUST THE HOUSE, POLISH THE DOORS & CLEAN THE FURNITURE

One of the best investments in spring cleaning supplies would be a pressure washer, said Aslett. An electric washer with 1300 psi should do most of the necessary jobs.

Spray the house, spray the doors and spray outdoor furniture.

For a little extracurricular thumb exercises, spray the driveway and the walks.

4) SURVEY THE MATS

Mats are one of the most important time-saving investments.

 “Mats prevent housework,” said Aslett. “The first principle of smart housecleaning is not to have to do it. At least 80 percent of the dirt in your house originates outdoors, and most of this is tracked in on people’s feet.”

Invest in a doormat not a maid. Doormats lie there day after day keeping dirt out of the house, maids don’t. And, mats only need a good deep cleaning in the spring and in the fall. Use your handy pressure washer and spray away all the dirt and grime.

5) CLEAN THE DIRTIEST PLACE IN THE HOUSE

Many people think that the bathroom or perhaps their kid’s room is the dirtiest place in the house. Nope, the dirtiest place in the house – doorknobs: give them a spray

 “Hands scratch rumps, pick noses, get coughed and sneezed into regularly, and handle all kinds of things, and they can and do transfer soil and germs,” said Aslett.

He recommends once a month grabbing a spray bottle of disinfectatnt cleaner and spray and wipe all of the following:

  • All doorknobs
  • All drawer and cabinet handles
  • All fridge handles
  • All faucet hands
  • All chair backs
  • All broom handles
  • Handles of buckets and baskets
  • All suitcase handles
  • And the spray bottle itself.

When cleaning the next three items, spray the cleaner on the cloth, not on the item and use it to wipe them clean.

  • All phones
  • Knobs on TVs, VCRs, whatever
  • All light switches

6) A WORD ON HOMEMADE CLEANERS

 “All those witches brews’ and cleaning concoction recipes you find in books and magazines are desperate ‘fillers’ of odd bits of space and that’s about all they are good for,” said Aslett. “You not only take up your time, but you also run the risk of making chemical combinations that might be physically harmful.”

Commercially manufactured cleaning chemicals, polishes, waxes, and other supplies are safer, more convenient and cheaper in the long run. And, if the truth be told, he advises only four types of cleaners:

  1. An all purpose cleaner that is gentle and safe on most surfaces.
  2. a disinfectant cleaner for the bathroom and other areas that need germ and odor control like the bathroom (check the label – quaternary is the kind you want)
  3.  a quick evaporating, alcohol-based glass cleaner and
  4. a heavy-duty cleaner/degreaser.

 7) THE KEY TIME TO DEEP CLEAN

Every house does need a good deep cleaning once a year.

Aslett suggests deep clean the house a week or two before hunting season begins in the fall. Test your husbands hunting skills and work together to rid the house of dust bunnies.

Dust, damaging dirt, flies, bugs, tar, and other spots and debris that enter your home during the spring and summer months should be removed at the end of summer. Otherwise, the dirt stays around for most of the next eight months if you only deep clean in the spring, said Aslett.

When you clean your house thoroughly in mid-fall, it will stay cleaner for a greater length of time – October through April – and it is cleaner for the three major holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Say goodbye to spring cleaning, pull the trigger on the pressure washer, control the ULOs and enjoy the May flowers.