We all could use a few tips or tricks for keeping the house clean. We asked Sarah, author of Thrifty Decor Chick, some of her cleaning secrets. She offered up some spring cleaning tips that cover everything from the microwave and pet hair to de-gunking your iron and deodorizing plastic food containers.
This time of year has me wanting to open all the windows, organize everything and clean every surface until it glistens. I love the fresh feeling spring brings! Today I’m sharing a few of the ways I bring it into our home.
SPRING CLEANING TIP NO. 1
DIY jewelry cleaner
I started using this DIY jewelry cleaner a couple years ago and it works incredibly well. The best part is you can make it with items you probably have on hand in your kitchen.
Heat the water for one-to-two minutes in the microwave, then place the hot water in a bowl lined with foil. Add the other ingredients and then drop your jewelry in and let it sit for five-to-ten minutes.
I love this DIY cleaner because it really gets all the dirt and dust (and occasional paint!) off of my rings from all of the projects around the house.
SPRING CLEANING TIP NO. 2
Baseboards get a beating daily, but we don’t often think of cleaning them. I don’t clean them every week or even month, but every few months it’s nice to get them bright and white again.
I find scuffs from shoes to be the biggest culprit, and they can be hard to remove. The Magic Erasers do the trick, and I love the new version with the easy to hold handle! The erasers stick to the bottom, and the handle allows for nice, even pressure. The scuffs come right off!
SPRING CLEANING TIP NO. 3
Cleaning dish sponges
You know that yucky smell your dish sponges get after a while? I used to throw mine in the dishwasher occasionally to try to get rid of that stink, but it didn’t always work. I found this tip and it’s saved me from throwing them out as often.
Make sure to get the sponge nice and wet, (I love the Ocelo sponges) then and place it on a paper towel in the microwave (just in case there are any plastics in it that may melt). Also, make sure to include a microwave-safe container with some water inside, as this helps keep the emitter working properly.
Heating it the sponge for one minute gets rid of most of the bacteria and two minutes gets nearly all of it. And it comes out smelling as good as new! (Just be careful because it will be hot for a few minutes.)
SPRING CLEANING TIP NO. 4
Streak-free floor cleaner
We have hardwood floors throughout our home, and I absolutely love them. But I struggled for months after we had them installed to find a floor cleaner that cleaned without streaking. I could never find a mop pad that really cleaned well either.
For years I used caustic chemicals to get rid of clogs in our drains; I thought it was the only option. When I found this small tool and used it for the first time I was hooked.
The Zip-It drain cleaner is a long plastic piece that you work down into your drain and then pull up. The material clogging the drain comes up with it and it’s usually not a pretty sight. It works every time and only takes a few seconds to do one drain. And I love that I don’t have to worry about chemicals around our animals and child.
Warning: even though it’s hard to look at what comes out of the drain it can get a little addicting. You may just run to each drain just to see what comes out of it.
SPRING CLEANING TIP NO. 6
Easy pet hair removal
With four animals in our house, I’m always looking for an easy way to clean up the pet hair. Often I’ll use the sticky rollers, but find they don’t always get everything. When I found this trick I was skeptical but it works better than anything I’ve tried!
All you need is a rubber dishwashing glove. You’ll want to get it slightly wet and then just rub your hand over the furniture. The pet hair will clump together and then can be easily removed. I love that I can cover so much surface area with my hand, instead of a small roller.
SPRING CLEANING TIP NO. 7
Cleaning stinky plastic containers
Have you ever washed a food container and then still been able to smell what was in there the week before? There’s an easy way to get rid of the stink: take one tablespoon of baking soda and wash the container thoroughly with hot water. It neutralizes the food smell for good! At least till next week’s dinner.
SPRING CLEANING TIP NO. 8
Cleaning the dishwasher
This is another one we don’t think of doing often, but I like to use this easy dishwasher cleaning method every six months or so.
The first step is to run a cycle with one cup of vinegar in a dishwasher-safe bowl on the top rack. Then sprinkle a bit of baking soda on the bottom of the washer and run it again. (Short cycles are fine.) The vinegar and baking soda combined will help to clean out any food particles and leave it smelling fresh and clean.
SPRING CLEANING TIP NO. 9
Getting the gunk off the iron
There’s nothing worse than ironing a piece of clothing and ruining it because of build up on the iron plate, right? There’s an easy and quick way to clean your iron though. Just put a white piece of paper on the ironing board and sprinkle salt over it liberally. Heat your iron to the cotton setting and iron over the salt–no need to use the steam.
The salt helps to remove any stains on the iron plate, with no scrubbing needed!
SPRING CLEANING TIP NO. 10
Cleaning refrigerator coils
This is one of those spots that’s out of sight out of mind, but every year or so I pull my refrigerator out and clean the coils. This is recommended at least once a year to keep the appliance running well.
Before you do anything, make sure to unplug the refrigerator. It only takes a few minutes to clean the coils so you won’t need it unplugged for long. On older models the coils are very obvious on the back of the appliance. On newer refrigerators they may be a little more hidden. It’s not really necessary to take the panel off (mine says not to remove it), but it’s still easy to get to the coils enough to clean them.
It’s best to use some kind of a brush attachment on your vacuum to really get the dust that builds up on the coils. If you don’t have one, you can use any other stiff brush to work it free while you vacuum. In just a few minutes you’ll have dust-free coils!
I use some of these tips weekly and some I tackle once a year. All are easy to do and will help to keep your home sparkling clean and running smoothly.
Check out The Home Depot’s online Cleaning Supplies page for everything you need for your spring cleaning. And take a look at more spring cleaning tips here on The Home Depot Blog.