Homes

Guide to spring cleaning

A few months ago I was amazed at the mild winter we’d had in Auckland this year. Until recently I’d hardly even needed to wear a coat. Then August’s record-breaking cold snap arrived, stunning us all with its ferocity. We have gas heating, and cold weather brings condensation problems. So this weekend I’m planning to attack all of my window frames with a toothbrush to get rid of the nasty black mildew. I should subject our house to its annual spring clean at the same time. This tough job brings a huge sense of satisfaction.

It’s easy to be intimidated by the idea of spring cleaning, given the size of the task at hand. The secret to success lies in meticulous organisation and delegation.

Make a list of each room working from the back to the front of your house. If possible, assign someone else to do all the exterior jobs, so you can concentrate on getting the inside spick and span.

Bedroom

Allow a couple of hours for this. Pull the bed out from the wall and any furniture too, if possible. Air the mattress and wash and air all bedding. Wipe down walls, skirtings and window and door surrounds. Vacuum thoroughly and dust lampshades and ceiling fans. Wash the windows and wash or dry-clean curtains. There are special tools available at hardware stores for venetian blinds, or you can just dust them, slat by slat, with a cloth. Lastly, clean the mirrors, clear out your wardrobe and clean carpets if needed.

Living areas

Repeat basic bedroom tasks, as applicable. Carefully dust framed art or photographs. Make sure you don’t spray cleaner directly onto oil paintings as it can damage the surface. Carefully wipe the TV screen. Damp dust furniture then wax or polish it to make it look its best. Wash decorative accessories in warm soapy water and dry well before replacing. Remove books from the bookshelf, dusting the top of each one. Last, but definitely not least, spot clean all your upholstery. If you haven’t already, I would recommend applying some protective, moisture-repellent product. Using a small nozzle, vacuum cushions, then air them in the sun.

TIP: Discard all your old, shapeless cushions and buy nice new ones for a cheap but effective decor update.

Bathroom

Cleaning this area can be back-breaking, but it’s worth the effort! Safely set a ladder and dust any cobwebs away. Then wash down the walls or tiles, using a sugar soap solution. Thoroughly clean the tiles in your shower (the peppermint paste from Wendyl Nissen’s Green Goddess range is amazing for this) and any glass doors. If you have terrible soap or lime scale build-up, try using a ceramic cook-top cleaner.

You should disassemble your extraction fan for cleaning – you’ll be amazed at how much gets in there (and in plug holes in which scum can accumulate). Spend time getting the loo really clean and empty out cabinets, discarding any old makeup.

Also take outdated prescription medicines to your local pharmacy for safe disposal.

TIP: Freshen the look of your bathroom with some pretty new towels.

Kitchen

Another Herculean effort will be needed here. If it really feels beyond you, companies such as Green Acres can provide help on an hourly or daily basis. Start with all the basic cleaning, as previously described.

Then move on to the fridge, freezer and pantry, taking everything out and wiping it down thoroughly. oodern ovens are quite easy to clean if you follow the instructions. Small appliances such as kettles and toasters can get surprisingly grubby, so give them a wipe down and polish. Put a cleaning product through your dishwasher to remove nasty food build-up, and wash out your rubbish bin.

Here’s some help

Those with steam mops call them the greatest cleaning invention ever. The Bissell Steam oop (1) is $199.95 from Farmers. oodern vacuum cleaners are light, but have great sucking power. The Electrolux Ultrasilencer Green (2) is super-quiet and energy efficient and costs $499 from all good appliance stores.

Banish odours and freshen the air with one of Ambi Pur’s new Air Effects (3) sprays, $6.99 from your supermarket. The Spring Renewal fragrance is appropriate for the season.

Clean stainless steel appliances using only water with the brilliant e-cloth (4). It’s $14.99 – see the website for stockist details.

Find ite-clothwww.e-cloth.co.nzElectrolux www.electrolux.co.nzFarmers has stores nationwideGreen Acres www.greenacres.co.nzGreen Goddess www.wendylsgreengoddess.co.nz

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