Spring: It’s synonymous with rebirth, renewal—and cleaning. Come late March and early April, our homes—closed up and heated for months—are as tired and starving for air and sun as we are. Make a fresh start with traditional cleaners or, better yet, with green alternatives. Here, we—with the help of Gary and Robin Murphy, owners of Valhalla-based Maid Brigade, a Green Clean Certified cleaning company—tell you how.
Air It Out. Open the blinds, drapes, and windows and let the fresh air in. Dust furniture, windowsills, knickknacks, lighting fixtures, etc., with something disposable, like a Swiffer. Turn over mattresses and wash mattress pads and comforters.
Declutter. Seen TLC’s Hoarding: Buried Alive? That should be enough of an incentive. And, though you may not think of decluttering as cleaning, your rooms, closets, attics, and basements will look and smell better when they’re emptier. “When purging and cleaning closets [or rooms], tackle one at a time,” says Gary Murphy. And, “if the clothes and shoes don’t fit”—or if you’re never going to wear them—“get rid of them.” Same goes for toys, furnishings, and anything else that’s worn out its welcome.
Clean the Stinky Stuff. You know, like the refrigerator, home to the sour cream you were going to use to make corn casserole—for Thanksgiving. “Remove all food and throw away expired items,” says Robin Murphy. While you’re at it, purge the cupboards, too. Then clean the inside and outside of the fridge and freezer. Use baking soda or a mild detergent diluted in water with a soft cloth. When finished, put a fresh box of baking soda in the fridge and freezer.
Clean Floors and Carpets. Sweep hard floors and use a mop with disposable wet wipes or, if you prefer to go the green route, use “a quarter cup of lemon juice, eight drops of dish soap, and three tablespoons of skim or powdered milk,” says Gary. “Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and spray onto the floor. Use a microfiber cloth to clean and rinse the floor.” Shampoo carpets with a deep-cleaner or steam cleaner, or hire a service to do so. There are even green carpet-cleaning services.
Don’t Forget the Ducts. What you don’t see definitely can hurt you—particularly if you have pets or smokers in your family. A once-a-year duct and vent cleaning by a reputable HVAC company will greatly reduce dust, pet hair, dander, allergens, and other particles lurking in your ductwork.