Welcome back to our 4 part series on Spring Cleaning. This week, we’re going to talk about actual cleaning and some tips on tackling the tough spots when it comes to cleaning. These are areas like your HVAC registers or radiators, under the fridge and stove, and your window blinds. In general, these are the spots that leave people shaking their heads or cleaning inefficiently or incorrectly. Let’s get to it!:
Tough Spot 1: Window Blinds
You know you need to clean them. You can see the dirt and dust on them. But how do you do it? That’s what you’re reading this for: So you can get some awesome Spring Cleaning tips on the worst places to clean. The best way to clean those pesky blinds depends on the type of blinds you have.
Fabric blinds that need cleaned should always be taken down and dry-cleaned.
If you have the vinyl or metal blinds, don’t clean them in place, and don’t clean them one slat at a time. Don’t put them in the tub and forget about the fancy four pronged sponges. Take the blinds down and fully extend them. Put them on an area rug in your driveway or on the sidewalk. Put a little dishwashing liquid in a bucket of warm water. Then use a car wash brush (or any other soft bristled brush) and scrub the blinds from side to side (not up and down). Turn them over and repeat on the other side. Rinse them with the garden hose and wipe dry with a clean towel to prevent spotting. Let them air dry and then reinstall.
If you have wooden blinds, you want to clean those in place. Use a damp sponge to clean dust away. For any spots with a film or residue, use a Magic Eraser sponge. Avoid using chemical cleaners because they can discolor the stain or finish on your blinds.
For upkeep through the year, use a dusting brush attachment on your vacuum to clean across the blinds. Never sweep up and down as that can tear or damage your blinds.
Tough Spot 2: HVAC Vents and Radiators
It’s easy to overlook cleaning out the HVAC vents and covers or your radiators. But you definitely shouldn’t neglect them. Cleaning them out not only can improve your HVAC system’s performance, it will also reduce the allergens that are in your air.
Cleaning a heating radiator is a simple matter. First use a crevice tool to vacuum in between the fins. Next, use a soft bottle brush to dust in between the fins, using the vacuum to remove the dislodged debris. Don’t use any liquids, or the radiator can rust.
To clean the vent covers on the floor, you’re going to need a screwdriver (whether you need a Phillips or a flathead will depend on your vent covers), a good supply of clean rags. As a general Spring Cleaning tip, you want a hat to keep loose gunk out of your hair and eye protection (goggles or safety glasses). The first step is to turn off your HVAC unit at the breaker. You don’t want it turning on in the middle of cleaning. Using a sturdy ladder, first vacuum the area around the vent. Next, remove the vent cover. How you clean it will depend on what it’s made of.
- For unpainted aluminum, steel, or plastic, you can put them in the dishwasher.
- For painted materials, hand-clean them. Only wash them with soap and water; don’t soak them. A long exposure to soap or other chemicals can damage the paint, softening it and making it easier to chip or peel. To get in between the slats, a cheap foam paintbrush works wonders.
Use the rags to clean inside the vents as far as you can reach. Once the vent covers are dry, reinstall them.
Tough Spot 3: Under the Fridge and Stove
This is one of the top places where people need a few Spring Cleaning tips. After all, it’s in one of the highest traffic areas in the home, and it’s someplace that you hardly ever think of until it is Spring Cleaning time. But the buildup of moisture and dust can combine to create a gummy residue that can damage your floor’s finish.
First, unplug the appliance. For the refrigerator, if it has a water attachment, turn off the water. With help, gently move your appliance out of place until you can see where you need to clean (and you’ll know). To clean the floor, vacuum to get all of the solid debris first. Next, clean the floor with a solution of 2/3 c. white vinegar to 1 gallon of hot water. This is a gentle cleaning solution that will dissolve the grime without harming the finish on most floors. Make sure not to mix the solution with bleach, however. If you have a tile or stone floor, use the recommended cleaner for it.
While you are waiting for the floor to dry, wipe down the sides of the appliance. For the refrigerator, this is a perfect time to clean the coils. Remove the grill on the front and use a coil brush to pull dust forward, and then use your vacuum’s brush attachment to sweep up. Avoid using the crevice tool or anything hard, as that can damage the coils. Once that’s done, replace the grill and slide the appliance back into place. Plug it back in, turn the water back on, and you’re done.
There you go! Next Week we’ll tackle some general tips for getting the rest of your house in order as well as how to make sure that next year’s Spring Cleaning isn’t as stressful or take as much work. (Hint: maintenance is the key). Until then, we at Crucial Vacuum would like to wish you a Happy Spring!