The spring cleaning tradition stems from a time when people spent months holed up in their homes, warmed by a fire, and then mercilessly opened their windows and freed themselves of dust and dirt.

The renewing feeling of spring endures. Becky Rapinchuk, founder of the lifestyle website Clean Mama, said people catch the cleaning bug around this time because the season helps them realize just how filthy their living arrangements are.

 

If you feel too lazy to do the annual cleanse, remember spring cleaning is a good way to keep your home from getting out of hand.

Here’s what you should be cleaning this year:

Windows—and not just the glass

Windows are Rapinchuk’s biggest must-clean. Not just the glass, but their many crevices, which always seem to collect dirt.

“I would be shocked if you went to someone’s house and there isn’t dirt in there,” said Rapinchuk, whose book “Simply Clean” comes out Tuesday. “Keeping those clean will keep mold and mildew from forming. It will just make it so much easier.”

 Rapinchuk suggests cleaning the window casing, sill and track, once in the spring and once before winter. Vacuum first then scrub with soap and water. Q-tips can be used to get in those hard-to-reach places.

Deep clean the carpet

Although some may suggest twice a year, Rapinchuk said it’s OK for people to deep clean their carpets once a year to supplement regular vacuuming. Hire someone or do it yourself. Spring is a good time to get it done because you can open up the windows and turn on the fans for a quick dry.

Toss old stuff in your refrigerator and pantry

Clear out the refrigerator, toss old food and wipe clean the shelves and sides. The same goes for your pantry.

Rapinchuk recommends you take time to do this quarterly and to give your situation a status check once a month. Giving the shelves a simple wipe, not an all-out clean, before you make your weekly shopping trip is a good way, she said, to keep your refrigerator from turning into a war zone.

Dirty filters can keep your home dirty – so replace them

Dirty air and furnace filters can keep your home dirty. Depending on your furnace or vents, how often you change these may vary. However, Rapinchuk said, spring is a good time to at least take stock of when you need to replace those filters. The same goes for vacuum filters which, if dirty, can spit dirt back out into your home.

Clean the winter out of your garage

Clean the floor of your garage this spring. Mud and salt from your car finds itself in the garage. Also, put away your winter gear — shovels and sleds — and pull out lawn tools — The lawnmower, weed-whacker and the bicycles. Also, fill up your gas canister so it will be ready the first time you use it.

Doorknobs and light switches need love too

Places like doors, doorknobs and light switches are touched every day, but rarely cleaned. Rapinchuk suggests using warm water and a squirt of dishsoap for wiping these down.

Clean the things you don’t typically clean

These include the aforementioned windows, but also window blinds, light fixtures, forgettable edges and corners. Take time to clean them this year.

How often you should be cleaning these things:

Carpets: Once per year

Shower curtains: Buy a polyester liner and wash it quarterly

Blinds: Two to three times per year

Oven: Check it monthly, but clean at least quarterly

Garbage disposal: Monthly. Methods include: Grinding ice cubes or lemon peels as well as a water, baking soda and vinegar mixture.

DIY cleaning solutions:

These Clean Mama homemade cleaning solutions are also available in Rapinchuk’s book “Simply Clean.”

Glass and mirror cleaner: 1.5 cups water, 1.5 tablespoons white vinegar, 1.5 tablespoons rubbing alcohol and 3 drops essential oils. Mix in spray bottle

Marble and granite cleaner: 3 tablespoons rubbing alcohol, 1.5 cups water and 1 teaspoon castile or dish soap. Mix in glass spray bottle.

All-purpose cleaner: 1.25 cups water, .5 cup white vinegar and 10 drops essential oils.USA TODAY

NETWORK , USA TODAY

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