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Spring Cleaning Tips from the Girlfriends

March 31, 2011

I have some really great gal pals who gave excellent advice on my Spring Cleaning Weekend. It was comforting to hear that they agree: cleaning is not fun, but they all have their own secrets passed down from moms or learned experience. Here are their suggestions:

The first thing that comes to mind is to use one part white vinegar and three parts water to clean wood floors. It’s a little smelly but it’s safe to use. And the Bona Cleaning System from Bed, Bath and Beyond…they make it specifically for wood, laminate, and granite too. Also using the vinegar solution is good for pet stains on wood floors.   – Bond
I don’t know if your shower/tub is as gross as ours can get, but we use Brillo pads (S.O.S. pads) to get the soap scum off of the shower floors and walls.  I’ve used baking soda to clean the top of my range over my stove, and I use the disinfecting wipes on our door knobs, light switches, and other areas that get touched a lot – I am very germ conscious. When I was young, we used to get a bucket of hot soapy water and watch down the base boards and doors (I don’t think I’ve ever done that in my married life!).   – Christine D


As far as cleaning tips go I like to use as many natural (or non-toxic) things I can to clean the house 1) because the toxic things smell so strong I can sometimes get a headache 2) because they aren’t as good for the environment as a whole and our home environment either and 3) it’s really cheaper. Anyhow, what I’ve use for most everything is vinegar (regular old white distilled) and hydrogen peroxide.  It’s important that you DON’T MIX THEM!   I just get two spray bottle tops and put them directly on the top of each 32 ounce bottle of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide respectively and spray the surface with one then the other and let it sit for a bit.  The combination creates a mild acid that will kill just about any bacteria/germs and cleans really well.  It doesn’t smell great though (smells like vinegar). But, that will dissipate quickly.  This is not going to clean soap scum as well as your standard toxic cleaners, but a little elbow grease will take care of that.   – Libby C


1) Use baking soda for scrubbing tubs, counters and sinks, as it’s just as effective as the harsh cleaners and MUCH cheaper! You can also sprinkle it on carpet, let it stand for about 15 minutes and then vacuum up.

2) Grind up orange rinds in your garbage disposal to freshen up any odors down there.

3) Buy reusable dust cloths instead of expensive Swiffer disposable cloths.  You can wash them if they get funky and reuse!

4) While vinegar is stinky, it’s a wonderful, cheap multi-purpose cleaner for floors and counters.  Fill a squirt bottle and keep it handy.

5)  Olive oil works for conditioning/polishing any leather furniture you have.

6)  If you want to buy a store-bought cleaner, I recommend Seventh Generation.  They rock and don’t pollute the water.   – Libby A


Four quick and not profound thoughts, the first is set a timer for various projects. Makes it into a competition. I give myself 10 minutes for a bathroom – including shower – and get to scrubbing fast to see if I can beat that time. Also makes it approachable, “sheesh, I can do 10 minutes”…even if it’s 10 groups of 10 minutes.

Also would say that newspaper on glass is the handiest way to avoid bad streaks. Not so fun for hands…but nice for glass

Three, wear gloves – makes me willing and able to dive into funky messes because I don’t feel like I’m actually touching it. My personal slogan “gloves make a girl bold.”

Lastly, window sills that are clean reflect light and make everything cheerier. If you’re in a pinch, scrub those guys first because your whole room will seem brighter!  – Abby H


~ I have to be in the “mood” . . . .if I’m not feeling it, it isn’t going to get done very well! So setting aside a weekend where that is your goal is probably a good idea!

~ Tackle one room at a time! You’ll be surprised at how little time it actually takes to clean one room, but if you keep jumping around from room to room, you won’t ever feel like you’re really getting things done. (And completing a room keeps me motivated to move to the next room and “mark” it off my mental checklist.)

~ Personally, I like to clean ALONE… If I’m there by myself, I can do it how I want it, and I don’t have to worry about how anyone else would be doing it.

~ Turn OFF the TV and turn ON some tunes! (Or turn the TV on to one of those music only channels). I get too easily distracted if there’s something on the TV and end up only “really” cleaning when a commercial comes on…and then I don’t get nearly as much done as I should. And besides, it makes the time go by much faster when you can sing along to your favorite songs!

~ Probably one you already know: dust first, then sweep/vacuum.  – Misty C


Something that has helped us a lot is identifying spots that gather stuff (hot spots, according to the Fly Lady) and checking those regularly for junk accumulation. For us, they were the dining room table or spots on the countertops that gathered mail as days went by. Other places were tub edges littered with shampoo bottles or different soaps, etc. My bedside table is one. Basically I just identified spots that get cluttered easily. My solution was to get things for this stuff to go in: the mail now has a hanging letter organizer in our downstairs hallway, there is a basket on the corner of our tub that has clean kid washcloths in it along with all the shampoos and body washes we use, my bedside table now has a big old mug that I keep lotion, nail file, chapstick and some pens in. It’s handy because we can still have our stuff accessible but it’s not so unsightly. Kristen W

Aren’t my girlfriends the smartest? These were all really great tips!!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Misty permalink
    April 3, 2011 6:03 am

    Yay! Thanks for sharing….and congrats on the deep-cleaned house (now if only I could get motivated enough to do the same to mine)! :)

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