By Josette Keelor
As warm weather makes its slow entrance into the valley, the idea of spring is in full bloom in the minds of residents hoping to air out homes and breathe new life into stuffy interiors.
LaShonda Russell, owner of cleaning service Gal Gone Green in Broadway, says dust and grime build up in places homeowners tend to overlook in their day-to-day cleaning.
She suggests spring cleaning in little noticed areas of the home.
Russell recommends using vinegar to clean your washing machine and dishwasher several times a year.
Mold growing in washers can transfer to your clean clothes. Use the same amount of vinegar and water as you would detergent in your machine, she says.
It's not necessary to run an extra load of water through the machine unless it's been a year or longer since you last cleaned the machine, she says. In that case, a second rinsing will get rid of any loose mold that might otherwise transfer to clothes.
"You should probably do it twice or three times a year," Russell says.
Degreasing the glass in your oven door can take some finagling, Russell says, but soap and hot water on a rag attached to the end of a clothes hanger can do the job.
Straighten the metal hanger and stretch it through the holes inside the top of the oven door. Dish detergent and hot water on a cloth attached with a rubber band should do the trick.
"Other than that they can always use vinegar," Russell says.
"When they clean their windows, a really good mixture is rubbing alcohol and vinegar," she says. She uses one part of each.
"That works really well on not giving streaks," she says. "I don't find that anything's better than that."
Diluting the solution with water will not hurt the effectiveness, and it cuts back on the vinegar smell, she says.
"Sometimes the smell's too much for some people," she says.
Not too handy in home chemistry? Russell uses earth-friendly name brands Method, Mrs. Meyers and Seventh Generation in her business.
Sarah Schlabach, owner of Finishing Touches in Woodstock, advises cleaning out cabinets and refrigerators.
Sometimes customers ask her company to clean baseboards, and for one-time cleaning they sometimes need walls wiped down.
Light fixtures can also collect dust, Schlabach says.
Cleaning the blades on fans, Russell says, "Can make the world of difference in your clean air."
"And vent covers. Just vacuum that out. My goodness, it's so easy," she says.
Vacuuming using the brush attachment works on blinds and in the areas of windows where dust and dirt collect between the screen and inside pane.
With curtains, Russell says, "You can just touch them one time and dust gets in air."
Cleaning them once a year would not hurt, she says. Cleaning blinds also lets more light into the house.
Schlabach says people might want to declutter their house before they even start on the deep cleaning.
Pull out furniture and appliances, like the stove or refrigerator, to have access to areas that never get cleaned otherwise.
"Get behind things," she says.
Gal Gone Green can be reached at 540-578-0782 or on Facebook. Finishing Touches can be reached at 540-459-3446 or at www.finishingtouchesonline.org.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org