Annual Cleaning Tasks

9 March 2022

It is just about time for spring cleaning. In fact, you may notice more ads for cleaning products at this time of the year as well as pharmacies offering take backs on drugs for safe disposal. There are a number of cultures that celebrate renewals or holidays that encourage a fresh start that include cleaning and ridding yourself of unnecessary items.

When you talk about spring cleaning, fortunately there are some things that only need to be tackled once per year.

Window Coverings
Fabric items that cover your windows, like drapes, curtains, and shades, will attract dust and hold odors. For draperies you can at least throw them in the dryer on air fluff to remove much of the dust. Most will require dry cleaning and if they are lined, definitely take them to a professional. The same with any stains.

Curtains are generally able to be machine-washed and dried or perhaps line dried. It is best to remove them from the dryer while they are slightly damp to iron or rehang.

Fixed valances can be cleaned with the upholstery attachment to your vacuum. Some shades can be handled this way also, or use a microfiber duster.

Exceptions:
• Curtains in kitchen areas should be laundered more frequently since they can have some oily residues and bathrooms may hold onto hair spray or other cosmetics.
• Blinds need to dusted at least monthly.

Gutters
Generally gutters are cleared in the fall after the majority of leaves have dropped from the trees. Unfortunately in some cases this is a twice a year operation. If you live around pine and evergreens, they will shed needles year around. Also immature oaks hold onto the their leaves until the new buds force the old ones out. So, you may need to deal with this in the spring as well.

Fireplace

Fireplace
Once you feel you have stopped using the fireplace for the season, remove all the embers from wood-burning fireplaces. You can use a shop vac to remove any residue. Clean all fireplace tools with white vinegar to give them a fresh scent. Close the damper.

For a gas fireplace, you can remove the glass and clean the interior with warm water and maybe a mild dishwashing soap to remove any film.

Schedule a chimney sweep to check the flue.

Documents
After your taxes are filed, you might want to spend a little time organizing both paper and electronic files.

This is also a good time to review your Wills or have one drafted. Estate planning is one of the most grim and odious tasks around, but if your choose a bright, cheery day, it is less depressing. Also if you are beyond retirement age, or have relatives who are, discuss what should be included in an obituary. When it is done, go out for a nice lunch including a glass of your favorite wine.

Outdoor Furniture
It is about time to haul out the patio or deck furnishings. Clean rattan, plastic, and wood with a solution of two teaspoons of liquid dishwashing soap to two cups of warm water. Remove any stains from fabrics and vacuum them. Toss out anything that didn’t weather very well and start watching for sales for replacement pieces.

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