Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Putting a spring in your step

Homes Weekly’s occasional Focus On! section is full of tips, tricks and DIY ideas to get the most from your home and even make it more saleable

Homes Weekly’s occasional Focus On! section is full of tips, tricks and DIY ideas to get the most from your home and even make it more saleable. This issue - the early spring/new-build issue - Lucy Boon looks at tackling your annual clean.

Breathe a sigh of relief! It’s here! The next astronomical spring begins today (Friday) and runs until June 21. Those with a thirst for science will like to know the astronomical calendar determines the seasons due to the 23.5 degree tilt of the Earth’s rotational axis in relation to its orbit around the sun - but back to the mundane.

If you are the type who likes to clean your home one room at a time, the rule is: don’t stop until you are finished. Get all your cleaning gear together, plus several bags or boxes - think “bedroom one” as well as “load of rubbish,” “store somewhere,” or “secretly give to charity before my husband/mother/offspring notice” - and move from room to room.

You don’t need to do this all on your own, either. If you need a little help, get your family involved. Even the most unwilling helper can make a big difference. I know what you are thinking. It might actually be easier to do everything yourself rather than get your kids to help. But this is a great time of year to get everyone to work together. Try throwing on some music or establishing a family reward for when the work is done.

Do the Shake ’n’ Vac

Make your doormats more welcoming â?? and work out your frustrations â?? by shaking them, washing them or swatting them. Give them the toughest cleaning they can take. They’re your front line against tracked-in dirt, so keep them clean enough to do their job properly.

Carpets and upholstery

Fabrics that have absorbed a winter’s worth of dirt, body oil and germs (nice!) will need a deep clean to get them ready for another year of wear. When you’re shampooing carpets or cleaning upholstery with a rented carpet cleaner, practise first on a discreet area to make sure you’ve got the hang of it. Save time by moving furniture just slightly â?? not out of the room or against the wall â?? and place the legs of each piece back on top of small greaseproof paper squares after shampooing. The paper will protect your carpet and keep the furniture legs from getting wet as the carpet dries. Open the windows to speed up the drying, which can take a day or more.

Finish your floors

Got a beautiful wood floor? To protect it from another year of wear and tear, you’ll have to look after it. Move furniture and rugs aside, then apply a wood cleaner and either liquid or cream polish to clean and add a new protective coating.

Wash walls, cabinets, baseboards and woodwork

Dust falls on the floor, right? Well, most of the time, however just enough clings to vertical surfaces to warrant a seasonal clean. Use a sponge and a weak washing-up liquid solution to clean the surface in sections. Use two buckets: one for the solution and another for wringing out your sponge. Dry everything off with a clean, dry cloth.

Vacuum with intelligence

Your gran may have advocated dragging every stick of furniture off the carpet just so the vacuum cleaner can cover every nook and cranny. Today’s rules will save you time and you’ll still get the corner-to-corner cleaning done. Simply move those big items a little to the left or to the right. Vacuum the area previously occupied by the furniture and then move it back into place. Simples.

Dancing on the ceiling

Remove dust and dirt from ceiling fans and vents with a cloth and vacuum with a soft nozzle attachment.

See the light

Give your lights a clean â?? ceiling, wall, side, you name it. A few minutes with the all-purpose cleaner, a sponge and a duster (and step-ladder for the hard-to-reach bits) will brighten up your life.

Free up your fridge

You should clean the condenser coil, usually found behind the toe grille, with a long-handled bottle brush and a good vacuum, as built-up dust can shut down the unit by causing it to overheat. You will have to pull the fridge out to get to those hard-to-reach places, too. Expect to rediscover all those coins, pens and tea bags you knocked over last June.

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