Spring Cleaning 101

What is it about spring that makes us want to clean? Is it the winter’s worth of dust settled all over the house, or the bedding and upholstery tired and drab from so much use?


Besides window washing and carpet shampooing, what other jobs should you tackle this spring?

Dust A Book
Dusting the shelves around your books is enough week to week, but dust build-up over time can eventually leave a stain. Derek Medley, manager of Powell’s Bookstore in Chicago which specializes in used and rare books, says books tend to take care of themselves – as long as they’re clean, dry and out of the sun.

For a thorough annual cleaning, remove books from the shelf and use a soft duster (clean, dry paintbrushes work wonders) to remove dust from the spine. And since you’ve got them off the shelf, take a quick inventory and purge.

Dingy Window Treatments
Even if you occasionally run the vacuum attachment on your drapes and valances, your window treatments will most likely need dry cleaning every two years. Some dry cleaners, including Northbrook-based Zengeler Cleaners, will come to your home, take down, clean and reinstall your window treatments—a service particularly useful for more detailed or delicate valences or drapery.

As important as cleaning is maintenance. Sun exposure can be the toughest element on window treatments, yellowing and weakening fabrics. Tom Zengeler suggests checking and even replacing linings and, if possible, rotating your drapery and valances to ensure even exposure and fading on all window fabrics in a room.

As for window blinds, nothing works better than a tube sock. Put your hand in the sock, dip it in warm, soapy water, and run your fingers across the slat. For particularly dirty slats, use an electrostatic cleaning sheet (or fabric softener sheet) to remove as much dust before you wash.

Winter Bedding
Make sure to clean your bedding before you store it for the season (same goes for winter clothing). Zengeler recommends first dry cleaning your feather duvet to remove oils and then laundering. Make sure your dry cleaner has large capacity machinery with enough space inside to really wash your oversize bedding – otherwise it’s no different than using your machine at home. Remember, dry cleaning also helps to prevent moth damage.

Area Rugs
Depending on traffic and use, area rugs typically require cleaning every three to five years. Most quality rug cleaners will pick up and deliver your rug. To keep your rugs in the best shape possible, Oscar Iberian of Oscar Iberian Rugs has a few simple suggestions:

  • Make sure you have a good pad to ensure even wear.
  • Regularly vacuum under furniture to prevent moth damage.
  • Never put plant pots directly on your rug. Air circulation is critical between your pot and the rug to prevent mold damage and staining.
  • Rotate your rug once a year to distribute the traffic patterns and wear. And while you’re at it, why not wash the floor under the rug pad.

Keeping it Clean
After all your hard work, do what you can to keep your house clean:

  • Put two doormats at every entrance (outside and in) to cut down on the dirt and debris. And don’t forget the door to the garage.
  • Change your air filters every other month to trap dust, allergens and pet dander from circulating through your house.
  • Vacuum regularly, particularly if you have pets.

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