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Clean Ideas: Fall Cleaning

Get the jump on seasonal cleaning

Autumn Fall Baby BoySummer officially ends on September 22nd . . . so how about marking it with a bout of spring cleaning?! While that may sound like a contradiction in terms, stop and think about it. Warm summer months means vacations away from home and more time spent outdoors. But while you were out enjoying yourself, dirt and grime didn't take a vacation. They sat around the house, accumulating and multiplying. And, now, with the winter months ahead and the holiday seasons rushing in upon us, it's an ideal time to get a thorough house cleaning under way!
 
Take Stock
Before you begin, take inventory of your cleaning supplies, recommends Nancy Bock, Sention Vice President of Education at the American Cleaning Institute. Make sure you have the products you need for the surfaces you plan on cleaning. Review the information on the product labels to make sure you are using them properly. As you clean, pay attention to where your products are stored. You may decide that future cleaning will be more efficient if you keep sets of supplies in different parts of the house – for example, one set on each floor, or an extra set in the master bedroom suite or in the laundry room. Be sure you store your items where children and pets can't get to them. Also consider adding a small hand-held vacuum in various locations so it's easy to scoop crumbs off the kitchen floor, hair from the bathroom countertop, and dust from the den.
 
Expand Your Reach
Go beyond the usual vacuuming, mopping and dusting. Look up and get rid of the cobwebs that have accumulated in the corners and around the light fixtures and ceiling fans. If necessary, invest in a telescoping extension pole so you can adjust it to the length you need for dusting those high-up places. Move the furniture and send those dust bunnies scurrying. Wipe down the baseboards.
 
Tackle the Refrigerator
Check its contents for expiration dates. Discard anything that has overstayed its welcome. Then remove and clean each shelf. Work one shelf at a time so that food won’t have to stand out at room temperature. Once the inside is clean, take a look at the outside. Dust and lint buildup can reduce the cooling performance of your refrigerator. Remove the grille and vacuum the coils or clean them with a long-handled brush. If it’s not a built-in model, pull it away from the wall and vacuum or sweep behind it.
 
Launder Lavishly
Launder all washable comforters, mattress covers, pillows, bed skirts, curtains, blankets, throws and slipcovers. Turn mattresses and vacuum them thoroughly.
 
Refurbish the Furniture and Care for the Carpet
Take a close look at your upholstery. Remove the cushions and vacuum thoroughly, using the crevice tool to get into those hard-to-reach places. Check the carpet for spots and stains. This may be the time for deep cleaning all these surfaces.
 

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