Spring Cleaning Part 1: Unique Ideas, Overlooked Spaces- Living Spaces

spring cleaningA hundred years ago infectious diseases were the number one cause of death. By 1980 that number slid to five; by 2000 it raised to three. According to University of Arizona Professor Dr. Charles Gerda, aka Dr. Germ, says infectious diseases will likely be the number one killer again - and soon. Does that inspire you to spring clean a little more thoroughly this year?

Last week we presented the spring cleaning tips of the celebrities, this week we're talking to a professional: Laura Dellutri, the Healthy Housekeeper.

In this installment, Dellutri gives us her best tips on cleaning up our living spaces (tomorrow she'll be back to discuss the kitchen and bathroom).

Get ready to learn about a cleaning magic wand, the magic of a syringe on pet odors, and why you need to freeze your teddy bear...

Living Room

  • The best cleaner Dellutri found this spring is called L.A.'s Totally Awesome Cleaner. The cleaning maven says, "I've never found a product that works like this stuff. It got rid of 2 year old coffee stains, pet stains, tar, lipstick, and it works on clothing, carpet, furniture. I even used in on a burnt pan or grill - spray it on and it cleans burnt pans. And it's $1 at the dollar store! "
  • We all do the surface cleaning around big objects, but this is where Dellutri suggests we focus our cleaning attention. "Underneath the couch is an easy place to overlook. We can get in the habit [to clean there] over the year," says an encouraging Dellutri. "Maybe its too narrow to get in there, but that is why it's a good place for dust to collect." Not only is it unclean, but it can affect allergies, too.
  • For those of you with decorative accents you normally skip in the cleaning process, this is a good time to clean them. "To clean silk flowers blow dry them," Dellutri suggests. And when was the last time you cleaned your lampshades - not dusted them, but really cleaned them? They sell dry chemical sponges for lampshades which also work on wallpaper.
  • When you have to clean a bigger area, perhaps a door (whose top is another overlooked spot), Dellutri suggests putting a clean white sock on your hand--this way you can cover a bigger space easily and in less time.
  • And what's the point of doing the cleaning if you are going to end up with streaks over windows and mirrors, and assorted glass pieces. Change that habit now. "Quit using paper towels," says the Healthy Housekeeper. " Use a squeegee or microfiber towel. That's the only way to have no streaks."
  • And you can even spring clean things you thought you could never get rid of. Lots of people use candles in their homes, but getting wax on mantles or carpets can mean long term damage. Dellutri has a solution to get your home wax free: use a putty knife on mantels - they cost a mere fifty cents! "And for carpets, put boiling water on it and the water melts out the wax."
  • "The old adage 'out of sight out of mind' is especially true with furnace filters," says Dellutri. People may complain that their house is dusty but they rarely think to change the filters! "Spring is a good time to put in a brand new filter, and I recommend using an allergen filter. It's helpful to cut down on dust and to keep allergies in check."
  • Another spot people miss are heating vents, in particular the ones low to the ground. An important place to clean especially if you have kids. Clean them out and chances are you'll discover money, crayons, and old Skittles. "Your kids have been playing around them and you never know what they were up to til' you look in there!"


  • I have two words for you: stuffed animals. Do you ever clean yours? if not, these are prime suspects that may be triggering allergies. Dellutri suggests you clean your furry friends by putting them in a Ziploc freezer bag then and placing them in the freezer for four hours to kill dust mites. Then, when you take them out, get an HVAC vacuum to get out those dead carcasses. You can also throw your stuffed animals in a pillow case, wrap it with a rubber band and throw it in hot water. Put them in the dryer and then leave them to dry to their fluffy stage (Just remember it has to be 130 degrees to kill the dust mites). Most stuffed animals are washable, but often the freezer option works best.
  • For scuff or crayon marks on the hardwood floors, linoleum, Pergo, etc. just use a pencil eraser to get them off.
  • And this next item will make "Star Wars" fans enjoy cleaning a bit more. Dellutri says an ultraviolet wand which will kill germs will soon be on the market. You be able to run this magic wand over your toilet seat, kitchen sink, and comforters to get them clean. It's an easy (err, lazy?) way to clean, but if it works, why not? They are also starting to put ultraviolet in vacuums so it kills whats in your carpets, too.

  • For those of you with pets, hair accumulation on couches and crevices can be a nightmare. Dellutri has an amazingly simple solution to this, "Get a rubber latex glove, put it on and rub your hand over the furniture and it will roll off into a ball."
  • Another pet problem is odors. You think you get the problem spots out of your carpet, but inevitably the odor comes back. Dellutri explains that means the smelly source has gone through the rug and down to the pad. Here's what our cleaning guru suggests: Get enzyme cleaner for pets, buy a syringe at the pharmacy and you fill it with the cleaner. Squirt the enzyme onto the spot so it gets down to the pad and saturates it. Apply some pressure and leave it on there five to ten minutes. Get a cotton towel, fold it into a square and stand on it until you get all the liquid pulled up into the towel. And then that pet odor will be gone!

It's not a matter of doing more, it's a matter of doing it smarter and with better tools. Who wants to go back to a hundred years ago in our health practices?

Tomorrow: Spring Cleaning Part 2: Unique Ideas, Overlooked Spaces- Kitchen and Bath
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