Attack those neglected nooks and crannies

By: Gloria Young,
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Cleaning Services
Leslie’s Cleaning Services, (530) 885-5606 or leslies
Merry Maids, Auburn, (530) 269-8096 or merry
Squeaky Clean Window & Mini-Blind Cleaners, (530) 885-0209 or squeaky

There’s one thing about housekeeping — there’s always something else to do. That’s the beauty of spring cleaning — it’s the perfect time to search out and attack those neglected nooks and crannies.
“I’d say March and April are pretty busy,” said Leslie Power, owner of Leslie’s Cleaning Services in Auburn. “There’s also a little push for it because the sun comes out and people open their curtains and see that things look horrible.”
The focus of Power’s cleaning company is on health.
“When someone says they want a deep clean, I want a much healthier home than I already have,” she said. “Let’s get the pollen off the blinds, wash the fans, wash the light fixtures, baseboards, doors and anything horizontal for sure.”’
Carpet cleaning is huge.
“Carpets in my opinion are one of the grossest things ever,” she said. “I like carpet but it is the largest filter you have in your home.”
She suggests steam cleaning it a couple of times a year.
Window treatments are a more do-it-yourselfer-friendly task
“Vacuum them or take them down and put them into the dryer,” she said. “It’s a little trick that saves a lot of effort. The dryer will do a better job than you or I can. It will eliminate pollen and dust.”
It’s also time to tackle those difficult-to-reach top shelves — taking everything down, washing it and washing the surface of the shelf before replacing what was there.
“Light fixtures all need to come down,” Power said. “Put the globes in the top of the dishwasher. Wash off fan blades and cabinets. … Clean one room at a time, top to bottom, left to right — or the order that makes sense to you. But it has to be in order or you’ll miss stuff.”
For dusting and wiping down things, she suggests using a microfiber towel instead of a feather duster, “which is a huge cross-contamination source,” she said. “You shouldn’t use a sponge or sponge mop. You can use a sponge mop if you are going to use bleach on it when you’re done.”
To avoid cross-contamination in her company’s cleaning assignments, Leslie created a color-coded system for the microfiber sheets.
“Every house gets a fresh batch,” she said. “There’s one (color) for the bathroom, one for the kitchen and one for dusting,” she said. “There’s no chance we are bringing bacteria on a sponge from one house to another or one room to another.”
When choosing cleaning products, think simple. A microfiber sheet and water with a couple of drops of dishwashing detergent such as Dawn are sufficient for many tasks.
Power doesn’t recommend vinegar as a cleaning product.
“Vinegar is a highly caustic solution,” she said. “If you are using it with a lot of water, that will make it less caustic.”
For other cleaners, she suggests looking them up on an Internet search site, using the name of the product and adding msds — for example “Kaboom msds.” The results will list every chemical it contains.
“On the (information) sheet, you’ll find out a lot of things,” she said. “You’ll find out if it is flammable. It will give the pH. For the pH, you want something neutral — that’s 7. If it is a low pH (1 or 2) or high (14 or 15), it’s very caustic. … There’s a reason pH matters. It’s either acidic or alkaline. Chemicals that are highly acidic do one thing and alkaline does another. It’s the difference in cleaning grease and cleaning soap scum.”
A quality vacuum cleaner is also important. Get the best one you can afford, she said.
At Merry Maids in Auburn, office manager Natalie Herman says spring cleaning means the surface and what’s below it.
“Things that people don’t generally do in their homes that we find are really important are washing baseboards, doors and doorframes,” she said. “Those are the kind of things that slide, depending on how much furniture and knickknacks people have.”
Another area that often gets overlooked is the window track.
“The aluminum ones get pretty nasty so we just put a brush in there and scrub until we get it clean,” she said.
Ceiling fans get overlooked, too.
“It’s amazing sometimes the things people haven’t noticed,” Herman said. “Sometimes the fan blades are actually furry (with dust).”
Get into the stairwells and move around the furniture to reach areas that haven’t been touched for a while, she added.
And don’t forget the windows.
As a temporary fix, Power suggests using a microfiber sheet to wipe down windows on the inside.
For exterior window cleaning, Dave Reppas, owner of Squeaky Clean Windows and Mini-Blind Cleaners, says there are some mistakes he sees frequently.
“I guess the most common is people rinse off windows with a hose and then let it dry,” he said. “That causes water spots and sometimes it can be really difficult to get those spots off — especially if the homeowner has well water. If you are going to do it yourself, the main thing is soap isn’t as important. We use something similar to dish detergent. (What is important) is scrubbing and getting the water off. Just don’t leave the water on to dry.”
Reppas’ crews use squeegees for the best results. He also recommends microfiber towels. With other materials, you may be creating more work.
“The more you rub on there, you get static electricity, so the dust sticks,” he said.
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