Coming Clean This Spring: Winter’s Dirty Little Secret

March-April 2018

Laura Emery, Field Editor

Winter’s got a dirty little secret. And it’s time to come clean this spring.

Following unusually frigid temperatures across the commonwealth this winter, Virginians will crawl out from under their thick blankets and warm coats to welcome springtime on March 20th.

With the new season will come serenading songbirds and blossoming flower buds.

And, for many, cleaning. Deep cleaning and organizing.

It’s likely a matter of simple biology as to why many people find themselves knee-deep in cleaning supplies and organizational tools as soon as the weather begins to warm. During winter, people are exposed to less sunlight due to shorter, often-dreary days. With a lack of exposure to light, the pineal gland produces melatonin, a hormone that produces sleepiness in humans. It’s possible that people “spring clean” simply because they wake up from a winter-long, melatonin-induced torpor and discover they have some extra energy as the days grow longer upon spring’s arrival.

Winter’s dirty secret? “Nobody wants to clean during the cold winter months,” says Rappahannock Electric Cooperative member Jenna Wheeler of Goochland. “It’s too cold! You just want hang out on the couch feeling cozy and warm with your loved ones. But as soon as the temperatures start to warm up, you look around and realize you’ve put off cleaning and organizing the house for too long — and it’s the perfect time to deep clean and get ready for the new, less-sleepy season.”

If anyone knows a thing or two about spring cleaning, it’s certainly the folks at Better Homes& Gardens (BHG). “The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Guide” includes a free cleaning checklist, window-washing tips, deep-cleaning carpet tutorials, dusting tricks and so much more. If it can be cleaned, BHG will teach you how to clean it. It’s that easy — and these pointers are useful any time of year, not just during spring cleaning.

For other BHG-blessed house-cleaning tips, check out this link: Here, you can  find out how to clean your whole house for less than $5, discover the 10 dirtiest places in your house (yes, you will be surprised), learn how to clean smarter and not harder, how to make eight amazing homemade cleaners, the best way to clean your pillows and more.

Just when you think you know everything there is to know about cleaning your house, you stumble across a website like this. Spend five minutes perusing this site and you will surely want to make a beeline to your abode to zap your soiled sponges in the microwave, sprinkle your pillows with cornstarch, rub lemon oil on your glass shower doors or drop a teaspoon of Tang drink mix in your toilet bowl. Oh, and there is a proper way to hold the broom when sweeping. Do you sweep properly? To find out (and learn more cleaning tips), be sure and check out this website.

Forget a massive seasonal spruce-up. Perhaps you’d like to wait until, say, the day you’re expecting company for a normal house cleaning? You know who you are. If speed-cleaning is your style, then this is your website. According to The Happier Homemaker, you can achieve a clean home quickly by staying focused and moving at lightning speed with laser focus. A red cape is optional. Clean from the top down, allow a certain number of minutes per room (according to this website, seven minutes is long enough to get a bathroom sparkling clean) and don’t get distracted. Don’t. Get. Distracted. Turn off your phone, put the kids down for a nap and blast your favorite music throughout the house. You can do it in a few hours. And The Happier Homemaker will hold your hand and guide you through it.

But the website isn’t just for super cleaners, it also features the Seven Day Spring Cleaning Challenge. It’s a step-by-step manageable plan to get your home sparkling in seven days.

For a quicker version of spring cleaning, this is a great resource. Here, you will find some quick but thorough strategies and cleaning tips for carpets, windows, mattresses and more. These tips will show you how to spring clean in a way that fits your schedule, meets your standards and still gives you that clean, fresh feeling in your home.

Here, you get two for one; you get a shiny, spring-clean, guest-worthy home AND you can “feel like a boss.” Or, so says The secret lies in the featured 20 simple tricks to making spring cleaning so much easier. So here’s how it’s done: clean your toilet with coke, make Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser your new BFF (the bald guy knows best!), clean the big-screen TV with coffee filters, use your old egg cartons in new ways (you’ll have to visit the website for this tip), and don’t fold clothing the way your mother taught you. Once you do these things (and more), you’re guaranteed to feel like a boss … with a refreshed, clean home to boot.

Sometimes, simple is best. Instead of reading through pages and pages of tips and tricks, Woman’s Day breaks spring cleaning down into 15 most-common tasks (accompanied with a tip or trick associated with that task). They are: freshen window treatments, wash the windows, rotate and flip mattresses, scour the stovetop, empty the fridge and defrost, clear out cabinets, change out your closet, clean your carpets, beautify your bathroom, edit your rooms, replace batteries, clean ceiling fans, clean and replace filters, service your vacuum cleaner and polish pots and pans. Once you break down the plan into doable tasks, the only thing you have to worry about is putting a big fat check mark beside each task as you finish them.