Marcia Mangum Cronin
HealthyWomen's Copy Editor
Marcia Cronin has worked with HealthyWomen for over 15 years in various editorial capacities. She brings a strong background in copy editing. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor's degree in journalism and worked for over two decades in newspapers, including at The Los Angeles Times and The Virginian-Pilot.
After leaving newspapers, Marcia began working as a freelance writer and editor, specializing in health and medical news. She has copy edited books for Rodale, Reader's Digest, Andrews McMeel Publishing and the Academy of Nutritionists and Dietitians.
Marcia and her husband have two grown daughters and share a love of all things food- and travel-related.Full Bio
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Spring cleaning is a foreign concept to me. If I'm honest, cleaning is always a low priority in my household.
But, this spring, my husband and I will have to do some serious cleaning. Family is coming to visit, and one of those family members is OCD when it comes to cleanliness. He will not be comfortable in our home, unless we clean it up.
Because there isn't much time, we will focus on the obvious:
- Scrub the bathrooms. I'm using scrub brushes to get the gunk out of the shower track, sprays to remove soap scum from the tiles and elbow grease to wipe down the baseboards and remove all the ick that tends to stick to things in the bathroom.
- Deep-clean the kitchen. Time to wipe down all the countertops and cabinet fronts, mop the floor and clean those annoying baseboards.
- Stash the clutter. We can't get rid of decades worth of clutter overnight, but we can stash it in drawers or the basement and clear some surfaces.
- Look high and low. Wipe off ceiling lights and fans and make sure all the bulbs are working. Look for spider webs and dead bugs in upper and lower corners. Use those vacuum attachments that rarely get used.
- Vacuum the furniture. Here's another use for those rarely used vacuum attachments. It would be great to hire someone to professionally clean the upholstered furniture, but time and budget mean I'll probably settle for a good vacuuming to get up the loose dog hair and dirt.
To those of you who clean more regularly than I, this all may seem pretty basic. So, here are some tips for cleaning less visible areas from Lorena Canals, founder of her own Spanish home design brand known for its eco-friendly, machine-washable rugs:
Around the house
- Check the doors. In addition to wiping down the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms, go over every door in the house. In steamy or greasy areas, grime can really build up. Don't forget to wipe the tops of doorways. Airflow in the gaps draws a lot of dust.
- Don't ignore area rugs. Carpets may get a steam clean or at least a thorough vacuuming, but area rugs tend to be forgotten or, at most, get taken outside for a beating. If you have machine washable rugs—like those from Lorena Canals—you can get them fresh and clean in no time. Otherwise, send them out for a professional cleaning.
- De-germ your devices. Telephones, remote controls and other electronic devices are carriers of germs. Give these a good wipe and get into the habit of doing it regularly.
- Hose out the garbage bins. They harbor a lot of stinky things, and no one likes to clean them. Hosing them down to get all the gunk out will minimize germs and odors.
In the laundry room
- Check for dryer lint. Sure, you check the lint trap when you use your dryer, but did you know that lint can get into other parts of the dryer? If enough accumulates, it becomes a fire risk. Thoroughly clean the exhaust hose and vent that lead out of the house. You'll know there's a problem if it takes longer and longer to dry your clothes—but it's best not to wait until that happens.
- Wash the washer. Soap scum accumulates in your washer over time. For a top-loading machine, fill it with hot water and add 2 cups of white vinegar. Let that stand for about 20 minutes, scrub the inside, drain and refill with hot water, this time adding 2 cups of baking soda. Scrub again and drain. Run it once without any clothes to make sure it's free of any residue. Front-loading washers may also be cleaned with baking soda and vinegar, but before you try it, check the user guide that came with your machine. Some guides say to use bleach—and if you don't follow the manufacturer's instructions, it could void your warranty.
In the kitchen
- Improve fridge efficiency. Clean the coils and fan area of your refrigerator each spring and fall for maximum efficiency. Unplug it and pull it away from the wall. The coils are either at the bottom in the front, behind a cover grill, or at the back. The condenser fan will likely be at the back. Vacuum all the dust and debris. If your fridge has a drip pan, clean that before you push the fridge back into place.
- Clean underneath appliances. For appliances that aren't built in, move them out and give the floor and bases a good scrubbing. Dropped food can accumulate under there, which can attract bugs.
In the bedroom
- Banish mattress dust bunnies. In addition to regularly flipping and rotating your mattress, it's a good idea to vacuum it. Deodorize the mattress with a sprinkling of baking soda, leaving it to do its job for an hour or so, and then vacuum it up. You'll get rid of the dead skin cells and other allergens that could interfere with a good night's sleep, and you'll get a fresh smell!
- Wash the pillows. Dust and skin residue also accumulate in your pillows. Check the labels, and, if possible, wash your pillows. You may need to take them to a laundromat with high-capacity washers and dryers, but it's worth the effort.
I admit I won't get all these things done before my guests arrive. But maybe this advice will help you create a cleaner, healthier home this spring.