If you're like most Americans, chances are you forgot some of these often overlooked spots while spring cleaning:
In the Kitchen
Most people hit the stove, fridge and the microwave. But there are more places in the kitchen needing your attention. All cupboards and pantries should be cleared and re-stocked at least once yearly to dispose of expired food and guard against insects and rodents.
Also make sure you clean your can opener! This often used, rarely cleaned tool can be a trap for bacteria and spores. Use Q-Tips and soapy water to wipe down every nook and cranny, including the gears.
In the Laundry Room
Have you noticed an unusual funk coming from your washing machine? This may be because the new, high-efficiency washers use less water than traditional ones, causing residue buildup from dirty clothes, detergent and hard water minerals. If so, it's time to clean your machine. Something as simple as Tide's Washing Machine Cleaner, which comes in a small packet you drop into a normal cycle without clothes, can keep your machine smelling fresh.
Once you've got your washing machine clean, next focus on what you put in it. With spring and summer whites sure to be washed this time of year, consider switching to a detergent with both stain fighting and whitening power, such as Tide plus Bleach Powder. And look for a new concentrated version, which not only gives you the same cleaning with 1/3 less detergent, but helps save you space and helps save the planet by reducing packaging.
In the Bedroom
Spring cleaning usually involves a change of bedding, but how about those decorative pillows or stuffed animals in children's rooms? Because of their soft, uneven surfaces, they're prime locations for dust and allergens. Sticking them in plastic bags and then in the freezer for four hours will kill dust mites. Then use a vacuum to suck up dead carcasses.
You should also pay attention to ceiling fans, crown moldings and even the walls. It's best to use a damp cloth to wipe down all surfaces. Dry feather dusters tend to kick up dust and allergens, which settle back down in the same place.
In the Living Room
Window treatments and lampshades attract dust and germs as much as any other home surface, but are easily cleaned using removable vacuum attachments, such as a combo brush or crevice tool extension.
And don't skip floor vents, door jams, and window sills. These areas are often overlooked and can collect years of grime.
Of course, regular cleaning is the best way to minimize your spring cleaning. To find products that can help make cleaning less of a chore, visit www.tide.com.
Then get to it! After all, a clean home is a happy home.