Spring Cleaning: Tips and Tools for a Fresh Start
Tips, tools and tech to help make spring cleaning a breeze – and keep it that way.
The Bright and the Beautiful
Benjamin Moore’s 2016 colour of the year, Simply White (OC-117), reminded us why we refer to painting as giving our homes a “fresh coat.”
It’ll brighten up any space and, used on an accent wall, it’ll make colours pop.
Tools of the Trade
Choose your weapons wisely, says Melissa Maker. “If you have bad tools, you’ll literally be cleaning for two or three times longer.” Maker owns Toronto-based cleaning service Clean My Space, and the cleaning tutorials she posts to her YouTube channel of the same name get more than a million views. Her secret? She doesn’t like cleaning, so who better to find the quickest, most effective products and methods.
First things first, make the move to microfibre. It’s very absorbent, yes – no doubt you recall the infomercials – but Maker points out that it also picks up dust, dirt and grease better, so much so that water is sometimes all you need for cleanup.
And forget about taking the scissors to your old towels and T-shirts, she says. “They’re not absorbent and just push dirt around. Microfibre picks up the dirt immediately, so you don’t have to continually wipe and leave streaks behind.”
Sense of Order
Spring is also as good a time as any to take care of the clutter – it has been shown to cause anxiety, create feelings of guilt and inhibit creativity and productivity, after all. Maker says to start in the medicine cabinet, collecting all expired OTCs and prescriptions to return to your pharmacist for safe disposal. For the rest, mark the expiry in big, bold writing directly on the package so you aren’t fumbling for your readers next time you need cold meds in the middle of the night.
Esthetician Audrey Williams of Toronto’s La Belle Femme has this tip: disinfect high hand-traffic areas like faucets and handles with a mist sprayer filled with 70 per cent isopropyl alcohol, used to sterilize esthetic tools. And more is not always better; studies show that higher concentrations actually work too fast and don’t effectively kill germs and bacteria.
Not even the most germophobic of us washes their hands before flushing the toilet. Yet that’s when they carry the most bacteria, leaving dirty little microbes all over the lever. But install the Kohler Touchless Toilet Flush Kit – in less than 20 minutes, mind you – and you can wave those germs goodbye by simply passing your hand over the sensor mounted in the tank. Powered by four AA batteries, the kit is compatible with most toilets, so you can retrofit any commode to upgrade to a no-touch flush. $85, ca.kohler.com
Suck it up
Embrace the lightweight and handheld vacuum trend, says Maker, but opt for one with an on/off switch versus a trigger-style, which can be difficult for people with arthritis. And we say forget stooping; choose a model that also stands upright on its own, like the Rowenta Delta Force (far right).
And this spring, if what needs doing is beyond what you can do, call in the professionals.
Launched last year, Cleanify and Jiffy are like Uber but for your home. The former offers maid service while the latter enlists professionals for everything from windows and eaves cleaning to car detailing. Orders are placed via mobile app or online and can be made on demand or by appointment.
Jonathan Scott (near left), the contractor half of the W Network’s Property Brothers duo, includes the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser in his toolkit. Scott does a walk-through of numerous properties for each season of the show and recently gave a gathering of lifestyle editors ways to tackle what he calls “the ick factor” – worst of which for him is fingerprints around light switches. The trick to the foam’s little-effort effectiveness is its super-fine abrasive texture. A little water and very little might is all you need to get stains off everything from leather to Tupperware, even permanent marker on white melamine kitchen cabinets – trust me.