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11 Spring Cleaning Tips You Can't Do Without

With temperatures creeping up into the 60's toward the end of this week, it's time to start thinking about spring cleaning.  Here are 12 tips that will make your home feel as fresh and clean as the day you moved in.

1) Start on the outside.  There's no sense scrubbing your whole house only to track in dirt from your welcome mat, so give your outdoor entryway a good once-over.  Sweep your porch or stairs if you have them, clean or get a new welcome mat (here are some fun ideas from Pinterest for those who want their mat to express something more than just "welcome") and if you have a green thumb, hanging or potted plants can do a lot to freshen up your exterior.

2) Power wash your siding.  Power washing is one of the chores that makes the biggest difference in the appearance of a home, plus it's relatively cheap and easy to do!

3) Once you're inside, work your way down from the top.  It might seem obvious, but when you clean fans and light fixtures, the dirt will fall down to lower surfaces, so you'll end up having to re-clean those areas if you tackle them first.

4) When you do get to the bottom, don't forget your baseboards!  Other than your floor, the baseboards spend the most time near shoes and paws and often take a hit when things are spilled or dropped.  A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will do the job nicely, but if you're feeling really ambitious, throwing a fresh coat of paint on them will add a level of freshness you likely haven't seen in years!

5) While you're down there, clean the grout.  The best solution for cleaning grout is a combination of two ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen!  Sprinkle some backing soda all along your grout, and then using a spray bottle, apply vinegar to the top of the baking soda.  Let it react and bubble for a few minutes, and then wipe it up!

6) Curtains (both window and shower) collect a huge amount of dirt and dust that usually go unnoticed, and every time you go to open a window on a nice sunny day, that dust will come loose and float through the house.  So to prepare for open-window season, remove all of your curtains and give them a good clean.  If you have mini blinds and want to get them really clean, take them down and soak them in the tub, then give them a once over with a toothbrush and some soapy water.

7) Wash your windows and let that sunshine in!  Use a squeegee and/or newspaper to avoid streaks!  And don't forget about the window sills.  Use Q-tips to get into all of the hard to reach corners.

8 ) Get rid of lint and pet hair.  If you don't have a lint roller on hand, no need to fret.  The best way to remove hair from furniture and pillows is to put on a dish glove, get it slightly wet and just sweep your hand over the surfaces.  The hair will clump together and will be easily removable.

9) Don't forget your plants!  Plants collect just as much dust as furniture or curtains, and just like people, plants have a hard time breathing when they're covered in dust, so it's important to give them a good rinse.  If you have a removable shower hose, try putting them in the tub and giving them a quick shower.

10) Clean your carpets.  If you have your own steam cleaner and get a sense of fulfillment when you see the lines it makes as it cleans your carpet, then by all means take on this task, but for many, this is where it might make sense to bring in a professional. Your carpets collect more dirt and dust than anything else in your home - especially if you have pets - so they deserve a very thorough, deep clean.

11) Toss out the toxins.  The home cleaning aisle of your local supermarket is filled with products that are toxic to dirt, grime and grease.  But guess what, most are toxic to you also.  Almost all house cleaning can be done with 4 simple things - vinegar, baking soda, dish soap and water.

It's been a tough winter for us in Boston, but a good spring cleaning might be just what we all need to wash away the mess it left behind.  For more tips on spring cleaning, interior design and real estate, reach out to our experts at The Charles Realty through our website at www.thecharlesrealty.com.

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