It is amazing what you find in the New York Times! They even provide a helpful set of tips to make spring cleaning easier!  Who knew?

While there is no getting around the need to perform deep-cleaning tasks, there are some ways to make common spring cleaning chores less labor-intensive by having the right stuff –  products and tools – to do most of the work for you!

Cleaning Grout

I can’t tell you how many times grout comes up in the inspection list when you get ready to sell your home.  Many people think you have to get out a toothbrush to clean the group effectively. Guess what – Not True.  The New York Times says to use oxygen bleach, like OxiClean or Clorox OxiMagic to do your dirty work!

Mix a gallon of hot water with a quarter cup of powdered oxygen bleach, which is different from chlorine bleach because it won’t lead to color loss in textiles, so you don’t need to worry about the damage if it splashes on clothing or towels.

Working in sections, starting from the back of the room and moving toward the door, pour the solution in an S-shaped formation on the floor. It can be helpful to use a small measuring cup with a pouring spout for this operation.

Spread the oxygen bleach solution in a thin layer over each section using a scrub brush. This should not be an elbow grease-intensive performance. You want to make a simple chh-chh-chh movement quickly with the scrub brush to distribute the oxygen bleach solution. Then let the solution sit for 30 to 60 minutes before wiping the floors clean with a water-dampened rag or a sponge mop. As the grout dries, it will brighten up, no toothbrush or heavy scrubbing required.


How do you get rid of those stubborn hard-water stains and soap-scum buildup that makes your glass shower doors look frosted, and not in a nice decorative way.

To surprising tip here is a dryer sheet, which you might never have guessed — but it works.  Get the dryer sheet wet and, working in a circular motion, use it to scrub the glass door. The magic ingredients in dryer sheets that soften fabrics and eliminate static will break down the soap scum. If a milky white film remains, wipe it away using a squeegee or glass cleaner and paper towels, rags or a microfiber cloth.

Get to Know Your Vacuum Cleaner

Most of us are not making our vacuums live up to their full potential.  (I can’t even make my dog live up to his full potential, much less my vacuum cleaner!)  Apparently all those attachments can make my life easier though!  Your vacuum’s attachments can clean furniture, mattresses, lampshades and such.  With an add-on set of specialty attachments, you can clean the windows, by using a squeegee attachment with a wet/dry vacuum, or even the dryer vent with another specialty attachment.

Soft brush attachments, also called upholstery attachments, can be used to dust books, lampshades, window coverings and, of course, upholstered furniture. The soft brush attachment is also great for quickly cleaning window screens. The crevice tool is ideal for window casings, radiators and vents, the area around major kitchen appliances, and dryer vents.

Specialty attachments for dryer vents are also available. But if your vacuum comes with an extension wand that can be used with other attachments to extend their reach — it is especially useful for cleaning molding and window treatments — you can pair it with the crevice tool and skip the extra purchase.


I am sure my grandmother is spinning in her grave right now because when I read the article in the New York Times, I realized I never thought of washing the walls of my house!  Oh dear!

The Times assures me that washing the walls is a bear of a job, and while this tip won’t make it totally painless, it will at least save you from having to get up on a ladder.  To wash the walls just as you would a floor, use a broom fitted with a rubber band-secured rag over the rushes, or a sponge mop dipped in dish soap diluted in water or an all-purpose cleaner like Fabuloso or Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner. (Puracy is an all-purpose cleaner recommended by Wirecutter, The New York Times product review site.)  Wring it out so that it is damp but not dripping, and be sure that the cleaning solution you are using will not damage the wall’s finish by testing it in a small, inconspicuous area before going all in.


If you have ceiling fans in your home, you know that the blades pick up an astonishing amount of filth and dust bunnies.  When I stand on my bed to clean off the blades, I end up dropping clumps of disgusting dust on the duvet below – YUCK!   The Times assures us that there is an easy way to clean ceiling fans which doesn’t spread all that dust around.  Use an old pillowcase, one that you can relegate to the rag pile after this job, to clean the blades. Spray the inside of the case with a dusting spray like Pledge or Endust, slide the case over a blade and, holding the opening of the case firmly over the top and bottom of the blade, slide it back along the blade to wipe away the dirt that has collected.The brilliant thing, of course, is that all that grime will stay inside the pillowcase, rather than falling on you or whatever is beneath the fan.  I really like this idea!

A portable carpet/upholstery cleaning machine

While Wirecutter’s top choice in this category, the Bissell SpotClean Pro, isn’t exactly cheap — it’ll run you about $130 — it’s definitely cheaper than replacing a couch, favorite reading chair or, yes, even a car seat. Using these machines is also weirdly satisfying, because you get to see all the grime the machine sucks out of furniture and carpeting; and when you’re done you can tweet me a photo of the filthy wash water!