Cleaning tips from the experts

As you start assessing your spring-cleaning plan, you may consider a professional service for long-neglected or larger tasks. However, for manageable projects that anyone in the family can do, here are a few tips from local cleaning experts.

Violet Cleaning Service in Barrington recommended the following for “rotational” or occasional cleaning tasks:

Cleaning lighting fixtures: Make sure lights have been switched off for at least one hour before cleaning. Always use a lint-free cloth. Lampshades can be stubborn, but never give in to using a vacuum, which can damage the shade’s material.

Glass and mirrors: Glass surfaces accumulate dust very quickly, so tackle the picture frames and mirrors before dusting other items or vacuuming the room.

Upstairs Downstairs cleaning service in Elmhurst (which also services much of the northwest Chicago suburbs) provided the following tips for places in your home that require a heavy-duty clean:

Oven cleaning: Always be sure to check what kind of cleaning agent your oven should take. Never use oven cleaner for an oven with the “self-cleaning” function. Self-cleaning ones typically should be run twice a year, so springtime is a great time to do this. If your oven requires a spray-on cleaner, consider spraying it several hours before wiping it down to allow any stains or grease to break down.

Mold-free bathrooms: As the weather warms up, the potential for mold increases. Bleach is one of the most effective mold-combating agents, but it requires protective wear and good ventilation. Less harmful options are hydrogen peroxide and vinegar that can be used as a direct substitute for where you would otherwise use bleach, such as on tile grout.

White vinegar and baking soda are champions of non-harmful homemade cleaning solutions. Susie the Maid in Des Plaines offered several uses with these pantry staples:

For toilets: Undiluted white vinegar will disinfect surfaces. For non-clogged toilets, pour two cups of baking soda into the bowl, scrub it around the bowl and flush.

For flooring: White vinegar naturally absorbs odors, and the vinegar smell dissipates quickly. Apply sparingly to help break down grime and hard water deposits on smooth surfaces including wood. Sprinkle baking soda on carpet to deodorize, allow it to sit and vacuum it up later. This product can safely sit in carpeting for an extended amount of time and, it is safe for pets.

For other scummy surfaces: Heat up a solution of one-part water and one-part white vinegar in the microwave until warm and pour into a spray bottle. Apply the warm solution to any soap scum deposits, wait 15 minutes and then scrub off. Repeat if necessary. Soak showerheads in a baggie filled with white vinegar to clear hard water deposits.