The Big Clean

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Spring cleaning includes getting rid of dirt and grime on surfaces as well as getting rid of bigger pieces such as clothing and furniture. For both, we’ve tapped two local experts for their advice.

If you’re getting ready to hose down the kitchen, consider paring down the products you’ll be using.

“People have a tendency to want to tackle a lot of big products,” said Maria Moran, owner of Green Home Experts in Oak Park. “My suggestion is to make friends with your all-purpose cleaner. If you get one, you don’t need [a bunch of] bottles under your sink.”

Among her recommendations:

Biokleen – “It comes in a concentrate. You add water to the spray bottle so you’re not paying for a diluted product. It also uses enzymes for cleaning. Enzymes basically digest your dirt and grease. It doesn’t have fragrance, but it does have a citrus oil, but it’s not synthetic.”

Charlie’s Soap – “They do an all-purpose cleaner that is concentrated and uses coconut oil to clean. It’s really effective.”

She added that all-purpose cleaners tend to not be that great on glass, so a separate glass cleaner could be a specialty product.

“I use my glass cleaner on my stainless steel knowing that if it doesn’t streak on glass then it won’t on stainless steel,” Moran said.

Green Home Experts also carries a line of green cleaning and laundry products, called Earth Friendly Products. The items are made in nearby Addison, which adds a locally sourced benefit to your spring cleaning. The line is available as off-the-shelf products or part of Green Home Experts’ bulk-refill service. Call (708) 660-1443 for more information.

Furthermore, some of the bigger pieces or tangible items in your home might just need to go. Consignment is a good option, in lieu of the dumpster.

Divine Consign in Oak Park accepts furniture and clothing on consignment or for resale. Kellie Scott, owner, said that people wishing to consign furniture first must submit a photo of the item or items to Divine Consign. If accepted, the business will pick up the furniture for a flat fee according to distance ($25 for Oak Park, $50 for Hinsdale).

“A lot of people, especially with furniture, don’t have a way to get items out of their house,” Scott said. “That $25 or $50 fee — unless it’s a whole house — that’s really their only investment. We do all the legwork, and send them the receipt.”

Divine Consign has a 60-day system for reselling. If item hasn’t sold by the deadline, the business will donate the item (clothing or furniture) to a local charity and will prepare a receipt of the item’s value for tax-deduction purposes.

Scott added that one furniture item that is not reselling well is television armoires because people are buying flat-screen TVs, which don’t need or fit the armoires, she said. She recommends that families find a way to repurpose these.

“We’ve seen that people are repurposing them into a wardrobe or into linen closets,” she said.