Let's get real here. Spring cleaning usually isn't at the top of - OK, really even on - our list of priorities. Our lackluster enthusiasm for cleaning is understandable.
Do you know anyone who turns cartwheels at the prospect of diving into corner dust bunnies or mopping up pet piddle from the living room chair? Me neither.
Which raises the question of the proper cleaning season: Does spring cleaning - that traditional rite of home purification - still have a place in our cleaning-challenged lives today? Well, sort of.
As a modern mom of three very busy kids and two perfect cats (except for the fact that they shed year-round), I'm all for a clean house that's a healthy environment for my family to eat, sleep, chase catnip and chase each other in. Cleaning without chemicals is always a safer option.
I have an aversion to the whole-house, blast everything with hazardous cleaning products type spring cleaning. So I've compiled this guide for spring cleaning without chemicals for others who might perfer a more natural cleaning plan.
Dust happens. This gadfly of the dirt world is anything but innocuous.
Dust is composed of just about everything you don't want in your home, on your stuff, or in your family's lungs: tiny particles of sawdust, fabric, paper, carbon from smoke, flakes of skin, little pieces of insects.
And if left to settle in bathrooms and the kitchen, dust quickly morphs into grime.
The moist air in those rooms provides the perfect breeding ground for grime and worse.
And since dirt and its dirty sister, mud, can require stronger, often hazardous cleaning products, dust is the cleaning task to tackle first this spring - and throughout the year.
These tips for reducing dust in the house can help jumpstart your spring cleaning without chemicals:
Final dusting tips: don't dust with a damp rag. A damp cloth plus dust equals mud. Worse, you can end up smearing the grime around and leaving streaks where you're trying to clean.
Choose a good, reusable dust cloth instead. Clean cloth diapers work great, too.
Big-ticket items like furniture and upholstery should be dusted and vacuumed regularly, and given extra cleaning attention come spring.
It's the only way to control the airborne cooking oils and dust that inevitably settle on these surfaces.
But what's the solution to a chocolate snack that ended up sweetening the ottoman?
Or grandma's makeup smudges on the sofa?
Busting these and other furniture stains is a piece of cake.
Here's how to clean furniture stains yourself:
They're our best friends, and sometimes our worst enemies (for a split second anyway) after we discover piddle on the living room rug or feces on a favorite chair.
You don't have to live with these pungent reminders. These stains and strong smells can be removed, especially if you catch them when they're still fresh. Here's how:
A final tip for pet messes: Avoid using steam cleaners to clean urine odors from carpet or upholstery. The heat will permanently set the smell and the stain by bonding the protein into any man-made fibers.