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Top 10 most often forgotten spring cleaning steps


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(BPT) – Spring is a great time to clear out the old, bring in the new and welcome a fresh start. From coast to coast, consumers are eager to usher in new home decor and air out spring attire; however, the areas of one’s home that are the hardest hit during the winter months – floors and carpets – are often overlooked.

If you’re thinking of skipping your carpet cleaning for a vacuum session, think again. According to the homecare experts at BISSELL, vacuums, even the best ones, simply can’t reach the deeply imbedded dirt within your carpet’s fibers. The carpet cleaning process is engineered to reach the dirt and allergens vacuums leave behind. Incidentally, although carpet cleaning does so much more than vacuuming, the actual process itself is about as easy as vacuuming.

“Deep cleaning is a must for washing the winter out during spring cleaning. After cleaning their carpets, people are often amazed by what they’ve pulled out of their carpets and how different their carpets look – it can be a very eye-opening, yet satisfying experience,” says Eric Hansen, chief chemist at BISSELL.

Get out the serious cleaning supplies, stretch your scrubbing muscles and tackle those hard-to-reach places you ignore most of the year so you can be the envy of all your houseguests. Be sure to review the top 10 spring cleaning steps that often fall to the wayside:

1. Safety first: Don’t forget to change batteries in all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; and inspect all light fixtures for damaged wires or faulty connections. Remove and wash light fixtures if necessary.

2. Wash the washing machine: Run an empty load, one cycle filled with 4 cups of bleach, the other with 4 cups of distilled white vinegar.

3. Dust refrigerator coils: Want to lower your energy bill and extend the life of your fridge? Always unplug your refrigerator before dusting the refrigerator’s coils.

4. Clean out your cabinets: Wipe down the inside and outside of medicine and linen cabinets. Throw away expired products, including medicine, makeup and hair products. Update your first aid kit.

5. Deep clean carpets and rugs: Vacuum, spot treat and deep clean your carpets and rugs. Liquid solutions such as the BISSELL Professional Deep Cleaning with Febreze Formula contains Scotchgard protection that can be used with any BISSELL deep cleaner. It works by placing a barrier on the surface of carpet fibers to not only deep clean and freshen, but also protect against future stains.

6. Sanitize children’s and pets’ toys: Toys can carry harmful bacteria on their surfaces. After cleaning toys with warm water and a mild detergent, sanitize plastic toys by soaking them in a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Donate or discard toys where needed.

7. Breathe easy: Clean your air vents and change your furnace filters if necessary.

8. Let in more light: Cleaning blinds can seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. Mix equal parts of warm water and distilled white vinegar in a bowl. Slip a sock on your hand and dip the sock into the water and vinegar mixture. Wipe down each individual slat and rinse sock after every few slats.

9. Dust from high to low: Dust the ceiling, corners of walls, ceiling fan and light fixtures. Use a lint roller to easily clean dust off your lampshade.

10. Wash your windows: After the direct sunlight has subsided, remove your window’s screens and dust with a soft-bristle brush. Spray on your favorite window cleaning solution and wipe down with a lint-free cloth.

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Cold weather offers perfect opportunity to work on these projects


(ARA) – Although spring and summer are typically the seasons we focus on home improvement projects, there’s no reason to put off projects or planning throughout colder months. If anything, it’s the perfect way to spend time while hibernating indoors. From winterizing windows to laying new flooring, there are plenty of ways to keep improving your home year round.
When the seasons change, one of the best things a homeowner can do is an energy audit. Though it’s nice to keep the windows open all summer, drafty doors and windows can amount to hundreds of dollars wasted on home heating costs during winter. An energy audit will help you find and fix problem areas, letting you save money for other projects.
During an energy audit, a contractor may use blower door tests to measure the air tightness of your home, infrared scanners to pinpoint heat leaks or even a simple walk-through to find places to improve your home’s efficiency. Once problem spots have been identified, hanging plastic sheeting, caulking gaps and further insulating areas will translate to big savings on home heating costs.
While auditing the heat efficiency of each room of your house, keep an eye out for the quick fixes and small projects often put aside during the summer months. Though it is great to get outside and build a deck or retaining wall, big projects often overshadow simple tasks such as fixing outlets and sealing cracks. Use winter as time to knock the little things off the list.
For those who can’t wait to get started, there are plenty of projects that can completely change your home without removing walls or installing an addition.
Introducing new color to a space will help fine-tune an interior’s design or even completely reinvent a room. Winter is the perfect time to modernize your home’s feel with new window treatments, lighting or flooring. New flooring will add both color and character to a room, and is easy to install during any season. Lumber Liquidators offers contemporary and timeless patterns for hardwood floors like Dream Home Plymouth Plank or Bellawood Brazilian Redwood, which can be installed year round.
Because winter may limit a homeowner’s ability to complete some projects, it’s a great time to plan for spring and summer home improvement projects. There are online tools such as the Home Renovator Suite from BobVila.com and Lumber Liquidators’ Room Designer that allow homeowners to easily pull together their dream homes.
After all your projects, big or small, are completed, use the colder months to set a schedule for spring cleaning and home improvement. Setting an agenda will help you avoid having to rush through the summer to get projects done, and ensure you have the time to enjoy the rewards of your hard work.

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