March 18, 2010 -- Spring is just a few days away, and for 58 percent of women across America that means spring cleaning.
That's according to ShopSmart magazine, whose April issue offers tips on how best to get rid of grime in the kitchen, bathroom and other hard-to-clean areas.
Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of the magazine, visited "Good Morning America" to discuss ways that spring cleaners can make the task easy and fun.
How to Clean the Refrigerator
One of the top spring cleaning tasks is cleaning out the refrigerator, Freeman said, citing the results of a national survey conducted by the magazine.
Even though it's a big job, Freeman said cleaning the refrigerator can be done fairly quickly. She recommended having a bucket of warm water with dish detergent. Use the mixture to wash the fridge with a sponge. Start at the top and work your way down to the bottom.
Do not put any food back into the fridge until it is completely dry.
Freeman pointed out that spring cleaning was important not just because of the cleaning, but because it was a way to enhance the life of your appliances.
She suggested that you use a cotton swab or toothbrush to clean the seal on your refrigerator. If you don't, she said dirt would build up on the seal, forcing the appliance to work harder and potentially reducing its life.
Also, don't forget to clean the coils under the refrigerator. Vacuum under the appliance or use a coil-cleaning brush. If you don't clean the coils, dust can build up and harm the refrigerator's performance.
Cleaning the Microwave Oven
You'll need a credit card and a hot, damp cloth. Use the cloth to wipe the interior surfaces of the appliance, then use the credit card to scrape off what's left behind -- the stuff that's baked on. A great way to mask the unpleasant odors that may emanate from the microwave is to place a bowl filled with a mixture of lemon juice and warm water in inside the oven and warm it for about a minute.
Clean your windows on a rainy day, Freeman said. That's because you'll get streaks if you clean on a sunny day, she added. Clean windows from the top down.
You can make your own cleaning solution. Use half a cup of ammonia and a pint of rubbing alcohol, mixed with a gallon of water. Put the solution in a spray bottle, apply it with a lightly dampened squeegee and then wash the window.
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People often forget to clean showerheads, but cleaning them is critical to the prevention of hard water deposits that can damage the fixture.
If the showerhead is clogged, soak it in a solution of equal parts vinegar and water for about 15 minutes. If you have a metal showerhead, put in a pot of the solution and let it simmer.
People often forget to clean ceiling fans until they turn them on in the summer and a shower of dust is released.
Clean fan blades with a damp cloth or a mixture of water and a mild liquid dish detergent. Get a U-shaped brush (sold at hardware stores). The brush will clean both sides of the blades simultaneously. Let the fan blades dry thoroughly -- damp blades attract dust.
Don't wash only the pillow cases. The pillows themselves get dirty over time.
To wash pillows, put them -- one at a time -- in the washing machine and then the dryer.
Freeman stressed that you should check the care instructions on your pillow before you put it into the washing machine. If you have down pillows, they shouldn't be put in the washing machine. Rather, they should be washed by hand.
Web Extra Tips
From ShopSmart magazine, here are other tips for taking care of those extra hard-to-clean areas:
Faucets: Use a soft cloth with a nonabrasive cleaner to make them shine. If you wipe the faucets dry after each use, it will help to keep them shiny.
Mirrors: The best way to clean mirrors is to use warm water and soft, lint-free cloths. ShopSmart magazine recommends that you wipe the mirror with a damp cloth and dry it immediately with the other cloth. Avoid cleaners with acid, alkali or ammonia; those could damage the mirror's coating. Also, keep liquid away from the mirror's edge. If you have adjoining mirrors, clean each individually. If liquid gets within the joints or behind the mirror, it can cause damage.
Shower curtain: You can machine wash the curtain liner frequently. If there's mildew, you can remove it using a detergent with bleach. Most shower curtains also can be machine-washed, but you should check the care instructions to make sure.
Upholstery: You can vacuum sofas and chair cushions regularly. To cut cleaning time, keep a towel or blanket on your dog or cat's favorite chair. You can remove the towel or blanket when you've got visitors.
Carpets: Vacuum your carpets at least once a week, and more often if there's been heavy foot traffic. This will prevent dirt from wearing down the carpet. Shampooing or deep-cleaning carpets every year or two will remove ground-in dirt.