Tracy's New York Life | A Blog About Life in New York City: 20 Spring Cleaning Tips for Your NYC Apartment

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

20 Spring Cleaning Tips for Your NYC Apartment

TRACY TALKS                                   ***SPONSORED
by Tracy Kaler

Warmer weather encourages me to do a spring clean! {photo by Gary Moran}

Today is April 1 –– also known as April Fool’s Day –– but this blog post is not a joke. Spring is upon us, and besides warmer temperatures and strappy sandals, spring means it's time for a thorough apartment cleaning. 

I am no different from anyone when it comes to cleaning my apartment –– it's not exactly my favorite pastime. Even though I don't enjoy dusting, sweeping, or scrubbing, I do enjoy the results. And so, I imagine how good my apartment will look when it’s clean, and use that as motivation to get me through each task on the list!

The products
First, let me start by mentioning some of the products I prefer. I like anything by Method Home; these are all biodegradable, and the scents are lovely.  I like Seventh Generation, particularly the all-purpose cleaner, because you can use it to clean just about anything and it cleans well. I also use Clorox Green Works as an all-purpose cleaner. This does wonders on just about anything dirty or grimy, including tile grout. 

Murphy’s Oil Soap just might be the ultimate household cleaner. I use this primarily on wood surfaces, but this 100-year-old-plus product also does a good job on vinyl, stone, tile, and walls. I have granite in my kitchen and marble in my bathroom. The 409 Stone and Stainless Cleaner (also may be used on stainless steel), really does the trick on natural stone. I find Zep Stainless Steel Cleaner to simply be the best there is! I've used it for more than a decade. When my stainless surfaces are extra messy, I use the 409 followed by the Zep.

The right cleaning products are essential.

Windex is the only cleaner I use on glass surfaces. Both dry and wet Swiffer are a must for floors. And there’s nothing like good old-fashioned bleach for mildew.

Got allergies?
Now, on to allergies. I have them. Do you? I find allergies to be more of a nuisance in smaller spaces, especially with four-legged creatures. This season, I tried the new Allergen Reducer  products from Febreze, and I’m hooked. These reduce up to 95 percent of inanimate allergens that can become airborne from fabrics. I simply spray “Air Effects” and let it get to work, and I use the “Fabric Refresher” on my upholstery, pillows, and rugs. And, this product is safe around pets.

My tips
Know that you do NOT have to do these all at once. I recommend breaking this to-do list down over two weekends (one –– if you have a very tiny apartment!), which is much less overwhelming. 

And if you're apartment is cluttered (no matter how hard I try to keep things in order, I always end up with excess), purge the extras first. Do yourself a favor and organize before you starting cleaning. The ugly part will be a lot less painful this way.

Declutter first, before you dive into cleaning.

Now get to work!
1. Clean windows inside and out if possible. This is tricky and probably will require removing the window sash if you live in a high-rise building, so be careful. This is Mike's job.

2. Remove all books from bookshelves. Wipe down each book and replace. You might want to take a moment to restyle or stage some of your books at this time. Perhaps exchange coffee table books, or place a few special books around your apartment in different rooms (if you are lucky enough to have more than one room in NYC).

3. Use Murphy's Oil Soap and paper towels or a soft cloth to remove dust and dirt from all wood furnishings.

Murphy's Oil Soap does the trick on this old mantle.

4. Vacuum window treatments and spray with Febreze Allergen Reducer. (Take down and dry clean if needed.)

5. Vacuum all lampshades, vents, blinds, baseboards, moldings, (above doors gets very dusty!) and hanging light fixtures, including ceiling fans. Take a damp cloth over these areas/items after vacuuming.

6. Clean all screens (computer and television). Do NOT use windex. Use a screen cleaner like Monster Flatscreen Cleaner and a soft cloth.

7. Flip your mattress. Wash your mattress cover and coverlet/duvet/shams, and sheets and pillow cases, of course. If you have another set, switch out to your warm weather bed coverings and store your winter set.

Flip your mattress and exchange bedding.

8. Vacuum the nooks and crannies, as well as all upholstery, cushions, under the cushions, and don’t forget the throw pillows! Spray all fabrics with Febreze Allergen Reducer.

9. Never skip the window sills. Mine are made of black granite, and Mimi-Kitty’s white fur usually covers these in the wintertime because she loves the warmth of the heat from underneath. Vacuum dust and debris and then wipe down. I use 409 Stone Cleaner to keep the finish lustrous.

Mimi spreads her white hair all over the black granite sills.

10. Wipe all stainless steel surfaces in your kitchen, as well as the faucet and sink (if metal) with the Zep cleaner. A little goes a long way.

11. Clean the grates on your stovetop. I like to give them a scrub with a sponge and dishwashing detergent, and then run them through the dishwasher. To clean your oven, make a paste of water and baking soda, which does a dynamite job. This only applies if you do not store sweaters in your oven like Carrie Bradshaw.

12. Wipe out your refrigerator. Remove items and Windex each glass shelf. Wipe down the door compartments and crispers. Remove any expired condiments and throw those in the garbage.

Don't forget to clean out your fridge.

13. Ah, the microwave. We all hate to clean that one, but you know it desperately needs it, so just open up and dive in. Clorox Greenworks will get the job done.

14. Use a gentle cleanser like Bon Ami or Comet and a brush in your shower, toilet and bathroom sink. Bleach toilet as needed. 

15. Use Zep cleaner to shine faucets and shower head.

16.  Wash shower curtains. Replace shower liners with new ones.

Wash your shower curtain and change the liners.

17. Dry Swiffer and wet Swiffer floors.

18. Vacuum all area rugs/wall-to-wall at last. Spray rugs with Febreze Allergen Reducer.

19. Replace smoke/carbon monoxide detector batteries. Be sure to test.

20. Spray Febreze "Air Effects" for a pleasant scent throughout your house or apartment. Crack your windows if you can! Bringing a little spring air inside will only add to the freshness.

I love the feeling and smell of a super tidy space, don't you? You'll sleep good the night after you finish your spring clean.

This post was sponsored by Febreze.

Febreze Fabric Refresher Allergen Reducer reduces up to 95% of inanimate allergens from pollen, pet dander, and dust mite matter that can become airborne from fabrics. 

Many thanks to our fans for supporting our sponsors. Brands like Febreze help us continue to bring the best of New York City to all of you.

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Phil Holtberg said...

LOL - you just reminded me that we really need to do this soon. Ugh. I wish our apartment was as clean and neat as yours!

Tracy Kaler said...

Trust me, Phil. My apartment is not always this clean. I have two furry companions who keep it dirty most days of the week!

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