SPRING CLEANING? EIGHT TOOLS YOU NEED IN YOUR CLEANING CADDY
Simple tools and strategies to make the most of your time and energy when cleaning out the dust bunnies this spring
VANCOUVER, WA — This spring, as windows open for the first breaths of fresh air in months, many Americans will begin the process of spring cleaning their homes. While spring cleaning is a great way to improve both the appearance and indoor environmental quality (IEQ) of a home, using the wrong tool or process can quickly derail this effort (if you’ve ever mopped yourself into a corner, you know exactly what we mean). To help Americans make the most out of their spring cleaning efforts, the Institute for Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) has identified eight tools that all spring cleaners should keep handy.
“Believe it or not, there is a wrong way to clean,” said Bruce Vance, Certified Instructor and Chairman of the IICRC’s House Cleaning Technician Program. “Using the right tools and developing a plan of attack before you start cleaning will help you make the best use of your time and energy.”
Before cleaning, the IICRC first recommends finding a cleaning caddy, such as a bucket with a handle or an apron that you can use to keep your cleaning tools and equipment nearby. You can waste a lot of time going back and forth to retrieve items, so a caddy helps everything in a central location. It’s also a great place to store trash you find along the way.
With the caddy in hand, the IICRC recommends you use the following tools and products to make the most of your spring cleaning efforts:
1. Microfiber cloths and distilled water. Good quality microfiber is one of the best cleaning tools you can use. Microfiber has magnetic qualities and when used in concert with distilled water, one of the most powerful solvents on the planet, you can readily remove many soils from the surface. This combination is also great for cleaning natural stone surfaces as it limits opportunity for damage, etching or discoloration.
2. A damp and dry cloth. It’s a good rule of thumb to always dry any surface that you wet. This helps guarantee that you remove dirt instead of just moving it around. If you’re using a lightly dampened microfiber, its qualities allow you to clean without streaking and often allow you to skip the drying step..
3. A scrub sponge or a scrubbing microfiber cloth. For surfaces with hard or embedded dirt, use a white or non-scratch blue sponge. Avoid green sponges, as these will scratch most surfaces. Because sponges may harbor germs, it’s a good idea to use a different sponge in the kitchen and the bathroom. If you are using microfiber, you can color-code for each space; microfibers are also easier to launder.
4. A plastic spatula or cleaning knife. To clean tough-to-reach areas, wrap cleaning cloth around a plastic or metal spatula to remove dirt without scratching the surface. This can be particularly effective for cleaning grime and buildup on louvers and around the edges of a sink or stovetop.
5. A toothbrush. Rather than repurpose an old, used toothbrush to agitate the surface and loosen dirt in tight spaces, such as between faucet handles or around other household knobs, invest in a toothbrush designed specifically for cleaning. This tool will have stronger bristles to remove dirt more effectively.
6. A razor. A razor can be a useful tool for removing materials on appropriate hard surfaces. Always test first and make sure the surface is wet and the razor is clean and blemish-free. Hold it at an acute angle to move across the surface. Never use it at a vertical angle. A razor will eliminate the need to intensively scrape the surface, saving time and elbow grease.
7. Cleaning chemicals. A general purpose and tile cleaner are two primary cleaning chemicals you can use for any deep cleaning project. Particularly effective in restroom areas, these two products will help lift heavy residue and mold better than distilled water.
8. A plastic bag. Equip your cleaning caddy with a plastic bag for collecting debris and small pieces of trash. This can save you steps and help keep your caddy clean.
Once you have the proper tools in place, the IICRC recommends having a directional plan when you start cleaning. A best practice is to start cleaning at the top of the room (e.g. the top of cabinets and light fixtures) and work your way down to the floor. This prevents dirt from falling on clean surfaces. Working systematically around the can also help save time.
“While the popular conception is that anyone can clean, there’s definitely a science to it,” adds Vance. “By using the suggested tools and defining your approach, you can make sure you’re removing that dirt and debris from your home – not just pushing it around.”
For more information about the IICRC, please visit www.iicrc.org.
The IICRC is an international, ANSI-accredited standard-development organization (SDO) that certifies individuals in 20+ categories within the inspection, cleaning and restoration industries. Representing more than 54,000 certified technicians and 6,000 Certified Firms in 22 countries, the IICRC, in partnership with regional and international trade associations, represents the entire industry. The IICRC does not own schools, employ instructors, produce training materials, or promote specific product brands, cleaning methods or systems. For more information, visit www.iicrc.org.