There haven't been too many warm days yet this spring, but already, Marietta resident Desni Crock has jumped right into her spring cleaning routine.
"I've already done my windows," she said. "I got my windows done a month ago on the first pretty day there was ... because I cannot stand to have dirty windows."
Crock has also had her carpet professionally cleaned.
ASHLEY HILL The Marietta Times
Sandy Prather, owner of Prather Enterprises Home and Office Cleaning, cleans off mats in a kitchen sink in a Williamstown home.
"I have it professionally done once a year, but I have a steam cleaner and I do spots here and there," she said. "We have pets and ... plus I babysit, as well, and I have a crawler."
Now that the flowers and trees are blooming and a new season is upon us, there are many people, who, like Crock, will want to freshen up their homes.
For some people, especially working parents, finding the time to do that can be tricky. That's where professional cleaning companies can step in and take over.
Spring cleaning tips:
To clean dirty window panes, mix warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap in a bucket. Dip a sponge into the bucket, wet the window and rub the dirt away. Dampen a rubber-edged squeegee, and, starting at an upper corner, draw it down the pane from top to bottom. Repeat, overlapping strokes and wiping the rubber edge with the sponge after each stroke. Dry the windowsills with a cloth.
Use a microfiber cloth dampened with water to dust light bulbs. Unscrew the light bulb first and avoid wetting the metal screw base. Bulbs in recessed ceiling fixtures can be cleaned with a telescoping lamb's wool duster.
Wooden blinds can be cleaned with a few drops of gentle wood cleaner on a nearly dry sponge. Aluminum blinds can be placed on an old sheet on a slanted surface and scrubbed with water and a noncorrosive cleaner. Rinse the aluminum blinds with a hose and dry them with a towel to prevent rust.
Clean the inside of the refrigerator using a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda for every quart of warm water. Use a toothbrush to scrub crannies.
Deep-clean carpets and rugs. A shampooer/extractor can be bought or rented to be used on synthetic carpeting. Wool carpets or rugs should be cleaned by a professional.
Vacuum and steam-clean curtains or get them dry-cleaned.
"They actually really need us because the homes are too much for them to take care of with having children," said Sandy Prather, owner of Prather Enterprises Home and Office Cleaning, based in Lubeck, W.Va. "Most women like to have the freedom of having someone else work for them so they do have time for kids and activities."
This is the case for Parkersburg resident Ronni Edmonds, 34.
"I have 3-year-old twins - I don't have the time to keep up with it," she said. "For spring cleaning, I usually get some (professional) help with my windows."
Prather said she and her employees clean just about everything in the homes and offices they go into, from the fans to the baseboards.
"We use a lot of disinfectant to make sure everything is completely sanitized for people...and a lot of natural products," she said. "We have to protect our lungs as well as worry about what we're putting into someone else's home."
"We've been able to cut about half the dangerous stuff out by going with a natural based product," Prather added.
According to volunteerguide.org, every year, the average American uses about 40 pounds of toxic household cleaning products. These products can end up in the air, water, and soil, where they can harm animals, plants, drinking water, and food supplies.
A few examples of natural cleaning products, according to housekeeping.about.com, are vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda. These reasonably priced products can be easily used by folks who want to do their own spring cleaning and not hire a professional.
One part vinegar and one part water can be poured into a spray bottle and used on kitchen appliances and the bathtub, toilet, sink and countertops in a bathroom. Vinegar should not be used on marble surfaces, according to the about.com Web site.
The New Homemaker Web site, www.thenewhomemaker.com, provides 27 ways baking soda can be used for cleaning. It can be used to clean lawn furniture and children's toys, and it can also be used to remove scents from a carpet.
One thing many people like to do in the spring is clean their carpets, according to Kim Metts, an owner of Metts Cleaning Services in Marietta.
"This is the time of year it starts picking up," she said.
She said the company uses a truck-mounted steam cleaner. According to Metts, people should steam their carpets at least once a year, and high traffic areas should be steam cleaned twice a year.
"This gets the deep down grime and keeps stuff from getting set in and ruining the carpet," Metts said. "If you don't have it cleaned, you end up voiding your warranty (on the carpet)."
She noted that steam cleaning carpets also keeps dust and allergen levels down.
According to Metts, while folks can rent steam cleaners, they need to be careful using them. She said if too much water is used with the steam cleaner, mildew or mold can grow.
"It's good to make sure you have somebody who knows what they're doing," she said.