In three years, Seattleite Krystal Wellman Weinberg had done a lot of spot cleaning, but she’d never washed her couch cushion covers. Ever.

So she recently tossed four covers in the bathtub with two Tide Pods and a half-cup of Borax to pre-strip them for the washer. And nearly threw up.

“There has to be a Japanese or German word — those languages seem to have the best hyper-specific singular words — for the horrified, disgusted, fascinated satisfaction of cleaning something truly filthy,” says Weinberg. “It was awesome. Can’t wait to do the rest. Bring it.”

Even if you’re a tidy person, spring is a great time to throw open the windows and clean the places that you only hit once a year (if that). We talked to pro cleaners in the Seattle area and across the Pacific Northwest to get their insider tips for knocking out those more complex chores. Spoiler: There is no special equipment or secret shortcuts involved — sorry! — but there are formulas for homemade cleaners, tips for tricky spots and the proper steps to make your windows sparkle.

Seattleite Krystal Wellman Weinberg felt both satisfaction and horror seeing how much dirt came off her couch’s cushion covers after a recent treatment. (Courtesy of Krystal Wellman Weinberg)
Seattleite Krystal Wellman Weinberg felt both satisfaction and horror seeing how much dirt came off her couch’s cushion covers after a recent treatment. (Courtesy of Krystal Wellman Weinberg)

Get motivated

“Spring cleaning as a whole concept can feel really daunting, especially if you’re sitting in the groove you’ve worn onto your sofa, looking at all the things you meant to deal with during the darkest days of winter. I would definitely recommend breaking it up into more manageable bits. Taking it down to the room level can help give you direction. 

“And delegate around the house. Teen needs something to do? Send them to tidy the laundry room. Empower them to put things in a place that makes sense. 

“Breaking the mountain of chores down into individual rooms is a good way to avoid burnout and ensure that you can come at each task with fresh eyes.”

Hanna Brooks Olsen, co-host of the Spotless podcast

 “Decluttering your space can help keep a clear and healthy mind, and 2020 taught us that our health and well-being are crucial. Now is a great time to reorganize your home to get rid of hidden cobwebs and dust.”

— Cristobal Mondragon, owner of Queen Bee Cleaning Service

Cleaning solutions

“Homemade cleaning products are great cleaning allies — plus they’re not harmful to your health. Mix 9 ounces of white vinegar and 1 tablespoon of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in a deep container, as the mixture bubbles a lot. Then pour the liquid into a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to moldy objects and closet walls. Let it act, and if necessary, use a clean cloth to wipe up the area.”

— Felipe Nova and Greyci Rodrigues, owners of Fidelity Cleaning & More 

“For cleaning sofas and couches: In 500 milliliters of water, mix 150 milliliters alcohol, 100 milliliters white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of fabric softener and 30 grams of baking soda. Pour it in a spray bottle. Spray on the sofa without getting it too wet, gently use a soft brush on the surface, then wipe with a cotton rag.”

— Carlos Fauvet, owner of Maximus Cleaning Service

“Clean the floor with vinegar [and water]. After removing all the dirt from the floor with the vacuum, it’s time to sanitize with a totally safe and effective product, especially for allergy sufferers. Apply the [solution] to the floor via a mop with a few overlapping layers. Vinegar for food use is not recommended, as it leaves an unpleasant smell in the environment, and in some cases stains the floor.”

— Tatiane Ribeiro, owner of Eagles Cleaning 

Sneaky spots 

“Try to add as much light as possible! Plan to do your cleaning on a bright day, throw open the curtains and turn on all the lights. That will help you to see the dust and cobwebs that have been less visible during the winter months.”

— Angela Scott, owner of Angela’s Green Cleaning

“Use a broom to get all the spiderwebs and dirt from the walls.”

— Rubi Calderon, professional cleaner

“Clean floors under the furniture, both carpet and hardwood floors. Underneath all furniture (including beds, dressers and couches) builds up a large amount of dirt, dust and hair in anyone’s home. These places rarely get cleaned, and most house cleaners don’t service under heavy furniture for regular visits. Cleaning out, vacuuming and mopping these areas will make a big difference and you will be able to feel the cleanliness.”

— Haley Del Valle and Javier Del Valle, owners of PNW Cleaning Services

Use a double-sided squeegee and soapy water to tackle the outside of your windows, as shown here, says Angela’s Green Cleaning owner Angela Scott. (Getty Images)
Use a double-sided squeegee and soapy water to tackle the outside of your windows, as shown here, says Angela’s Green Cleaning owner Angela Scott. (Getty Images)

Get windows shining

“You probably noticed your windows accumulated a lot of grime over the winter. For the exteriors, fill a bucket with water and a small amount of dish soap. Use the spongy side of a double-sided window squeegee (or a microfiber cloth) to wash the outside of your windows, then squeegee side to side, and wipe up extra drips with a dry cloth. For the interiors, spray with a 1-to-6 ratio vinegar to water mix and polish dry with a clean cotton cloth. The same vinegar mix on a microfiber cloth can fix grimy window tracks and windowsills, too.”

— Angela Scott

 “Run a vacuum hose around window frames to collect dust, dead bugs and cobwebs. Vacuum your window screens as well, so when you start opening your windows, you don’t have the fall and winter dust blowing in with the fresh spring air.”

— Briana Short, president of Caliber Cleaning

 “Looking for a quick and easy way to clean your blinds? Use a damp microfiber cloth with Dawn dish soap and kitchen tongs. Just wrap the cloth around the end of the kitchen tongs, tie it with a rubber band and wipe down the blinds. Once you’re done, take a dry microfiber cloth and use the same method to dry off the blinds.”

— Alyssa Hough, owner of Sully & Spruce

Bring shine back to a stainless steel fridge by rubbing it down with baby oil, says Dazzle Cleaning Company president Logan Taylor. (Getty Images)
Bring shine back to a stainless steel fridge by rubbing it down with baby oil, says Dazzle Cleaning Company president Logan Taylor. (Getty Images)

In the kitchen

“My favorite spring-cleaning project is detailing the fridge. First, take everything off of the top of it, then if it’s on wheels, pull it out. Vacuum behind and under the fridge and use the brush attachment to vacuum the vent on the back of the fridge. Now, this is my favorite part: If you have a stainless steel fridge, they can start to look a little grungy or stained with marks over time. To bring it back to its original sparkle, put some baby oil on a microfiber cloth and then liberally apply it in the direction of the grain of the stainless steel. It’s going to look amazing!”

— Logan Taylor, president of Dazzle Cleaning Company

“Microwave: Soak a wet cloth in water and baking soda, [microwave it for] two minutes and you’ll have a sparkling white inside of your microwave that makes it easy to wipe the grease off.”

— Pamela Ocko Martins Toledo and Rodrigo de Oliveira Toledo Silva, owners of TCS — Toledo Cleaning Services

In the bedroom

“Take the sheets off your bed and vacuum your mattress top and sides, flip the mattress and vacuum the other side. Now your mattress isn’t only dust-free, but it’s also flipped.”

— Briana Short

In the bathroom

“Just soap and water are enough to keep your mirror clean and spotless. We do not recommend using products that contain ammonia. Scrub the mirror with a loofah dipped in soap and water, without applying a lot of force to the brushing. With a squeegee, remove the excess soapy water and finish the cleaning with a slightly damp cloth.”

— Tatiane Ribeiro

Outside

“Organize your garage so your outdoor tools are more accessible and you’re more likely to work in your yard.”

— Carlos Fauvet

 “To get that deck furniture dazzling, fill a spray bottle with 1 part white vinegar, 1 part blue Dawn dish soap and 1 part water. First, rinse your patio furniture down with the hose. Next, shake the spray bottle and liberally spray down the wet furniture. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, but not long enough to dry. Finally, give a quick scrub with a dish brush and rinse it off.”

— Logan Taylor

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