‘Yankee’ spring cleaning is quick, easy and cheap

Posted March 02, 2009, at 12 a.m.

The daffodils and crocuses are just beginning to stick their little heads up through the thawing ground in some parts of the United States; frilly Easter dresses are appearing in many store windows; it’s staying light longer; and quite frankly, I’m getting a major case of spring fever.

If the coming of spring has you energized, take advantage and do a bit of spring-cleaning.

The wonderful book “Yankee Home Hints” by Earl Proulx is bursting with tips for cheap, easy and quick home cleaning. Here are a few of Proulx’s tips for getting your kitchen clean.

• Give the racks a bath. If your oven is not self-cleaning and those racks are pretty gross, put them in the bathtub with hot water, a quarter-cup of automatic dishwasher detergent and a quarter cup of white vinegar. Soak for an hour; rinse; and dry. Drain and rinse the tub immediately.

• Vacuum the refrigerator. Your refrigerator will chill more efficiently if the condenser coils are kept free of dust. The condenser is located either in the back or at the bottom and looks like a big grill. If yours is at the bottom, pop off the bottom panel and use a hose attachment to get to that dust buildup.

• De-gunk the range top reflector pans. If those little pans that sit under the burners resemble charred ruins, here’s how to get them looking like new: Run them under the faucet to get them wet and coat them with a layer of baking soda. Let them sit for 10 minutes or so, and scrub them clean with a sponge.

• Wash the washing machine and dishwasher. Lime and other mineral deposits clog the drainage systems in these large appliances. Run cycles through each machine without clothes or dishes. In the washing machine, run a full cycle using hot water, and add a gallon of white vinegar at the beginning; in the dishwasher, set a bowl containing three quarts of vinegar on the bottom rack, and run a cycle with the hottest water possible.

• Remove lime deposits from chrome fixtures. If you have hard water, your chrome may have a buildup of hard white lime deposits. To get rid of them, douse a rag with white vinegar and place it on the deposits overnight. The next day, rub the chrome with the rag, and rinse.

• Clean that grout. To whiten tile grout, mix together fresh hydrogen peroxide (if the expiration date has passed, it has lost its punch) and some powdered cleanser to form a thick paste. Use an old toothbrush to rub the paste into the grout. After a few minutes, rinse with a scrub brush and warm water.

• Flip the mattresses. It’s a perfect time to turn all of the mattresses in the house to make sure they are wearing evenly. And here’s how to do that: Give each mattress a one-quarter turn clockwise. Now flip each mattress over, and finish with one more quarter-turn clockwise. This completes a side-to-side and top-to-bottom turn and should be repeated once every three months.

Mary Hunt is the founder of DebtProofLiving.com and author of 17 books, including “Debt-Proof Living.” You can e-mail her at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, Calif. 90723. To find out more about Mary Hunt and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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