February 23, 2012

Spring is almost upon us and with it comes that joie de vive (NOT!) to do our annual spring-cleaning.  And, though we all know to clean the tried and true, high to low; betwixt and between there are those overlooked areas, rooms, spots, and items in our homes that also need our TLC.  So Rachael Ray asked me to join her and had her studio audience ask a few questions to make spring cleaning less of a bore chore that bores while tackling some of those ‘forget them not’ spots. I’ve also included a few more tips and tricks below to help save you time, money and your sanity.



    • Lots of food particles and crumbs get trapped underneath and behind, so slide it out if you can: then vacuum and mop the area. If you can’t slide it out, simply cover a flyswatter with an old/lightly dampened sock.
    • Drip Pan: Believe it or not it is a favorite spot for roaches – yuck! Use white vinegar and toothbrush and then wipe it clean with dry microfiber brush.
    • Coils: Vacuum with upholstery attachment (be sure to turn the power off to your refrigerator). If these aren’t cleaned regularly they will clog and your refrigerator won’t work as efficiently. This uses more energy and costs you money.
    • VIRTUES OF VODKA: You can clean the gaskets and seals with white vinegar, but if you keep vodka in your freezer use that since vodka is a natural sanitizer and terrific multi-tasker that kills 99.9% of germs, bacteria, mold. Keep some handy in a spray bottle to clean counters, door knobs, switch plates, and more. Other users include soaking your diamonds, perking up flowers, or even as a facial pore tightener. Who knew?!
    • SEAL THE DEAL: Apply a thin layer of Vaseline to seals to keep them from drying out and prevents mold for forming.


  • MOUNT SINK HELENS (also do this on bathroom sinks, tub and shower drains)
    • Remove anything you can grab with your hands.
    • Pour a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed by cup of white vinegar. Once it stops bubbling, pour in kettle of hot water. (As an added tip, if you’re not sure your baking soda is still fresh you can test it by adding vinegar—if it doesn’t bubble toss it.)
  • GARBAGE DISPOSAL:  You can clean it the same way as your drain. To sharpen the blades use those leftover eggshells from breakfast – or toss in ice cubes.


  • DO THE TANG-O: Fill dispenser with TANG, Crystal Light or Country Time Lemonade and run full cycle sans dishes to eliminate streaks, scum, mineral build. It’s the citric acid that does it!


    • Place half of a lemon in a bowl of water and microwave for 5 minutes.
    • Let cool and remove bowl.
    • Wipe microwave with paper towel or microfiber cloth.

Living Spaces

Fireplaces: Soot can trigger allergies and breathing problems so you definitely want to clean the fireplace after winter season is over.

    • Sprinkle wet coffee grounds or tea leaves over ashes to make cleaning up easier.
    • Once absorbed, use a fireplace shovel and scoop into bucket or paper bag.
  • Use ashes from the fireplace to clean glass doors by using a damp paper towel to smear them, then wipe with soft microfiber cloth. Alternatively you can clean with 50:50 white vinegar and warm water in spray bottle.
  • Throw a handful salt onto fire to keep chimney clean.

Ceiling Fans

    • Swiffer 360 Dusters Extenders are a terrific tool to clean ceiling fans. They extend up to 3 feet, the head has four pivot positions AND it traps 4x more dust then a feather duster which I think spreads vs. gathers dust.  Also great for cleaning high hats, molding and all those ‘higher then your eye can see’ spots.

Real Plants

  • GO BANANAS: Houseplants are a great natural air freshener but if they aren’t dusted off and cleaned, they become harbingers of molds and dust that worsen allergies.  So peel that banana and use the soft side to dust, shine and leave a tropical scent. You can also use mayonnaise, which also works well as a furniture polish.

Artificial Plants

  • SHAKE THY FAKE:  Place the plant upside down in a paper bag (supermarket variety) filled with a cup of salt.  Shake thoroughly then use a blow dryer or toothbrush to dislodge any remaining salt.

If you have any questions, tips or trick you’d like to share please FB, Tweet or visit me at www.juliestips.com.

Spread the glove!