Living Smart: 5 essential spring-cleaning chores

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Ah, spring cleaning. All the tasks you pushed aside earlier in the year now await you ó a seemingly never-ending list of chores.

However, not everyone has the time or energy to scrub their house from top to bottom. For those who need to abbreviate this seasonal ritual, housecleaners say the following areas are the most essential:

Baseboards

"I think the thing people have the hardest time keeping up with is the baseboards," says John Crum, owner of Crum Cleaning in Kansas City, Mo.

To clean your baseboards, first vacuum or sweep the area. Then, take a cloth or sponge and a cleaning solution ó a combination of soap and water, vinegar or a wood cleaner ó and wipe down the baseboards.

High Dusting

According to Crum, homeowners often forget to dust ceiling lights and fans because theyíre out of reach. Others may choose not to clean them because the job sometimes requires a ladder.

Maria Keashon, owner of Arbor Cleaning Services in Feasterville, Pa., adds that homeowners forget to clean off the top of their kitchen cabinets.

"With kitchen cabinets, you normally see people put plants and decorations up there," she says. "They never even think of going up there (to clean)."

Keashon says her company always cleans cabinet tops when completing a spring cleaning, as dust accumulates quickly.

Those who donít want to climb atop a ladder can purchase a longer dusting wand made specifically for high fixtures and ceilings.

Walls

Crum says walls are another neglected space when it comes to cleaning house.

However, homeowners face more challenges when washing walls because the proper method can vary based on whether walls are painted and the paint type used.

If you donít know what type of paint adorns your walls, youíre best off using dish soap and water to softly wipe them down. This also works for walls that arenít painted, such as those covered in wallpaper. Donít scrub too hard or the paint may fade.

Behind appliances

According to Crum, many people neglect the harder-to-reach areas, such as behind the refrigerator, oven, washer and dryer, because they take more time to clean. But once a year, you should take the extra time to move your appliances and clean behind and underneath them, as dirt, crumbs and dust accumulate in these places.

If you have a cat, itís possible you may find bread clips, hair ties or other items that have been batted under your appliances as well.

Inside the cabinets

Keashon says that most people assume the inside of their cabinets remain perfectly clean because theyíre only opened to remove or put away dishes. However, these areas collect grime over time.

She recommends removing all dishes and wiping down the cabinets once a year.