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Spring cleaning and taxes: April's here

Joan Fieldstone

April 19, 2016

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: Landscaping and PoolsGreen LivingInterior Home Improvement

A lot can be said about April. First there are those pranks that no matter how many years you've had to prepare, you still fall for. Then there are the showers and the dreaded pressure of tax returns. So it may actually come as a relief to some of you to engage in a bit of cathartic spring cleaning. Or not.

As I look around my house and see all that needs to be done, I am hoping for a really nice sunny, refreshing spring day when I can throw open the windows, air out the house and take the outdoor hose to some things that have grown really dusty and grimy over the winter:

  • The garage floor
  • The windows
  • The outdoor furniture
  • The cobwebs under the eaves
  • The dog

Then, there are the weeds that come up every year in the backyard because I still have not been able to landscape it and smother them with a patio. This year, as an added feature, wild grass has been growing in patches here and there. If I had a mower, or even a large pair of shears, I'd trim it and let, as they say, nature take its course -- see if it fills in the rest of the barren yard.

Clean with vinegar, if the smell doesn't offend you

During the last several months, I've used a solution of distilled vinegar, Dawn dishwashing liquid, and water for many of my cleaning chores. It's safer than most commercial cleaning products. But BFF hates the smell when she drops by. She complains it reminds her of a photographic darkroom. (If you're old enough to have dabbled in black and white photographic development, you'll understand the reference.) For her benefit I add a little vanilla extract to the mix to kill the worst of the scent.

To each her or his own. I still remember my grandmother telling me how fresh she thought vinegar made everything smell when she finished cleaning with it. If I'm visiting my son and cleaning up the kitchen, he wants to know what I'm pickling.

If you want to give vinegar a try as a cleaning product and don't mind the aroma, it's really killer (in the most non-toxic sort of way), especially when combined with baking soda and hot water. It cleans greasy kitchen exhaust filters and the inside of ovens without asphyxiating you. Try it on moldy grout. Use the vinegar, Dawn and H2O solution for washing the window glass and squeegee or wipe with newspapers instead of wasting paper towels, which leave lint behind, anyway.

Of course, I wouldn't recommend vinegar for washing the dog, but it works wonders on dog urine odors and stains if you catch them before they have time to set - the stains, that is, but even better, the dog. Prevention is always the best strategy in that scenario.

So now the only problem I have is whether to tackle the cleaning and weeds or the taxes. But now that I've found out you can kill weeds with by spraying them with a solution of Dawn, Epsom salts, and vinegar, I might just head out to the backyard first. The taxes will have to wait.

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