When warm weather arrives and the sun starts shining, Melinda DiGregorio of Liberty begins to notice certain things in her house.
The fingerprints on the appliances.
The smudges on the walls, light fixtures and windows.
"I do clean in the spring," DiGregorio said. "The sun streams in and you just can't hide the dust bunnies."
Despite the copious amounts of available cleaning products, it may be best to stick to the basics when cleaning this spring. Traditional cleaning agents like water and vinegar are favorites with residents and cleaning professionals.
Though she tried different window products, DiGregorio said she cleans her windows with water and vinegar like her mother used to do - first using a rag, and then finishing with a newspaper.
Spring Cleaning Checklist:
q Wipe walls and ceilings
q Vacuum and shampoo rugs
q Clean upholstered furnishings
q Dust thoroughly
q Change smoke detector batteries
q Clean window treatments
q Reseal grout lines
q Dust books and shelves
q Polish metal door and window hardware
q Wax wooden furniture
q Wash window screens
q Wax nonwood floors
q Dust refrigerator coils
q Defrost freezer
q Rotate bed and change blankets
q Clean pillows
q Discard expired cosmetics
q Organize files
q Clean computers
q Clean porch ceilings and walls
q Scrub decks, patios, driveways and walkways
q Wash outdoor furniture
q Inspect light fixtures
"It's like there isn't a window there," she said.
Tori Campos, owner of Clean Sweep in Warren, said vinegar is an all-purpose cleaner. She fills a spray bottle with equal parts water and vinegar. If the smell is a deterrent for some, Campos suggests adding a few drops of an essential oil to the mixture.
Campos said she sweeps floors first, dusts, then sweeps again. She advises people to pay special attention to walls and baseboards, which are often overlooked.
Campos uses general cleaners, since she said they are healthier and have no harsh smell. She uses microfiber cloths for dusting and for floors. She uses a sponge with an abrasive side for other cleaning. Still, she said, old washcloths work fine.
Though cleaning may be overwhelming at times, Campos has tips for how to stay motivated. Cleaners should pace themselves, make a list, and follow it. Also, they shouldn't be put off if they need more time to get a project done.
Katie Burkey of Molly Maid in Youngstown also had advice for how to remain focused. Cleaners shouldn't try to multi-task - doing laundry or dishes, or even talking on the phone while cleaning might be a bad idea. Instead, people should work room to room, Burkey said.
When cleaning, Burkey uses a disinfectant to wipe down commonly used areas like knobs, handles, telephones, counters and light switches. She also pays attention to the high and low areas that she said many people overlook.
"They're typically dusting from a visual height down," Burkey said.
High areas include ceiling fans, door frames, window sills and light fixtures, while low areas include bases of chairs and behind furniture.
While it may be easy for some to overlook high and low parts of the household, some might also overlook the bedroom. Burkey said it's important to take a vacuum to mattresses, since dust mites often settle there. Cleaners should be sure to wash pillows and pillowcases often.
Additionally, Burkey said spring cleaning is a good time to go through medicine cabinets and pitch expired containers, as well as go through closets to donate any unwanted apparel.
Burkey also finds that a system works well.
"Essentially, the verbiage is top to bottom, left to right," she said.
Others also have a system for cleaning.
Mary Meffe of Warren typically takes a room completely apart, working on one room at a time. Anything not needed is pitched.
"You can't organize clutter. You've got to get rid of it," Meffe said.
Kim Jenkins of Canfield said she typically gets rid of clutter first. She vacuums floors, wipes counters and dusts last.
"A good thorough cleaning with three kids, it takes me a week," Jenkins said.
Though spring has traditionally been associated with cleaning, Jenkins prefers to clean in the fall, when the weather isn't such a distraction.
"I don't want to be in the house," Jenkins said of spring weather.
Kelly Bloomingdale of Boardman agreed.
"I think personally the best time to clean is when it's gloomy out, because it gives you more incentive to get things done," Bloomingdale said.
Rather than doing everything at once, Bloomingdale said she cleans a little bit every day.
"It isn't necessarily the nitty-gritty, but it's keeping up," she said.
Bloomingdale uses hot water and white vinegar, which doesn't streak her shiny, ceramic tile floors.
"It's not expensive, but it does the job," she said.
Brenda Rodgers of Warren also uses vinegar and water for her windows.
"That's really the best thing," she said.
The type of cleaning is also key. To ensure a smear-free cleaning, Rodgers wipes the windows in a straight-up-and-down motion.
When she cleans, Rodgers starts by getting fresh air in her house.
"Open doors, open windows; get the air in," Rodgers said.
Elinda Naples of Austintown said she works from top to bottom when she cleans. Like Bloomingdale, Naples said she does regular amounts of vacuuming and dusting rather than doing an all-out cleaning in one sitting. Usually, she cleans a room a day.
"I just maintain all the time the best that I can," Naples said.