Home clean­ing tasks to tackle af­ter the hol­i­days

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - GARDEN - By Diana Cran­dall

The coun­ter­tops were pol­ished and the floors all spick-and-span, and then came friends and fam­ily, trudg­ing through the foyer with suit­cases and gifts in tow. Or per­haps in your hurry to get out the door, you weren’t able to tidy things the way you usu­ally do be­fore trav­el­ing.

Take th­ese steps to get your home back in shape and get a fresh start on the new year.

Steam your car­pets. Do your car­pets look filthy? Don’t fret. Steam clean­ing pulls stains from your floor us­ing heat and pres­sure, so you don’t have to worry about harm­ful chem­i­cals in your car­pet — or re­plac­ing parts of it be­cause grape juice, wine and eggnog found their way into the bot­tom lay­ers of the fiber. Rent a steam cleaner from your nearby su­per­mar­ket to DIY. If you need ex­tra help, you can ex­pect to pay about $175 for this type of work, ac­cord­ing to HomeAd­vi­sor’s True Cost Guide. Plus, post-hol­i­days is the per­fect time to do it: All of that foot traf­fic is of­fi­cially out the door.

Or­ga­nize hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tions. As you re­move Christ­mas lights or pack away the meno­rah for an­other year, make sure to do so in an or­ga­nized way. Use empty egg car­tons to store or­na­ments, and clearly la­bel bags and boxes be­fore you put them back into stor­age. If you need help lift­ing, car­ry­ing or re­mov­ing dec­o­ra­tions, don’t hes­i­tate to call in a lo­cal handy­man for help.

Clean the up­hol­stery. This is an oft over­looked but rel­a­tively in­ex­pen­sive way to re­vive your fur­ni­ture. Give your couch a good vac­u­um­ing to freshen things up and take care of crumbs and pet hair. Then, use a rep­utable up­hol­stery cleaner — or mix up your own homemade ver­sion — for an even deeper clean. (Just be sure to spot test first, and al­ways fol­low man­u­fac­turer’s di­rec­tions for your fur­ni­ture.) If you’re hav­ing trou­ble with stub­born stains, call a trained pro­fes­sional in to help.

Scrub ap­pli­ances.

Proper main­te­nance and reg­u­lar clean­ing is vi­tal to keep your ap­pli­ances run­ning as they should. Give your ap­pli­ances a thor­ough wipe down and also take a look in­side them. Com­post or toss out hol­i­day left­overs from your fridge, and turn your oven on self-clean. Run your dish­washer through a hot-wa­ter cy­cle with a cup of white vine­gar in­side to tackle any grease and grime. Your ap­pli­ances will be clean and you’ll feel re­freshed.

Do a deep clean­ing. You don’t have to do it all at once, but deep clean­ing your house is a per­fect way to wrap up the decade. Bring in the new year with freshly cleaned car­pets, sparkling bath­rooms and com­fort on ev­ery level of your home. If you need a lit­tle break, bring in some help. Home­own­ers typ­i­cally pay be­tween $115 and $235 for a pro­fes­sional clean­ing ser­vice, via HomeAd­vi­sor’s True Cost Guide. When you’re fin­ished clean­ing, en­joy some R&R. You’ve just made it through an­other suc­cess­ful hol­i­day sea­son!

DREAMSTIME

Get the new year started right with a deep clean­ing of the en­tire house.

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