(Family Features) Following winter months spent indoors, it's important to take the time to get rid of the dust, dirt and allergens that accumulate in your house. Use these tips to get your home organized and clean:
Gather your arsenal. Save yourself time and hassle by organizing the items you'll need, such as rubber gloves, scrub brushes, multi-purpose cleansers, etc. into one bucket with a handle.
Cover the basics. Make sure to dust, disinfect and clean all of your surfaces, as well as those areas that get the most use. Sanitize telephones, remote controls, door knobs and counter tops. Take down and launder curtains and wipe down window blinds using a damp sponge.
Tackle the kitchen. Focus on the key areas. Using a solution of half water, half white distilled vinegar, wipe down the plastic and glass components of the refrigerator. Sprinkle baking soda onto a damp sponge and clean counter tops, stainless steel sinks, the oven range, and within your microwave. To remove soap buildup in your dishwasher, pour a cup of white vinegar in an empty machine and run through the cycle.
"Most people are unaware that the kitchen sink is one spot with the most germs," says Clay Nichols of www.DadLabs.com, a website that helps modern dads tackle the challenges of paternity, one day at a time. Nichols understands the challenges of juggling a busy schedule and tackling household chores. He suggests using the moments in between other tasks to clean as you go.
Clean early and often. If areas of your house are forgotten for weeks at a time, dirt, dust and allergens can build up quickly. "Kids and pets can create a lot of mess in a house," says Nichols, "It is important to clean daily, and in doing so, you free up your weekend for quality family time."
Don't forget to look high and low. Dirt and dust don't only settle on the ground. To reach the tops of bookshelves and ceiling corners, use a high powered vacuum such as the Hoover WindTunnel Air Bagless Upright vacuum with a 12-foot premium stretch hose that allows for optimal cleaning reach. Weighing just 12 pounds, it's easy to use in any part of the house, and the powerful wind technology helps remove even deeply embedded dirt within carpeting. For hard-to-reach areas, you can use the on-board attachments to get behind the couch, the refrigerator and along baseboards - it can even be used to clean upholstered furniture.
Check behind the lines. When cleaning carpets, flooring and baseboards, move furniture out of the way. If you're looking to refresh a room, try placing key pieces in new spots. To get rid of the carpet indentations left behind by heavy furniture, place ice cubs an inch to an inch-and-a-half apart within the indentations and allow them to melt. The carpet fibers will absorb the moisture and begin to take form.
Fight allergies. Remove dust and pet hair with the Dirt Devil UpKeep Turbo. This new cyclonic upright vacuum cleaner is easy to maneuver and features a HEPA filtration system. "This vacuum will help ensure your home is ready for all kinds of traffic at a price that won't keep you from enjoying other family activities," says Nichols.