Spring cleaning is a long-time ritual.

In the past, common winter heat sources caused soot and grime to collect in homes and on home furnishings. After winter subsided, spring was a time to open the windows and remove the dirt and sooty buildup.

While many of us have cleaner heat sources for our homes today, spring cleaning is still a ritual many of us practice.

While spring cleaning your house may seem like a monumental task, it does not have to be. Here are some tips and tricks for making spring cleaning more effective and less daunting.

n Develop a plan of attack

Think about where, when and how you are going to clean and what cleaning products you will need. You may want to dedicate an entire weekend to cleaning or you may want to space it out an hour or two at a time over several days.

You may want to tackle one room at a time or one project, such as washing all your curtains, at once.

There is no wrong answer. It depends on your cleaning style.

n Gather your supplies beforehand

Go through your cabinets to determine the products you already have on hand and those you need to purchase. Common cleaning items you may need include an all-purpose cleaner, abrasive cleanser, non-abrasive cleanser, chlorine bleach, glass cleaner, furniture/dusting cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, cloths, trash bags and vacuum bags.

n Declutter before cleaning

We all tend to accumulate things and having things on furniture and on the floor can make it harder to clean. If you have unwanted items, now is a good time to sell, recycle or donate them.

n Ask for help if you need it from family members and friends.

You do not have to tackle cleaning by yourself.

n Take the cleaning momentum outside

While you may think of spring cleaning as an indoor activity, it is also a really good time to do some outdoor cleaning and home maintenance projects, like cleaning windows and door exteriors, checking the chimney for damage, inspecting weather seals on windows and doors, and removing the lint from the dryer vent.

More information on effective cleaning and healthy homes is available at the Madison County office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

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