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How to … tackle spring cleaning Add to ...

Spring cleaning is no picnic, but if you're going to do it, do it right. Shelly Barless, founder of Dust Queen Maid Service in Edmonton, explains how to get each room in your house in top shape.

Bedroom

Search and destroy all dust mites. "You can't see them, but they're there," Ms. Barless says about the little critters that get under the covers with you each night. Put an upholstery attachment on your vacuum and take it to your mattress to suck them up as well as dirt and dust.

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Another bedroom item that could be crawling with invisible offenders? Your telephone. Take a disinfectant wipe to all the handsets and keypads on your home phones, she advises.

Bathroom

You've used Comet on the tub, scrubbed the toilet bowl and polished your fixtures, but there's one thing you probably forgot. Cleaning the exhaust fan. Unscrew it, vacuum all the dust it has trapped, and then wash it with soap and water, Ms. Barless says. You can skip that process next spring by regularly taking a duster to it.

Kitchen

When battling the true beast of the kitchen - the oven - put some newspaper down on the floor, Ms. Barless suggests.

"Make sure if you're spraying your oven, you have your floor covered. Many a linoleum floor has been destroyed [by harsh chemicals]"

When you zap that bowl of soup in the microwave without covering the dish, splatter is inevitable. Ms. Barless recommends filling a bowl with water and heating it up in the microwave. The steam will loosen up the dried-up gunk, which can then be wiped away easily.

Basement

A winter's worth of work will leave your furnace filters clogged with dust, so make sure you replace them, Ms. Barless says.

And while a basement can be a useful out of sight, out of mind repository for junk, take an afternoon to go through it all, she adds. Bag up what is still usable and give it to a charity. Do the same with all of your closets.

"If you haven't worn it in a year, for sure two years, donate it," she says.

And don't do this: Vacuum up the ashes in your fireplace - it'll destroy your motor.

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