Sunday, March 28, 2010

Time for Spring Cleaning!

Woman waxing wood floor

Victorian Library

Well, Spring has officially arrived. That means, in the true Victorian home, Spring Cleaning is upon us! The Victorians used a lot of harmful chemicals and products around their homes. I like to be as GREEN as possible, and try to make my own cleaning products whenever I can. I love the book Clean & Green by Annie Berthold Bond.

But where to begin? Well, after watching TV shows such as Mission: Organization, Clean Sweep and even Hoarders, I guess the first thing to do is...

Being a Victorian spirit, I guess I am a bit of a hoarder and just collect too much STUFF. I actually enjoy cleaning and organizing, so I always look forward to Spring, when I have a burst of energy and want to tackle the tough projects. A place for everything, and everything in it's place, as the saying goes.

I like to work one room at a time. Anything that doesn't belong in that room, remove it. Place your items in boxes or baskets designated for the rooms where these items will eventually go. When you're done decluttering the first room, move on to the next until the whole house is decluttered.


I start at the top. I like to use my Swiffer to clean any dust or cobwebs off the ceilings and walls. I use a microfiber cloth to clean the tops of the doors and woodwork. I work my way down to things hanging on the walls. Then I do all the furniture and knick-knacks. Dusting usually doesn't take very long, because it's done periodically anyway.

Vacuum <span class=


I use a Swiffer on the hardwood floors, then switch to my favorite vacuum of all time, my Sears Progressive canister with a HEPA filter! I use the carpet attachment for my carpeted rooms, the upholstery attachment for the upholstered furniture, and the long skinny attachment for cleaning the refrigerator vents and heating vents, and for getting under anything that is low to the floor. This is also a good time to vacuum out the dryer vent.


This is a good time of year to polish up everything that is not done on a regular basis. Silver can be cleaned safely by filling a deep tub or sink with warm water. Line the bottom with aluminum foil, and add 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon baking soda. Add your silver and let it sit for an hour. The tarnish will be attracted to the aluminum foil. Rinse with clean warm water and polish dry. For tough tarnish, mix a dab of white toothpaste with a drop of olive oil, and rub the tarnish off the silver with your hands.

For furniture polish, mix together 1/8 cup food-grade linseed oil, 1/8 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Rub into wood with a soft cloth.


My favorite window cleaner is made by combining 1/2 teaspoon liquid vegetable-oil based soap. 3 tablespoons vinegar and 2 cups water in a spray bottle. After I spray it on the windows or glass, I wipe it off with newspaper. Your hands get a bit dirty from the newspaper, but the glass will sparkle! While you're at it, take down the curtains and wash them.


It's time to wash your winter blankets and clothing and store them away for the season. Just pull everything out of your clothes closet and dresser drawers, sort, and give anything you don't need to Goodwill. Treat yourself to some fresh drawer liners and sachets while you're at it.


Now is a great time to empty your pantry and refrigerator and dump anything you haven't used or has expired. Clean any hard-to-reach surfaces. Vacuum the vents of your refrigerator. Put a new box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb odors. For a super way to organize your fresh veggies and leftovers, buy clear glass containers for refrigerator storage. They stack well if they're all the same size, and you will be able to see what you have without opening everything first. Glass is the safer than plastic for storing food. You can also use Mason jars in the pantry for storage.

After baking all winter, it's time to give the oven a good cleaning. Spray the bottom surface with water and sprinkle on some baking soda. Spray the baking soda some more and let sit overnight. Then scrub with a soapy abrasive pad. No harmful chemicals or fumes!

8) ODDS and ENDS

Flip your mattress. Clean and repair bird feeders and bird houses for the garden. Use wood glue to tighten up any loose joints on your Victorian chairs and tables. Clean out the gutters. Remove covers on air conditioning units and clean filters. Mend any clothing and reattach buttons before storing. Start a compost heap. Start a cutting garden for fresh flowers on the table all summer!

Remember to use safe, natural products to clean your home. It's better for your health, the environment, and your wallet! You don't have to buy expensive green products that are commercially available. Making your own is a whole lot cheaper. Some great, basic products are very safe to use, and have been around since the Victorian days, such as Bon Ami cleaner, Arm & Hammer baking soda and washing soda, 20 Mule Team Borax.

A Right of Spring - Spring cleaning for today
Clean & Green by Annie Berthold-Bond

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Blogger The Victorian Parlor said...

Oh my, I'm so very behind with my cleaning:). This post is great-I love all of the old pictures!!!



March 28, 2010 at 9:20 PM  
Blogger Dana and Daisy said...

i loved my swiffer, but then I found a swiss hardwood floor cleaning kit called Bona. I got it at Bed Bath ad Beyond on clearance ina box, because they new packaging is in a bag with handles.

it has a washable dustmop, a terry cloth mop for using with a spray that is safe for polyurethane finishes.

It kicks the swiffer's butt.

guess who is sitting by me on the new sofa? awe! and purring her heart out!

March 29, 2010 at 9:30 AM  
Blogger Miss Sandra said...

Wow!! This is one fabulous post! Thank you for taking the time to take us step-by-step through the spring cleaning process. I love the old pictures and all your helpful suggestions. This was fun and I believe I'm inspired to commence my jaunt into spring cleaning..
Hope all is wonderful in your world. Happy cleaning!!

March 29, 2010 at 5:39 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...


I'm behind with cleaning, too. I never have the energy during the winter to do what needs to be done, so Spring Cleaning is a good excuse to catch up! :)


March 29, 2010 at 6:26 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...


I'll have to check out Bona... so it beats Swiffer, huh?
Cat fur on the floors is the bane of my existence. It's unbelievable how much 2 little cats can shed! BTW, you're new floors are amazingly beautiful.

Daisy, is that you purring so loudly? I can barely hear myself think! :)


March 29, 2010 at 6:32 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Hi Sandra-

Good to hear from you! How's your Spring so far?

I really do enjoy tackling major cleaning jobs... it's the getting started that's hard to do. Now that the weather is warming up and the sun stays out longer, I'll soon have no excuses. :)

Take care!


March 29, 2010 at 6:37 PM  
Blogger Rose ~Victorian Rose ~ said...

Now I know why I never clean anything well...I don't have this guide to follow.
I need a copy of this to use for my Spring cleaning. to beat my carpets !


March 29, 2010 at 7:33 PM  
Anonymous The Blackwood Cottage said...

I second all of that. I am not living Victorian in Chicago but Tudor Style in St. Louis. The cleaning.....that's about the same and I wouldn't change that part of living Tudor for anything. What's not to love about the warmth, shine and sparkle of crystal, Czeck glass, dark polished woods, marble and more!

March 30, 2010 at 2:16 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...


You crack me up! Happy Spring Cleaning! :-)


March 30, 2010 at 3:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so happy we have modern appliances & cleansers.......
Now where is my Swiffer????
Happy Tuesday!!

March 30, 2010 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...


Welcome! I love Tudor style as well. Anything old suits my fancy! :-)


March 30, 2010 at 3:38 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...


I'm glad to be living in the modern age, but can still enjoy some of the Victorian antiques. I wouldn't want to do the kind of cleaning they had to do back then! Then again, I could get the servants to do it...

:-) Pam

March 30, 2010 at 8:31 PM  
Blogger GWENDOLYN said...

You have some great cleaning tips here. I should be doing that instead of sitting here at the computer. I too have been watching Hoarders. The show fascinates me. How these people behave when faced to get rid of just their trash!
Happy cleaning!

March 31, 2010 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Percival Devante said...

Greetings from Swell & Dandy!

I've only just stumbled across your charming blog. It looks so far like something I should well enjoy. The illustrations in this article are wonderful. Dominus vobiscum.


March 31, 2010 at 3:22 PM  
Blogger La Petite Gallery said...

Cute post, I am sending you and your loved ones a Happy Easter Sunday. Yvonne

April 1, 2010 at 4:32 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...


Believe it or not, I have personally known some true hoarders, as bad as what you see on TV. It is a truly strange phenomenon, especially the people who can't seem to throw away even food or waste products! I commend the people who clean up these houses for a living!


April 2, 2010 at 10:42 AM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...


Thank you for the compliments. I'm glad you stopped by for a visit, and hope you return often. I see you enjoy the finer things in life!


April 2, 2010 at 10:45 AM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Hi Yvonne-

Happy Easter to you and yours. Thank you for being such a loyal reader!


April 2, 2010 at 10:46 AM  
Blogger Nancy's Notes said...

Great post!! Happy Easter to you, hope it's wonderful!


April 2, 2010 at 2:40 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...


Welcome Nancy, and thank you! I wish you a Happy Easter as well, and a wonderful Spring! :)


April 2, 2010 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger The Rustic Victorian said...

What an amazing post,,,love it,,,so glad for modern day tools, and yes, chemicals too. That reminds me,,,I need to reem the bathrooms,,not my favorite room to clean, but I love it when its shiny and done.

May 1, 2010 at 7:46 AM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Thanks, Marcie!

Yes, we're lucky to be living in these times with all our great modern conveniences! Your bathrooms are so pretty and have such great decorations, it must help somewhat when you're cleaning them, no? :-)


May 1, 2010 at 10:27 PM  

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