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(RealSimple.com) -- Forget what constitutes a "proper" spring cleaning, and instead take aim at what you can see and care to see no more: the sofa covered with cat hair, the greasy kitchen shelf paper, the mildew in the shower.
Finish up outside with a blast of Windex Outdoor, which attaches to your hose, spares you the experience of falling off a tippy ladder, and is harmless to plants. Windex Outdoor works even through screens and dries without streaking. (If you have hard water, you'll need a ladder, a friend to hold it, and a squeegee on an extension pole to finish the job properly.)
Blinds and drapes
If the blinds are more dirty than dusty, try the Mini Blind Vac Attachment by Ideaworks ($8, www.jobar.com), with blinds in the open position. Or, with the blinds shut, wipe with a damp microfiber mitt.
If you use liners, fit food shelves with a washable, strippable liner; for shelves holding glasses and dishes, try a resilient plastic mesh liner, to reduce breakage. Wipe down the cupboard exteriors with a microfiber cloth and you're done.
Remove stains with a spot cleaner (test first, following the label directions) and a colorless, lint-free cloth.
Now turn over the keyboard and gently shake it; clean between the keys with a special computer vacuum or a few blasts of compressed air, then wipe with a microfiber cloth moistened with all-purpose cleanser.
Give the same wipe-down to the computer exterior, and finish by wiping the screen with a cloth moistened with plain water.
You can prevent mold buildup in damp bathrooms or those in humid climates by running a squeegee over the tile after a shower. The same trick will eliminate soap buildup on glass shower doors.
© 2007 Time Inc.
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