Sofia’s Quick and Dirty Guide to Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is still a few weeks (thanks a lot, Phil), but we’re getting a jump start on the annual sprucing. Why? Let’s propose a crazy concept – let’s be rebels and tackle spring cleaning in the winter. How about we throw on those Uggs and knock out these chores as [insert your favorite] winter comfort food is slow cooking? After all, we don’t want to be cooped up inside cleaning when the sun finally comes out and temps go above 50. Might as well spend these cold nights knocking out those spring chores! (Bonus, cleaning burns calories). Sold on proactivity? Here’s the one and only Martha Stewart’s chore list to knock out during spring cleaning. Don’t worry, Sofia’s will be right there with you. We’re in this together, guys. 

Time to Strip Down

Cabinets | It’s time to strip down…those cabinets and shelves, that is. You can typically see the dust on an exposed bookshelf, but ignorance is dirty, dirty bliss when it comes to cabinets. Alas, dust and grime are also hiding on your interior cabinets. The solution? Remove the contents and go to town on the whole surface with an all-purpose cleaner. After all, you only do this once a year (versus bookshelves), you might as well do it right.

Beautiful, Inside and Out

Windows | If you want inside to match what’s on the outside, you’re going to have to clean BOTH sides of that glass pane. House Beautiful gives this pro-tip: “Wash ’em on a cloudy day to ensure that the sun won’t dry the cleanser before you’re done wiping.” Wash window screens with warm water and mild dishwashing liquid, scrub each screen with a brush, then rinse. Wash, or dry clean, draperies and curtains. Dust wooden blinds with a feather duster and wipe with a damp cloth. For step-by-step instructions, see page three of Martha’s spring cleaning guide and substitute Sofia’s all-purpose cleaner when she calls for a non-ammoniated cleaner. (Concession, save the windows task for last – there’s no point cleaning all those windows if it snows again.)

It’s not Deeper than Surface Level

Surfaces | Countertops need to be properly cleaned, potentially sealed and dirty grout resealed. Use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect countertops, followed by Sofia’s Soy Cleaner for a gleaming finish. This goes for basically all surfaces – stainless steel, marble, wood, etcetera – but, please clean according to material specs. For example, if you have granite countertops, you’ll want to seal it again a year after insulation (which was, hopefully, properly sealed initially) to prevent stains. Wood floors can be spot-treated with Sofia’s, but will need to be properly conditioned and wet-cleaned in limited amounts (i.e. if you did it last month, skip this month to preserve your floors).

Don’t be a Grout Grouch

Grout | Grimey grout is a by-product of everyday use. Grout is extremely porous, an easy target for stains, grime and discoloration. When (not if) your grout is irreparably stained, The Spruce claims that replacing it is “so easy, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.” We’ll let you be the judge with their guide. (Make sure you apply a grout sealant). 

Is your refrigerator running? Well, you’d better catch it before it gets away…

Appliances | Arguably the worst thing to tackle during spring cleaning are the appliances. Let’s start with the largest (i.e. the most daunting) – the fridge. Remove all food and shelves, taking the opportunity to purge old jars and condiments. Wipe down with a hydrogen peroxide solution to disinfect any food-borne bacteria, then wipe down with Sofia’s. Wash shelves in warm, soapy water, dry them and replace, and – finally – organize the fridge contents. Martha also suggests dusting the fridge coils (yes, we aren’t thrilled either). 

Next up is the dreaded oven deep cleaning; here are Martha’s tricks for a clean oven. And then, the dishwasher and microwave. Use Sofia’s to cut food grime, followed by these Good Housekeeping steps for a dishwasher that runs like new. For the microwave, loosen residue with one cup of water mixed with a half-cup of lemon juice heated for 3-5 minutes on high. Use a Sofia’s-soaked towel to wipe down the exterior, then easily remove the grime from inside.

The washing machine and dryer are fairly simple. Clean filters, wipe down the outside, dust underneath (if possible). To clean your washing machine (and eliminate odors caused by front-loading machines), The Spruce says to add two cups of hydrogen peroxide to the empty washer drum and then run a hot water wash cycle.

Pot Calls Kettle Black

Pots + Pans | Stainless steel is prone to stains from heat and hard water. To remove them, apply white vinegar with a soft cloth and rub. Dry thoroughly after washing to prevent filming. Do not soak stainless steel cookware as it pits the surfaces. And, please, don’t spring clean your cast irons – simply scrub the pan with salt and rinse, wipe dry. This will lift away food and preserve the seasoning. 

Upholstery Woes

Couches and Rugs | Upholstered furniture holds millions of dust mites that can irritate allergies. Use your upholstery and crevice vacuum tools to suck up dust and dirt on upholstered furniture and rugs. Beat cushions by hand outdoors, and shampoo rugs and carpets according to specs (making sure to note that you dry-clean rugs without backings). 

No Dust Bunnies Around These Parts

Dusting | Dust your home thoroughly (including the fans and window casings. Work from the top down and remove shelf contents, wiping them down as well. Vacuum dust that settles on the floor.

Like we said, we’re in this with you. We’re giving away a Sofia’s Spring Cleaning Kit to help you out in every room of the house. The kit includes two microfiber clothes; grout scrubber; two Tuff Scrub microfiber sponges; three-pack sponges; two-pack of Dawn scrubbers; and, a 16-ounce bottle of Sofia’s Soy Cleaner. Entering to win is simple, just like, share or follow on Instagram (@sofiassoycleaner) until March 15.    

 

Disinfecting Your Home During Flu Season

We all know that winter months are prime season for the flu. Unfortunately, this year’s is shaping up to be the deadliest flu America’s seen in decades. The CDC is unsure when this season will end, but says that “everything we are looking at is bad news.” So, let’s talk about protecting ourselves and kiddos to the best of our ability with Sofia’s guide for disinfecting your home during flu season. 

Flu germs can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours. It’s unlikely that you have surfaces that can withstand 167° F heat – and a device that generates that kind of heat – which effectively kill flu germs. Instead, to disinfect you’ll need to turn to common household cleaning products like hydrogen peroxide (the green option) or commercial disinfectants like bleach (which can be harmful to both humans and the environment).

Disinfecting Agent

Although it is a fabulous cleaning solution, Sofia’s is not a disinfectant. When if comes to the flu – especially this killer flu – we recommend using Sofia’s only to pre-clean and post-clean surfaces for a shiny finish. Hydrogen peroxide is your best disinfecting friend. Hydrogen peroxide is the safest household disinfectant and one of the only green options for disinfecting flu germs (ammonia, chlorine and vinegar are not effective disinfectants against Staph and Influenza bacteria). Hydrogen peroxide has antimicrobial ingredients and is also highly biodegradable. Concentrated hydrogen peroxide, however, is extremely dangerous and should only be used as a disinfectant at concentrations lower than 3 percent.

Note: If using a pre-packaged/commercial disinfectant, make sure to read instructions (and use accordingly). If using household supplies like hydrogen peroxide, understand the diluting instructions. Surfaces should be pre-cleaned prior to disinfecting. Use paper towels, disposable wipes or a washable towel to clean surfaces, versus a sponge which tends to spread more germs.

The Basics (Flu or No Flu)

Everyone in the house should be washing hands with soap frequently during the winter (especially if flu is in your house). Try to spend about 20 seconds washing hands with soap and hot water. Use disposable paper towels to dry hands (or dedicate a hand towel per person).

Giving the house a deep cleaning once a month during the winter months is a great way to lesson the germ count. Clean the floors, bathrooms, kitchens, door handles, soap dispensers, linens, any surface that humans touch daily. Then spend some time once a week doing a quick, but thorough, once over. Use disinfecting wipes to wipe down surfaces, sink and door handles daily.

The Nitty Gritty (Disinfecting Post-Flu)

If someone has recently had the flu in your house, here’s what you should focus on cleaning once the virus is kicked.

 

Bedding, Pillows, Blankets + Sick Clothes

Germs naturally cover our bedding, blankets and clothes when we’re sick. Not only are we rubbing our noses, sneezing and coughing our germs right into sheets and long sleeves – we also sweat more when sick. So once on the mend, gather the linens and clothes that were used during the illness. Wash everything on the highest heat that instructions allow for (and don’t overload the washing machine). You can add hydrogen peroxide to each load to kill germs (bonus, it brightens as well). Keep in mind the washing water is not going to be hot enough to kill germs, but high heat dryer cycles can.

Mattresses and Pillows

Spritz (don’t saturate) the bed and pillows with hydrogen peroxide as you wait for the wash cycle to be done. If there are windows in the bedroom, open the blinds and windows (weather permitting) and let the room air out. Sunlight helps to mitigate germs and the air flow will help freshen up the room. Be sure to let the mattress and pillows dry fully before making the bed with fresh linens.

Toothbrush

You should replace toothbrushes every three months or so, and after any cold or illness that can spread germs. This rule obviously applies to apres flu as well. If you have a Sonicare or another electric toothbrush, you can change the brush or soak the germ-ified bristle head in hydrogen peroxide (enough to completely submerge the bristles) for 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with water.

Stuffed Animals and Toys

Stuffed animals should join bedding, towels and clothes in the hydrogen peroxide laundry cycle. Alternately, you can steam or give them an HP spritz if they are too delicate to run through the wash. You can use a steamer on hard toys as well, or soak them in hydrogen peroxide. You can also use a mesh bag to clean them in the dishwasher.

Surfaces

Clean bathrooms, kitchens, door handles, light switches, soap dispensers – any surface that humans touch daily in your house – with hydrogen peroxide and paper towels (or disinfecting wipes). For counters, sinks, tubs and floors, give a quick post clean with Sofia’s Soy Cleaner mixed with a little essential oil for a fresh, bright, shiny space post sickness.

So there you have it, folks. Stay safe this flu season with Sofia’s tips on disinfecting your home during flu season. Hopefully, they’ll help keep the whole family healthy before the flu becomes an unwelcome guest in your house. From the Sofia’s family to yours, may health be with you.