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5 things to spring-clean right now — and a few that can wait until fall

5 things to spring-clean right now — and a few that can wait until fall

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5 things to spring-clean right now — and a few that can wait until fall

Spring is a great time to wash windows.

When it’s time to spring-clean, we may think we have to tackle every single item on the to-do list right away. But actually, there are some home maintenance tasks that it’s better to wait until fall to complete. To help you sort out which things to spring-clean ASAP and which can be safely put off for a few more months, we’ve compiled the list below. Then, you can breathe a little easier knowing that it doesn’t have to all get done right away.

Spring-clean now: Dryer vent.

Because a buildup of lint in the dryer vent is a potential fire hazard, it’s a good idea to clean out the dryer vent ASAP. Also remember to clear out the lint filter after every use.

Spring-clean now: Windows.

Especially if winter weather has left your windows streaked and dirty, spring is a great time to wash them. Plus, washing the windows now will let you enjoy a clear view and more sunlight all spring and summer long.

If you’re washing the windows yourself, consider investing in squeegees with expandable poles so you can avoid getting on a ladder. Remember to choose a wind-free, overcast day (a sunny day will create more streaks), and follow these steps. If you have particularly high windows or aren’t sure you want to take on the project yourself, it’s a smart idea to be safe and hire a professional.

Spring-clean now: Outdoor space.

If you plan to enjoy your backyard this spring and summer, getting it ready should be near the top of your to-do list. Before you start mulching or planting anything new, this typically means starting by clearing out any debris, sticks and leaves that have collected over the winter, as well as sweeping the deck or any patio areas. Clearing out the front yard will also boost your home’s curb appeal as warmer weather approaches.

Spring-clean now: Textiles.

Most of us already clean our bath towels and bedding regularly (right?), but in the spring, add other textiles, like window curtains, throw pillows, blankets and stuffed animals to that list. The reason: besides eliminating germs and bacteria, it will cut down on springtime allergens so your entire family will sniffle less.

Spring-clean now: Air conditioning vents.

Before you turn on the AC for the season, clean all of the vents around your home so you and your family can avoid breathing in dust. Use the nozzle or brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to suck up all of the dust and prevent it from circulating in the air.

Can wait until fall: Gutters.

Technically, professionals recommend cleaning your gutters twice per year, in both the spring and fall. But, if you’re realistically only going to clean them once per year, it’s best to wait until fall, after the majority of the leaves and branches have fallen, so you can be sure the gutters are properly cleared before winter.

Because of the danger of climbing on ladders and also the chance of coming into contact with dead animals, it’s safest to leave gutter cleaning to the professionals.

Can wait until fall: Carpets.

If you plan to clean the carpets in your home, the fall is typically the best time of year to do it. You’ll want to wait until the air is both the warmest and driest, and while it tends to be temperate in the spring as well, the air tends to be more humid. Don’t wait until too late in the fall, however, because you’ll want to be able to leave the windows open, so the air can circulate, helping dry the carpet faster and prevent mold.

(Real Simple magazine provides smart, realistic solutions to everyday challenges. Online at


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Q: Tim, I’ve got several plumbing repairs to make, and I just don’t have the money to hire a plumber. The water in my bathroom vanity sink drains slower than molasses. Just a year ago it drained really fast. Sometimes my toilet gets clogged, and I think it’s disgusting to use a plunger. Is there another way to unclog a toilet? Lastly, my shower head used to have a nice spray pattern, but now water doesn’t come out evenly and the pressure is reduced. Is there an easy repair for this? —Carol F., Spokane, Wash.

Q: Tim, my neighbor discovered that many of his outdoor deck floor joists are rotting. The rot is along the top where the decking attaches to them. It’s treated lumber rated for outdoor exposure. How can this be possible? I thought treated lumber was rot-proof and would last for a lifetime. What’s going on and are there ways to prevent treated lumber from rotting in the event something’s wrong? —Andy D., Lexington, Ky.

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