You’ve fluffed the couch cushions, vacuumed the rug, and put some fresh flowers on the coffee table. Done with your living room spring cleaning chores? Not so fast. Here are 4 tasks to add to your living room spring cleaning list to make sure your home shines.

1. Couch pillows

Do you ever think about how gross couch pillows probably get? People throw them on the floor to lean on (they’re called “throw pillows” after all!), or rest them under their heads to veg out, or even use them for the ultimate fort. Chances are good they’re overdue for a cleaning.

First, check the washing instructions to see if they’re machine washable  ones that are trimmed or embellished may not be. Either way, you’re most likely going to want to just wash the cover, since the filling can clump if you toss the whole thing in. Wash on a delicate cycle and hang dry so the cover doesn’t shrink.

It’s probably not a bad idea to just replace your throw pillows on a regular basis. After all, some cheery new pillows can transform your whole room.

2. Furnace vents

You know those grates in the floor? They get diiiiirrrrrty. And we’d be willing to bet you’ve never cleaned them. The good news is that it’s super easy. Turn off the furnace while you do it, then gather all the vents from the floors and ceilings and put them in a tub of warm water with a few drops of dish soap. Let them soak about 10 minutes, then give them a scrub, rinse them with clean water, and let them air dry before setting them back.

3. Ceiling fan

You probably look up and grab the low-hanging cobwebs that accumulate from time to time, but have you ever given the fan a good cleaning? If you don’t, it’ll just blow dirt around the house. Fortunately, it’s easy to dust by wrapping a pillow case around the blade and carefully pulling it from end to end. While you’re up there, make sure the fan is spinning the way you want it to. (Pro tip: Did you know that a fan spinning clockwise warms a room but one going counter clockwise cools it?)

4. Window coverings

Most shades, such as cellular (honeycomb-style), Roman, and sheers are easily cleaned with the dusting tool on your vacuum. Just give them a once-over on the lowest suction setting. And if you have vinyl shades, you can clean them in the bathtub, just like you did your furnace vents.

For blinds, close and then vacuum them down as a first step. Wipe each slat with a microfiber cloth. (You can sandwich the slat between the cloth to get both sides at once.)

And once the coverings are clean, give a little TLC to the window tracks too. First, suck out all the bugs or dirt particles that might be lodged there. Then use a simple cleaning solution baking soda and vinegar  to fizz out the dirt. Start by sprinkling an even dusting of baking soda into the tracks. Then spray with a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. Let it bubble for 5 or 10 minutes and wipe it away with a paper towel. Use a toothbrush for stubborn spots or crevices.

DIY hacks | Home and garden


about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.