Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Spring cleaning

Take the daunting task of a thorough housecleaning one step at a time

Renewal, emergence, starting anew, cleansing ... all themes of this beloved season of beginnig again; the weight of winter is finally gone, flowers are in bloom and the sun is shining with more frequency.

Time to emerge from the mental hibernation that the dreary winter seasons tends to facilitate and clean the cobwebs of our mind — but also the actual physical cobwebs that you’ve probably been dodging throughout the house. That dust is suddenly visible in the intense morning light and those unsightly piles you left sit back in November desperately need sorted. Oh yes, there’s work to be done ... and how great it will feel once it’s completed.

But where to start?

“Like any seemingly daunting project, it can be best to take it in stages — the time spent decluttering and purging items that just take up space is quite rewarding,” said Lindsay Dellasega, owner of ECOMAIDS of Portland. ECOMAIDS, though a national brand, are independent local businesses. Dellasega’s office is in Milwaukie. It’s staffed with customer service representatives and three supervisors who support 24 cleaning technicians.

Eliminating unnecessary baggage in life and in your living space is indeed rewarding mentally, but it also has important physical health benefits.

“(Cleaning) itself brings a feeling of renewal, but also frees the space from harboring allergens,” Dellasega said. Basically, grab the vacuum and duster and stop living that dust life.

ECOMAIDS’ approach is a systematic one: one room at a time, task by task.

So not to overwhelm, maybe write down each thing or space that you’re interested in cleaning, organizing and-or decluttering. Cross each item off as you do each task. Keep your organizational priorities organized!

As you might have guessed, ECOMAIDS prides itself in cleaning with sustainable, environmentally-friendly products. We must keep our Mother Earth clean and happy, too, afterall.

When Dellasega discovered the ECOMAIDS brand, she said she immediately identified with it.

“I wanted to build something I could feel good about and that is in line with my commitment to reducing our toxic load, in our households and for our planet,” she said, of starting ECOMAIDS of Portland.

So what Earth-friendly products does Dellasega recommend to get started?

¦ Lemon

¦ Bon Ami (all natural powdered abrasive)

¦ A mild soda such as highly diluted Dr. Bronners

¦ Microfiber clothes

¦ A good high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filtered vacuum

Using these products, Dellasega said ECOMAIDS’ focus is to remove foreign substances, not to move them or add more in the form of perfumed and heavy — and non-biodegradable — chemicals.

So once you have your cleaning supplies, go to town. But instead of wandering arbitrarily with a duster, obvious dust piles and cobwebs in your crosshairs, check out this handy checklist from “Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook” to ensure a deeper clean.

¦ Reseal grout lines

¦ Vacuum and shampoo rugs

¦ Dust books and shelves and hard-to-reach places, like tops of ceiling fans and window casings

¦ Clean upholstered furnishings

¦ Polish metal door and window hardware

¦ Wax wooden furniture

¦ Ensure fire safety

¦ Wash window screens

¦ Clean window treatments (draperies, shades, blinds)

¦ Wax non-wood floors

Marthastewart.com notes to “always work from the top of a room down, vacuuming the dust that settles on the floor.”

Lots of dust in our lives, isn’t there? But there’s other problems you might face in your ever-liberating cleaning adventures, like mildew. Mildew is a common enemy and challenge for Dellasega and her cleaning crews.

“Obviously, Portland is an excessively moist environment. Once permeating the relatively soft materials such as drywall, grout and rubber sealants, mildew will thrive,” she said.

Her teams treat mildew with peroxide, a natural compound that destroys organic bonds, and a firm brush, but that just keeps it from spreading on the surface. “It (mildew) needs to be cleaned regularly and (areas prone to mildew) kept dry as possible,” she said.

The other challenge Dellasega cites is simply, clutter. “You can’t clean what you can’t get to, but the dust mites and airborne allergens will continue to collect. Minimizing (clutter) not only makes a cleaner space, but makes regular cleaning a breeze,” she said.