5 Outdoor spring cleaning ideas

Spring has sprung, it’s beautiful outside!  It’s easy to find time to clean indoors when it’s rainy and gray, but when the sun is shining who wouldn’t rather be outside?  Your home’s exterior and surrounding area could use some spring cleaning too, so get out in the sun and get your house looking lovely for spring.  If you haven’t started your spring cleaning this season, here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Windows – Let more light into your home with fresh, clean windows both inside and out!  You will be surprised how bright your home will be with the dust and grime removed from the exterior of your windows.
  2. Driveway – Weed out any plants trying to grow in small cracks in your driveway and treat the area to prevent them from returning.  Seal over old cracks with new concrete for a nice, even look.
  3. Garage door – When was the last time you gave you garage door a good cleaning?  It will brighten up your whole property to have your door looking fresh and clean.  Use a pressure washer, or just do it by hand with soapy water!
  4. Gutters – Your gutters have had a hard winter!  Clean out debris and leaves and use this time to check for damage to your gutters.
  5. Get ready to grill – Clean off your grill by soaking the wire racks for a few hours, then scrubbing them down with a wire brush. If you are cooking with gas, make sure the hoses are in good working order and your tank hasn’t suffered any damages.

spring cleaning

Yard work safety

We are enjoying a lovely, warm spring here in Portland!  Lawns are ready to be mowed and flowers ready to be planted, but make sure you take some safety precautions to avoid injury or property damage while doing your yard work.  Follow these basic safety tips to ensure you have a fun, productive day working in your yard.


  1. Check your equipment from last year to make sure it is still in working order. Critters can chew through wires or wood causing your tools from last season to pose a potential risk of injury.


  1. Wear appropriate clothing while mowing your lawn. Clothing should not be loose or restrict movement and shoes must have adequate traction to avoid slipping.  Safety glasses and ear protection are also advised to further protect you from injury.


  1. Always push a lawn mower; never pull it toward you to get into a hard to reach spot. Mow hills from side to side, as opposed to up and down to prevent slipping or falling.


  1. Clear your yard of debris (sticks, rocks, dog toys, etc…) before trimming your grass. A lawn mower can send an object flying with enough speed to break a window or cause bodily harm!


  1. When using outdoor electrical power tools always check that your work area is dry; never damp or wet. Avoid electrical safety hazards by ensuring your tools are equipped with GFCIs and your extensions cords are in proper working order.


  1. Never allow children to operate lawn mowers or electrical power tools,


  1. It may not be hot yet, but always remember to stay well hydrated while performing outdoor tasks and take breaks when needed. Wear sunscreen when working outdoors, even when it’s cloudy.


  1. Take care of your back while taking care of your yard! Never lift more than you are comfortable with and always make sure your back is well supported by lifting properly.  Do not overfill waste bins, making them too heavy to comfortably carry.  While weeding, kneel as opposed to bending over.


  1. Keep pesticides and herbicides out of the reach of children and animals. These potentially toxic substances should be safely stored where only adults can access them.  Read all warning labels regarding safety, especially in areas that surround edible gardens.


  1. Update your tetanus shot! You should always be current with this vaccination, while working in the yard the possibility of puncturing yourself with a rusty nail or old rake is high.  Keep current records of your vaccinations so you can verify your last shot, should you accidently cut yourself.

Stain removal tips from CFM

This week on the blog, we are excited to have a guest entry from our friends at Contract Furnishing Mart!

Contract Furnishings Mart is the premier floor covering, cabinet and countertop supplier in the Northwest. As a wholesale supplier to the trade since 1981, they have the resources to work on any size project and an unsurpassed selection of products. With 11 locations through Portland and Seattle they are the Northwest’s largest floor covering dealer.

What to do when that wine jumps out of your glass and lands on your flooring?
By Nicole Schmidt, Contract Furnishings Mart


We’ve all been there, a once pristine floor gets soiled and we panic. What should I do? How do I clean this up? Well, for starters you should act quickly! Delaying may cause the spill to become a permanent stain. But beyond that, here are some pointers, best practices, and what not to do’s.
Blot liquids right away with a dry, white absorbent cloth or white paper towels. Gently scrape up semi-solids with a rounded spoon. Break up solids and vacuum.
Pretest any spot removal solution (for color transfer to the cloth or damage to the carpet) in an inconspicuous area. If a change occurs, select another solution.

Cleaning carpet with cloth and  sprayer close up


Apply a small amount of the solution to a white cloth, and work in gently – do not rub — working from the edges of the spill to the center to prevent spreading. Allow to remain on the spill a few minutes. Be patient. Blot.
Continue to use the first agent as long as there is a transfer of the spill to the cloth. Be patient. Complete removal may require repeating the same step several times. Or, you may need to move to the next solution.
When the spill is completely removed, rinse the area with cold water; blot with a dry cloth until all moisture is removed.
A dry, absorbent, cleaning compound may be used as a substitute to minimize drying time.
Residue Precautions: Many spot removal solutions leave residues in the carpet that may attract soil. Thoroughly rinse the area several times with lukewarm tap water. A mist type sprayer is recommended to prevent over wetting. Blot with paper towels and pat dry after each rinse. Several rinses are often necessary to thoroughly remove residues. Never use any of the solutions in concentrations stronger than those recommended.
And of course, the best solution is to call a professional and have them treat the area properly for removal and without leaving residues behind. For more ideas on what to do with specific stains, you can use our stain removal tool on our website.

Lawn Mower Tune Up 101

Spring is near, can you feel it?  This lovely weather has flowers budding, trees blossoming, and lawns growing!  Is it time to take your lawn mower out for the fist time this year?  Make sure to give your mower a quick tune up before starting it up this spring.  Here are some tips from RepairClinic to help get you started!

Home maintenance calendar

Welcome to the New Year!  We hope you enjoyed the holidays and are excited about what 2015 will bring to you and yours!

Was one of your New Year’s resolutions to take better care of your home?  If so, we have a list to help you throughout the year.  Broken down by month, here are some chores to take care of as you work towards keeping your home safe, energy efficient and in good working order:



January: Test all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.  Are your fire extinguishers in working order (do you know where they are?).  Review warranties and maintenance requirements on major appliances.


February: Check your home for signs of water damage and mold.  Inspect windows for incomplete seals and condensation.   Don’t forget areas that may not get as much foot traffic, like you attic and basement.  Neglect to these parts of your home may result in costly damage that could easily be remedied by early detection.


March: Check your roof!  How did it weather the winter wind and rain?  Check for lose or cracked shingles as these will only be further damaged by the sunny weather on the way.  Inspect flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and the chimney for damage as well.


April: Take a look around outside, what can be taken care of to de-clutter and freshen up your yard?  Throw away damaged flower pots and find new plants that will brighten your outdoor spaces.  Gather all the yard debris (fallen branches, leaves…) left over from the winter to prepare your lawn for a great spring and summer!


May: You guessed it, time for spring cleaning!  Whether you have hardwood, carpet or both, give your floors a bit of extra attention this month.  Now would be a great time to clean your windows, both inside and out and let all that lovely sunshine into your nice, freshly cleaned home!


June: Time to power wash your house, deck or patio!  The rain and weather from the winter and spring may have left your property dirty or mossy.  Take some time to address all the little nooks and crannies, your property will look great!


July: Summer is a great time to address areas of your home that may be costing you during the winter months. Perform an energy audit of your home by seeking out gaps around doors or windows where heat may be escaping your home.  These issues are more easily addressed in the summer months, your winter budget will thank you!


August: Make sure other creatures aren’t trying to invade your home!  Look for evidence of mice or rats by checking your home for droppings or nests.  These types of pests may also be indicated by holes and gnaw marks or an unusual odor in your home.  Check for signs of termites around your home as well.  Indicators of these pests include: hollow sounding wood in floors, walls or furniture, sagging wood, or frass (termite dropping).  Should you find signs of these pests, contact a professional to address the issue.


September:  Prepare for cooler weather by inspecting and, or cleaning your fire place.  Hire an inspector to ensure your fire place and chimney is in clean and working order.  It’s a good idea to have this inspection done once a year.


October: With leaves beginning to fall, it’s important to make sure gutters and downspouts are clear.  Clean your gutters of leaves and debris and inspect them for damage to ensure they are functioning properly.


November: With the temperatures starting to drop, now is a good time to inspect outdoor stairs and railings.  Railings that are broken or weak should be replaced to prevent slips on icy or wet steps.


December: Replace the filters in your heating and cooling systems.  During peak seasons of use, these should be changed monthly.


What would you add to this list?


5 Spring Cleaning Projects

Have you looked out your window today? It is BEAUTIFUL outside! Take advantage of these lovely, warm spring days to take on some spring cleaning projects!

  1. Clean out your closet! Do you have coats that made it through winter without getting any wear? Maybe it’s time to donate them or resell them! Why just limit yourself to clothing? Check your kitchen cupboards for gadgets that never get used or plates that don’t fit your taste anymore. Make room in your home and maybe even make some extra cash!
  1. Give your deck a makeover! Get ready for summer barbeques by sprucing up your yard or patio. Wash deck furniture from last year and clear your outdoor area of yard debris. Give your yard some TLC while you’re at it! Take on that garden or landscaping project you’ve been dreaming of all winter and enjoy it all summer long.
  1. How is your carpet holding up? It’s a good idea to deep clean carpet at least once a year to eliminate dust and dirt buildup. Bring in a pro to take on the task, or if you are feeling ambitious, you can rent equipment to do it yourself.
  1. Spring is a great time to check on your gutters. Make sure they are not loose or leaky and clear them of debris. If it’s been a while since your gutters have had an inspection, hire a professional to come take a look.
  1. An annual roof inspection is always a great idea and spring is an excellent time to do it. Winter can be hard on a roof with driving rain and wind, but that damage can be made worse by the hot summer sun. Check that your shingles are in good shape to weather the upcoming heat!

Spring cleaning