Top 7 Spring Cleaning Hacks

Most Oklahomans associate spring with sunshine, the start of baseball season and severe weather. But it’s also a time to shake off the cobwebs, and give the house a good scrub and a declutter. While it’s no one’s favorite chore, spring cleaning can give you that wonderful, fresh-start feeling. Here are our seven favorite spring cleaning hacks:

  1. Get Rid of Garbage Disposal Smells

Most of you have seen viral videos on social media claiming that a bit of ice and hot water will flush grime out of the pipes. However, a plumbing expert recently warned that running your disposal with hot water can loosen grease and make clogs worse. One way to clean a garbage disposal: 

  • Fill the disposal with ice cubes, a sprinkle of coarse salt and a few lemon wedges to give the disposal a fresh scent. 
  • Turn on the cold water and run the disposal until the ice has cleared. 

Voila! Enjoy a lemony-fresh garbage disposal… at least until you wash your next batch of dirty dishes. 

  1. Clean Your Microwave the Easy Way

If you have a few lemons left over after cleaning the garbage disposal, use them to loosen up the grime in the microwave. Yes, really! 

  • Squeeze the juice of one lemon into 1/2 cup of water and drop the rinds into the mixture. 
  • Microwave for three minutes and let it stand for five minutes without opening the door. The trapped steam will loosen those pesky stuck-on food bits, so you can wipe the microwave clean with less effort.
  1. Let Go of Old Clothes

“I plan on wearing that when I lose weight!” 

“My vintage jeans will totally be back in style soon!” 

If you’ve made similar excuses when cleaning out your closet, this next hack is for you. Take all of your clothes on hangers and place the hanger on the rack, but with the ‘hook’ facing you. Then set a calendar reminder for 6 months. Every time a piece of clothing is worn, hang it back up with the hanger facing the correct way. At the end of 6 months, donate all of the clothing still facing the wrong way. Let’s face it – if it hasn’t been worn in a year, it will probably never be worn. 

  1. Fix Your Clogged Shower Head

Have been meaning to fix that shower head that sprays water in all directions? Now is the time! One way to clear the mineral deposits that could affect water flow is with white vinegar, a plastic bag and a rubber band. Simply fill the bag with vinegar and use a rubber band to secure the bag to the shower head. Let it soak overnight. To avoid the smell of vinegar all day, remember to let the water run before hopping in the shower!

  1. Get Rid of Old Electronics and Accessories

Electronic waste is the fastest-growing waste stream globally. Rather than throwing away your old gadgets and accessories, consider some more useful ways to get rid of that tangled box of cords accumulating dust: 

  1. Retail Drop-Off. Big box electronics stores often have kiosks for recycling old electronics and accessories. A few places like Best Buy, Fry’s and more!
  2. Sell and Recycle. Metal recycling centers will sometimes pay you for your small electronics – especially cables with copper wiring.
  3. Give away. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Electronics that are old, may be an upgrade for a friend or family member. Find out if anyone would love to have that older generation iPhone, Xbox or even GameCube.
  4. Donate to STEM Programs. Schools and nonprofits with STEM programs may be highly useful for educational purposes. 
  1. Clean the Inside of a Dishwasher (the easy way!)

You may think that because a dishwasher cleans dishes, that the inside must be sparkling. But dishwashers can actually accumulate grimy buildup and cause unpleasant smells. Here are a few ways to keep a dishwasher fresh with only two ingredients and a few easy steps. 

  • First, inspect the drain and remove any debris. Give it a scrub with some vinegar and an old toothbrush. 
  • Next, place a bowl of white vinegar on the top rack and run the dishwasher on the hottest setting. 
  • When it’s finished, sprinkle baking soda on the bottom floor of the dishwasher and run for a short hot water cycle. 

*For an extra clean dishwasher, add 1 cup of bleach to the bottom of the dishwasher and run a full wash cycle. 

Performing this process as needed can help eliminate clogs and help avoid costly repairs.

  1. De-Gunk Your Oven

Did you know that dryer sheets can help clean the gunk off oven racks? It may seem strange, but it really works. Here’s how to try it out for yourself. 

  • Place 6-8 dryer sheets in the bathtub and lay the oven racks on top. 
  • Fill the tub with hot water until the oven racks are covered. 
    • For extra-greasy racks, add about ¼ cup of Dawn dish soap.
  • Let the racks soak for several hours or overnight. 
  • Use the dryer sheets to wipe away the gunk. Thanks to the antistatic in the dryer sheets, the grime should wipe away easily. 

Along with cleaning and decluttering with our spring cleaning hacks, this could also be a good time to check in on your Home Insurance coverage. Contact your local OKFB agent to discuss any updates or planned renovations to ensure your coverage is up to date.

Car Maintenance for Fall and Winter

As temperatures drop heading into fall and winter, a mechanical failure can be a pain and can also put you and your passengers in a risky situation. Luckily, you can help reduce your chances of running into vehicle failures by taking preventative steps now. Check out this list of maintenance tips to prepare your car for the upcoming seasons. 

Engine

Renew/replace items within your engine as recommended, this includes oil, oil filters, air filters, fuel filters and more. Oil changes are typically every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on the vehicle age and fuel efficiency. You also replace your oil filters at the same time. For specifics on when to replace other items, refer to your vehicle owner’s manual. 

Windshield Wipers

If your current wipers leave your windshield streaky and limit your visibility, it is time to swap them out. Worn windshield wipers make driving riskier, especially during rain and snow. Always ensure you have plenty of windshield washer fluid as well. Consider getting fluid that has antifreeze properties made for winter months. Most importantly, don’t forget to have an ice scraper on hand! 

Tires

Check your tire pressure frequently, as the colder weather can have an impact on air pressure and may require more air. Make sure you’re examining your tire tread – without proper tread, it can make driving through snow or ice more dangerous. You should rotate your tires every 7,500 to 10,000 miles – your vehicle owner’s manual will have the specific mileage recommendation for you.

Emergency Gear

In addition to routine maintenance, it’s a good idea to always carry emergency gear in your car. There are items you should have year-round and several items that should be added for the colder months. Gloves, boots, blankets, snacks, water, first-aid kit and a flashlight will come in handy if your car does experience mechanical failure or another issue this fall or winter.

Roadside Assistance

In case of car failure, you’ll want to know if your insurance covers roadside assistance. Roadside assistance can be added to your auto insurance policy, and it can help pay for some of the costs associated with towing your vehicle, providing gas for an empty tank, jumping a battery or changing a flat tire. Your agent can tell you if roadside assistance requires additional physical damage coverage. Contact your agent today to see about adding this coverage.