We’ve been in coronavirus lockdown for more than two months, and the walls — and the mess — are starting to close in.
Dust bunnies the size of tumbleweeds, despicable bathroom scum, enough sofa crumbs to feed the pigeons of Times Square: These are the gross byproducts of hunkering down at home full-time, and they’re probably driving up your stress levels.
Even if you could afford them, home-cleaning services are scarce because they’re not considered essential. But that’s no excuse to wallow in a pit of filth this spring. The Post asked two New York cleaning experts for an easy-to-follow plan that will transform your greasy pad into a gleaming palace. Here’s their advice for tackling five notorious grime spots.
TVs, computers, speakers and more
Dust is attracted to metal surfaces like Leonardo DiCaprio to Victoria’s Secret models.
There are a few ways to tackle this annoying tech scourge. Christine Dimmick, CEO and founder of the Good Home Co., pulls out the big guns: She recommends installing an air purifier with a filter, such as the Levoit Purifier ($90 on Amazon.com). “They work miracles,” says Dimmick.
For a quick touch-up, wipe the area clean with a microfiber cloth spritzed with water — nothing fancy.
“Many cleaning products leave a greasy residue which is a magnet for more dust,” says Dimmick. To access hard-to-reach spots, create a makeshift mini-Swiffer by wrapping a dampened paper towel around a kitchen spatula.
But if you really want to bust tech dust once and for all, daily maintenance is key, says George Mazreku, owner of G’s Cleaning NYC.
“The real secret to containing dust” — in the air and on surfaces — “is to vacuum daily, especially if you’ve got carpets,” he says.
Hours spent binge-watching “Tiger King” while chowing down on quarantine snacks has undoubtedly taken a toll on your couch. Regular, biweekly vacuuming is a must; a skinny nozzle attachment will help you reach into crumb-crammed crevices.
“Failing that, you might just have to use a rag and your fingers,” says Mazreku, who has garnered more than 11,000 followers on Instagram demonstrating how he makes grimy sofas squeaky clean.
For spills, Dimmick recommends spot-cleaning with a stain remover, such as the $20 spritz made by the Good Home Co.
There’s no better time than a pandemic to enforce a no-shoes rules in your apartment, Dimmick says. “Reducing dirt and germs from foot traffic is important.”
Her go-to device for spiffing up hardwood or tiled floors is a steam mop such as the Bissell PowerFresh, which weighs less than three pounds and retails for about $80 online.
“I’ll use an all-purpose cleaning spray on the floor and then go over it with the steam-mop cleaner once a week,” says Dimmick. “Afterwards, you can take off the pad and toss it in the washing machine.”
Mazreku is more old-school, and prefers the services of a traditional microfiber mop, alternating between a wet and a dry head. One of his favorite products is good old Murphy Oil Soap.
“You can even make your own floor-cleaning solution using dish soap mixed with essential oils such as orange or coconut oils,” he says — both of which are the base for his own proprietary all-purpose cleaner.
Toilet and shower gunk can be easily removed with a simple DIY cleaning solution. Both Dimmick and Mazreku recommend mixing two parts water with one part baking soda and one part white vinegar to create the chemical-free concoction in a squirt bottle. (Consider repurposing an emptied dish-soap bottle for this.)
“Use it to attack mildew on tiles and to remove soap residue on the glass in your shower,” says Dimmick, author of the book “Detox Your Home.”
Baking soda is also your friend when it comes to cleaning the porcelain throne. “Sprinkle some baking soda onto the rim, and use a toilet brush to give it a good scrub. Leave it for 10 minutes and flush,” says Mazreku.
For true germophobes — and aren’t we all, these days? — Mazreku recommends dropping between $10 and $40 on a UV light to shine on surfaces near your toilet or sink to pinpoint bodily fluids.
“A UV light is a great investment, especially if you’ve got pets, so you can see where they’ve left their mark,” the expert adds, with a cringe.
Dimmick suggests a trusty solution of water and white vinegar to attack the interior of your refrigerator.
“You don’t want to be using Lysol or Clorox or anything else toxic anywhere near your food,” she says.
As for cloths, she recommends biodegradable Swedish Skoy towels, which don’t leave streaks and “work like they’re a sponge inside a paper towel.”
As for the microwave, before scrubbing, Mazreku advises placing a large bowl of water and the juice of half a lemon in the oven and running it for three to five minutes to create water vapor. This will ingeniously loosen caked-on muck, so the inside can be easily wiped down with a cloth.
Spiffy in a jiffy
Cleaning doesn’t need to be a weekend-long commitment. Cleaning expert Christine Dimmick explains what amateur cleaners can achieve in short bursts of time.
If you have 15 minutes:
“Tackle the kitchen by cleaning the sink, faucets, countertops, microwave and as much of the refrigerator as you can manage.” All-purpose cleaning spray can be used for most of those surfaces; if your fridge is stainless steel, swipe it with a mixture of warm water and mild dish detergent.
If you have 30 minutes:
“Spend 15 minutes mopping and 15 minutes vacuuming,” adds Dimmick, who recommends a steam-mop cleaner to save time and energy.
If you have 1 hour:
Scrub the bathroom. Give it a thorough wipe-down with a homemade mixture of baking soda, vinegar and water to attack soap scum and nefarious toilet-bowl stains.