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May 12, 2007 / Perspective / Checkin’ in with...

Spring cleaning expert speaks

The Brooklyn Paper
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More important than romance and daffodils, May means spring cleaning. Or so says all our moms. Alas, not every Brooklyn Paper reporter is so good about giving her apartment the sprucing-up that the season, apparently, demands. To find out more about this quirky seasonal imperative, reporter Dana Rubinstein checked in with Olivia Broderick, the office manager for Murphy’s Maids, a 27-year-old company that sends its 25 housecleaners all over the city.

Q: Spring cleaning — fact or fiction?

A: Back in my mother’s day, every spring and fall, you did the walls, you did the closets. But now that everyone’s so busy, it’s not as prevalent. But there are there are still homes out there that ask us to do it.

Q: Do you personally do spring cleaning in your own home?

A: No. I did all the closets [in March]. That took me three weekends.

Q: But really, why bother?

A: After a long winter, people just want to refresh their homes to get ready for summer. My thought is, if you’re cleaning in the spring, you can just keep up the general work through the summer and you’re not killing yourself when it’s really hot.

Q: So, down to the nitty-gritty. What does the average spring cleaning entail?

A: Cleaning behind the fridge, behind the stove, cleaning the walls, the baseboards, under the beds. Some clients want the drapes down and taken to the cleaners. Some want the windows cleaned inside and out. Our girls do the whole bathroom — including all the tiles, top to bottom, refresh the whole kitchen, empty out cupboards, change the baking soda, which might have been there one month too long.

Q: Baking soda gets old?

A: Yes.

Q: How do you know if your baking soda is old?

A: It has a date on it.

Q: What’s the dirtiest home you’ve ever come across?

A: Some homes look like they belong to the Collyer Brothers, with just one path through the clutter.

Q: Do you think we’ve become dirtier, as a society?

A: Yes. Most people don’t just work 35 hours a week, but 60 hours. So the bathroom isn’t as clean as it should be. They’re more focused on their careers. I get that. I depend on that.

Q: Let’s say I only have time to clean once a week — what should I absolutely not neglect to do?

A: Hit the bathroom, and just vacuum around. Just keep it picked up. It looks worse if you have wall-to-wall papers. Keep your dishes done. When you get the chance, do the rest.

Q: Do you have cleaning tips for us neophytes?

A: If you want a quick dust, use something called a microduster. It looks like a feather duster, and these girls are all raving about it.

Q: Anything else?

A: When you do your windows, don’t use a rag. It leaves lint. Use newspaper. Also, a little vinegar and water is good for your wood floors — it brings a nice shine.

Q: What kind of vinegar?

A: Not French vinegar. White vinegar. The cheapest stuff is the better stuff.

Updated 4:28 pm, July 9, 2018
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