Who can afford a house cleaner?

Instead, more than six in ten households still make spring cleaning an annual ritual, focusing primarily on the most used living areas - kitchens, bedrooms and baths.

The American Cleaning Institute (who else) surveyed 1,000 people online from Feb. 29 to March 4 this year and found spring cleaning is a keeper.

Nearly three in four of those who spring clean agree it's a tradition worth keeping ( House Interior Walls Painting Wallpaper Ceilings Real Estate Expert Advice ). For 13 percent of this group (18 percent of men, 8 percent of women), if it wasn't for spring cleaning, the house would be a pig pen.

"Whether it's spring, summer, winter or fall, cleaning matters," said Nancy Bock, senior vice president at ACI (formerly the Soap and Detergent Association).

"When it comes to tackling major house cleaning, there are still many Americans who cling to spring," rhymed Bock.

Grime stoppers' triggers

Among those who say they spring clean every year:

• Nearly 90 percent say they will spring clean this year.

• More than 70 percent say warmer weather gives them the urge to purge the dirt.

• For 55 percent, hearing about spring cleaning triggers their impulse to repulse grime.

Focused cleaning

Spring cleaners say they are most apt to tackle these specific cleaning jobs:

Windows (72 percent); blinds/curtains (67 percent); ceiling fans and carpets (both 65 percent) top the special spring cleaning "to do" list, followed by cleaning clothing closets and drawers (63 percent) and desks/home office spaces (51 percent).

Room-by-room spring cleaners are most apt to visit these rooms:

Kitchen (74 percent); bedroom (73 percent); bathrooms (71 percent); and family room/den (56 percent).

Clean up on cleaning up

ACI offers some strategies to take care of your spring cleaning tasks efficiently:

• Clearing spaces- Begin by tossing all that stuff that's needlessly filling up your home. Recycle it, store it, sell it or donate it. If it's been unused for six months or more and isn't a keepsake, you don't need it.

• Take stock- Before you start cleaning, gather all the necessary cleaning supplies on hand.

• Plan ahead - Decide if you will go room to room or job by job cleaning. Then prioritize the tasks.

• Involve the family, friends if they'll bite - You don't have to go it alone. Enlist family members, friends, call in a marker, or, if you've got the clean green, hire a professional house cleaner .

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