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The 'Queen of Clean' offers spring cleaning advice

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While Lynn Scharenbroich doesn’t refer to herself as the “Queen of Clean,” she certainly could be a contender for the crown.

Scharenbroich, who owns Black Pine Beach Resort with her husband, Bob, knows a thing or two about spring cleaning. Starting in late April, she and her cleaning crew set out to clean each of their cabins from top to bottom so they are ready to rent out for Memorial Day weekend. They try to accomplish all the work within a three-week period.

When summer guests visit Black Pine Beach, located on Pig Lake on the Whitefish Chain, they often mention that the cabins seem exceptionally clean. It’s something that Scharenbroich is proud of.

“People actually mention it’s so clean. That’s the last thing anyone wants is a dirty place. I wish I had as much control over the weather,” she said with a laugh.

The Scharenbroichs have owned the resort, established in 1939, since 1977. When they took over the resort, there wasn’t a cabin cleaning checklist or even any instructions on creating a cleaning routine, something she developed over the years. It helps ensure that nothing gets left out.

If you’ve never done a thorough spring cleaning of your home, Scharenbroich recommends tackling one room at a time, taking everything out of there. Move all the furniture to the middle of the room if you can’t move it to a different room. Wash everything that can go in a washing machine.

“When you take down everything, it gives you a good idea of what to do,” she said.

If you can wash your ceiling, start there. If your ceiling can’t be damp, use a broom with a rag or towel on it to dust and knock down cobwebs.

Next, fill a bucket full of hot water and your favorite all-purpose cleaner. She likes to use the well-known pine-scented brand cleaner since it’s a good scent for their cabins. Use a rag and clean the walls from the top down. You might need a degreaser to clean the wall outlets and switch covers.

When cleaning the base of your walls, get into all the corners and go over every baseboard, using a scrub brush to get the dirt out of every crevice. You may need a small knife for this.

Tip your chairs upside down and wipe with a damp cloth, making sure to clean all the crevices.

When cleaning your doors, wash each door, including the tops and all edges, hinges and doorknobs, and use a scrub brush on ridged areas to get them clean and dust-free.

Scharenbroich recommends taking down all your light fixtures and washing them. Wipe around the light itself before putting the fixtures back up. Don’t forget to clean the lamp shades.

Windows should be washed inside and out, including the locking hardware. The windowsills should be wiped out and free of dirt and cobwebs.

Last, you’ll need to vacuum or clean the floors. Then you’re on to the next room.

Scharenbroich advises using latex gloves for cleaning, since the harsh cleaning products often sap the moisture out of your hands.

The key to a thorough spring cleaning is to have the proper tools. She and her crew use old toothbrushes to get the dirt in cracks, as well as old knives, scouring pads and scrub brushes. Generally, they use an all-purpose cleanser, a scouring powder and de-greasing agent. She also uses a commercial-grade cleaner to tackle bathroom surfaces.

Before the first guests check in for the summer, Scharenbroich takes a “clean walk” around the entire resort, looking through each cabin to admire their cleaning efforts and make sure something wasn’t missed.

“You know it’s not going to last, but you can feel good for one minute,” Scharenbroich said with a smile.

Scharenbroich said spring cleaning is more fun when you are team cleaning, rather than cleaning alone. She has resort guests who spring clean each other’s homes together, tackling one house at a time.

She said if you only have a few hours at a time to clean, get the worst area or room done first. You’ll feel so much better afterward.

Admittedly, Scharenbroich said she’s unable to clean her own home as thoroughly as she does the resort cabins, especially during the resort’s busy summer.

“I wish I did this in my own house,” she said.

(Jodie Tweed is a freelance writer who lives in Pequot Lakes.)