In winter, especially if we live in a cold climate, we huddle up in the house and save our energy. Like bears in the wild, we hoard things in our little lair and try to leave home as little as possible (especially with COVID!)
When the good weather arrives, we instinctively want to throw open our windows and homes to let in the sunshine and the birdsongs. We want to host and be hosted and be hosted and just have our homes look as cheery and inviting as the weather outside!
We have put together this handy checklist and tip sheet to help you through the important task of cleaning our homes out for spring. Whenever possible, we have included organic and environmentally friendly cleaning solutions. Keep in mind that baking powder, lemons, and vinegar will clean just about anything.
What Is Spring Cleaning?
Spring is equally a season of new life and renewal. As the flowers bloom outside, we are often gripped by a desire to renew the beauty of our home.
This cleaning compulsion is a tradition as ancient as human civilization. Some of the oldest cultures, such as the Chinese, Jewish, and Persians, have holidays and festivals involving ritual cleanliness in the springtime.
While generally, spring cleaning refers to the act of cleaning your home in the springtime, it also refers to the extent of the effort. It involves a particularly thorough once-over for the entire house, including giving extensive attention to less aired out parts of the home.
Finally, it implies opening up the house to allow fresh air after lengthy closure and confinement to preserve heat. Therefore, the concept of spring cleaning is far more prevalent in cold cultures than in hot ones. After all, winter is a perfect time to clean in balmy climates. Indeed, it can be preferable to spring when it starts to get quite hot.
You can conduct your spring cleaning whenever you want. However, you may not know that this custom is marked in the calendar. In the United States, National Spring-Cleaning week kicks off on the fourth Sunday of March. So that is as good a time as any to get started!
Where to Start?
The first thing you will want to do is make a plan involving all of the rooms in the house. Even a modest-sized home can be hard to remember all of the necessary steps required to accomplish the job. Every room requires an individual approach, especially the kitchen and bathrooms. Therefore, make a detailed list for each room before starting. A well-curated list will prevent you from forgetting specific steps or cutting corners as cleaning fatigue inevitably kicks in.
- Get Your Cleaning Materials
Make sure you have stocked up on the necessary cleaning products. It is equally important to make sure you have the relevant accessories. That includes gloves and protective goggles.
If there is one thing you can never have enough of when cleaning the house, it is large garbage bags.
Here is a complete list of the materials you will need to make your home shine in time for spring. You probably have many or most of these already, but make sure you have enough to clean the entire house:
- Baking soda
- Ceramic cooktop cleaner
- Cleaning caddy
- Dish soap
- Disinfecting Spray
- Glass/window cleaner
- Garbage bags (If there is one thing you can never have enough of when cleaning the house, it is large garbage bags.
- Multi-surface cleaner
- Oven cleaner
- Paper towels
- Plastic gloves
- Room freshener
- Scrub brush
- Toilet bowl cleaner
- Toilet brush
- Vacuum cleaner – Including one for ash.
- White vinegar
- Wood cleaner
Declutter your home
One of the main points of a thorough spring cleaning is to dig into those hard-to-reach places and get them cleaned out in a cluttered space that can be incredibly difficult to accomplish. Also, even when it is clean, a cluttered space is visually displeasing, defeating the purpose of a spring cleaning!
Before you begin to declutter the house, you may want to look into two important things:
- Organizers: One great way to prevent the clutter from recurring is to buy organizers and set them up logically and user-friendly.
- Recycling: A complete cleaning and decluttering job will create a good deal of waste. However, many of the materials we may throw out can be reused. We only have one planet, right? Just as importantly, many counties and municipalities will fine you for failing to recycle materials. Therefore, work out your recycling strategy in advance.
- Donations: Not everything you have is worth donating, but good clothes, canned goods, and functioning appliances are always in high demand. Look into your local Goodwill store or other charity donation centres before you begin.
- Move any large furniture outside of the room if possible, or as far away from the walls as you can if not.
The passageways and central areas of the various rooms are cleaned regularly. Therefore, spring cleaning should focus on those difficult to reach corners and nooks and crannies. Make sure they are all exposed and within reach.
Spring Cleaning Checklist
Spring cleaning should be deep and thorough. However, you do not have to focus on the entire domicile equally. Unless you have completely neglected your home throughout the winter (which is fine, no judgment!), you will most likely have kept certain areas in good condition.
In general, cleaning works best if you execute it from top to bottom. In other words: ceiling, walls, shelves, floor. That way, the dirt gathers on the floor, which you then clean up in the final stage. Another useful rule: always clean left to right systematically. That way, you will be less likely to miss a spot.
The Entire House
- Clean all the doors. Metal doors need to be polished. Meanwhile, wooden doors should be cleaned with a non-abrasive sponge and mild dish soap.
- Clean all windows. Rather than use chemicals, you can mix ten parts warm water and one part vinegar into a spray bottle and use a lint-free microfiber cloth.
- Clean the walls to maintain the integrity of the paint job. If there are stains, first try just to remove them with a damp sponge. If that does not work, soak the sponge in soapy water before trying again. Rinse soapy residue off with plain water.
- Clean the windowsills both inside and out.
- Dust all furniture. Remember that you should work your way from top to bottom.
- Maintain fire alarms. Ensure they all work (safety first!), change batteries if necessary, and dust thoroughly.
- Wash Window Screens. Scrub each with a brush and dish fluid before rinsing it out carefully.
- Wax any wooden furniture. First, clean the furniture with a cloth and mild dish soap. Next, apply the wax a few feet at a time with a cotton cloth. After the wax has dried, don’t forget to buff the wood with an unused cloth.
- Treat your bare floors. Wax vinyl and linoleum floors. Treat tile or stone floors. Make sure you are clear on the kind of floors you have and the proper treatment. Using the wrong materials can cause damage.
- When cleaning an area with rugs, place them to hang outside in the garden or balcony.
- The plants need love too. Dust them off and prune them. Fertilize their base and re-pot if necessary. You should also make sure they have access to sunlight if that is what they need.
- Sweep up all the floors and then mop them. Make sure to do this last, after you have cleaned everything further up.
- Sanitize remote controls.
- Clean both lamps and lampshades.
- Clean the shoes and organize them.
- Clean the doormats
- Wipe the baseboards.
- Put heavy coats in storage and hang up seasonal jackets in an orderly fashion.
- Clean out the closet. Doing so will give you a chance to go through your clothes and figure out what you want to keep. Donate the clothes you no longer need and throw out anything with holes.
- Put winter wear into storage and take out the spring and summer wear into your drawers instead.
- The Bedding. We often skip some of the larger and more awkward items, such as Follow the instructions for each item carefully, placing washables in the washing machine.
- Clean the mattress. Use a dust buster or the upholstery tools on your vacuum to clean the sides as well as those nooks and crannies. When you are done, don’t forget to rotate the mattress to ensure extra lumbar support.
- Sanitize the mattress. Use a generous amount of Lysol on the surface.
- Start with the ceiling.
- Clean the cabinets. For best results, use a high-grade kitchen cabinet cream.
- Degrease cabinet doors.
- Throw out expired foodstuff. Donate non-perishables you are unlikely to use.
- Defrost the freezer and clean it thoroughly.
- Clean the sink and drain.
- Clean the fridge. Remember also to remove all the bins and clean both within and behind them.
- Clean the oven. If you have a self-cleaning feature, it can be a life-saver in removing tough stains.
- Clean stovetop and stovetop burner grates.
- Get rid of surface grime by using a solvent-free degreaser.
- Clean out those neglected appliances, such as the coffeemaker and blender.
- Remove everything from the cabinets, dust, and polish them.
- Dust all china.
- Polish your silver. Use baking soda and salt to remove old and insistent grime. Remember never to put silver in the dishwasher.
- Discard all expired medications, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.
- Clean makeup brushes and vanity.
- Clean all hardware.
- Dismantle the showerhead and clean thoroughly before reinstalling. This is best done using a mixture of vinegar and baking soda and a bit of dishwashing fluid.
- Clean the bath curtains. Plastic curtains can go in the washing machine.
- Clean the grout. There are several products available for this purpose. However, you can also make your own. A homemade paste consisting of 3/4-cup baking soda, 1/4-cup hydrogen peroxide, and one tablespoon of dish soap will get the job done.
- Clean the toilet. This is the worst part, obviously. However, if you use a detachable swivel head mop, you can clean your toilet thoroughly from a safe and pleasant distance.
- Replace shower curtain lining and entire curtain if necessary. They start to stink after a while.
The Living Room
- Start with the ceiling. Many living rooms have elaborate fixtures which require care in cleaning. Use a safe step-ladder and an extendable duster for these.
- Clean the bookshelves. Remove all books, wipe down, and dust thoroughly.
- Organize the books in a coherent order. Most people go by subject or author and by size within those categories. If you have record or CD collections, you can organize them by genre instead.
- Move the furniture as far away from the walls as possible. Sweep and vacuum behind them.
- Remove each cushion individually. You can bang them by hand or use a specialized brush to get rid of the dust outside the house. Clean under each cushion with a dust buster or the upholstery setting on your vacuums.
- Clean the curtains. Then put in the dryer for 15 minutes on air only to avoid wrinkling.
- Vacuum the rugs. Every rug has individual needs. Some require shampooing, while some oriental rugs (for example) require professional care.
- Clean the washing machine. No, this is not a self-cleaning machine. To prevent foul odors, use a washing machine cleaner.
- Clean the dryer. Hopefully, you already clean out the lint traps regularly. If not, do so now. Then use a dust buster or the crevice feature of your vacuum to clean out any lint remaining in the dryer itself.
- Trim and prune.
- Wash off the patio furniture. Now is the perfect time to use it!
- Remove debris.
- Mow the lawn.
- Make a compost pile.
- Replace mulch and plant fresh flowers.
20 Spring Cleaning Tips
- Don’t forget to clean the doormats. After heavy use in winter, you may want to replace them altogether. The best way to trap dirt and prevent the house from getting dirty in the first place is to place two mats, one on the inside and one on the outside of your home.
- When you clean your windows, never wash them when the sun is shining directly on them. Always clean the windows on the house’s shady side to prevent streaking, then pay attention to the other side when the sun has shifted.
- The microwave can be surprisingly difficult to clean properly. The best way to do it is to put a bowl (a safe one, of course). Fill it with a cup of water and a chopped-up lemon and a few tablespoons of vinegar, and turn the oven on for 5 minutes. Now when you wipe it down, those annoying stains should come right out.
- If you have stainless steel appliances, use a detergent solution and a microfiber cloth. The secret for a beautiful clean finish is to divide the surface into small sections and treat each one thoroughly, rubbing with the grain. Then rinse the area immediately with warm water and dry.
- Think you have to throw out those old cutting boards? Not necessarily! If you rub them with a cut lemon, most stains will just disappear.
- Soak those heavily used pots for a few hours in dish soap and water before scrubbing thoroughly with a scrub sponge. Do you know these incredibly resistant stains that gather on the inside of the pot? Your secret weapon against those is ketchup and salt.
- If you want to get rid of insistent stains on your rug, use shaving cream. First, dab the stain carefully with water. Put shaving cream on the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes before dabbing again. Then spray the stain with a mixture of vinegar and water.
- Make sure to clean toys as well. How? Plastic toys can be placed in the dishwasher and put on a quick cycle. You can also wash most stuffed animals in the washing machine if you place them in a pillowcase and use the gentlest cycle.
- When you clean electronic appliances, it is best to use a two-stage process. First, use a microfiber cloth and then go over the device with Lysol. After drying for 5 minutes, use the fabric again.
- Clean your old coffee mugs from those disgusting, seemingly irremovable brown stains. Apply two-parts water and one part baking soda in the mug and let it sit overnight before rinsing thoroughly.
- Take care of your vacuum cleaner. If it is in good shape, clean it after you are done with spring cleaning. If not, do so before. Caring for your vacuum cleaner means replacing the bag and cleaning the dust cup and filters.
- Defrosting the freezer can be a long process. You can speed it up by using steam. First, unplug your unit and remove all contents. Then line the bottom of the freezer with paper towels. Place some plastic bowls filled with boiling water in the freezer and place them in the freezer. The steam will soon clear your freezer of frost, and it will be ready for you to wipe down.
- One way to save money and be more environmentally friendly is to make your organic cleaning solvent. It is quite simple to do so. Combine three-quarters of a cup of water with three-quarters of a cup of rubbing alcohol. Add up to 10 drops of lemon essential oil. Finally, squirt some organic dish soap into it. The resultant solution is more efficient than most cleaning products.
- Reseal your grout lines. After you have cleaned the grout out, it is time to help maintain it for the following year. Apply a grout sealer with a small foam brush for best results.
- You will be using your sponge a lot. How do you clean it? Fill it with water and place it on a microwave plate. Turn on the oven for two minutes, and harmful bacteria are eliminated.
- Your mop will also be taking on a great deal of disgusting gunk as you go along. When it gets into really bad shape, place it in a bucket with 2 gallons of water and a cup of vinegar. Let it soak for 15 minutes before rinsing the vinegar off.
- The best organic way to clean your garbage disposal is by tossing ice cubes into it while it is running. Follow this with a handful of lemon peels, and you will also get rid of that unpleasant smell.
- Be careful how you clean your fridge. The use of strong detergents can leave a residue that will then be absorbed into your groceries. Instead, put two tablespoons of baking soda in a quart of boiling water. Then dip your sponge into the mix to wipe the fridge clean.
- You may be wondering how to get the residue out of your trusty old coffeemaker. The secret is to turn it and let it go halfway through a cycle. Now introduce half parts water and half parts white vinegar into the machine and complete the cycle. Finally, let the machine run two more only water cycles.
- Finally, you don’t need to use any expensive treatment chemicals on your rugs. All you need to do is sprinkle baking soda on the surface and then vacuum thoroughly for half an hour.
If you follow these steps, you will soon have a clean and lovely house in time for spring. The task is daunting but entirely possible. And remember, once you get it done, you won’t have to do it again for a whole year! So, crank up your favorite playlist and get to it. You can thank us later when your home is spring fresh.