Once the winter has moved along, create the feeling of a fresh start by spring cleaning thoroughly. Don’t let the prospect intimidate you. The following tips will make the process a lot smoother and swifter.
Cleaning in preparation for a move? Get in touch with Tippet-Richardson for more great advice!
Make sure the right tools and equipment are on-hand. Clean out the vacuum cleaner and replace the bag, if necessary. If that broom or mop has seen better days, now’s the time to replace the head! Have a good stock of rags ready to use, and be sure to choose natural cleaning products to keep that home as healthy as possible. You’ll find that basic products, such as white vinegar and baking soda, are capable of most cleaning tasks, and cost a lot less than harsher chemicals.
The task of cleaning an entire home can be daunting. One way to leap this mental hurdle is to go through the home, front to back, in the same way that a visitor might walk through. Sprucing up the entryway gives a great first impression to guests and also provides a nice welcome home each day.
Shake out the doormat and sweep or vacuum away all the dust. Wash the floor underneath the mat, and also the front door, with soapy water. (Whilst cleaning your home, keep note of any items that need repainting or replacing.)
Starting at the top, means any dust and debris that falls down won’t end up landing on something that’s already been cleaned. Using a step-ladder, begin by dusting fans or light-fittings (being cautious to turn off the power, if getting up close and personal is required). The ceiling can then be washed with soapy water, keeping the cloth well wrung-out, so that drips are minimized.
Sunlight can cause streaking on freshly washed windows, so choose an overcast day for this task. Wash any significant grime with a sponge and soapy water first. Then, using a 50:50 solution of white vinegar and water, spray windows and wipe dry with a cloth, a squeegee, or even go old-school with some torn up newspaper. (Top tip: if the ink from the paper comes off onto fingers, it will do the same to windows. Not all newspapers are good for this purpose!)
Dust and wipe down any blinds or similar window coverings, and wash curtains, paying careful attention to the type of fabric they’re made of. Whilst some may be fine in the washing machine and dryer, many require handwashing in cold water, and air-drying, or dry-cleaning only.
Wash walls, doors, and baseboards with soapy water and a cloth, whilst progressing from room to room. Over time, walls pick up dust, splatters, and general grime, often without us noticing. Dust and wipe down artwork and think about updating any picture frames, etc. that aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as they once were.
Pull out big furniture and dust, wash, and vacuum behind it. Dust and tidy bookshelves, toy bins, and display cases, taking the chance to pull out anything that’s ready for donation.
It’s important to clean remote controls and phones regularly. As they’re in frequent use, they often harbour bacteria. Take the batteries out, if possible, to begin. Using a soft, cotton cloth, or a cotton swab, dipped in a small amount of rubbing alcohol, wipe down the remote or phone, gently. An alcohol-soaked q-tip can then be used to clean in-between the buttons, if necessary.
Wash cushions and covers, according to the care instructions, and steam-clean soft furniture, such as couches or armchairs. (Steam-cleaners can often be rented from hardware stores, if not already owned.)
- Microwave – place a cup of water and some slices of citrus fruit (or a few teaspoons of white vinegar) in a microwave-safe bowl, and turn the microwave on for several minutes, until it looks steamy in there. Allow to cool, then wipe the inside clean with a cloth.
- Oven – an appliance with a reputation for being a pain to clean. Here are some tips on battling it, from thekitchn.
- Stove hood – turning the oven fan on whilst cooking will reduce the amount of humidity in the home and also the amount of greasy vapors, but that hood needs to be cleaned regularly, for health and for safety. Over to epicurious.
- Fridge – harmful bacteria can build up in the fridge, so regular washing is a must. Take the opportunity to throw out anything past its use-by date, and wash the inside of the fridge gently with warm soapy water.
- Freezer – depending on the type of freezer in question, advice may vary. Merry Maids have this to say on the matter.
- Dishwasher – Check here for tips on how to keep the dishwasher in good condition.
- Washing machine – some machines have a special setting for self-cleaning but, otherwise, clean off any visible grime or buildup with soapy water, then run the machine empty on a hot cycle with 2 cups of white vinegar thrown in. Run one more empty hot wash, without vinegar, and it’s done.
- Dryer – this can be a pretty big fire risk, if poorly maintained, so make sure the lint trap is emptied after every load. Here‘s some great advice on keeping the lint under control.
- Sink – pour half a cup of salt down the drain, then follow with a couple of litres of boiling water (be careful!). This will help to shift any greasy buildup that might be taking place, out of view.
- Cabinets – grime builds up on kitchen surfaces without being noticed. Use soap and water to clean down cabinet doors and shelves regularly.
- Pans – greasy buildup on pans can usually be cleaned off with baking soda and a scouring pad. Stubborn stains may benefit from leaving a baking soda solution (4 tablespoons baking soda in half a cup of water) on them for several hours before washing off.
- Chopping boards – freshen up that chopping board by rubbing a cut lemon over the surface.
- Grocery bags – we all love a good tote, but run them through the laundry every once in a while, to make sure they stay hygienic.
- Junk drawer – the haven of weird and wonderful things that don’t have a better place to go, the junk drawer can quickly become a mess. Sort through it, and consider using an organiser to separate the more common items that end up there. Even a couple of small Tupperware containers can make the junk drawer a lot more bearable.
- Here are some tips from Martha Stewart herself, on how to get the bathroom into good shape and, better still, keep it that way.
- Makeup/toiletries – throw out any expired toiletries, makeup (and, more importantly, medication!). Use liquid soap to clean makeup brushes, before rinsing thoroughly and leaving to dry.
- Pillows and comforters should be washed every few months, not just the covers, to reduce dust and other allergens.
- Mattresses too should be cleaned properly and regularly, to keep them healthy. Here are some tips on how.
- Closet – remove all the items and dust / clean out each closet. Then, whilst putting items back in, think about whether it’s time to donate any of them. (Winter items that won’t be needed for a long time could be stored separately, to open up some space.)
- Purses and bags in regular use can become quite unhygienic. Empty them out and either wash or wipe down, depending on care instructions. Rubbing alcohol used sparingly, is a good option here, unless there’s a chance it will damage the finish on the bag. Then, be ruthless about what goes back into the bag.
Sweep and mop hard floors, being careful to take extra care with the grain of wood floors, which might appreciate a polish or wax job. Steam-clean area rugs and carpets.
Catch a breath of fresh air, sweep the deck or pavers, wash garden furniture with soapy water, and maybe start planning what to plant this year.