Keeping your home spotlessly clean year round is a goal that many aspire to, but few achieve. After all, who’s got time to put in hours scrubbing floors and getting into all the small spaces where dirt gets trapped on a regular basis? Enter, spring cleaning! Spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition, where homes and apartments get the extra attention to detail and care that might be missing the rest of the year. It’s a great time to not only clean surfaces and areas you don’t usually have a chance to get to, but also to get organized and de-clutter. So, check The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist.
Image: Carolina Storm
The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Checklist
Living in a clean home is a great feeling, but it can be hard to know exactly where to start. How you choose to schedule your spring cleaning tasks will be unique to your own schedule and lifestyle. If you’re busy all week with work, consider blocking off a few weekend days in the spring and create a list of tasks to get done on those days. Or, maybe you’ve got some unused vacation. While cleaning your home may not sound like a vacation, the great feeling you get afterwards might be worth it to you. However you decide to use the time when you clean, we’ve got the best spring cleaning tips to help you make the most of your efforts. Keep in mind that this is a general list, and feel free to add or subtract tasks to tailor it to what works best for your family.
GATHER THE SUPPLIES
First off, you’ll want to inventory and gather the cleaning supplies you need to get your spring cleaning tasks done. It’s inefficient, not to mention annoying, to have to stop midway through a day of cleaning to run out and purchase sponges or cleaning liquid. So, first stop on your list should be to take a look at the cleaning supplies you have, organize and throw away as necessary and renew your stock. Don’t forget things the gloves!
CLEAN WALLS, BASEBOARDS, AND CEILINGS
If you’re like most people, these are areas of the home that only get this kind of attention once a year. Spot clean any wall stains with a gentle cleaner and a sponge or microfiber rag. Be careful to use cleaning fluids that are safe for paint. If you’re uncertain, you can test a tiny spot in an inconspicuous area of a wall. You’ll also want to get down and dust the baseboards. You’ll be surprised at how much cleaner a room feels when you’ve eliminated all that dust. Ceilings can be cleaned with a long-handled duster. Simply run it across the corners, and anywhere else that you see dust.
DEEP CLEAN RUGS AND UPHOLSTERY
If you have carpeting or rugs, now is the time to give them a nice, deep clean. For relatively new furniture or rugs, you might be able to simply spot clean them with a dry treatment. Some cleaners will actually dry on the rugs, and can then be vacuumed up. However, you should consider giving your carpet a deep clean with a carpet cleaning machine that will dispense liquid and vacuum up the excess fluid. You can rent these carpet cleaning machines at many supermarkets and other retail locations, or have a professional cleaning service do this for you. Furniture can also be cleaned with carpet cleaning machines.
DUST YOUR ENTIRE HOME
No matter how clean your home is, the fact is that dust will accumulate. You might be surprised at how many surfaces in your house need dusting. When dusting shelves, pick up all the items on the shelf and dust beneath them. You’ll also want to dust the items themselves before replacing them. Pay special attention to areas of your home that are up high and do not get regular attention, such as the top of shelves, entertainment centers, and cabinets. If dusting wood, you can use a dusting cleaner or simply dry dust. Don’t forget to dust the blades of ceiling fans and the area around your ceiling light fixtures while you are at it.
WASH YOUR WINDOWS
While windows are regularly washed, a solid once-over will get them sparkling. You’ll want to use a glass cleaner and a soft cloth to wipe down all of the glass. If you have double-pane windows, you can open the windows up to the inside to thoroughly wipe down both sides of the glass. To get the windows really clean, use an all-purpose cleaner to wipe down the frames and the windowsills, as well. Depending upon what type of window treatments you have in your home, you might also want to take down and wash any curtains or drapes, and do an extra-thorough cleaning of plastic or wooden blinds.
CLEAN OUT CABINETS
This is a big task, so you might want to carve out a bit of time to tackle it. Cleaning out kitchen and bathroom cabinets is about both wiping down surfaces and organizing at the same time, so you will definitely feel like you have accomplished something by the time you’re done with this job! To clean out kitchen cabinets, remove the items from one cabinet at a time. This allows you to quickly survey what you do and don’t have. While the items are out of the cabinet, you can then wipe down the inside.
After you’ve cleaned the inside and door of the cabinet, go through the items before putting them back inside. For food, check if anything is expired, if packaging is torn or otherwise unusable. Throw out anything that is total trash – or better still, compost it! This will also give you a chance to see what you are low on, and to purchase new spices or ingredients if needed.
For bathroom cabinets, the method is the same. Pull everything out of the cabinet, so that you can see what you have. Wash the cabinet, top to bottom and then inventory the contents. Pay special attention to medications, throwing out any that are out of date. Keep in mind that some cosmetics also have a shelf life, and you should consider throwing out any old, discolored, or out of date makeup while you are cleaning.
TAKE A CLOTHING INVENTORY
Spring cleaning is a great time to clean out closets and de-clutter your wardrobe! The best method of cleaning out and organizing any closet space is to remove all the items from it, so that you can see what you have to work with – both in terms of space, and of what you own. When sorting clothing, consider whether an item fits well and is worn regularly. Special event outfits are a different story, but you should still consider whether or not this is something that you will be using again.
When replacing items back in the closet, come up with a scheme to organize like items, whether you prefer to put together outfits or to simply put shirts with shirts, pants with pants, etc. You can donate items that you no longer use to local organizations such as women’s shelters or thrift stores. Be sure that items for donation are usable, clean, and in good condition. Fold them carefully, and place them in bags or boxes to be donated. It’s best to wait until you are finished with spring cleaning to deliver the donations, in case you come across other house items along the way.
DEEP CLEAN YOUR APPLIANCES
Odds are that your kitchen appliances could use a little extra TLC. This is a great time to clean the oven, and thoroughly wipe down your fridge, freezer, stove, and dishwasher. Ovens should be cleaned only with chemicals that are made for that purpose. Many newer ovens have cleaning settings that will heat up the oven to a specific temperature and put it through a cleaning cycle. It’s important to follow directions exactly.
Cleaning out the fridge is another big job, so you’ll want to allow some time to take care of it. In order to properly clean the fridge, you will want to remove everything from it and wipe down all drawers, shelves and walls of the appliance. Any multi-purpose cleaner will work, but if you have any stubborn spills or grease, you may want to use a citrus cleaner or something a bit stronger, such as Goo-B-Gone.
The easiest way to deep clean produce drawers is to place them in the sink and fill with hot water and all purpose cleaner, then scrub and dry after. Magic Erasers are also great for removing any stubborn or sticky fridge/freezer spills. Be sure to throw out any out-of-date food before you return it all to the refrigerator!
How To Clean A Dishwasher
While cleaning in the kitchen, you can also freshen up your dishwasher, and even your garbage disposal. Dishwasher cleaner tabs can be run through a dishwasher on a regular cleaning cycle to remove any buildup or odor. You can also purchase scented garbage disposal beads to drop into your sink. They work to dissolve built-up grime and add a neutralizing scent.
Planning and getting started on cleaning is often half the battle. Once you’ve created a plan for cleaning your home, you can move forward, knowing that you’ll soon enjoy the rewards of a sparkling clean abode!