Ready to make your home a fresh and organized space but don’t know where to start? Our guide will help you get things whipped into shape faster than ever. Click below if you would like our one-page checklist spring cleaning guide.
Good housekeeping starts with a good plan. This is extra true when you have big projects you are trying to tackle. Before you know it, you’ll have peace of mind AND a home that’s as sparkling and refreshed as a spring morning.
Is Spring Cleaning the Same as Deep Cleaning?
As the name suggests, spring cleaning happens in the spring. Deep cleaning can be done anytime during the year. That said, some tasks are typical of both cleanings.
Why Should You Spring Clean Your Home?
So, why even bother with a deep clean at the end of winter? Well, here are just a few of the many reasons that it is worth the effort. With the weather warming, it’s a great time to:
- Make sure that your home is safe
- Get rid of winter’s dirt and debris
- Reduce stress and increase productivity by creating a more organized living space
- Enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done and
Getting rid of all the junk has a positive impact on our mental health and overall well-being. So, think of spring cleaning as a therapy for your home – and your soul!
The Spring Cleaning Roadmap
Alright, you probably have a good idea of what you want to get done. But before you dig out your vacuum’s crevice tool, let’s make a plan.
Without a clear roadmap, important things can slip through the cracks. The key is to prioritize the ‘need to get done’ tasks over the ‘nice to get done’ tasks.
Here is our spring cleaning list to help you get clear before you start. Good housekeeping starts with a good plan. So put on your favorite music playlist, grab your lucky cleaning cloth, and let’s get to it!
Start With Safety & Wellness
Sure, there are lots of places you can start. Conventional wisdom may suggest the kitchen is the spot to start. Not a bad idea. But we think the most essential items of the deep clean are those that impact safety or wellness and safety.
Of course, some of those are in the kitchen, so there you go.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
So, you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Do they work? Let’s make sure they are doing their job. What does that mean? Two things:
- Replace the batteries in all detectors
- After replacing the batteries, test each detector
For the price of a few 9-volt batteries and the pain of enduring a few seconds of ear-splitting alarm tests, you will be protected. And you’ll have the first checkmark on your checklist, so way to go!
Sanitize Frequently Used Surfaces
Of course, you should regularly clean surfaces that get a lot of use such as your counters, bathtub, and toilet. Now it’s time to sanitize.
Your toilet and tub can just be wiped with Clorox or other sanitizing wipes. Now, some people just use soapy water or even glass cleaner on toilets. Those are fine for general cleaning, but neither is generally anti-viral.
For the record, we think the top of the toilet tank is a great place to keep Clorox wipes or some other easy-to-use cleanser. We like to simplify the cleaning process for the toilet, something we like to keep clean. But that’s just us.
For other common surface materials, you need to stay away from wipes. This is particularly true for porous, natural rock materials, like granite and marble, and wood products. The acids in Clorox wipes can even damage non-porous manufactured quartz.
So, what’s the answer? The first step is picking the right cleaner. We recommend you take a pass on many expensive specialty cleanser. Some of those can actually harm your granite, so be careful.
For granite countertops, Bob Vila recommends a cleaner with three simple ingredients. Mix 1/4 cup of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, four drops of liquid dish soap, and one quart of warm water. Using dish soap can break up grease while the alcohol sanitizes the surface.
Use a spray bottle to spray the surface. If you don’t have a spray bottle handy, just use a clean cloth or wet sponge. Let the solution work its magic for five minutes or so. Then wipe with a microfiber cloth to dry and polish the countertops.
If your kitchen has butcher block counters, white vinegar is your secret weapon. Don’t dilute it. Use the same cleaning process. Just spray your cleaner or use a sponge or cleaning cloth to apply the cleaner. Let it sit for about 15 minutes before you wipe the surface dry with your trusty microfiber cloth.
Feeling even more ambitious? The folks at HGTV recommend using dish soap, salt, and lemon juice for a counter with a stain or two.
You Spend 1/3 Your Life There, So…
For most of us, there is no other spot we spend more hours than in bed. Celebrate spring by giving your pillows and comforter a well-deserved spa day. Unlike pillowcases and sheets, deciding to wash our fluffy sleeping accessories makes for a project.
Some people don’t clean their bedding for years. Bad idea. Unhealthy items, like dead skin, dust mites, etc., can gather in our bedding. With winter blankets soon giving way to warmer weather, now it’s time to take on the task.
Make sure you wash according to the care instruction label. These will often call for cold water and no drying. Unless you want to get rid of your bedding, make sure. you follow what the label says.
Deep Clean the Fridge
Okay, now back to the kitchen, and let’s turn to your refrigerator. Sure, it’s great to polish the stainless steel door and wipe down the interior but if you haven’t done so for a while, let’s do a deep clean.
Spills from different foods are the ingredients for an effective bacterial breading ground. A deep cleaning will take care of that.
The first step is removing all the bins and shelves. Next, wash everything using liquid dish soap and hot water. Use a toothpick or sharp knife for the dirt and debris stuck in corners. For glass shelves with a stubborn spot or two, try glass cleaner.
The next step is to mix one part white vinegar and one part water. Cold or warm is fine. There is no need for hot water. Wipe down the bins and shelves as well as the interior surfaces to sanitize.
Furnace Air Filters
Part of good housekeeping is staying on top of regular maintenance. If it has been more than a few months since you last changed your furnace air filters, let’s get it done. Regularly changing these air filters helps improve home air quality and protects expensive heating and cooling systems. Plus, it’s the easiest checkmark on the list!
Be careful moving the old air filters to the trash. They are likely filled with all sorts of dirt and debris that you already removed from your air. Don’t put it back! The easiest solution is to bring a garbage bag with you. That way you just drop the air filters right into the garbage bag when you take them out.
Move Your MVTs to the Top of the List
Alright, now that you’ve checked off the essentials, now choose your MVTs – Most Valuable Tasks. Make sure you get your MVTs checked off the list before turning to tasks that are not as important to you.
Here are the MVTs that we have found provide the ‘biggest bang for the buck’ in terms of how long they take.
Simplify & Organize
This is as close to an Essential as you can get. We love to use spring cleaning to identify things that no longer bring us value and find a new home for them. Whether it’s taking it to a thrift shop, having a garage sale, or putting it in the trash, simplify your life by getting rid of what you don’t need.
Once you’ve done that, spend time organizing what is left. Find a spot for frequently used items near where they’re used. Stash those once-a-year items where they’re out of sight – and out of mind – until you need them.
Don’t let the organizing overwhelm you because it can. Be intentional in ordering your household items to fit the ideal lifestyle you are working to create.
It’s amazing how much dust can build up, even in the home of a regular duster. So get your duster ready and dust everything. Here are some items that are easy to neglect.
- Light fixtures
- Ceiling fans
- Picture frames
- Door frames
- Etc., etc., etc.
Think About the Sink
Spring cleaning is a great time to do a little sink maintenance in the kitchen and bathroom. The goal is to reduce the risks of clogs, drain flies, and ‘sink stink.’ Here are a few tools and tips to attack this chore.
- Use a plastic drain snake to remove hair and other debris. They are cheap and easy to use.
- Use a commercial product like Drano® Max Build-Up Remover to clean the pipes. This will also generally kill any drain flies.
- Here’s one that may be a bit controversial but one that we’ve used for years without any issues. Boil some water and carefully pour it down each drain. We love using our electric tea kettle for this — it’s faster and safer than a pan. Full disclosure: some people claim that it is hard on the pipes, but we have never had a problem.
Wash the Washers
Easily clean and sanitize your washing machine (your clothes will love you) and dishwasher with the same two basic household ingredients.
- Pour one cup of baking soda into the washer drum.
- Run the empty washing machine on its hottest cycle
- When complete, add one cup of white vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser (often next to where you add laundry detergent)
- Run the empty washing machine one more time on its hottest cycle
- Pour one cup of baking soda on the base of the dishwasher
- Run the empty dishwasher for a regular cycle
- Put one cup of white vinegar into a mug and place it upright on the top tray of the dishwasher
- Run the empty dishwasher for another regular cycle
If your dishwasher or other appliances are stainless steel, nothing stands out like a spot or two. Might as well grab a clean cloth and take care of those as well.
Just Say No to Microwave Gunk
Start by using dish soap and warm water to clean the outside.
For the inside, put one cup of water and the juice of a lemon or lime. Turn on high power for five minutes. Let sit for another five minutes before opening the door. Wipe out with a cloth or sponge.
A tough stain might take another pass or try a paste of baking soda and water. Use a bit of elbow grease and then rinse with clean water.
Don’t Forget the Oven
A self-cleaning oven does make this easier. It’s still one of our least favorite tasks if we let things get out of hand.
There are lots of commercial products that work just great but are super harsh. If you like using these products, have at it.
We stick with products that are less toxic and that we have around the house. We start with liquid dish soap and hot water for general cleaning. We turn to our baking soda paste if we find a tough stain.
Though we have not yet tried it, [Whirlpool, which knows a thing or two about appliances, recommends laundry detergent](https://www.whirlpool.com/blog/kitchen/how-to-clean-an-oven.html#:~:text=Soak the oven racks&text=Fill with enough hot water,the dirtiness of the racks.).
Vacuums Aren’t Just For Floors
You vacuum your carpet to freshen them up. Why not your upholstery? While you’re at it, what about your drapes and curtains? You may have a wand on your vacuum. You might as well use it. This is an often overlooked way to really freshen up the room.
Deep Clean Your Carpets
Alright, this one is going to involve some expense so consult your budget. Ideally you would have a professional carpet cleaner come in once a year to steam clean your carpets. This is not cheap and may not be possible for you.
A lower cost option is to rent a carpet cleaner and clean your carpets yourself. This still can cost a bit and will take you a lot of time. That said, regularly cleaning your carpet, along with regularly vacuuming, is the best way to extend the life of carpets.
Now Clean your Vacuums
You’ve cleaned your upholstery, drapes, and maybe even your carpets. How about your vacuum? Of course you need to regularly change the bag or empty the dust cup.
But today, turn it over and look at the roller brush. If you have anyone in your home with long hair, prepare yourself. If you haven’t done if for a while, your might be staring at a rats nest.
Carefully use a pair of scissors or utility knife and a bit of elbow grease to remove whatever you find there. Yes, it’s not an easy job and can be a bit nasty, but a clean brush roller is awfully satisfying.
Plus it will extend the life of you vacuum belts and motor so you’re saving yourself frustration and money down the road. Way to go!
Flip That Mattress
Not all mattresses need it, but many innerspring mattresses need to be regularly flipped to reduce the risk of sagging. Spring’s a great time to do it. But mattresses are heavy, so get the help you need to make sure you don’t get yourself in trouble.
Now For the Rest of Your Spring Cleaning Checklist
So, you’ve made it through the Essentials and your MVTs (Most Valuable Tasks). Do you still have the time and energy to tackle more projects?
Good, there’s a lot more you can do. Take a look at our Deep Clean Checklist for a full list of your options. But, here are a few tips on how to decide what to do next.
What Is Really Bugging You
Most of us have things that find annoying or that gross us out. For some, it might be hard water buildup on and around faucets. For others, it might be fingerprints on walls and around doors or the gunk (and lost clothes) that gathers under the washer or dryer. What are yours? Whatever they are, identify them and take care of them next.
Pick the Rooms You Most Want Clean
We never know when we’re going to run out of time and energy, so work where it matters most. The answer may not be obvious, but give it some thought.
There is a room in your house (or maybe your garage or yard) that, if clean, will give you more peace than anywhere else. Find it and clean it. Don’t get distracted by other rooms until it’s clean.
Let the Sunshine In – One of Our Favorites
There’s no better way to watch the beauty of spring than through freshly cleaned windows. Alright, we admit that we may find more pleasure in clean windows than most.
But we believe everyone will find a little more connection to the great outdoors if they can see the great outdoors more clearly.
Here are a few ideas that might help. First, try to avoid cleaning windows in direct sunlight and when it’s too hot (or too cold). This will just help you a streak-free shine.
Second, a lot of people use a little liquid dish soap and water. The soapy water helps with built up dirt, but leaves a residue. We have better luck using a window cleaner.
Third, some people use a regular cleaning cleaning cloth to try and get rid of the streaks. While cleaning cloths are indispensable other places, they don’t belong on your window, unless it’s just to hit a particularly tough spot.
While a squeegee is the tool of choice for pros, paper towels or old newspapers work as well.
Also, it’s worth taking just a few extra minutes to wash the blinds and clean out the window tracks. You’re there with cleaning supplies anyway so you might as well get that checked off your list as well.
Spring Cleaning Guide Wrap up
As with anything in life, the goal with spring cleaning is to make it intentional. Seeing a long cleaning checklist can be overwhelming.
The purpose of our guide is to help you do the most important things first. Do this and you can make real progress without all the stress. Click here to get our one-page summary of our guide.
Now go and enjoy this amazing season!