The snow outside is thawing and flowers are in full bloom – Spring has sprung and it’s time to air out our cozy homes, shake off the long winter and usher in the new season!
The arrival of Spring signals another annual milestone – Spring cleaning. While it may seem like a chore, Spring cleaning clears away last year’s dust, lightens up the whole household and gets your family ready for backyard barbecues and soaking up the warm weather.
Here’s our ultimate room-by-room guide on how to tackle spring cleaning. Keep in mind to always start each room from the bottom to the top. You don’t want to mop the floor first, only to make a mess as you clean out cupboards later. To ensure you have your steps in order, make a list of what you need to clean in each room, and number your tasks so you have an organized plan of attack. Cue up a fun playlist of your favorite songs, an audiobook or a podcast, and brew some coffee so you’re energized and ready to roll up your sleeves.
Recruit helping hands from everyone under your roof too; while one person tidies up the bathroom, another could be wiping down the refrigerator. With the entire family’s muscle involved, your house will be spotless in a weekend!
Deep Clean Your Home
Regardless of who is cleaning each room, all walls, baseboards, door frames and vertical surfaces, like light switches, handles and railings need some attention throughout the home.
These details are exactly what Spring cleaning is about – showing some TLC to the parts of your house that are often overlooked. Simply mix warm water with a bit of dishwashing liquid and, with a sponge or a washcloth, give these surfaces a thorough cleaning. You’d be surprised at what accumulates, such as dust and dirt, and how this task alone brightens up the room. Turn to a Magic Eraser to help you gently remove scuffs and stains on your home’s walls and moulding, too.
Remember our pro tip earlier though: save this step for last if you are still tidying up in the space. After you finish decluttering and moving things back to their designated spot, you can focus on the deep clean, including some dusting around objects that are staying in place.
Don’t forget about your windowsills and windows, as Spring is the best time for their deep clean. Try not to clean them on a sunny day though – your cleaning solution will dry quickly, and you may end up with streaks.
Take the rugs and mats throughout your home outside – again, as one of your last steps – and shake them vigorously. If you have new carpets, you may need to get them cleaned professionally at least every 12 to 18 months to maintain their warranty and enhance their appearance. You can get the job done yourself by renting a deep cleaning vacuum.
Now that you are finished here, so be sure to move furniture around to vacuum up any lint or dirt that’s underneath couches, bedframes and appliances.
Curtains and drapes don’t usually get too dirty, but you can decide to dismantle your curtains to shake them out outside, launder them or vacuum them gently.
If your home is lined with hardwood floors, break out the broom and the mop last. Your home will be gleaming from top to bottom, and in every corner of the house.
Freshen Up Your Kitchen
Kitchens are often the focal point of the home and the most used, especially for busy families using the space for cooking, eating, doing homework, or gathering at the start and at the end of a busy day.
Cleaning the kitchen can seem like a gargantuan task but if you break it up into smaller pieces, it’ll be much easier to approach.
Start with your refrigerator, freezer, spice rack and pantry. Give them all an overhaul by taking stock of all of their contents and getting rid of anything that’s expired or not of use to the household.
Before returning your ingredients, wipe down the drawers, shelves and cupboards in your refrigerator, freezer and pantry. You may find with your purge and restock, that you’ve suddenly offloaded a few shelves and cleared up some space. Toss out the box of baking soda in your fridge and replace it with a new one – baking soda helps to absorb all of those odors in your fridge. If you have time, defrost your freezer, too.
Next, move onto your appliances – with your chosen cleaning products or a mixture of baking soda, vinegar and water; it’s time to clean your stovetop, oven, microwave and dishwasher. Across the board, disinfecting wipes are your hero in the kitchen – they do double duty with helping you get rid of bacteria while you lightly scrub surfaces.
When it comes to your dishwasher and oven, look inside of both appliances and assess the damage.
Your oven may come with a handy self-cleaning or steam-cleaning cycle feature. In this case, it heats up for hours at a time. Let it cool down, then wipe away anything that’s incinerated or left behind. If you prefer to clean your oven yourself, spray on a product like Easy Off, wait for about 30 minutes to let it do its job and loosen up the grime. Then use a handful of washcloths soaked in warm water to help you degrease the oven from all of the roast chicken drippings and juices that may have spilled over and collected on the racks and at the bottom. Whichever route you go, it’s worth the effort – a sparkly clean oven is so rewarding.
For your dishwasher, you can use a cleaning tablet like Cascade and run an empty load so your clean can focus on removing trapped particles, mineral build-up, and residue from your detergent pods. Hopefully, you’re cleaning your dishwasher about once a month. You can see a stark difference after a deep clean; you won’t have any odors and your glassware is spotless and without residue.
Unlock and remove the filter in your dishwasher (turn to your manual if you need help locating it). Give it a cleaning under hot running water and scrub the mesh screen with a soft toothbrush before popping it back in place.
There are loads of easy to miss and hard to reach spots in the kitchen. Don’t forget to:
- Degrease the backsplash (the amount of oil and grease that collects will surprise you!)
- Wipe down the seal on your fridge and freezer
- Wipe down high surfaces, like on top of your fridge, microwave and range hood
- Remove the dirt and grease that’s accumulated on the windows of your microwave and oven, sometimes clouding your view when you’re peering in
- Wash or replace your kitchen dish rags and tablecloths
- Dust your ceiling fan
Finally, clean your countertop. After the winter months of hibernating, you may have mail, books, magazines, hot chocolate or other goodies stashed on the kitchen counter and table. Reboot and clear out this communal space so it’s ready for springtime usage.
Sanitize Your Bathroom
Like your kitchen, you’ll need to get down and dirty a bit to get your bathroom gleaming. Start your bathroom deep clean by combing through all of the personal care products in there, making sure you throw out expired makeup, medication and other items that are no longer of use to you and your family members.
You may have a collection of shampoo bottles, old razors, and half used body washes that need to be discarded.
Now it’s time to get those rubber gloves on: spray your sink with a product that’s specifically targeting limescale and scrub the area to remove any build-up and stains. If your stains are staying put, you can spot treat areas with fresh lemon or a mixture of baking soda and water. Do some research so you’re treating your sink according to what it’s made of, though. Granite, copper, porcelain and ceramic sinks all require different care.
Bathtubs and shower curtains can get gross with soap scum, mineral deposit, body oil, mold and mildew if you aren’t cleaning your bathroom regularly. Clear out the space from any bath toys for your kids, shampoo bottles and loofahs. Dispose of old shower curtains.
Pour hot water all over your tube then sprinkle baking soda across the entire surface. If you have an extra filthy tub, you may need to rely on a tub-specific cleaner instead. Next, use a concoction of hot water, lemon and dish soap and dip a scrubbing sponge into the mixture and scrub your bathtub. Empty the soapy water into the tub when you’re done and give your bathtub a thorough rinse.
If you still see dirty spots, you’ll need to scrub harder or use a dirt removal product designed for bathtubs. When you’re finished cleaning your tub, shift your efforts to your tub’s faucet, drain and handles. Clean them with soap and water and dry them off a soft cloth.
Clean your toilet as you normally would, using a toilet cleaner product and a toilet brush.
If you have tiles, you’ll need to give the grout a good scrubbing with products like CLR, Clorox or Lysol hydrogen peroxide. Let the product sit on the grout for about 10 minutes so it can do its job, and you’ll find scrubbing much easier. Your bathroom should be spotless and smell lemony fresh.
Declutter Your Bedrooms
Put each person in charge of channelling their inner Marie Kondo when it comes to their individual bedrooms.
With the basics like cleaning walls, baseboards, light fixtures and surfaces already on the cleaning to-do list, each person needs to take inventory of their clothing, books and other knick-knacks around their bedroom. Are they still of use to you or is it time to let go?
Your closet is the focus here. For starters, swap out your winter gear, like bulky sweaters and warm coats that take up loads of closet space for layers and lighter clothing. While you’re adjusting your closet for the changing seasons, make a pile of clothing for donations and another for seasonal gear that needs to go into storage. You may need to make a third pile for items to toss too – not everything can be donated. Go through your dresser and throw out any socks with holes, or a missing half, and take stock of your shoes, too.
Organize your closet so it’s easy for you to use. Transparent bins, baskets and hanging compartments to stash undergarments are really handy so each piece of clothing has a designated home and you can pull together outfits without having to rummage through drawers and hangers.
Wash all of your linens, like your sheets, pillows, duvets and bed skirts. Flip your mattress, and get your bed ready again with all of your fresh linens. You’ll sleep like a baby after!
Tidy up your nightstand, too. You may decide you want to invest in a trendy sunrise light wake-up alarm clock, a silk sleeping mask or in new iPhone chargers. Whatever it is, your refresh will ensure you have everything you need at your bedside.
Do some decluttering and tidying up in your living room, too. This includes laundering couch cushion covers and blankets, sanitizing remote controls and wiping down electronics like your television.
Get Your Office Organized
While your home office may not need the same elbow grease and grunt work as your bathroom or kitchen, it still needs some attention. We’re all guilty of letting old bank statements and unopened junk mail pile up. Now’s the time to hunker down and sort through all of your files.
Organize your documents, hanging onto records you want to keep with a filing system that works best for you. This could mean filing everything in paper copies, shifting to digital only, or a combination of both. Shred any private documents you don’t intend on keeping, as well as anything with your full name and address on it.
This goes for your email too – what better time to read unopened emails and unsubscribe from anything that’s no longer relevant to you? With our digital identities in full swing, backup your smart phone and any important files on your computer or laptop.
Repair, Refresh and Replace
Whichever room you’re in, you may be inspired to redecorate and change things up a bit. Some things may need to be fixed or repaired – from uneven chair legs to a rip in your kid’s favorite pair of jeans. Others may need to be refreshed, like a chip in the paint or new family photos on your wall.
Finally, others may need to be replaced altogether. Springtime may be a great opportunity to breathe new life into your home, from sprucing up the walls with a fresh coat of paint in a new color, buying new bedsheets or investing in a new collection of dishware. In other cases, you may be craving big changes like renovating your basement, adding a backyard deck and patio set, or adding an extension to your home.
Take stock of what needs to be repaired, what needs to be refreshed and what needs to be replaced. Make a list of your ideas and consider what’s feasible in your budget.
Double Check All Your Safety Measures
You want peace of mind so that if things go wrong, you have a safety net in place to protect your home and your loved ones. Your Spring cleaning should involve testing your fire alarm and your carbon monoxide detector and replacing batteries, if needed.
You can also check on the home security alarm and sprinkler system if you have one. These safety measures will put a dent on your insurance premiums, as you’re doing your due diligence to look after your home.
Inspect your fire extinguisher by checking that the gauge shows adequate pressure and is still within the expiration date. You also need to check your first aid, disaster preparedness kits, and update your In Case of Emergency (ICE) list. Make sure it’s in an easy-to-access area in your home, like on your fridge or your front doorway.
Get Your Home’s Exterior Ready for a Closeup
With another winter behind us, your home’s exterior can’t hide behind snow and Christmas lights anymore. It’s time to clean up after the winter season and show some love to the outside of your home, too.
Each Spring, get into the habit of checking your gutters and cleaning out any leaves and debris so you won’t face any drainage issues. While you’re up there, inspect your roof for any damaged shingles or leaks. If you can’t safely do this on your own, hire a professional to have a peek at your roof and chimney.
Take care of the perimeter of your home by trading in your snow-blower and shovel for a lawn mower and rake. Make sure your lawn is nice and tidy, tend to your garden and plant some fresh flowers and foliage to frame your house.
Finally, pull the look together by polishing your windows and window frames and give your front door and garage a fresh coat of paint if they need it.
Your home should now be sparkling from the inside and out. Kick back, relax, and enjoy!
Carmen Chai is an award-winning Canadian journalist who has lived and reported from major cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, London and Paris. For NewHomeSource, Carmen covers a variety of topics, including insurance, mortgages, and more.