It’s that time of year again! We’ve been waiting for months to feel the sun on our skin and to see the spring’s blooms start to emerge. We’ve been stuck at home longer than normal over the past year, and the need to intensely clean our homes may be a little more apparent this spring.
So how do we ‘spring clean’ our homes, and what’s the difference from a regular routine cleaning? We routinely dust surfaces in our homes, clean the bathrooms and kitchen and sweep and mop the floors, but what about the inside of your appliances, your drapes and shower curtains that have been hanging, unwashed for at least a year or more? Your dusty and grimey doors and baseboards? Your windows? The comforter, shams and pillows that have been on your bed for awhile? Pick a day to do all of these things that don’t get the love in your regular cleaning routine.
To Set Yourself Up For Success
Don’t worry about trying to get your entire home spring-cleaned in one day. Our energy is higher when we get started, but by the time we’ve worked ourselves about a third of the way down the list of things we want to do, that energy has been zapped, and many will just give up or rush through the rest, not giving areas proper attention. For this task, it may be best to just focus on the things that don’t get cleaned in your regular cleaning routine. If you dust your home every week or every other week, leave that task for the next cleaning. For now, make a list of things that don’t normally get done, and map out a course of action.
Set the self-clean function on your oven, if it has one. This won’t be all you have to do to clean the oven, but it’ll make your job much easier once it’s run this cycle, and it’ll help you get the oven more clean than if you hadn’t run it. The time that this takes varies from oven to oven, but it’s often a couple hours, so do this first or the night before.
Remove the bedding from all the beds in your home, remove your shower curtains and drapes- basically anything that needs to be laundered. Pile like-items and start a wash cycle. While your mattresses are bare, sprinkle baking soda on your mattresses, allowing it to soak up any funk while you move onto the next task.
If your blinds are pretty dirty, remove them and put them in hot, soapy water in your bathtub. Allow them to soak a bit to remove stubborn stuck-on grime. This shouldn’t have to be done too often, but if they’ve been neglected for awhile, this is an easier way to get them cleaned. Go handle another task and come back to rinse then wipe them down. Allow your blinds to completely dry before hanging them back in your window. If they aren’t too bad but need cleaning more than just a simple dusting, spray an all-purpose cleaner on a microfiber cloth and wipe both sides.
Clean the inside and outside of your windows. It’s best to start on a shady side of the house, as the sun makes it easier to leave streaks.
Empty all trash cans, then wash the inside and outsides of your trash cans and wastebaskets. Place them outside to dry while you move on.
Use an extension duster to dust the hard-to-reach places that often get neglected. Look up- what do you see that you normally don’t think about? Ceiling vents a little dusty? Be sure to get your fan blades, tops of door trim and doors (the doors get dusty, too!), corners, fixtures, etc.
Wipe down your doors. The trim and edges often get forgotten. Wipe down your baseboards. You can go from room to room, working your way around from the door, then move on to the next room.
Switch out loads of laundry as they finish. Before putting bedding back on your beds, vacuum up the baking soda you sprinkled on your mattresses.
Remove dishes and pots and pans from your cabinets and drawers, and vacuum these areas. If necessary, use an all-purpose cleaner and a few microfiber towels. Now is a great time to wash any dishes that maybe got a little funky in your cabinets if you haven’t used them for awhile.
Once your dishes are clean, clean the inside of your dishwasher. There are cleaning solutions and pods specially formulated for this. You can also run an empty cycle with white vinegar.
When you put your dishes, pots and pans and lids back in your cabinets, be sure to organize them. This includes that cabinet for tupperware (is that still what we call it?).
If your cabinets don’t go all the way to the ceiling, this is a great time to vacuum or wipe down the tops of your cabinets. Use a ladder (don’t climb on your counters) and be careful!
Oven- Return to the oven if the self-cleaning cycle has run. Be sure the oven has had a chance to cool off a bit. If you prefer a more green-cleaning, try making a vinegar and baking soda paste, allow it to sit on problem areas a bit and wipe clean. If the chemicals don’t bother you and maybe you need a deeper clean, a product like EasyOff works really well, but it can get VERY fumey. For super stubborn stuck-on grime, a razor may be used- but VERY careful with this. Always make sure the surface you are scraping is wet, and use your razor at a 45 degree angle.
Refrigerator- Remove everything from your fridge, pull out the shelves and bins, and soak in soapy water in your sink. Wipe down the inside of the fridge, and don’t forget the condiment area- this may be messier than anything else in the fridge. After wiping down the drawers and shelves, make sure everything is dry before you put it back in the fridge and reload.
The front door- Many of us are used to going in and out of our homes through the garage or a side/back door, so you may not notice how cobwebby and dirty your front door is. You can use a broom or an extension duster to knock down cobwebs.
Bookshelves- Dusting usually includes dusting around books, but once a year, it’s a good idea to remove all the books on your shelves and dust/wipe down those shelves.
Washing Machine- Once all of your bedding, drapes and shower curtains are washed, run a wash cycle with vinegar and hot water. Once drained, wipe dry the inside of your washing machine.
Microwave- This should be a weekly or biweekly cleaning item, but if it’s been neglected for awhile, it might need to be added to this list. If you have a lot of stuck-on mess, try microwaving a mug of soapy water for a minute to loosen the gunk on the inside of your microwave then wipe it clean and dry.
Showers- If you are regularly cleaning your showers, there shouldn’t be much buildup. But if you haven’t been intentional in keeping these areas maintained, or if you have really hard water, you may need a little extra elbow-grease and special tools. We like to use Bio-Clean. It’s safer than alternative acid-based cleaners and does a great job. Allow the chemicals to do some of the work for you. If you still have a lot of buildup after using this, try a couple applications. If you still are having issues, depending on the surface of your shower, you may be able to use a razor- again, on a wet surface and at a 45 degree angle. Don’t ever use this on fiberglass or softer surfaces. It can work well on glass and some tile surfaces, but test a small, inconspicuous area, or to play it safe, don’t use the razor and just use a cleaner like Bio-Clean regularly.
Put everything back! Re-line your trash cans and waste baskets and put them back. Re-hang your blinds and curtains, and sleep well in your fresh, clean bedding after a hard-day’s work!
This is a pretty tough day, so it may be best to pick and choose the things that very rarely get done and do those first. The things that get cleaned on a regular basis can be skipped for the next time you do a routine cleaning. Or if this day is just too much, The Dust Devils can do most of the things on this list!