They call it spring cleaning but really its more like “when you have time cleaning”. Maintaining a home takes work and some planning whether its spring or not. We have compiled a list of areas to focus on with some tips to help get you going. The more you put into keeping your home clean the healthier, happier, more organized you will be and not to mention regular maintenance helps keep your home in good shape.
“My idea of superwoman is someone who scrubs her own floors.” — Bette Midler
Kitchen and Laundry
This is always one of the areas of the home that seems to need the most attention. With all the cooking, dirty clothes and general activity it is always ready for a quick extra clean up.
Your dishwasher works hard every day to clean off all kind of food particles from your dishes. It also needs to keep clean. Be sure to clean out food from the bottom that maybe stuck and then check out some of the available speciality cleansers you can use during a cycle to help keep everything clean and in good working order.
Those beautiful granite countertops need to be maintained. Its important they are sealed when you first get them and then seal them annually. If you don’t your at risk of permanent stain damage.
Depending on how your cabinets are configured and their location relative to your oven and stove exhaust and cooking surfaced, you can have build up of grease and other cooking residue. You can use kitchen cabinet cleaners and creams to remove the grease and protect your cabinets.
Oven and Stove
Does your oven start to smell sometimes when you are cooking? You might have loose food particles that need to be cleaned up. You can clean it your self by removing the burnt food and using a combination of ammonia, baking soda and vinegar (check with your stove manufacturer first). Once you removed any food that is easy to clean then spray with ammonia. After than sprinkle on some baking soda and add a couple of drops of white vinegar. Once it bubbles and froths up you can wipe away the grime with a towel or sponge. Alternatively most modern ovens have a cleaning cycle you can run as well.
Stainless Steel Appliances
You want to keep your stainless steel looking bright and clean. There are many specialty sprays available on the market to use – make sure you get into those harder to reach places and really polish up your appliances to look great.
Refrigerator and Freezers
We need to also ensure we keep the inside of our refrigerators and freezers clean. The first step is to pull out your fridge’s interior shelving. Then give them a good wash. Wipe down the inside as well. You can even use a vacuum carefully to pull out food particles in those hard to reach places.
Washing Machine and Dryer
Just about everything you and your family wears goes through your washing machine. Don’t wash your clothes in dirty machine. Its important to maintain your washing machine properly. You can disinfect it with distilled white vinegar and baking soda to eliminate any odors or mildew. This is simple to do by running it with hot water and adding the cleaning items. Then let it sit with the water in it for half an hour to an hour then restart and let the cycle finish. Be sure to wipe down the washer when your done.
Brooms and Cleaning Equipment
Your brooms, mops, dusters should all be cleaned every so often. Take your broom and hose it off or use your vacuum to suck up any dirt that might be stuck. Similarly your mop can use a good spray down. You can also give your dusters an extra good shake down outside to help remove any stuck on dirt.
Bathrooms, Bedrooms and Closets
Depending on how you use your bedrooms they often double as office space, storage areas and more. Its also where we sleep and bathe so cleaning is always a must!
Bedding and Mattresses
Washing sheets is second nature but you also need to regularly clean your other bedding such as your comforter, mattress protector pillow shams, etc. Depending on the manufacturer you may need to dry clean them. The perfect time to pay attention to what’s under your bedding? When your sheets and comforter are being washed too. Use your vacuum’s crevice tool to clean the surface and sides, then spot-clean stains with Bissell Pet Stain and Odor Remover. Sanitize with a spritz of Lysol Disinfectant Spray afterwards ($9, amazon.com).
Your bed mattress also could use a good cleaning, as well as the area around it. Use your vacuum to clean the surface, sides and frame around your mattress. You might also consider removing any stains based on your manufacturers recommendations.
Closets and Storage
Its often been said that organizing your closet is a perfect first step to organizing the rest of your home. Its so easy to just stuff a closet full of things you don’t want to see and it can build up quick. A few ideas on how to get started include donating unused clothes and shoes to clear out old items. Be sure to dust those shelves and vacuum or clean the floor thoroughly as well – sometimes it gets overlooked. One area that is often forgotten are storage areas – cobwebs, dust, dirt and junk can collect quickly.
Unfortunately someone usually needs to “do windows”. It can be a bit challenging depending on the window location but take the time to wash inside and out at least once a year. Spring is usually a good time for that since the weather is mild and makes it easy to open the windows. Also try and wash them when the sun isn’t shining too hot to avoid the cleanser drying and streaking too quickly. Also consider hiring a professional service for those hard to access windows.
You have a couple options for cleaning your carpets (beyond normal vacuuming). You can do it your self with a rented carpet cleaner or hire a professional service. Your high traffic areas you might want consider having done 2 to 4 times a year. Your less trafficked areas you can look at doing during every spring cleaning time.
Also don’t forget to maintain your vacuum as well! Make sure you have changed the bag (if your using a bagged vacuum) and clean the filter and brush role. You might also wipe it down carefully to remove any dirt and dust that is lodged into the machine.
There are many ways to keep your tile and grout clean. If your grout and/or tile is lighter in color you may need to ensure its sealed as well as having it cleaned regularly so it doesn’t look dark and stained.
The important thing to check during spring for your floors is what might be damaging them. Hardwood floors do need routine maintenance with proper products. But you might overlook that chair footer that is starting to scratch your floor or perhaps a potted plant that might have a small leak.
One extra tip – try out these cool floor cleaning slippers! You can clean your floor while your doing your cleaning.
Area rugs don’t require a lot of maintenance beyond the normal shake down or vacuuming. Every spring look for stains or other sighs of wear that you might need to get a professional cleaning or mended.
Bookshelves and Cabinets
Its amazing how quickly our bookshelves, game cabinets and other storage areas can become a disorganized mess. A good spring clean will allow you to focus on sorting books, getting rid of old books, cleaning out old games and other areas that need a good once over regularly.
It seems paint is forever getting chipped or marred in some way. Quick paint touch ups can be easy to do if you have your original paint handy. If you have smudges, dirt or grim on your walls then you can wipe them down carefully with water and a very mild dish soap. Use water to wipe the wall down after you have cleaned it. Be sure to test in a the mixture on place where it will not be noticed. You can also check with your paint manufacturer for suggestions as well.
Drapes and Blinds
Drapes that may seem to be a bit flat and also dusty you can take them down and wipe them down carefully with a damp towel. You can also consider running them through your dryers air-fluff cycle along with a slightly damp towel which will help to attract dust for 15 minutes. Once done you will want to re-hang them immediately. Be sure to know what type of material you have and if it will need to be professional cleaned and pressed.
For your blinds simply wipe them down with a damp cloth. For spring cleaning you might want to focus on those harder to reach areas that your duster doesn’t reach during normal cleaning.
Yard and Garage
Sometimes we forget about the outside of our home and our garage when it comes to spring cleaning.
Outdoor Furniture and Grill
By the very nature of being outside, your outdoor chairs, tables and other furniture will collect dust, dirt and debris. Use a mixture of warm water and some basic dish soap (check with your furniture manufacturer for recommendations) to wipe down your items then use a garden hose to wash down and rinse the furniture.
Its also import to give your grill a good cleaning at least once a year before the primary grilling season begins. Use a good steam grill cleaner for starters to ensure your main grilling surface is clean. Then carefully remove the grilling racks and clean out the debris that has collected over time. Be sure to take care if you have a gas grill to not endanger your self. There are also professional grilling cleaning services that will clean your electric and gas grills.
Garages can quickly get dirty, disorganized and also become a landing place for unwanted things. The good news that gives you an opportunity to do some major effective spring cleaning. Remove and donate or discard those unwanted items. Utilize cord organizers and easy to install garage storage solutions. That will instantly fix the clutter.
Also take a look at your garage floors. Overtime they can get dirty and also crack. Consider options for floor cleaning and protection to help keep your garage floors looking great. You can remove those dirty stains or consider sealing your garage floor.
Televisions and Electronics
Another area thats often overlooked is all our electronics. They gather dust, germs and grime and we use them all the time. A quick clean is always a good idea every so often!
Laptops get drug around all over with us. The kitchen, Starbucks, office, home and more. Its likely gathered some dust, grim and who knows what along the way.
Make sure your system is unplugged before cleaning. First turn it upside-down and gently shake out the keyboard to dislodge the easy gunk to remove. Then use a can of compressed air and give the spaces beneath the keys a blast. You can also use keyboard cleaning gel which you can push into the little cracks and crevices and dirt and grim will stick to it.
To remove the gunk that accumulates on your laptop monitor you can use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down the screen. Be sure to do it in a right to left top to bottom motion for an even clean. For touch screens be sure to follow your manufacturers recommendations.
Smartphones and Tablets
Admit it our smartphones and tablets tend to go to a lot places that are less than sanitary (such as the bathroom). To clean a phone or tablet that does not have a screen protector, you have to be extra careful. Some screens have coatings on them that can easily come off. The safest and simplest way to clean them is with distilled water and a microfiber cloth for a gentle wipe down. Using cotton swabs or Q-tips you can clean around the crevices.
Be sure to keep your device powered off during this process and if possible you might want to remove your device’s battery before cleaning.
Keyboards and Monitors
To remove dust and gunk that accumulates on your computer monitor you can use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down the screen. Be sure to do it in a right to left top to bottom motion for an even clean. Then use a lightly damp cloth to wipe down the back and outside parts of the monitor set. Make sure your system is unplugged before cleaning. For touch screens be sure to follow your manufacturers recommendations.
Its really amazing what can get stuck in your keyboard. Everything from skin to hair to food. The first step is to shake it carefully over a trash can and dislodge anything that will be easy to remove. Then you can use a can of compressed air to blow out the rest of the stuck gunk. Finally a lightly dampened cloth can be used to wipe the keys and remove any stuck on particles. You can also use keyboard cleaning gel which you can push into the little cracks and crevices and dirt and grim will stick to it.
The same goes for your mouse. It can easily pick up dirt and gunk. You can follow the same steps as with your keyboard but also consider using a Q-tip or cotton swab. Because your mouse spends its time cruising across your desk, it can track plenty of dirt. Use the same half-alcohol and half-water solution and dab it on a cotton swab, then run it over the feet of the mouse and through any cracks and crevices. You can also use keyboard cleaning gel.
Its amazing how much dust a television can collect – especially on the back side of it. Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down the screen. Be sure to do it in a right to left top to bottom motion for an even clean. Then use a lightly damp cloth to wipe down the back and outside parts of the TV set. Make sure your system is unplugged before cleaning.
Remotes and game controllers also get all kinds of gunk on them. You can use an alcohol-based wipe or a microfiber cloth lightly dampened only with water to wipe them down. Also consider using the keyboard cleaning gel as well.
Maintaining a busy home takes work and time. Knowing what to clean and when, even if its not officially spring cleaning time, will help you to ensure you work through all the necessary maintenance and cleaning tasks. One tip if you have the budget is to consider hiring a cleaning service for a “deep clean” once a year.