Well, it’s that time of year again, when we look around our homes in despair at the sight of cobwebs on the ceiling, dirty windows and an oven covered in burnt on food. Not only that, spring cleaning isn’t just about ‘cleaning’ but also tidying and organising to get your home in order and turn it into the kind of place you want to live in!
If like me, the thought of spring (deep) cleaning your home fills you with dread, then keep on reading for some helpful tips and reminders, to help make sure you don’t forget anything!
- Work from the top down and inside to outside, to avoid dirtying what you have just cleaned.
- When decluttering, don’t work through one room at a time. Declutter by category, collecting all items for one category into one place so you can see the real volume of items in that category. For example, when sorting clothes, gather all clothes from all rooms into one place, lay them out where you can see them all, then decide what should be kept or discarded.
- Organising storage – like decluttering, you should organise and store your items by category.
- Do two things at once; start washing your laundry early in the day and carry out other tasks in the meantime. If you start early enough, you can complete all your washing in one day!
When cleaning your windows it is tempting to just clean them from the inside but please don’t make this error! Dirt and grime from the outside will prevent them from being crystal clear, rendering your efforts to clean the inside of your windows a waste of time. Clean them on a cloudy day to make sure the sun doesn’t dry the cleanser before you’re done wiping. My personal favourite for window cleaning is just a damp microfiber cloth, which you can follow with a dry microfiber cloth. No window cleaning products necessary!
Our walls aren’t usually something we think of as needing to be cleaned however, if you look around your room now, do you notice dirty marks here and there? If you do, give them a spot clean; all you need is a sponge or cloth and some water, or for tougher marks, add a little washing up liquid. This should get rid of most marks but if any still remain, try applying the soap directly to the cloth/sponge you’re using. Finally, just rinse the wall with some plain water.
Dust, Dust and More Dust!
Unfortunately, fighting the battle with dust and dirt is never-ending, as it gets everywhere and into the most inconspicuous of places. Most things can simply be wiped with a damp cloth and below is a list of some of the most common places people miss when dusting/wiping. Notes have been included for those items, which need a little more than a damp cloth;
- Skirting boards
- Tops of doors and door frames
- Kitchen cabinets (tops, design indentations and inside!)
- Extractor fan hood – damp sponge and washing up liquid, give it a good scrub to get rid of the grease!
- Top of fridge/freezer
- Bookshelves and tops of books
- Bedframe and under the bed (more so if you have wooden floors) – wipe with a damp cloth, you can also use a toothbrush for any fiddly areas of your bedframe
- Between bannister rails
- Top, inside and behind radiators – damp cloth for the top, and a special tool for cleaning inside and behind radiators. Alternatively, if you have something like a stick, that is long and slim enough, you can bind a duster/damp cloth around it and use this instead. Fasten the duster/cloth with elastic bands.
- Venetian blinds – a damp cloth, or to save time, use a pair tongs with a damp cloth/duster wrapped around each tong. Fasten with elastic bands.
- Light fixtures (lamps and ceiling lights) – dependant on the design and material, a damp cloth should suffice, or use the vacuum nozzle for cloth material shades.
You don’t need any fancy products for dusting, a simple damp cloth will do. However, you may prefer to use a polish with a nice scent just to give that little extra.
Mop It Up
If you use a traditional style mop, do you find that after time it just gets dirty and seems to move the dirt around rather than picking it up and cleaning it? Well, just wait for your mop head to dry and then whizz over it with the vacuum nozzle, or pick off the tougher bits, wearing gloves if you need to! Alternatively, you can just buy a new one…
The same method can be applied to your broom if it’s filled with dust!
Ahh the fridge, an appliance that works hard all day every day, making sure your foodstuffs stay cool. Show your appreciation and give your fridge a good clear out, get rid of any out of date items and give it a thorough wipe down. Don’t forget to wipe out those door shelves!
Generally, freezers don’t get too dirty and the extreme cold prevents any bacteria building up. However, you may notice that the top of the freezer door and the rubber seal shows signs of general dirt and crumbs, from items that go in and out of the fridge.
Cutlery trays fill with debris and crumbs over time, giving off a less than desirable look. Just empty out all of your cutlery and give it a quick wash and dry, before returning your cutlery to it’s designated space.
The oven is a prime candidate for accumulating burnt on food and grease but often gets left for a long time before you think of giving it a clean. In an ideal world, we would wipe it down each time after use but, realistically, this doesn’t usually happen.
If you have started to notice a burning smell coming from your oven each time you cook something, don’t fret, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your oven is breaking down! It probably just needs a good clean!
First, start off by chipping off and removing any loose pieces of food from the oven. Spray burnt on food with ammonia and, use a combo of baking soda and a few drops of white vinegar on the bottom of your oven. Let it bubble up and then scrub away.
Alternatively, you can use specialist oven cleaning products, which make the job far easier and, in most cases, can almost remove the need for any scrubbing at all! Such products come with a large zip lock bag that you can put your oven shelves into, along with the solution and, allow it to soak while it works at removing the burnt on food. You can then use the remainder of the solution and apply it to the inside of your oven and leave it to work it’s magic.
Don’t forget to clean the glass on your oven door; sometimes this means removing the internal glass screen so that you can clean inside the oven door as well. Yep, we have no idea how the dirt gets there either!
Even though your dishwasher washes all of your dishes for you, sometimes it needs a good wash of it’s own. You can purchase special dishwasher cleaning products that you can use whilst running a cycle to give it a spruce up. Just make sure you don’t have any items in the washing machine at the time!
Similarly to your dishwasher, your washing machine will also benefit from a good clean too. You’ll know it needs a good clean because the inside will start to smell unpleasant and you certainly don’t want to wash your clothes in a smelly machine!
Instead, clean it with distilled white vinegar and baking soda; run the machine through with hot water, add the cleaning products, and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Afterwards, restart your machine and let the water drain, then finally wipe it dry.
If you have a dryer, don’t forget to clean out the lint trap. Removing the lint trap will vary on different appliances but you should be able to find instructions in your manual, or on an online manual if you have misplaced your original copy.
Once you have opened the lint trap, clear the majority of the lint off before giving it a once over with the vacuum. This will help your dryer run more efficiently and also helps prevent your dryer becoming a potential fire hazard.
Most of us will clean our bathrooms once every week or two and whilst this is sufficient for keeping the bathroom clean generally, it doesn’t always prevent grouting from discolouring and turning black. An easy fix for this is to apply bleach to the area and leave to work, you can then use a sponge or toothbrush to scrub away grime. Alternatively, you can purchase a mould spray, which will do all the hard work in removing the mould for you. Spritz it on to the affected area, wait until the mould disappears and then rinse/wipe away with clean water.
Fixtures and Fittings
Fixtures and fittings, like taps and shower units/hoses are fiddly to clean, so to get into those hard to reaches nooks and crannies, grab an old toothbrush with some bathroom cleaner and get scrubbing!
So you probably wash your bedding regularly anyway, every week or two but, what about your mattress protector? Do you always wash this when you wash your bedding, or leave it for ‘X’ amount of time? If you don’t wash it regularly, now is a great time to do so.
Also, now that you’ve fully stripped the bed and chucked the mattress protector in the washing machine, this is a great chance to clean and flip your mattress! Grab the vacuum and use the crevice/furniture tool to give it a once over. Spot clean any stains with upholstery cleaners and then sanitise it with some disinfectant spray (just don’t go overboard with the disinfectant!)
Next you need to flip your mattress; mattress’ work very hard to keep us comfortable whilst we slumber and, over time, get worn down in certain area’s where we usually lay. Therefore, this is a great time flip it over, give those tired areas a break and let a fresh area have a chance to do some of the hard work. First, flip it over so the top side is on the bottom, then turn it 180° so that the ‘head end’ now becomes the ‘foot end’. Plus, I bet you’ll be glad to relocate that spring which has been digging into your side for ages…
A lot of people are now focusing on trying to minimalise and declutter their lives, and reaping the benefits from doing so. There is a lot of helpful advice, tips and tricks out there to help with this, so get searching on the web and find what works for you.
Thanks for reading!
Written By Kelly-Marie Ody