Want your home to sparkle like the Hope Diamond? Read on.
In March, we feel like hibernating bears emerging from our caves after a long winter. We throw open the windows and doors, only to see … all the little dust bunnies skulking under our beds, the dirt gunking up our window sills, the grime spinning lazily around on our ceiling fans and the holiday turkey drippings still baked into our ovens. It’s enough to make us want to pull the (in-need-of-a-wash) comforter over our heads. But we’re here to help. We asked Becky Rapinchuk, Clean Mama blogger (and author of the excellent 2017 book “Simply Clean,” which has multiple helpful checklists), and Debra Johnson, cleaning expert and training manager at Merry Maids, for their expert tips. The advice on these pages won’t do any of the cleaning for you (you’d have to hire someone for that), but we promise it will make this year’s spring cleaning a little bit more manageable.
6 golden rules
1. Maintain, maintain, maintain.
“If you are disciplined throughout the year, and stick to a routine, you can make your spring cleaning list a lot shorter,” Johnson says. “Then in the spring, you only have to do the deep cleaning.”
2. Have a game plan.
“Everybody’s busy, so schedule things out: This day I’ll do blinds, then baseboards, then woodwork …” Johnson adds. Don’t expect to get everything done in one day— pace yourself and break large jobs down into smaller tasks.
3. Organize your tools.
“It’s a huge, huge time saver,” Johnson says. “You don’t want to be in the bathroom cleaning and realize you left a cleaning product you need in the kitchen. You need to be able to move your cleaning tools from room to room.”
4. Clear clutter first.
Categorize items in three piles: keep, sell/donate and toss. If something is in the “keep” pile, put it back in its proper place. Gather items that you want to sell or donate in a bin in the garage.
5. Do like things at the same time.
“Rather than cleaning room by room, it’s easier to clean assembly-line style, meaning all of your blinds, all of your baseboards or all of your light fixtures, because you only have to take those tools out once, use them all over your house, put them away and move on to the next task,” Rapinchuk advises.
6. Consider hiring professionals for some jobs.
“You have to consider budget, of course, but if you can afford it, it’s better to have professionals do things like wash carpets because their equipment is more heavy-duty,” Johnson says. “If you can’t afford that, then rent a carpet cleaner from a local retail store.”
In plain sight
- Clean cobwebs in upper corners as well as ceiling fans.
- Clean in and around overhead light fixtures; replace burnt-out bulbs.
- Clean air vents.
- Vacuum upholstered furniture.
- Clean computer keyboards and screens.
- Clean dirt marks off walls.
- Wipe down woodwork (door frames, chair rails, baseboards …).
- Wipe down electric switches.
- Vacuum lampshades, curtains, upholstery and pillows; air outside in the sun.
- Vacuum curtains.
- Wipe down blinds.
- Clean bath and kitchen cabinet fronts.
Behind the scenes
- Replace furnace filter.
- Clean your refrigerator condenser coil.
- Clean inside of fridge, throw out old food, wipe down top.
- Clean inside of, and behind, washer and dryer.
- Clean out bath supplies.
- Flip your mattress, wash mattress pad and bedding.
- Clean out your oven and microwave.
- Wipe down your kitchen cupboards; rinse liners.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Store winter items in garage or basement.
- Pull out your patio furniture, wipe down.
- Sweep garage, porches and patios.
Call in the pros
- Shampoo carpets and area rugs.
- Take down comforters to dry cleaner.
- Wash windows inside and out, check weatherstripping.
Your cleaning tool kit
- All-purpose cleaner
- Glass cleaner
- Non-abrasive cleaner
- Disinfectant wipes
- Dish soap
- Microfiber cloths
- Dusting wand
- Wand extender or high-reach duster
- Vacuum cleaner with attachments
- Floor mop
- Scrub brushes
- Squeegee (for showers)
- Garbage bags