There is something about spring — it feels fresh. Maybe it’s the new buds on the trees or the bright yellow daffodils pushing through the frozen ground. For me, it’s the spring sun, the one that shines so brightly through my windows, illuminating winter’s dust on my shades or the smear of peanut butter fingerprints left on my wall. Spring is like putting on new glasses, where now I can clearly see the areas of my house that were neglected all winter (I’m talking about you, refrigerator).
I am not sure if it is the newness outside that inspires a desire to deep clean inside, or if it’s the sheer sight of clutter collected over the winter months that pushes me towards a major cleaning moment, but I think there is a reason spring is synonymous with cleaning. Follow along as we tackle some of the major areas in your home that may require a spring tune-up and offer some tips that will make this seasonal chore fun.
Preparation is the key to spring cleaning success
Before you launch into full-blown cleaning mode, picking up the right supplies will make this work easier. Finding cleaning solutions in your favorite scent or even a nice candle to light while you work can make the whole process feel less task-oriented. Items that will also help along the way include a duster, disinfectant wipes or sprays, an all-purpose spray cleaner, microfiber cloths, magic erasers, and sponges. Websites like Grove.Co or Blueland can also set you up with cleaning subscriptions where more eco-friendly products can be delivered right to your home.
The Task: Kitchen
Let’s begin with one of the most utilized spaces in your home: the kitchen. It may appear that this area gets cleaned the most, but some of those larger appliances can often get overlooked.
Step 1: Start your deep kitchen clean by removing everything off your countertops. This allows you to really wipe down the counters, while also removing any crumbs or dirt that may have collected on your kitchen devices. This is also a good time to wipe down any wall tiles or backsplash areas in your kitchen.
Step 2: Next up is the microwave, which may or may not have seen its fair share of ramen noodles this year. Remove the glass plate from the microwave and give it a good soapy clean, dry, and put back. According to Clean Mama, the best way to clean the inside of the microwave involves boiling a bowl of water with a halved lemon for 3 to 5 minutes. Let the bowl sit and steam for 15 minutes, wiping the microwave down afterwards.
Step 3: We don’t think of the dishwasher as being a dirt collector, but even this appliance requires maintenance. Begin by taking out all the racks in the dishwasher and scrubbing them with soap and water. If your dishwasher has a filter, it may be a good idea to remove and wash it as well. Return the filter to the dishwasher, along with the racks, and run a regular cycle without any dishes in order to thoroughly clean your dishwasher.
Step 4: The oven is one of those appliances that hides food spills quite well, considering the oven door can mask any and all mess. But, the oven requires cleaning in order to keep it safe as well. Clean Mama suggests removing the oven racks and wiping them down in the sink. Next, she recommends spraying the oven with an all-purpose spray, one that is specifically non-toxic since you will be heating your oven again. She likes to use a mixture of hot water and a few drops of dish soap for her pre-clean.
Next, Clean Mama encourages making your own oven cleaning paste with a ½ cup of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of dish soap, and 1 cup of hot water. Using a sponge, apply the mixture to the oven and allow it to sit thoroughly for 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure not to apply the mixture to any sealed surfaces, heating elements, or vents and seals. Taking a wet sponge or a cloth, scrub and repeat until the oven is completely clean. Allow the oven to dry and check for any baking soda residue leftover because you may need to rinse the mixture again to make sure it’s completely removed. For less of a DIY oven clean, use the self clean option on your oven and a non-toxic oven degreaser spray.
The Task: Bathroom
The bathroom is a room that does get pretty grimy, regardless of regular cleaning. A deep clean should disinfect and attack areas of this room that may not get the regular attention they need.
Step 1: Because the shower head can contain bacteria, it needs a good clean. According to Real Simple, to do this you can place a good amount of white vinegar into a plastic grocery bag and submerge the showerhead nozzle. Tie the bag in place to soak overnight and then in the morning run water to rinse it out.
Step 2: Next up is the shower liner and shower curtain, both of which need to be cleaned as well. Place both the liner and curtain, along with some towels, into the washing machine to clean away any soap scum or mildew that has collected. Once clean, let them air dry. If you have a glass shower door, using an all purpose cleaner will help keep the glass clear of water marks and soap scum. Need more of a DIY shower clean? Molly Maid suggests soaking your shower glass with water first, followed by a spray of white vinegar. Leave the vinegar on the glass for at least 10 minutes and then take a sponge dipped in baking soda and scrub the glass. Once the glass looks clean, rinse with water, and dry with a microfiber cloth.
Step 3: The grimest culprits in the bathroom are actually the toilet and surprisingly, the bathroom sink! In order to deep clean the toilet, use a disinfectant spray to reduce germs. Real Simple also recommends placing a cup of baking soda into the toilet and then scrubbing and flushing to get the bowl sparkling clean. For the sink, which harbors more bacteria than the toilet, Real Simple guides its readers to pour white vinegar or baking soda down the drain and then run hot water. Disinfectant sprays will also clean sink handles and faucets as well.
The Task: Bedroom
The bedroom can easily become a maze of disregarded items including laundry that has not found its way back to the closet. But spring is the perfect time to declutter and reorganize this space, while simultaneously deep cleaning and dusting as well.
Step 1: The bed sheets are usually cleaned repeatedly throughout the year, but the duvet cover or comforter may need some TLC this spring. Removing all linens, including a mattress cover, and washing them on the gentle cycle in the washer will give them a good clean. In some washing machines you can even clean your comforter, but if that will not work, you can bring it to a nearby laundromat or dry cleaner. If you can flip your mattress, you should do that as well.
Step 2: Using a duster or microfiber cloth, wipe down window sills, blinds, and ceiling fans to remove dust. An all purpose cleaner will help wipe down windows and bedside tables. Don’t forget to vacuum or dust under your bed as well.
Step 3: Grab two or three garbage bags and designate one for garbage and one for donation. Now is the time to go through the books on your nightstand and donate the ones you don’t need. Also, loose pieces of paper or old magazines can be easily recycled or tossed in order to cut down on unnecessary clutter. Adding a catch-all bowl or basket next to your bed to hold your glasses, contact case, or TV remotes can also help keep your bedroom extra tidy, while making it easier to find these things when needed.
Step 4: Your closet may need a whole separate day dedicated to organizing and purging as this can be a timely task. Once ready, have a few separate bins designated for donation or resale in order to streamline this process. Like most organizing jobs, taking all the items out of your space and assessing each item individually will help you decide what to keep. A basic rule of thumb is that if an item has not been worn for a year, it is time to get rid of that piece and pass it along. For me, living in a seasonal climate, I give myself longer than a year to wear it, but if something does not fit correctly or has sat in my closet for far too long, I like to donate it and replace the item with something I will wear more often. Places like Poshmark or the Realreal are perfect for resale, meaning you can make money while you organize, a win all around.
Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. In fact, none of this cleaning has to be completed in one day — it may even be useful to consider blocking out a day for each room in your home. Disinfecting bathrooms, wiping down washers and dryers, or even just reorganizing the living room can be done at any time, but with a plan and schedule in place, your home will always feel spring clean.