While the weather may be unpredictable here in the Midsouth, around the world (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), people are starting to think about Spring Cleaning. In the UK, the first week of March is National Spring Cleaning Week! Whether the Spring Cleaning Spirit has struck you yet or not, we've compiled some tips and common practices to help you get into that Spring Cleaning state of mind.
When do you start?
Timing-wise, there are several benchmarks for deciding when to begin your Spring Cleaning tasks. It's really up to your own personal preference, schedule and lifestyle needs. Some people prefer to go by date, and choose to start Spring Cleaning on the first day of Spring (March 20th this year). Others prefer to go by temperature and choose to start the first week that's warm enough to keep the windows open.
Where do you start?
True Spring Cleaning generally includes a deep, thorough cleaning inside and outside your home, including washing windows, the exterior of your home (you may need to rent a pressure washer if you don't own one), and cleaning out gutters, flowerbeds, and any other outside elements in need of maintenance.
Once you've completed those outside tasks, many Spring Cleaners move on to the bathrooms. Toss bath mats and rugs into the wash, use your vacuum cleaner brush attachment to get any dust off the walls, ceiling and air vents, then wipe everything down with all-purpose cleaner (don't worry, it won't damage painted walls). Clean your mirrors using a lint-free microfiber cloth. You'll want to use a heavy duty bathroom cleaner to clean your toilet and tub/shower, spraying it on and letting it sit for 15-20 minutes (toss your bath mats in the dryer while you're letting the cleaner do its thing). By letting the cleaner stay on these surfaces longer, it should eliminate most of the scrubbing - simply wipe all the surfaces clean. After wiping, use the showerhead to rinse your tub, starting from the upper walls, moving down to the tub or shower floor. You'll also want to wipe down the outside of your toilet, again working from top to bottom. Lastly, mop the bathroom floor on your way out!
After your bathrooms, move on to your bedrooms. You'll use the same plan of attack here as you did with the bathrooms - grab up any area rugs to wash or hang outside to beat. Open your windows to air out the bedrooms. Pull all linens off your bed to be washed or dry cleaned, including duvets and duvet covers, quilts, dust ruffles, pillow cases & shams, as well as any mattress pads. Vacuum and wipe down walls and ceilings, and dust all surfaces. You'll also want to clean any window treatments - for heavy drapes, use your vacuum's upholstery attachment. For lighter drapes, you can toss those in the dryer on the "fluff" setting with a dryer sheet! Spray and wipe down any mirrors. If you have carpets, schedule a cleaning! Read here why you want to hire a professional over renting a carpet shampoo machine.
After you finish up the bedrooms, you'll want to tackle your kitchen next. Start by cleaning out your refrigerator and freezer - grab your tailgating cooler, empty the fridge, turn it off, and let the inside come to room temperature before you use any hot soapy water (any glass or ceramic parts could crack if cold). We recommend using a mixture of baking soda and hot water, rinse and let dry. For the door seals, use a mixture of hot water and mild dish soap - make sure you go back and dry these door seals to avoid mold and mildew! Next, you'll degrease your cooking appliances and surfaces - remove all removable parts on your stove (including grates and drip pans) and scrub with soapy steel wool, or if the grease is really baked on, soak them overnight in ammonia (either place everything in an airtight container or outside). Clean your oven and microwave. Repeat the same window treatment process in your kitchen. Make sure you don't miss the tops of your cabinets and the top of your fridge - grease has a tendency to accumulate on those seldom-used spaces! You can use a mixture of warm water and dish soap to break up the grease. You'll use this same solution inside your cabinets and drawers, shelves, and on cabinet faces. Be sure to wipe out any crumbs that may have accumulated in your drawers, especially your utensil drawer and pantry shelves! Finally, sweep, vacuum, and mop your kitchen. If your tile needs some extra attention, give us a call - we use special cleaning agents to safely deep clean your porous hard surfaces such as tile and grout.
Once your kitchen is sparkling and fresh, it's finally time to move on to your family room and dining room. Start out by dusting any ceiling fans or other light fixtures (don't forget to wipe your lightbulbs with a microfiber cloth - dirty bulbs can emit up to 20% less light!), then vacuum and wipe down the walls and ceilings as you've done for all your other rooms. Next you'll want to focus on your couch and other upholstered furniture. If you're dealing with stains, frayed fabric, or major pet odors, book a cleaning - we'll get your upholstery looking good as new! If you just need a quick refresh, sprinkle some baking soda on your upholstery, let it sit a few minutes, then vacuum it up! Wash area rugs, as well as any quilts, throws, or blankets. Vacuum or refresh your window treatments and wipe down all surfaces such as bookshelves, entertainment consoles, mantles, and coffee tables.
Next we'll focus on your electronics. Clean and dust everything, spray compressed air into any cracks and crevices on your devices. Then moving from the top down, use a microfiber or electrostatic cloth to clean around and underneath computers, stereos, televisions, speakers, gaming consoles, and DVD players. Be mindful of your devices' ventilation areas and wipe away from those to avoid pushing dust back in. Wipe off all remotes with an antibacterial cleaner.
Finally, you'll vacuum or sweep and mop your floors. If you find that your floors aren't as clean as you'd like (you've just deep cleaned your entire house - don't skimp on your floors!), consider scheduling a professional cleaning to get the past year's gunk out of your carpets. You'll be amazed at what a difference a truly clean floor can make!