Simple Tips for Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning isn’t what you’d call “everyday” cleaning. It’s a way to revamp your home to pave the way for a fresh new season, and a time to tackle those little messy corners you determinedly continue to ignore. Here are some simple tips and solutions for your spring cleaning routine:

Take it one step at a time. Start your spring cleaning process one room at a time instead of thinking that it all has to be done in one day. Trying to tackle everything at once can be overwhelming, but taking smaller steps will give you the same feeling of accomplishment without all the exhaustion.  Begin with your biggest problem-area in the house, whether it’s the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or that one closet that seems to accumulate random items from over the years. When you’ve finally gotten that one area clean, you’ll feel accomplished and ready to pursue the rest of your cleaning.

Get rid of the clutter. Designate one box for donations or items to sell and one box for items that need to be thrown out. Take a little time each day to add things to these boxes, or take on one room at a time to collect unwanted items. Once you get rid of these boxes, you’ll feel much lighter for eliminating all the clutter.

Rearrange the furniture. It’s much easier to get excited about cleaning when you’re in the process of creating a new look for your living room or bedroom. As you move things around, you’ll be amazed at the amount of crumbs, dust and clutter you’ll find along the way, and you can tackle these tasks as you go. By the time you’ve moved all the furniture into its new place, you’ve also cleaned the room in the process! Rather than feeling bogged down by the chore of cleaning, you’ll be excited to create a new space in your home.

Optimize your wardrobe. Now that it’s getting warmer outside, there’s no need to take up valuable closet space with gloves, hats, boots and big bulky coats. Make room for the upcoming season by having your winter clothes cleaned and stored, leaving you much more room for your spring wardrobe.

Focus on the small stuff. There are certain parts of the home that you often overlook in your daily routine, so take this time to give those neglected areas some attention. During spring cleaning, get to work on that  layer of dust that’s been accumulating on the shelves or bedside table, and give your baseboards, walls and door frames a good scrub with a sponge dipped in warm water mixed with dishwashing liquid. Also, don’t forget those sneaky dirt-traps concealed beneath furniture and appliances. Push back your living room furniture and roll up the rugs to vacuum the floor, and move kitchen appliances as far away from the wall as you can to get those hard-to-reach places with a vacuum hose.

Dust your ceiling fans. For ceiling fans, spray the inside of an old pillow case with cleaning solution, then slip the bad over each blade to wipe clean. This way, you don’t risk brushing a bench of dust in your face when you’re trying to clean. If you don’t have a sturdy chair or ladder handy, opt for a duster with an extendable arm.

Wash the windows. Pick a cloudy day to wash your windows – if it’s too sunny, the cleaning solution will dry too quickly and leave behind streaks. For a simple window-washing solution, combine 1/2 cup sudsy ammonia (a specific type of ammonia), 1 pint rubbing alcohol, 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid and 1 gallon of water.

Try all-natural cleaners. Household items such as vinegar, baking soda, Dawn dish soap and even warm water can accomplish the same tasks as store-bought cleaners, but without irritating your eyes and lungs. A mixture of Dawn and vinegar, for example, can be used on everything from sinks to counters to oven tops. The Dawn works to lift the grease from surfaces while the vinegar provides antibacterial properties, and it’s completely safe and inexpensive to make from home. Here are a few more all-natural DIY cleaning tips to use at home:

  • Remove mold and mildew without bleach. Mix 1/2 cup Borax and 1/2 cup vinegar to make a paste. Let this sit for a few minutes and then scrub it with a cloth or sponge, and then rinse with water. For particularly tough mold, let the mixture sit for about an hour before rinsing with water.
  • Clean your toilet bowls by mixing 1/3 cup Borax or baking soda and 1 cup vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes (or longer if necessary), scrub and then flush.
  • Clean and sanitize your floors by mixing 1/2 cup Borax with 2 gallons of hot water. Apply with a sponge or mop, and there is no need to rinse!

Remove scum and mildew from your bathtub or shower. For that stubborn soap scum and buildup in your tub, use one part dawn dish soap and one part vinegar and spray over your tub. Let the mixture sit for about an hour and then wipe it away with a cloth. Although this method doesn’t require much scrubbing, you can also buy a dish scrubber with a handle and fill it with the dawn/vinegar mixture, making it easier to wipe down shower doors and the sides of the tub.

Clean your oven – without chemicals! Cleaning the oven seems like a messy and arduous task, and it’s certainly not something on most people’s cleaning schedules. Thankfully there’s an easy, all-natural way to clean your oven with just a nylon scraper, baking soda and vinegar. Use the nylon pan scraper to gently scrap the over floor and remove anything that isn’t completely stuck. Then sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the oven, concentrating on the dirtiest areas, and pour vinegar over the baking soda. Allow the mixture to work its magic until the bubbling stops, then use the nylon scraper to remove all the excess gunk, and wipe away debris with a towel. Caution: Do not use this on a gas oven unless the pilot light and gas are completely turned off.

No matter what your spring cleaning priorities are, having a newly spotless home is a great way to kick off the upcoming season with a feeling of accomplishment. Whether you spread out your schedule over a few weeks or buckle down and have a weekend cleaning marathon, take some time over the next month or two to refresh your home for spring.