Once the sun reappears from behind the clouds for longer hours each day, and the temperature rises above sixty-five, I’m primed for tearing aside my shower curtain—armed with my Bon Amie and a sponge, dressed in a hideous outfit, and fueled by an obsession. It’s springtime, which means I have cleaning to do, and most likely will end up on my hands and knees for the duration of an entire Sunday.
Here are some tips for how to spring-clean your house, one room at a time, so that the inside of your house looks as pretty as the buds beginning to bloom outside.
- Organize your winter clothes in bins for storage in basement or garage
- Wash all pillowcases, sheets, mattress covers, and duvets. Have goose down and other comforters cleaned professionally (unless you can do them yourself in a front-load washer).
- Clean the light fixtures and door handles
- Dust your shades or have them cleaned. I use fabric draped over my windows for curtains, which can be hand washed in the tub and hung to dry.
- Dust your lamps, dressers, and other pieces and items on your dresser and nightstand
- Open the windows to air out the room
- Vacuum your mattress, flip it every two months, and make sure you have an anti-allergenic mattress pad. I’m buying mine this weekend.
- If you have pets, mop the floor or steam vacuum your carpeted floor
- To reward yourself, fill a vase with fresh-smelling flowers from the garden and put them on the nightstand so you wake up to their scent
- Grab the Bon Amie or Comet and sprinkle all over the sink, bathtub, and shower; add a little hot water to let it soak.
- Clean all fixtures and the doorknob with your favorite cleaner
- Clean around the toilet, under the seat, and inside the bowl with your toilet bowl brush.
- Finish scrubbing sink, bathtub, and shower and use tile cleaner on your shower if it’s tiled
- Squeegee your shower door and deep clean it with cleaner, or spray down your shower curtain
- Mop the floors, making sure to get behind the sink and toilet
- A great way to clean windows without streaking (this goes for your car, too), is a simple solution of vinegar and water. The secret is using old newspapers for wiping; the newspapers keep the streaks away.
- My mother always said that if your kitchen is clean, your whole house looks clean. If your appliances are stainless steel, use stainless cleaner to get that extra shine.
- Deep clean all appliances: stovetop (soak burner gates), refrigerator (wash the inside shelves and drawers with a baking soda/water mixture), and the inside of the oven (soak racks and do a self-cleaning with oven cleaner) and microwave oven (scrub the top, sides, and center tray).
- Home guru Danny Seo once told me that the best way to disinfect your sponges is to microwave them for a minute each. If they still smell, they may need replacing.
- To deep clean your coffeemaker and avoid deposit build-up, rinse your filter and brew an empty pot using a half water/half vinegar concoction. Stop the brew process halfway to let the vinegar sit and do its magic. Then make sure to brew two more empty pots using just water in order to clean out the vinegar before you brew your next pot of joe.
- Clean the counters, including the cracks and crevices
- Empty all of your cupboards, dust them, and use a lemon/vinegar/water mixture to wash them down inside, including the cracks, doors, and fixtures
- Sweep and mop the floor. Our floor is small and covered with a pale marble that reveals every single speck of dirt—so I take a rag, spray my cleaner, and get down on all fours to wipe down the floor. This approach takes a lot less time than getting out the bucket and mop, and I can use the sunlight streaming in from the window to find the spots I missed. Plus, it burns 325 calories per hour!
Living and Dining Room
- Dust your lamps and furniture pieces
- Get the appropriate wood polishing cleaner for antique pieces. Clean off all surfaces and inside the television armoire.
- Open the windows to air out the room
- Use a color-safe rag soaked in Woolite and water to wipe down between the crevices on lampshades
- Mop the floor or steam vacuum your carpeted floor if you have pets, and don’t forget to clean the baseboards
- Dust any artwork on the walls
- If you have pets, there may be some extra pet hair and deep cleaning in order. Run a lint brush over cloth upholstery, and check its tag to see if it is labeled with a “W,” which means the upholstery can be cleaned using a Woolite-and-water combo applied by sponge.
- Make sure you clean the lint trap regularly, as it becomes a fire hazard if you don’t. Darker loads tend to produce more lint.
- Clean both machines on the outside and make sure to clean alongside and under for leftover lint (where you’ll usually find those missing socks)
- Mop the floor and use a lemon/vinegar/water solution for any cabinets
- Organize your spring clothes by color; you’ll always know where to find your favorite little black linen dress.
- Get a shoe rack for all of those Manolos—and outdoor active footwear—put the winter boots and other winter clothes in storage for next year.
- Replace any metal hangers with hangers made from better quality materials
- Sweep the dust bunnies out from under your floor shoe rack
- Mop the floor—not forgetting the crevices—or steam vacuum the carpet
- Gather any clothes for Goodwill, bag them, and put them in the garage or in your car, as a drop-off is easier when you’re already out running errands.
- Clean out your garbage, recycling, and compost bins
- Go through everything stored in your garage and decide if you need to keep it, or get rid of it
- Have storage bins ready to store individual items in categories (sports equipment, paint, etc.)
- Hang yard tools on the side of the wall
- Make sure to have a shelving unit to hold storage bins
- If any item can be donated to Goodwill, then bag it up and put it with the clothing bags from your closet clean-out
If the suggestions above fail you, or you don’t like scraped knees and the possibility of lemon getting on them, then you can always check out how others do their cleaning. Or use my favorite alternative, and hire a wonderful cleaning lady, paying her as much as she deserves to do the dirty work for you.
Photo courtesy of Sanja Gjenero