An annual deep clean of your house is a necessity, but it doesn’t need to be an all-day affair that ruins your weekend. We turned to the pros to find out what you really need to do once the spring cleaning bug strikes. Below, what to do per room and how to make your life a little easier. (And once you’re done cleaning, why not try a little organizing, too?)
Room By Room
Start at one end of the house, and focus on one room at a time. As you enter each room, pick up all things that don’t belong there and either move them to their proper location or to the end of the house, where they can be recycled, disposed of, or stored appropriately. – Laurie Brown, Green Cleaning Pioneer and CSO of Earthstone International
Go Top Down
Remember that dust and dirt settle. In each room, use a microfiber cloth to start at the top (ceiling fan blades, around the window trim), and work your way down. Floors are always the last thing to clean, so keep as much as you can off the floor as you work your way through the house in order to make the final step even easier.
Carry a Trash Bag
The occasional single dirty sock or craft project gone wrong will make itself known as you move through the house. Keep a contractor bag with you so you can collect these things as you find them.
IN THE KITCHEN
Clear off your countertops (you’ll be shocked at what you find under the toaster, and even inside it), and give them a thorough scrub. For acrylic countertops, simple dish soap and warm water will do the trick. If you have counters that stain easily like linoleum, you’ll want to use baking soda and warm water to finish the job. – Thelma Meyer, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day
Wipe down the front of all kitchen cabinets using an all-purpose spray and rag. And you’ll want to make sure you wipe your antiques and servingware in the cabinets, too—they collect more than enough dust on their own.
Cut the grease. For any spots that receive weekend splatterings of bacon, this technique will work on anything from tile backsplashes to your oven range. Soften the spots with a sponge and warm water. Next, use a spritz of distilled white vinegar and scrub thoroughly with a dish soap and water mixture.
Empty the fridge. Not only is this a great time to clear out old condiments, but pull everything out and wipe down each shelf and drawer with an all-purpose cleaner and towel. (Not sure where to start organizing it back again? Check out our guide to an organized fridge here.)
Clean your trash can, an often overlooked culprit of stinky smells. Rinse with warm water, and then with an all-purpose cleaner. Of course, we use our own! – Melina Marcus, Co-Founder of Rebel Green
IN THE BATHROOM
Dismantle the toilet seat, and apply a paste of baking soda and water on all the target areas. Drop two tablets of antacid into the toilet, and let it fizz. While these two treatments sink in, focus on cleaning the rest of the bathroom. – Lauren Haynes, Star Domestic Cleaners
Use a mixture of white vinegar and dish soap, or a paste of baking soda and water, and apply to the walls of the shower and inside the tub. Let sit for three minutes, then scrub away and rinse with warm water. – Haynes
For glass shower doors, all you need is a squeegee, white vinegar, and water. Simply combine and wipe down. If you have a shower curtain, throw it in the washer (the liner, too!) and air dry. For future tub times, keep your door cracked to curb mildew buildup.
Also, don’t forget to clean your drains, vanity, and medicine cabinet—there are tons of areas in the bathroom we should be cleaning, but don’t. Check out the full list of easy-to-miss areas here.
Furniture in the living room needs cleaning as much as the floors and surfaces do. If you have leather furniture, dust with a slightly damp microfiber cloth. If you have a slipcover, you can throw it in the wash on the delicate setting. And of course, take care to clean your upholstery. – Meyer
Toss all fabrics into the wash. Curtains, removable throw pillows, and that blanket the dog loves.
Give your trinkets some attention. Wherever you keep your books or cherished collections, this is a good time to remove them all and dust the surface they sit on. Wear a sock over one hand so you can dust them as you remove them.
If you have a fireplace (working or not), soot and dust collects there, too: Be sure to use a combo of trisodium phosphate and bleach to give it a good scrub.
Make sure you clean your bed: Strip the bed, and spread a cup of baking soda directly onto your mattress. Let it set for a few hours. Once you vacuum the area, any odors (especially from pets) will be completely gone. – Haynes
Avoid using this time to declutter your closet. Instead, move everything off the closet floor for a dust and clean.
Wash your pillows and comforter (see care instructions on their labels) for a full freshening up.
FLOORS FOR THE FINISH
Tired yet? Start at one end of the house, and run a microfiber mop on every floor. Return to where you started, and use a steam cleaning mop or bucket of floor-friendly surface cleaner to give everything a final shine (this is especially important for wood flooring). Make sure you finish at your front door, so you can skip out for brunch while the floors dry.
Originally published on April 18, 2017. Updated with new information March 17, 2018.
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