Our Ultimate Guide to Deep-Cleaning Your Home
It doesn’t have to be spring to start fresh.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:56 AM
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A deep-clean of your house can quickly turn into a multiday affair that ruins your weekend. But it doesn’t have to be. Nor does it need to be an annual event that only happens during a fit of productivity in the spring. There’s no time like the present to tackle your to-do list—we swear it’ll be worth it and over in a flash. “Start at one end of the house and focus on one room at a time,” suggests Laurie Brown, CSO of Earthstone International. As you go from space to space, collect the items that don’t belong and either move them to their proper home or to the front door, where you can later recycle, toss, or donate them.
Now, for the nitty-gritty: We polled Brown and two more cleaning pros for their top tips on making each room of your home as spick and span as when you first moved in (even if that was two years ago).
Tackle the big surfaces first
We’re talking your fridge and your cabinets, both of which you can clean with an all-purpose spray and a rag. “Not only is this a great time to clear out old condiments, but you should also pull everything out and wipe down each shelf and drawer,” says Melina Marcus, cofounder of Rebel Green.
Give your counters a thorough scrub
Thelma Meyer of Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day recommends simple dish soap and warm water for most surfaces, but you can DIY your own formula for countertops that stain easily, like linoleum. Her go-to: baking soda and warm water.
For grease marks, Marcus has another pantry hack: vinegar. “For any spots that receive weekend splatterings of bacon, give them a swipe with a sponge and warm water,” she says. Follow that with a spritz of distilled white vinegar, and then some dish soap mixed with water.
Don’t forget the details
Specifically, the oft-overlooked garbage can. Rinse it with warm water, says Marcus, and then wipe it down inside and out with an all-purpose cleaner.
Deal with the toilet
Lauren Haynes of Star Domestic Cleaners swears by using items you likely already have in your cupboards. First, dismantle the seat and apply a paste of baking soda and water on all the target areas. While you’re letting it do its thing, drop two tablets of antacid into the basin, let it fizz, and start on the rest of the room.
Turn to the shower
Start with the outside: If you have a curtain, throw it in the washer (including the liner!) and let it air dry. If you have glass doors, cut through water and soap stains with a squeegee, white vinegar, and water. Then, turn your attention to the tub.
Haynes suggests applying either a mixture of white vinegar and dish soap or a paste of baking soda and water to the walls of the shower and tub, letting it sit for three minutes, and then scrubbing it away. Rinse with warm water to reveal your sparkly clean tile.
Wash first, dust later
If you have a slipcover, throw it in the washing machine (just be sure to keep it on the delicate setting). Same goes for all other removable fabrics: Curtains, throw pillow covers, and that blanket the dog loves.
Give your furniture some TLC
According to Meyer, your living room furnishings need cleaning as much as the floors and surfaces do. Wooden coffee tables and cabinets can be sprayed with a wood cleaner and dusted off with an old rag. For leather sofas and chairs, she advises dusting them with a slightly damp microfiber cloth.
Give the trinkets your attention too. Whether it’s your collection of vases or your book stack, remove each item and dust the surface it sits on with an old sock over one hand.
Save that closet refresh for another time—instead, Haynes recommends focusing on just the actual cleaning. Move everything off the closet floor for a quick dusting, and then put it right back.
Refresh your mattress
Strip everything off your bed and stick your pillows and comforter in the wash. Then spread a cup of baking soda directly onto your mattress and let it sit for a few hours. It’s a miracle formula: Once vacuumed, any odors (like the ones from your beloved pup who occasionally joins you) will be completely gone.
Before you know it, you’ll be finished. Better make plans for that wide-open Sunday.
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