Ever wonder why we spring clean? Spring cleaning is a tradition rooted in thousands of years of history. Many civilizations would take advantage of the spring’s light and warmth, using this time to clean all the soot that piled up during the long, cold winter.
Although the majority of us don’t heat our homes with fire, it’s still commonplace to take advantage of the warm weather and give your home a deep clean after the long winter months.
Here’s what you should be cleaning this spring:
Around the house
• Before you start cleaning, get rid of some of the clutter in your home. Go through each room and rid yourself of things you no longer use or want. Make one pile to donate, one pile to trash, and one pile to sell.
• Dust crevices, nooks, and crannies. Dust all hard surfaces, and use an extendable duster or ladder to reach ceiling nooks, recessed lighting, moldings and ceiling fans.
• Clean light fixtures. Like ceiling fans, light fixtures are magnets for dust, dirt and even bugs. Use an extendable duster to reach your high light fixtures. For fixtures with glass covers, remove the glass before cleaning. Dump dust or dead bugs into the trash first. Then, soak the glass in warm, soapy water. Use a sponge or cloth to wipe it down and get rid of stuck-on dirt or grime. Dry it completely with a towel before replacing it.
• Machine wash or dry clean your curtains. The majority of curtains are made of woven fabrics that accumulate dust, pet hair and dander. Over time the accumulation will make your curtains look dingy.
• Wash your windows on the inside and outside of your house.
• Replace dirty filters. Energy Star suggests that you replace your HVAC air filters once a month or every three months at minimum. If you haven’t changed yours recently, do it now. By replacing your dirty air filter, you’ll cut down on heating and cooling costs, and maintain healthy air quality.
• Wash all the vents in your house.
• Deep clean your carpet. If you don’t want to pay to have your carpets professionally cleaned, you can rent a cleaner at a home improvement store like Lowe’s or Home Depot. Even if you vacuum regularly, a deep clean will help get the dust and grime that’s stuck on your carpet.
• Vacuum underneath furniture. Chances are that you don’t always vacuum under your furniture, especially hard to move furniture such as a couch or bed. Take the time to move the furniture so you can thoroughly vacuum out all the accumulated dust and debris. You can use the upholstery tool on your vacuum to clean your chairs and sofas. Vacuum both sides of the cushions and underneath them.
• Mop and wax where needed.
In the Kitchen
• Your oven needs to be cleaned every three to six months, so why not do it now? The easiest way to clean your oven is to put it on the self-cleaning function. This will set your oven to the highest temperature possible (over 900 degrees) and will burn all debris to white ash. Once the oven has cooled down, simply wipe the ash out of the bottom. If you feel uncomfortable using the self-clean function, you can clean your oven manually with a baking soda and water paste. Let the baking soda paste sit for 12-24 hours before scrubbing it off. If you want to use a quicker method, try pouring vinegar over the baking soda paste. This causes the baking soda to react with a fizz, making it easier to scrub off baked-on debris.
• Use the same baking soda and water method to clean your stovetop. For a ceramic stovetop, simply coat the stovetop with the baking soda and water paste. Let sit for ten minutes, then wipe clean.
• For gas stovetops, start by removing the grates and burner covers and soaking them in hot, soapy water. Then, use the baking soda and water paste on a wet rag to scrub off the remaining dirt. Wipe down the top of the range with a rag moistened with soapy water. Make sure that the rag is not too wet, or it can damage the ignitor. Clean with water and wipe dry. Lastly, scrub the soaking grates and burners with a sponge, then thoroughly dry them off before placing them back on the stovetop. Then open the stove top and wipe with a damp sponge.
• For an electric stovetop, first, remove the coils and reflector bowls. Wipe the coils with a damp sponge and clean the reflector bowls with hot water and a mild cleaner, such as baking soda and water. Let coils and reflector bowls dry completely, then replace them.
• Toss expired food from your pantry, fridge, and freezer. Then, take out all the food and clean the shelves. Reorganize as you replace all the food items.
• Deep clean your shower and bath by letting bathroom spray or pine cleaner soak on the shower or bath walls. Let the spray stand while you clean other areas, then go back and start scrubbing. Rinse with water, then dry with a clean towel.
• Wash shower curtain liner and bath mats.
• Switch out cool-weather clothing for warm-weather clothing. Be sure to wash your cooler-weather clothing before storing it. By storing your cool-weather clothes, you’ll reduce clutter in your closet. This is also a good time to get rid of some of the clothes in your wardrobe that you don’t wear. If you haven’t worn it in a year, get rid of it.
• Flip your mattress.
• Wash or replace pillows, depending on how long you’ve had them.
• Wash your comforter or duvet cover if you haven’t in a while.
Outside the house
• Sweep your front porch and back deck, and dust all the cobwebs.
• Consider replacing your welcome mat if needed.
• Wash all patio furniture.