After a long winter with the house (or apartment) closed up tight, the first signs of spring may have you running to the windows to throw them open and let the fresh air in. But wait – the window sills are dirty, and the screens could use some cleaning as well. And those curtains and blinds – perhaps it’s time to do some spring cleaning. Use this checklist to get your place ready for warmer weather:
___ Gather supplies. You’ll need a bucket of warm, soapy water; rags and a sponge; paper towels; your preferred cleaners; a bottle of white vinegar; a box of baking soda; a duster or dust cloth, large garbage bags or some boxes; and a vacuum cleaner, broom, and perhaps a steam cleaner.
___ Map out your route. You’ll want to tackle one room at a time. You may prefer to start in the back of the house (or at the highest level) and work your way forward (or down).
___ In each room, start with the closet. Begin by filling those bags and boxes with items to donate or throw out. Remove everything from the closet, wipe down shelves if necessary, vacuum or sweep, and wipe down the walls. Place the out-of-season clothing in storage bins or on shelves, and hang spring and summer clothing where it is easily accessible. As for discarding items, follow this rule: if you haven’t worn it in the past year, get rid of it.
___ Clean the baseboards, dust the furniture, wash the windows (including the screens), and clean the air vents and ceiling fans for each room.
___ Take down the curtains and either wash them or take them to be dry-cleaned, depending on the care instructions.
___ Gather all throw rugs and check the cleaning instructions. If they are washable, put them in the washing machine. If not, steam-clean them or take them to be professionally cleaned.
___ Vacuum and sweep each room. Sprinkle carpets with baking soda before vacuuming. Consider steam-cleaning the carpets, especially those in high-traffic areas.
___ Strip the beds. Move them away from the walls and vacuum behind the bed. Push the bed back and then flip the mattress.
___ Put all of the bedding (dust ruffle, mattress pad, etc.) aside for laundry (or the dry-cleaner; follow the cleaning instructions on the label).
___ Replace the winter bedding with spring/summer bedding and store it after it is cleaned. Consider replacing or cleaning pillows.
___ Pull the refrigerator out and clean behind it, then clean the coils.
___ Clean the oven and all other appliances. Remove burner grates (if you have them) and clean the stovetop.
___ Take everything out of the refrigerator and freezer, wipe down the shelves, and examine everything before putting it back – if it is old or expired, throw it out. Do the same in the pantry.
___ Lesser-used items in the higher-up cabinets as well as anything near the stove probably have some grease build-up. Wash anything infrequently used (good china, seldom-used bake ware, the champagne flutes you only take out on holidays, etc.) either by hand with warm, soapy water or on the quick-wash cycle of the dishwasher.
___ Clean the top of the refrigerator with warm, soapy water and do the same for the tops of cabinets and shelves. Consider replacing the shelf paper.
___Take down the shower curtain and clean (or replace) it.
___Pull everything out of cabinets and get rid of items that are outdated or expired. Wipe down the shelves and put everything back (organize as you go).
___Clean the walls with warm, soapy water to remove build-up from hairsprays, perfume, etc.
___Remove the shower head (if you can) and soak it in equal parts water and vinegar. Scrub it with a small brush to clean. If you can’t remove the shower head, try mixing hot water and vinegar in a plastic bag and securing it to the shower head using heavy-duty tape or a rubber band. Leave it for several hours then scrub it clean.
- Spring cleaning is the ideal time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Also, change your air filters.
- As you clean look carefully at each room for anything that needs repaired, replaced, or repainted.
- For those who want to clean “green,” vinegar and water is a great solution for cleaning mirrors. For countertops, try mixing a little baking soda and water for a fresh-smelling scrub.
- Wash around door frames and scrub down sliding door tracks.
- Don’t forget the blinds! Wipe them down with warm, soapy water.
- Furniture needs a good cleaning, as well. Remove the cushions from the couch and vacuum. Use a fabric (or leather) cleaner to remove any spots from your couch and chairs.
- Light fixtures should be wiped with a damp cloth to remove dust. Wipe down switch plates and doorknobs, as well.
- After spring cleaning inside, walk around the outside of your home and check the siding and the roof for any signs of decay. Check the gutters; they will probably need cleaned. Walk around the perimeter of your yard, as well, checking for broken fencing, lawn pests, trees that need trimmed, and any signs of disease in your trees and plants.