As we move into spring, many of us may be feeling full of anticipation and excitement for the warmer months. And what better way to mark the beginning of the new season, than with a thorough spring clean? Not only will your home be left sparkling clean, but it’ll also give you something productive to do during these last lockdown days.
Spring cleaning your home has a number of health benefits, including strengthening your immune system, and helping you to avoid injuries and illness. Studies have also shown that a clean and decluttered home can significantly boost mood, improve focus, and help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression – plus you might even come across items throughout the process that you’d thought you’d lost. If that wasn’t enough to get you in the mood for a thorough clean, then you might be pleased to know that spring cleaning can also increase productivity, and boost motivation.
To help you get started, we’ve put together some top spring cleaning tips, to help you to achieve a squeaky clean home from top to bottom.
4 top tips for a productive spring clean
1. Make a plan of what you want to achieve during your spring clean
In order to have a smooth and productive spring clean, it can be useful to make a plan, as this can help you stay focused on what you’d like to achieve. For many of us, this might be rather a long list – so to avoid becoming overwhelmed, consider grouping tasks together by room. Tackling one room at a time can make it easier to keep track of your progress, and clearly see what’s left to do.
2. Work from the top-down
Once you’ve broken down your chores, it can be useful to tackle them one at a time, from the top of your home to the bottom. Not only will this add further clarity to the process, it also makes more sense to get rid of dust and other debris from the top-down.
3. Keep cleaning products to a minimum
If you need new cleaning products to get started with your spring clean, it’s worth making a list of what you need in advance, to avoid spending unnecessary money and creating more clutter. Multi-purpose cleaners are handy because they’re versatile and can be used for a number of different chores.
4. Try and form new cleaning habits going forward
The relief and freshness that you feel after a good spring clean can help to remind you why now is a good time to form new cleaning habits. Not only will this make your next spring clean easier, but it’ll also mean your home remains cleaner throughout the year too.
Instead of leaving all of your cleaning chores to do together, you might find it useful to dedicate 10 to 15 minutes each day to a particular task. Breaking the jobs down into smaller more manageable tasks can make cleaning less tedious, and stress-free.
If you feel you’d benefit from adding some organisation to your home to make cleaning easier, then you might like to read some of these top tips for organising your home from Good Housekeeping.
24 things to add to your spring cleaning checklist
1. Have a good declutter
The best place to start with a spring clean is by having a good declutter. It’s amazing what we can accumulate over the years without even realising it.
Sort through drawers and wardrobes, setting aside clothes that you no longer wear or use. Once shops reopen, you’ll be able to take these to charity shops. You might also like to put your winter clothes into storage until next year.
Other areas that might be in need of a declutter include home offices, under-bed storage, and medicine and food cupboards. Again, if you’ve got in-date food products that you know you won’t use, you could donate them to a food bank near you or use the Olio app, which allows you to list food and non-food products for others to collect and make use of. It’s a free service and is contact-free during the pandemic, so all you’ll need to do is leave the products outside your front door for someone to collect.
If you have any non-food items left over that you’re unsure what to do with, you might also find some useful ideas in our article; How to make money from your clutter.
2. Clean and dust surfaces from top to bottom
Once you’ve decluttered a room and it’s starting to feel more open, you can then start dusting and wiping down surfaces. To avoid spreading dust around, it can be useful to start with higher surfaces first.
Long handled dusters are useful for getting rid of cobwebs and dusting other areas like lampshades and skirting boards, and you can use glass cleaner with a microfiber cloth to wipe down photo frames, mirrors, lightbulbs, countertops, and other surfaces that collect dust. Make sure the bulbs have been switched off for a while before you clean them to avoid burning yourself.
3. Clean the windows
As the gorgeous spring light starts to flood into our homes, there’s nothing worse than seeing dirty fingerprints and streaks across the windows. There’s no underestimating the difference that clean windows can make to a room, and luckily there’s plenty of easy home solutions that will make cleaning your windows easy. You’ll find plenty of tips and tricks in this article on Ideal Home.
And remember, for the best results it’s advisable to clean your windows on a cloudy day (as on a sunny day, the glass will dry much quicker and cause smears), so consider prioritising this job before the summer sun takes over!
4. Treat any marks or stains on walls
Having unwanted marks or stains on your walls can ruin the aesthetics of any room. Luckily, there are simple methods you can try before having to break out any heavy duty wall cleaners. All you’ll need is a little washing up liquid mixed with some warm water and a microfiber cloth. Once you’ve wrung out the cloth, rub it on the mark or stain you want to get rid of until you can’t see it anymore. You’ll need to wait until the wall dries out before you can be sure the mark has gone. If it’s still there, repeat the process again.
This method should be a safe and successful way to remove stains or marks on walls, whether they’re painted or not. However, if this doesn’t work for you, you might want to consider using cleaning erasers or sugar soap.
5. Wash the curtains
Curtains are often forgotten about during our regular cleaning sprees, so now is the perfect time to get them down and give them a bit of a refresh. All you’ll need to do is put them in your tumble dryer on the air-cycle for 15 minutes and then rehang them immediately to avoid them going wrinkly.
6. Clean your bedding (all of it!)
While we all wash our bed sheets regularly, the actual pillows, duvet, and mattress often get neglected. But considering the average person spends roughly a third of their life in bed, it’s advisable to clean your pillows, duvets and mattress at least every six months.
For pillows and duvets, always make sure to read the manufacturer’s label before throwing anything in the washing machine. And for mattresses, it’s worth running over it with your hoover’s upholstery tool, treating it with a disinfectant spray, and using your iron to tackle dust mites. You can find out how to clean and remove stains from your mattress here.
7. Clean the furniture
Start by pulling your furniture away from the walls, so that you can hoover those spaces where a lot of dust can gather. Once returned to their original positions, you can use the upholstery tool on your hoover to give any sofas and armchairs a good blast, and clean up the cushions.
If you don’t have access to a hoover, then you might like to try this method from Living Proof Magazine where all you’ll need is two microfiber cloths, a stiff bristle brush, a soft bristle brush, and some bicarbonate of soda.
8. Disinfect your bin
Cleaning your bin might be a pretty nasty job, but it’s also a necessary one, as with the weather heating up, they can become even more of a bacterial hotspot.
You can find tips on how to get going with cleaning your bin in this article by Good Housekeeping.
After your spring clean, consider making a habit of wiping down your bin with disinfectant wipes or disinfectant spray each time you empty it, to avoid the need to deep clean it so often. It’s also best to avoid overfilling your bin as if the bag splits or the contents spill over, you’ll be dealing with an even worse job than before.
9. Clean the fridge
To give your fridge the thorough clean it deserves, start by emptying the contents and getting rid of anything that’s past its sell-by date. Then you can put all of the removable shelves and drawers in soapy water to give them a good clean.
Before putting them back in, make sure to clear out any excess food debris from the fridge, and give the inside a thorough wipe down with disinfectant wipes, or vinegar and baking soda for a natural sanitising solution.
10. De-crumb your toaster
Toasters can gather years worth of dust and crumbs which is not only unhygienic, but as the crumbs build and dry out overtime, they can become a fire hazard too.
Toasters might seem like a nightmare to clean, but it’s actually a pretty easy process. The job shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes and all you’ll need is a microfiber cloth, white vinegar, and disinfectant wipes. A brush of some kind can also be very helpful for getting crumbs out of tighter areas; for example a pastry brush or toothbrush. Before starting, always remember to unplug your toaster and allow it to cool if you’ve used it recently, to avoid the risk of an electrical shock or burning yourself.
If you’d like to follow a step-by-step guide, you might find this article by The Kitchn useful.
11. Clean your chopping boards
After preparing so much food on them, chopping boards are often left with marks or stains that don’t seem to come out in the wash. But amazingly, running the cut side of a lemon over a chopping board has been found to help remove food stains and smells.
If you need something a bit stronger, try adding a sprinkle of salt or baking soda to the surface of your board first before rubbing the lemon over it.
12. Clean your microwave and oven
After a few rounds of cooking and heating up leftovers, microwaves and ovens can become a bit dirty, and the majority of us are guilty of leaving them to fester a little longer than we should.
You can clean your microwave with everyday products like all-purpose cleaners, washing up liquid, baking soda, or white or apple cider vinegar. It’s important to always turn your microwave off before cleaning it and steer clear of bleach because this can weaken plastic and damage your appliance in the long run. The video below shows a useful hack that only requires a microwave proof bowl, some water, and some chopped up lemon.
To clean your oven you can use it’s own self-cleaning function (if it has one) to help tackle tough grime. Alternatively, putting a hot wet cloth over the top of burnt spots inside the oven can help loosen them so that you can scrub them off with some baking powder and a tough cleaning pad. You can find instructions on oven cleaning in this article by Good Housekeeping.
13. Bring the shine back to stainless steel appliances
If not cleaned regularly enough, stainless steel appliances can begin to look rather dull and grey. Luckily, they’re very easy to clean and maintain, and all you’ll need to get your appliances looking shiny and new again is some white vinegar, baking soda, and a microfiber cloth. You can find out all about how to use these products to clean, as well as the dos and don’ts of cleaning stainless steel appliances in this article by Bosch.
14. Freshen the drains
All you’ll need to freshen up your drains is half a cup of baking soda, a quarter of a cup of table salt, and a cup of heated white vinegar. Mix the baking soda and salt together and pour it down your drain, followed by the vinegar. Leave it for a maximum of 15 minutes as it begins to foam and bubble, and then run water from the hot tap for between 15 and 30 seconds. This hack is especially useful for drains that aren’t used everyday, like those in guest bathrooms.
To help avoid your drains clogging up in the future, you might find this guide by Landmark useful.
15. Give your silver a good clean
Dishes, cutlery, and silver jewelry will naturally become tarnished over time, no matter how well you look after them. Silver doesn’t require as consistent cleaning as other household items like bedding, but it’s worth including it in your spring clean to help bring back its original shine.
To clean your silver, you’ll need a microfiber cloth and silver cleaner and polish, which you’ll use to rub your items in an up and down motion (not circular as this can highlight any scratches) before rinsing in warm warmer and drying with a clean cloth. If you don’t have access to these products, you can still clean your silver using these homemade remedies, like this one from The Kitchn which uses aluminum foil, baking soda, sea salt, and white vinegar.
To avoid your items tarnishing as quickly in the future you might like to consider getting an anti-tarnish bag to store them in.
16. Wash shower curtains
Washing plastic or vinyl shower curtains is as simple as putting them on a gentle washing machine cycle, and adding your regular washing detergent. Then, allow it to hang and air dry before you shower again, and that’s the job done!
To avoid mould, mildew and soap scum building up and keep your shower curtain cleaner for longer, try wiping it down with a multi-purpose cleaner that contains bleach, and giving it a rinse with water afterwards.
17. Wipe down any tiled surfaces
When cleaning kitchen or bathroom tiles, it’s advisable to use a cleaner with a neutral PH, for example this neutral tile cleaner on Amazon. Alternatively, you could make your own cleaning solution by mixing together two gallons of water and half a cup of baking soda, and apply using a mop. This cleaning solution can also work well for grout.
18. Clean the washing machine, tumble dryer, and dishwasher
While they’re normally doing the cleaning, these appliances can do with a bit of TLC too. For a washing machine, turn on the special washer cleaning cycle using bleach and/or a washing machine cleaner. This can help you avoid any unwanted odours and keep your machine nice and fresh. If your machine doesn’t have a special cleaning cycle, you might find some of these natural washing machine cleaning methods useful.
For your tumble dryer, as well as cleaning out it’s filter, it’s a good idea to use your hoover’s crevice tool to the hard to reach spots. While you’re there, it’s worth hovering around and under your dryer too where a lot of debris can build up to give it an extra shine.
Lastly, for the dishwasher, remove any bits of food that might have got stuck at the bottom and then simply run a cycle with a dishwasher cleaner. It’s best to repeat this around once a month going forward to keep everything fresh and avoid build up.
19. Organize your bookshelves
As spring appears, you might like to have a refresh of your bookshelf and coffee table area. You could take some time to sort through any books or magazines that you no longer need, and make space for anything new on your reading list.
If you’re one for clear organisation, you could consider alphabetizing, sorting by genre, or by colour theme. If you’d like some further inspiration on how to organise your bookshelf, you’ll find some great tips in this article by MakeSpace.
20. Clean your phone and any other electronic devices
Cleaning your phone might not have been on your original checklist for a spring clean, but electronic devices – our phones especially – carry a lot of germs.
Once you’ve turned your phone off, give it a wipe all over with a microfiber cloth, and then with a disinfectant wipe. Once you’ve left it to air dry for around five minutes, wipe it down with the microfiber cloth again. You can use this same method for other electronic devices that might carry unwanted bacteria. Some items you might like to tick off include TV remote controls, car keys, and your computer mouse.
21. Wash your pet’s bedding
Our pet’s bedding is another part of our homes that we often forget to clean. But pet beds can become full of ticks, fleas, mites, and even e-coli and salmonella if let too long, so it’s important to add this to your to-do list.
First you’ll want to remove as much hair from the bed as possible and pre-treat any stains with a stain remover, before putting all of the bedding on a cool wash and tumble drying it – or leaving it to air dry. You can find further instructions on the process in this guide from Country Living.
22. Wash down any outdoor furniture
Outdoor furniture can take a bit of a beating over the winter months, so spring is the perfect time to freshen it up and get it summer ready.
While methods may alter slightly depending on what material your furniture is made from, washing outdoor furniture is pretty simple. The basic equipment you’ll need to get started is some washing up liquid, a microfiber cloth, a bucket, a soft-bristled brush, and some warm water. You can find easy-to-follow instructions for cleaning your garden furniture in this guide by Merry Maids.
The video below covers how to clean and look after garden furniture depending on their material…
To protect your outdoor furniture going forward, it can be helpful to store it away in a shed or garage during the colder months, and to keep cushions indoors if possible.
23. Don’t forget to clean your cleaning devices...
Once you’re finished with your spring clean and everything’s looking wonderful and spotless, don’t forget about the cleaning devices themselves. To keep your hoover in tip-top condition and working as well as it should, remember to empty it properly, clean out the dust cup, and either wash or replace the filters. It’s also worth using scissors to cut any threads or hairs stuck in the brush.
Brooms will also accumulate lots of dust and hairs when used for cleaning so it’s a good idea to give it a soak in warm soapy water, or use a hoover to get any stubborn bits off.
24. Consider adding a finishing touch with some flowers
Once you’ve reached the end of your spring clean, you can take a deep sigh of relief, and appreciate the labours of your hard work. To add some colour to your new clean space, you might like to buy some flowers to put on display. You can buy beautiful bunches of spring flowers from your local supermarket for around £5, and many are currently selling daffodils for around £1 a bunch.
There are countless benefits to spring cleaning; not only will you be left with a sparkling clean home to enjoy, but the process has also been proven to boost mood and increase productivity. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the number of tasks you need to do, then try and take it one step at a time, and one job at a time. Before you know it you’ll already be seeing the benefits.
This spring especially, the majority of us will be looking forward to putting this past year behind us, and feeling excited at the prospect of having friends and family to visit again later in the year. So there’s never been a better time to have a thorough spring clean, separate the old from the new, and start the season afresh with a sparkling clean home.
Have you done a spring clean recently, or are you planning on doing one soon? Have you got any further tips and tricks that you’d like to share? You can join the conversation on the Rest Less community forum, or leave a comment below.