• Everything to Address During Spring Cleaning

A Comprehensive Checklist for Spring Cleaning: 43 Items to Address

Getting Ready for Spring CleaningSpring cleaning is a tradition that goes back centuries. As soon as it was warm enough to allow the doors and windows to be open, people could give their homes a much-needed refresh. Spring is the ideal time because it is still cool enough to air out without risking a bunch of insects entering the home in the process. Modern homes are more effective at keeping the inside contained, but this can make it feel stuffy and unclean. This list can help you identify the best ways to clean each room of your Collierville home for a fresh start to the year.

Getting Started

Starting any project that involves the entire house can be both exciting and intimidating. Spring cleaning demands a lot of work that can be done over a few days or spread out over several weeks. Consider dividing up the work into manageable portions that can be completed without upsetting the rest of your life too much. Staying positive could make a big difference in the way the project progresses. These tips can help people prepare for the actual cleaning, so that they have the right equipment and environment to be the most effective. If you've just bought a Southaven home, deep cleaning before moving in is a great idea no matter the season.

Getting the Right Cleaning Supplies

A professional is only as good as the tools they use, and cleaning is no different. You should consider buying or gathering the following:

  • sturdy broom
  • brushes with stiff or soft bristles
  • dustpan
  • mop for wet/dry surfaces
  • cloth or microfiber towels
  • bucket
  • spray bottle
  • vacuum
  • cleansers appropriate for the surface

People may want to create a caddy or rolling cart to make moving from room to room easier.

Homeowners are often surprised to discover that the dirtiest, most germ-ridden items in their homes are cleaning supplies. Brushes, brooms, mops, and buckets can spread dirt, pet dander, and other debris throughout the home. Anything that holds water and does not dry quickly could hold bacteria or viruses. They can minimize these problems by washing items after use. Periodically washing a mop head or soaking cleaning supplies in a solution of warm water and dish soap or enzyme cleaner can prolong their lifespan. Anything that is broken or impossible to clean is probably worth replacing.

Organize & Purge

Thorough cleaning can be much easier once the space has fewer items. Homeowners may benefit from going through their lesser-used things at least once or twice a year and evaluating what they want. To keep this process from becoming too overwhelming, people may prefer to go room by room, or even cupboard by cupboard. Kids’ bedrooms, spare rooms, and the garage can become hot spots for clutter residents no longer need.

Putting everything for consideration into boxes or bins will clear out the space and provide a greater sense of purpose. One might decide to separate these belongings into piles to keep, donate or give away, sell, or throw out. Before putting the retained possessions away, people can clean the cabinets and surfaces.

Open Windows/Air Out

Opening Windows Before Cleaning

When the home is closed up for the cold winter, it can be more difficult to cycle air through properly. Most modern houses contain ventilation, particularly in the kitchen and bathrooms. If these are old or not used properly, they may allow odors to linger. Keeping windows closed and shuttered to reduce heat loss minimizes natural light and can make the home feel musty and old.

Once the air is warm enough, open the windows to allow fresh air inside. People who live in areas with pollution might consider doing this early in the morning or later in the evening. Windows and doors with screens make ventilation relatively simple without blowing in quite as much dirt or debris from the outside. Opening multiple windows can draw air in and cycle it more quickly. People may choose to place a fan into the room near the window to pull in the outdoor air.

Hard Surfaces

The home is full of hard surfaces, and they all have different cleaning recommendations. From floor to ceiling, the home picks up a lot of dust and dirt throughout the year. This can make the house look old or worn. Paying attention to each item could make it look new again. These tips help homeowners know what they should inspect, and how they might clean it properly.

Windows (Inside and Out)

Cleaning windows primarily involves a thorough wiping with minimal streaking. People may need a ladder to reach decorative or high windows, particularly on the outside. For the exterior sides of the windows, people should fill a bucket with lightly soapy water and apply using a cloth. Glass that is very dirty may need more water and scrubbing to come clean. On the inside, people often start by spraying the window with a solution of water and vinegar. Wiping downward until the surface is completely dry is most effective at eliminating visible streaks.

Window Frames and Door Tracks

Window frames may be best to clean at the same time as the glass. Frames are often made of nonporous materials like steel or vinyl. If they are made of wood, people may want to wipe it with a wood-safe cleaning solution. In most cases, homeowners can wipe down the outside frame with a vinegar and water mixture or slightly soapy water, and then wash clean with a hose. People sometimes forget about cleaning window and door tracks. It calls for a cleansing spray, soft bristled brush, a cloth to wipe it clean, and a toothpick or dull knife to dislodge any larger debris.

Windowsills & Baseboards

Dusting Windowsill

Windowsills and baseboards can accumulate a lot of dirt and grime, and they are often harder to clean than the windows themselves. Painted surfaces should be wiped first with a dry cloth or vacuumed to remove dust and loose dirt. People should check to see if the paint will sustain a wet cleaning solution before taking the next step. It is important to avoid using too much water, as this could damage the wood. For food or grease stains, try using a damp cloth with a drop of dish soap or a melamine sponge.

Floors (Hardwood, Tile, etc)

The way one should clean hard flooring depends on its ability to handle water. Hardwoods and laminate can absorb water and warp as a result, so they need to be cleaned with extra care. They also scratch easily. People should plan to sweep the floor regularly. They can also use a vacuum, as long as the brush does not damage the floor. Stains can often be removed with a light spray of an appropriate flooring cleaner followed by immediate wiping with a dry cloth.

Tile and vinyl have a little more flexibility, but it relates to the type. Regular sweeping can eliminate most dust and pet hair. Homeowners should use an approved grout cleaner between the tiles, and they may need to scrub it with a stiff-bristled brush. Vinyl can be mopped with a damp mop, but people need to avoid abrasive sponges and harsh cleansers.

Blinds/Fans & Light Fixtures

Light Fixture Cleaning

A warm spring day is often the first indication that certain permanent fixtures need attention. Cleaning things that are attached on the wall or the ceiling is easiest with a vacuum that has a hose attachment and brush. Using a duster can spread the dust to other surfaces that may be harder to clean. People should start by ensuring the fan or light is in the “off” position. Going over each surface once with the vacuum and following up with a dry or slightly damp cloth may be all that is required.

The appropriate cleaning solution depends on the product. You can use a solution of water and vinegar on many surfaces. Wood and faux wood pieces should be wiped dry once clean to avoid damaging it. Drying metal surfaces of light fixtures and ceiling fans will help to prevent streaks.

Light Bulbs

Now that light bulbs can sometimes last as long as the fixture, they are more likely to accumulate dust long before they burn out. Start by turning off power to the light and allowing the bulb to cool. Placing a cloth or paper towel underneath the fixture catches dust as it falls for easy removal. People may want to use gloves to protect the bulb and their hands, in case it breaks. Wiping gently with a dry cloth will remove the dust. Avoiding touching the bulb as much as possible will help to minimize smudges.

Walls/Doors

As with other painted surfaces, cleaning walls and doors is best done with dry equipment. A vacuum or a duster can remove layers of dust that collect over time. For walls, one might spray a light amount of an all-purpose cleaner on spot or fingerprints and gently wipe away. Rubbing too hard can damage the paint. Exterior doors may need more scrubbing with a wet cloth or sponge. People should avoid using abrasive products that can scratch the surface. Note spots that require touch-up painting on walls and doors.

Door Knobs/Light Switches/Hand Rails/Remotes

Items that the family touches many times a day often require more cleaning than once a year. Paying special attention every now and then can make a big difference in their appearance and cleanliness. Wipe door knobs and hand rails with an antibacterial wipe. A cotton swab helps to reach tiny crevices. Remotes are relatively easy to clean with a few sprays of canned air. People can wipe outlets and light switches with a damp cloth. However, they should consider turning off the power to the outlet while they are cleaning it.

Shelves/Pictures/Décor

The best way to clean home décor usually involves removing it. People can often get away with dusting around knick-knacks and picture frames throughout the year. Periodically, they should pull everything off and give the shelf a good wipe-down with a damp cloth. This is a good opportunity to decide if everything on the shelf is still working with the room’s design, as well. Homeowners may want to look at the shelf to evaluate its condition and mounting. Fresh paint might make it look new again. If it is starting to list to one side, it is relatively easy to adjust its placement while empty. Picture frames can be wiped with a dry cloth. Ornate frames may require canned air to get in the crevices.

Electronics

Cleaning electronic equipment is something that most people try to avoid so that they do not damage it. However, letting dust and grime accumulate on these devices can decrease their use and even cause them to fail prematurely. Tools that are left on permanently and always sit in the same place need proper ventilation to avoid overheating. Too much dust can make this harder to achieve.

A few times a year, homeowners may want to turn off the machine, unplug it, and wipe it with a dry cloth. They should also wipe the surface underneath and behind it. If they need help cleaning the inside of a computer or other piece of equipment, they may want to consult with an expert. Improper cleaning could destroy the machine by accident. People can clean their personal devices by removing the cover and wiping it with a microfiber cloth.

Soft Surfaces

The soft surfaces of the house can be the most difficult to keep clean. They absorb spills, odors, and debris that can make them look and smell unsightly. Many of these items are machine-washable, which can make the task easier. Take note of which ones can be washed, the things that must be dry-cleaned, and surfaces that need professional care. This will help to minimize guesswork that could cause damage.

Couches/Pillows/Throws

Cleaning Couch Cushions

Cleaning a couch takes some work. For minimal spots and spills, leather couches and chairs can often be easiest. Invest in a soap product that moisturizes or is designed for treating leather. This will help to clean without drying out or cracking the leather. Linen or synthetic fiber couches need delicate spot treatment. People should start by vacuuming around and underneath cushions. Experts suggest using a drop of dish soap to cut grease and other stains, then wiping with a damp cloth and allowing to dry.

In many cases, couch cushion covers and throw pillow covers can be thrown in the wash. Sometimes, the pillow itself is machine-washable, but people should take care to avoid washing them too often. This can damage the stuffing or make it lumpy. Pillows that are becoming flat or lumpy from use may require new stuffing.

Curtains

When it comes to collecting dust and dirt, curtains could be some of the worst culprits in the home. They rarely come off the rod and they may be difficult to wash. Homeowners can cut down on some of the hassle by investing in machine-washable curtains on a rod that is easy to place and remove. Before giving a thorough cleaning, people may want to shake the curtains outside.

People should look for tags on the curtains for washing instructions. Most fabrics common for clothing (e.g. cotton or synthetics) can be washed in cold water and dried on a low setting. Sheer or delicate materials may be washed by hand in a bucket of soapy water, then rinsed and given time to dry.

Carpets/Rugs

Like other soft surfaces, carpets and rugs are coverings that can definitely suffer from too much moisture. They hang onto pet dander and other particles from shoes, and the carpet pad underneath can soak up liquid from spills. This can aggravate allergies, create stains, and even make odors hard to eliminate. Cleaning the carpet starts with a thorough vacuuming of the carpet and baseboards. Area rugs and doormats should be taken outside for shaking or vacuuming, especially if they are very dirty.

Most people use a carpet cleaning solution to get rid of spots on carpets and rugs. They should test it out in a less-visible area to confirm it will not damage the carpet. The carpet may also need a regular shampooing once or twice a year, but no more. Washing the carpet helps to release stains more effectively, but can damage the carpet pad with overuse.

Pet Area/Bedding/Toys

Pets add joy to a home, but they also contribute complexity to the cleaning routine. Pet dander can make allergies worse, and pet hair needs regular cleaning from flooring and furniture. Any cleaning products used on bedding or other spaces where pets spend a lot of time must be safe for contact with dogs, cats, birds, or other animals. Pet owners should aim to purchase pet beds and toys that are easy to clean and disinfect.

To clean a pet bed, people can remove the cover and wash it in the washer. Any stain treatments should be washed out completely, especially if the pet chews on the bedding. Soft toys can usually be washed in a garment bag. Plastic or rubber toys may be soaked in a vinegar and water solution, then rinsed. Food and water bowls should be scrubbed clean with soap and rinsed with water.

Kitchen/Dining Room

Some people spend many of their waking hours in the kitchen and dining room. Families use this time as a way to gather, prepare for their day, or wind down. This means that the spaces get heavy use, particularly as they relate to food preparation and consumption. Forming a plan to tackle the space piece by piece can improve health, use, and enjoyment by the whole family.

Refrigerator/Freezer

Deep Cleaning Refrigerator

Once a year, the refrigerator and freezer need a thorough cleaning. Homeowners can best achieve this by removing all food items. Foods that may defrost or must maintain a specific temperature should be last taken out and the first replaced. People can wipe down shelving with soap and water, and remove drawers and wash them in the sink. The doors and handles should be wiped thoroughly on both sides. A melamine sponge helps to remove stubborn stains.

For food safety purposes, foods with the highest likelihood of contamination should typically be placed on the lowest shelves. This means that one may consider organizing their refrigerator spaces in this general order:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • dairy (e.g. cheeses, yogurt)
  • meats, which should be kept separate from each other

Aiming to keep each space organized in this way will minimize the likelihood of food contact and serious health conditions like food poisoning.

Dishwasher

A piece of equipment that has cleaning as its only function needs to be cleaned as well. When a dishwasher starts to accumulate food particles over time, it may struggle to drain away waste as effectively. This can result in unclean dishes and a possible food safety hazard. Fortunately, cleaning the dishwasher is usually not particularly difficult.

Wipe the exterior door, the sides of the door, and the interior of the dishwasher. Some baskets are removable and may be cleaned in the sink. Paying attention to the insides of utensil baskets, wheels underneath the shelves, and the tracks will help keep food particles from remaining inside the dishwasher. With these items pulled out, people can clear out the food trap usually located at the bottom of the dishwasher. Once everything has been cleaned and replaced, run one cycle with an empty dishwasher.

Sinks/Drains/Disposal

The sink area is another place where sanitation is extremely important. People may use the same sink to wash dirty pots and prepare raw foods, so preventing contamination is key. Most of the time, filling up the sink with hot water and a little dish soap will loosen food particles. Sinks attached under the countertop may need additional scrubbing at these attachment points to prevent food accumulation.

Cleaning the drain and the garbage disposal does not need to be complicated or time-consuming. People should confirm that the garbage disposal is turned off and cannot be triggered accidentally. Usually, hot soapy water will cut through grease and food particles so that they may be sent down the drain. You may also can use a sponge with a slightly abrasive side for more through disinfecting. A small amount of vinegar and baking soda left in the sink at the drain for a few minutes helps deodorize the disposal.

Oven & Stovetop

Keeping the oven and the stove top clean is a matter of safety for the home as well as the food. Homeowners may be able to clean removable portions of a stovetop in the sink or the dishwasher. Grates that have a lot of grease or burned food may need to soak in hot, soapy water to loosen the accumulation. People who have a glass cooktop should wipe it promptly with a damp cloth, or use an appropriate cleaning solution recommended by the manufacturer.

Most ovens have a self-cleaning option, but this may not be enough to clean all components. Wiping the inside and outside of the oven door will make it easier to see the inside. People can remove wire racks for scrubbing in the sink. They should take care to remove food that has fallen to the bottom of the oven. Food particles left in the oven while it is running may smoke or even spark a fire.

Small Appliances

Small appliances that spend most of their time on the countertop can make the kitchen appear dirtier than it actually is. You may already be in the regular habit of cleaning out a coffee carafe or emptying the tray beneath a toaster oven, but most small appliances need additional care on occasion. Before handling, people should unplug the appliance and give it time to cool down as needed.

Electronic equipment should always be handled with care, minimizing moisture around electrical connections. Otherwise, homeowners can wipe around the exterior of the appliance with a damp cloth. Appliances that use water, such as coffee makers, might need to have a periodic cycle of a vinegar-water solution to eliminate hard water buildup and remove odors. Equipment that uses lighting may need to have the bulbs wiped down or replaced to ensure adequate function.

Kitchen Cabinets & Doors

When cooks are not paying close attention, kitchen cabinets and doors accumulate grease, spills, and debris that can appear very unappealing. Olive Branch real estate often has great, beautiful kitchens, so it's important to keep them looking great when it comes time to sell. White cabinetry is more likely to show stains, so it's important to form a plan to wipe them down more frequently. As a general rule, cabinet doors are easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth or a melamine sponge. People should take care to minimize the amount of water they use, so that the finish does not come off.

This is an excellent opportunity to clean the inside of the cabinets, as well. Each cabinet should have all items removed and evaluated to keep or eliminate. With an empty cabinet, people can take a look at the condition of the shelving. If it is holding up well, they may simply need to wipe the shelves, walls, top, and bottom of the cupboard. A vacuum with a hose attachment can reach debris or food particles left in the corners.

Countertops

Wiping Down Countertops

For many, the countertop is the prized feature of the kitchen. People pay thousands of dollars for certain types of countertops, and proper maintenance is key. Most solid surface countertops need regular cleaning with the right products. You can often start with a damp washcloth and a solution of warm water and a small amount of dish soap. Minimizing the contact of water with the surface will avoid absorption.

Although people sometimes like to use vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda to clean in the kitchen and bathroom, these can be damaging to stone and laminate countertops. In fact, any solution that is particularly acidic or alkaline can stain or wear away the seal on these countertops. Butcher block is an exception to this rule. After cleaning the butcher block surface with soap and water, use vinegar, lemons, and salt to purify the surface.

Dining Table/Chairs

The dining table and chairs receive heavy use throughout the day, and may periodically need more attention than the occasional wiping. Once a year, take a look at each chair and the table. They need to inspect the joints and legs for signs of damage. Felt pads on the feet designed to prevent scratching of the floor may require replacement on occasion. If the upholstery is badly stained, worn, faded, or ripped, they may need to consider replacing it.

Wood surfaces can usually be cleaned with a small amount of water and a damp cloth. Minimizing the amount of soap or cleansers will help to protect the finish longer. People may want to add a layer of furniture polish or mineral oil as is appropriate for the type of wood that they have. Dining chairs with fabric upholstery should be vacuumed to remove food particles, and spot-treated for stains.

Junk Drawer

No one wants to spend hours clearing out a junk drawer, but it needs to happen in order for the drawer to be useful. Empty any multipurpose drawers and place all of the items into small bins. With an empty drawer, they can wipe down the insides with a dry cloth or vacuum it. If there is a worn lining on the bottom, they may want to replace it.

Many people find that if they put a tray inside the junk drawer, they can keep it more organized. With the items out of the drawer, separate out garbage, outdated coupons or other papers, and unnecessary tools. This allows them more space to install a tray and put everything away neatly.

Bathrooms

There are few things as delightful as a perfectly clean bathroom. The more often a bathroom receives use, the more it needs to be cleaned. However, guest bathrooms also need a periodic deep cleaning to remain functional. Start by clearing all items off of countertops and out of the shower or tub. Some of these can be cleaned and returned later. This provides an uncluttered space for disinfecting work.

Shower/Tub

Scrubbing the Bathtub

Ideally, households should be thoroughly cleaning the shower or bathtub at least once a month. There are many spots, such as the top of the shower surround, that people may not notice until they become very dirty. It is best for people to start at the top and work their way to the bottom, leading generally toward the drain.

Most people can use a bathroom cleaning solution to clean the surfaces in the shower or tub. Proper ventilation is key for any cleansers that leave fumes, so people need to turn on the fan, leave the door open, or open a window. When wiping the top or any surface that they cannot see, homeowners should spray the solution onto a cloth or sponge and use that to clean the surface. People should be careful before using bleach or abrasives like baking soda, because these can damage certain types of stone or tile.

Tile/Counters/Sinks

Cleaning counters and sinks requires a similar level of attention to the shower and the bathtub. The proper cleaning products depend on the type of counter surface. Porcelain tiles can be wiped clean using mild dish soap and water, or a small amount of all-purpose cleaner. One may want to use a grout brush and a specially-formulated grout cleaner to fully clean the grout lines. They should also inspect the grout for signs of stains or cracking, as well as chipped or cracked tiles. Periodically, they may need to replace the tile or re-seal the grout.

All-purpose cleaners will usually work well to clean the sink. A sponge or a soft bristled brush should remove most accumulations without scratching the surface. Take care to wipe around the drain and where the sink meets the countertop.

Faucets/Showerheads

People may be surprised to discover how simple it is to keep their faucets and shower heads running cleanly. Hard water deposits will accumulate inside the head of the sprayer, leading to an inconsistent stream or jets that spray in the wrong direction. To clean the showerhead, people should pour a small amount of water and a cleaning solution designed to treat hard water into a plastic bag. They can cover the showerhead or faucet head with the bag and secure it with a rubber band.

Soaking the head for up to a half hour may eliminate or soften the mineral deposits enough to brush off using an old toothbrush. Faucets with extensive buildup may need longer to soak, but homeowners should confirm manufacturer recommendations on the maximum amount of time. They may also choose to unscrew the aerator on the faucet, clean out the screen, and replace it.

Inside/Outside/Around Toilet

Giving a toilet a spring cleaning may not take long. Hard water spots or rust stains can generally be removed using a pumice stone. Once people have cleaned the inside of the bowl with an appropriate cleaning solution and brush, they should wipe the sides of the bowl with a wet cloth and an all-purpose cleaner. Using a fresh cloth to wipe the top and bottom of the seat will help minimize contamination. People can use the same approach to wiping the exterior of the toilet. This is also a good time to tighten the screws on the toilet seat.

Toiletries/Hair/Toothbrushes

Organizing Toiletries in Bathroom

There are a variety of tools in the bathroom that people put on their faces or in their mouths each day. These also require attention to prevent the spread of germs. Cleaning hair brushes and make up brushes may not require expensive cleaning products. Instead, dip the brush in a solution of water with a small amount of shampoo. Rubbing the brush in a hand provides gentle pressure to clean the bristles. After washing, the brushes should be rinsed fully and left to dry. Toothbrushes must be replaced every 3-4 months. Otherwise, people can keep them clean by dipping them in a hydrogen peroxide solution or mouthwash, rinsing them thoroughly in hot water, and allowing them to dry upright. While you're at it, take this time to toss old toiletries and organize those that will be kept.

Bedrooms/Closets

The bedroom can be a haven of solitude if households are willing to invest some time into purging the excess. Spring is a good opportunity to pull out all clothing and other items kept in closets. Sorting belongings into piles to store for next season, bring into use for the summer, or donate will make more space for living. It also makes cleaning the room easier and faster.

All Bedding/Pillows/Mattresses

Regularly cleaning bedding is one of the best ways people can minimize indoor allergies, especially in the winter. Pillows and mattresses hold on to dust mites and allergens unless they are removed. Make a plan to wash sheets and pillowcases at least once every two weeks. Washing a mattress cover or pillow cover regularly also helps to avoid this accumulation. Most of these items can be washed in a conventional machine washer and dryer.

Cleaning pillows and mattresses may be somewhat more complicated. Many pillows can be washed in the washer on a gentle cycle. Others may need to be spot-cleaned, deodorized with a fabric cleaner, and left to dry fully before replacing the cover or pillowcase. Mattresses should be vacuumed, sprinkled with baking soda to deodorize, and stain-treated with an appropriate cleaning product. Once dry, people can replace the sheets and other bedding.

Bedframes/Head & Footboards

Dusting the Headboard

Keeping the bedframe clean depends on the materials used. You may want to remove the mattress and bedding prior to cleaning. Wood frames, headboards, and footboards can be dusted and wiped with a damp cloth and a wood-cleaning solution. People may also be able to use a mild solution of water and vinegar. Wiping all surfaces until they are dry will help prevent absorption.

For headboards upholstered in fabric or leather, take care to minimize moisture. A vacuum with a small brush attachment can get into corners. Cleaning leather may only require a mild soap to remove occasional spots. Fabric upholstery stains might be difficult to remove, but people can try a bleach-safe alternative specific for furniture.

Winter Coats/Gloves/Scarves

Proper cleaning and storage in spring could ensure that winter clothing items stay in their best condition. Households should evaluate which of their coats, hats, gloves, and scarves can be washed in a regular machine. Anything too worn or damaged may need replacement. Products made out of cotton or polyester could be easy to wash and lay flat to dry.

Leather, wool, and other materials often require a little extra care. To clean a leather coat or gloves, people should gently wipe them clean with a dry cloth. If necessary, they might use a little moisturizing soap on a damp cloth to remove spots. Wool may be washed by hand with a small amount of detergent and water. It is important to allow every item to dry completely before storing in a sealed bag or airtight bin, to discourage the growth of mildew or mold.

Laundry Room

In any home, the function of the laundry room can determine how well the family operates on a daily basis. People should start by thinking about what they need from the room, and organize it to improve their workflow. A clean, safe space for washing, drying, and folding clothes will make this repetitive task less stressful and more effective. Proper maintenance of the appliances can also prolong their lifespan.

Washing Machine

The washing machine is where many things in the house come for cleaning, and this means that it can hold onto a lot of dirt and grime. Although the machine is designed to rinse effectively, this function loses efficacy over time. Every few months, households should use the self-cleaning function on their washer, or plan to clean it manually.

People can clean the inside barrel of the washing machine by hand or by running a cycle. Some experts recommend adding bleach or vinegar to water to clean and disinfect. They may need a toothbrush to get in the corners. Take care to rinse the machine properly after cleaning, to ensure that the cleaning products do not stain or bleach clothing. Once the inside is clean, people can wipe the outside with an all-purpose cleaner or gentle detergent, depending on the surface.

Dryer

Clean Washer and Dryer

Cleaning a clothes dryer is a matter of safety as much as it is a matter of hygiene. A clothes dryer has a vent that can become dangerously clogged with lint. If households are not dedicated to cleaning the lint trap and clearing out the vent regularly, the buildup could spark a fire.

To keep the dryer clean, people should periodically wipe the exterior with a damp cloth and an all-purpose cleaner. They can wipe the exterior and interior of the dryer door. On occasion, they may want to remove the lint trap, clean it with a mild detergent and a soft-bristled brush, rinse, and dry. Taking out the lint trap often provides an ideal opening to the vent for cleaning using a vacuum hose and brush attachment. If the vent is particularly long or difficult to reach, homeowners may want to consider hiring a professional for this task.

Utility Sink/Hanging Area

Keeping the utility sink and organizational areas of the laundry room clear makes laundry preparation easier. A utility sink can often be cleaned like any other sink, with a light scrubbing sponge and an all-purpose cleaner. A mixture of baking soda and vinegar may help to deodorize. You should periodically wipe down shelves and hanging rods that they use for folding, hanging, or drying. Since moisture is a common feature of this room, avoiding fabric shelves, baskets, or decorations will reduce mess and odors. This will also help prevent transferring dust or lint from the laundry room to the closet.

Garage/Exterior

Of course, the inside the home is not the only part of the property that takes a beating during the cold months. The garage and the exterior need a little help to put them in good shape for a summer of activity. After a few months of not looking at certain items, households have a perfect chance to decide what is working for them, and what is not. This clarity can help them separate out what they need, and come up with a fresh design for the new season. Getting everything in order is a great place to start.

Outdoor Furniture

Preparing outdoor furniture for the season usually calls for some elbow grease. Homeowners should bring out their seating and place it on a flat surface. They need to perform the following tasks for proper cleaning:

  • remove cushions
  • hose down with water to remove most dirt and debris
  • spray with water mixed with a gentle detergent
  • wipe down with a microfiber cloth
  • rinse with water and allow to dry

Wood furniture may need additional conditioning to reduce weathering.

Cleaning the cushions depends on the material. If the cushions are very dirty, they should be shaken or vacuumed to eliminate most of the dust. Some may have removable covers that can be put in the washing machine. Others may need spot-treatment with a fabric cleaner. Storing these cushions in bags during the winter can minimize how much dirt they accumulate.

Garage

Cleaning out Garage

The garage can be a huge source of clutter for people who have too many belongings. Spring cleaning for the garage often involves a serious effort to get that clutter under control. Garages can provide an excellent source of storage on the walls and ceilings, if you make enough space. People should start on a nice day by removing everything from the garage, including the cars. An hour or two spent sweeping, wiping, and patching the concrete sets up the garage for regular use.

The clean, open space allows one to evaluate how they want to use the garage. People should focus on parking first, and then extra storage. Bikes and outdoor toys that are too small can be donated or sold at a garage sale. Winter gear and equipment should be cleaned, dried, and placed in bins. Lightweight items are ideal for an overhead storage arrangement.

Gutters

Dirty, clogged gutters are easy to ignore until they cause an ice dam that creates serious damage. Homeowners typically do not need to clean the gutters more than a few times a year, especially if they invest in products that minimize the buildup. To clean a gutter, people should gather the following tools:

  • ladder
  • gloves and protective eyewear
  • bucket for debris
  • hose attached to water spigot

Homeowners can place a ladder in a safe position and climb until they see inside the gutters. It can be difficult to tell what is under the surface, so people should scoop out the contents carefully. Once the gutter is generally clear, spraying with the hose will send the remainder to the downspouts. This may be a good time to consider installing gutters with grates to allow water to pass without debris buildup, or replacing gutters that are loose or cracked.

Safety/Health Tasks

People often look at spring cleaning as a way to feel excited about the changing season, but there are several health and safety benefits for it, as well. Many aspects of the home can get slightly neglected when they are not actively causing problems, and some of these put the whole family at risk. The home’s systems are built to protect people, but only if they work properly. These broad categories help homeowners see which projects should rank as a “must do” on their cleaning lists.

Air Vents/Filters/Exhaust Fans

Ventilation is one of the most important parts of a home. Proper ventilation keeps allergens, noxious emissions, and other pollutants from lowering the indoor air quality. In order for each ventilation system to perform this function, it needs to be cleaned and turned on for use. Exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms should be tested for correct operation. A loud fan may indicate problems with the motor. Wiping the vents around the fan with a damp cloth while it is turned off will improve its function.

Filtration is also key to adequate home ventilation. Furnaces and heat pumps have air filters that should be inspected and replaced at least every three months. Filters attached to a refrigerator water line also need replacement about every 3-6 months. Changing out the air filter in the car will make air conditioning more effective.

Fireplace/Chimney

The condition of the fireplace and chimney can be a significant risk during the winter. Homeowners should confirm that they know how to safely operate and maintain it throughout the year. Experts recommend burning dry wood or wood products specifically made for fireplaces. Inspection and cleaning after 50-75 fires will reduce creosote buildup and promote ventilation. Homeowners may want to hire a professional for this service, particularly if they are uncomfortable doing tasks on the roof.

On the inside of the home, people can remove the grating and the interior metal supports for cleaning. A nylon brush should eliminate most of the soot. One may use the same nylon brush to remove buildup from the inside of the fireplace. Placing paper on the bottom will catch the soot for easy cleanup. If there are any cracks in the brickwork or extensive accumulation of creosote, people should call a professional chimney sweep.

Replace Batteries

Changing Smoke Alarm Batteries Yearly

People often think of battery replacement as a simple task they do not have to complete until it is absolutely necessary. For some pieces of equipment, it is not that easy. For example, the terminals attached to car batteries can corrode over time, making it very difficult to take them off for replacement. A corroded battery inside a child’s toy could ruin the item or possibly injure someone. Households may also save time and hassle by looking at the batteries for tools that do not require changing out very often, such as remote controls or flashlights.

Changing batteries is also a good opportunity to evaluate the equipment’s function. Experts recommend swapping out the batteries for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every six months and testing them out at the same time. Households should always keep small batteries, such as coin batteries, locked away from children’s access.

Once winter comes to an end, many often look at their clutter and start to panic. People spend most of their time at home, and it should be a retreat. Spring cleaning is an ideal way for people to take control over their belongings and get the whole house into order. Experts believe that when people make a clean home, they will be healthier, happier, and less stressed. This is not just because the act of cleaning gets rid of dust and ventilates a space that might be making chronic health problems worse. It also relieves worry because family members no longer see a bunch of cleaning tasks wherever they look. With longer days of natural light and better temperatures, spring is a perfect time to reconnect with the use of each room and improve it. Taking the home back to the basics will also make routine cleaning that much faster and more effective.