Spring cleaning can be daunting – where to start, what to tackle? What you need is a game plan (and in my world, a good spring cleaning list). Start with these tasks and these low-impact tips and your place will be looking – and smelling – fresh in no time.
Ready to start? Here's the list:
1. Dust it all: Dusting is often ignored, but is some of the most noticeable work you can do to freshen up your spaces. Since dust is made up of pollen, random particulates and human and animal dandruff, dusting gets rid of the past and makes way for the new season.
I like to use old socks for dusting, since you can put your hand inside and then easily get into nooks and crannies with your fingers. Paired with a spray cleaner for most surfaces (and olive oil or natural wood cleaners for wood), it makes the task of dusting faster and easier. And you can reuse the socks by just tossing them in the wash.
2. Clean your cleaners: Spring cleaning is a good time to rip up old fabric to make new rags, fill your spray bottles to the top, and make sure all your cleaning supplies are in usable order. And that includes your hardware.
Lisa Nelson Woods, who runs the blog Condo Blues says, “I gave my vacuum a good spring cleaning because it wasn't picking up dirt like it did when it was new. I washed the filters, removed string and dog fur from the roller brush, and discovered a clog in the hose. Now it works like new!”
3. Clean your walls: Wiping down your walls with a damp cloth will get most of the dust and cobwebs off. Brenna Berk, editor of the blog Almost All the Truth, adds, “I have young ones, so my favorite spring cleaning task is to get rid of all the crayon marks that have developed. Yes, that means I am lazy and don't get to them the rest of the year. Use toothpaste and a damp cloth.”
4. De-clutter: Besides dusting, a good de-cluttering will make you feel accomplished because it will make such a visual difference. Anna Hackman, editor of Green Talk advises, “I start to get rid of my clutter by freecyling, giving it away, etc. Also, I clean up my pantry. You can't imagine how many duplicates and empty boxes that I find. Every year it’s the same!”
5. Clean those screens: Putting your screens up is a sure sign of spring, and one of my favorite tasks since it’s both easy and brings fresh air into the house. But take a close look at them first – they might need a wipedown.
Blogger Lisa Borden has figured out the best technique: “I love a good window and screen cleaning with microfiber cloths. I use one wet cloth to wipe and a dry cloth to ensure no moisture is left which looks cleaner and stays cleaner. When you open your windows after winter, you want fresh air to come into your home without all of the polluted stuff stuck in those screens!”
6. De-ick the refrigerator: Start by removing everything from your fridge, and washing out drawers in the kitchen sink using warm water and a bit of soap. Be sure not to put them in the dishwasher as most interior fridge parts are not dishwasher-friendly.
Beth Terry, editor at My Plastic Free Life, recommends: “Clean out your refrigerator with baking soda, water, and a Skoy cloth. The baking soda is a good abrasive for stuck-on food. You could use a vinegar/water solution for shelves if they are made of glass, but I just use baking soda and cleaned out the whole thing.”
Before you put items back in, wipe with a sponge or damp cloth and group things together based on use (salad dressings in one part of the door, antipasti like artichokes and olives if you usually eat them at the same time, and beer and drinks in bottles and cans on the bottom shelf, for example). Be sure to rinse out and recycle never-used or expired containers.
7. Get rid of the gunky grease and creepy mold: Cooking grease is a tough one, and tends to migrate around the kitchen. Blogger Leona McEachern of My Healthy Green Family says, “A great cleaner for grease like that on the tops of fans, and the walls around stove is the citrus/vinegar solution. Fill a tall container with lemon/lime/grapefruit/orange peels and cover with white vinegar. Sit for two weeks. Makes a fabulous cleaning solution. Strain and dilute 2:1 Water to citrus/vinegar. It smells awesome too. “
And what about that seemingly ever-present mold in the bathroom? You have to kill the stuff, not just clean it off. But how? McEachern says, “Mix a few teaspoons of tea tree essential oil with two cups of water. Pour into a clean spray bottle, and shake well before use. Spray on mold and let sit for two hours, then wipe off.” This will kill the mold – but if you still have mold stains, just use some hydrogen peroxide, which acts as a natural bleach and can be wiped away easily.