In the first warm days of the year, many of us feel a strong desire to clear out the winter cobwebs, both figuratively and literally. Spring cleaning involves not only getting rid of dust and dirt, but ridding your home of clutter. Most of us keep our homes neat enough so that spring cleaning isn’t too tough, but if you do have a big job ahead, use the steps below as a quick guide.
In the Kitchen
Wherever there’s cooking being done, bacteria can gain a foothold. Your kitchen should be cleaned daily, but if it’s in need of an in-depth cleaning, here’s how you go about it. Begin by emptying your pantry or food storage area, throwing away expired food and sorting or donating what’s still good. Wipe your cupboards out and replace shelf paper, if applicable. Do the same for drawers, and wipe down your countertops (even behind the toaster, coffeepot and microwave).
Empty your refrigerator, getting rid of expired food. Clean its interior with soapy, warm water and allow to dry before food is replaced. Seals should be wiped as well; don’t use bleach which can weaken them. Clean the refrigerator’s coils using an attachment on your vacuum cleaner, and if you can, sweep behind the fridge as well.
Use a paste of water and baking soda to clean your stove and oven. Baking soda is mildly abrasive and is great for removing grease and grime; it can also be used in paste form to clean your sink. Vinegar is a great sanitizer, and it can be used in a variety of ways (run frozen vinegar cubes through your garbage disposal, or add a cup to clean your dishwasher).
Your bedroom is where you go to relax at the end of a long day, and as such, it should be one of the first areas to receive a spring cleaning. Start with your bed, removing pillows, blankets and sheets. Wash pillows and dry on low heat, adding a tennis ball to the dryer to keep them fluffy. While the pillows are drying, wash your sheets and flip your mattress. Move the bed out from the wall, cleaning debris and wiping baseboards. Vacuum the area, and put the bed back into place.
Remove curtains, launder them, and clean windowsills with diluted bleach or a multipurpose cleaner. If you have blinds, use a vacuum attachment or a duster. Dust your furniture and ceiling fan, and then vacuum the floor. Once your curtains are dry, re-hang them.
Your bathroom is one of the dirtiest areas in your home, and because they’re often enclosed, bacteria find their way in. If there’s a window, open it to allow fresh air to get in, or turn on the vent fan. Remove everything from the countertops and clean with a soft cloth and a disinfectant. Wipe out the sink as well, and clean mirrors with vinegar. Scrub your bathtub and toilet with cleanser, and apply disinfectant generously to the toilet’s outside.
Now is a good time to go through your medicine cabinets and drawers, removing anything that’s unneeded or expired. Wipe them thoroughly before replacing items, and finish the room by mopping the floor with a sanitizer.
The Living Room
For most of us, the living room is the most-used areas in the entire house. As such, it’s full of furniture and electronics that need cleaning. Start by cleaning your drapes and throw rugs; dust tables and picture frames with a microfiber rag. Go through all your books, games, and DVDs, donating or putting in self storage what you don’t want. Wipe baseboards with a gentle cleaner, and use a telescoping duster to clean any ceiling fans. Vacuum around and under furniture, and return everything to its proper place.