Congratulations, you’ve done it. You’ve survived winter!
Sure, it looked dicey there for a time, what with the multitude of snow storms, the bug that went around your child’s grammar school at least three times, and the annoying pictures your cousin Shelley posted from her trip to the Bahamas.
But yes, you withstood everything Old Man Winter had to throw at you. Now you can enjoy the spoils of the verdant season: al fresco dining, leisurely bike rides, baseball games … and a little spring cleaning.
Now, don’t be scared. Spring cleaning can sound intimidating, but it’s really not. In fact, we’ve put together this post on easy-to-follow steps to get you started. So roll up your sleeves, grab your cleaning supplies, and stream your favorite podcast through a speaker, because it’s time for a little spring cleaning.
Your home’s exterior
Obviously, spring cleaning means different things to different people. To many, it means picking up sticks in the yard, planting grass seed, pulling dead leaves out of flower beds, etc. Those are all worthy endeavors, but we’re focusing on the home in this blog. So let’s start with the exterior of your house, including walls, windows, and doors.
If the siding on your home is made of vinyl, aluminum, wood, or masonry, you may be well-served by spraying the exterior of your house with a pressure-washer. These high-powered hoses can wash any twigs, dirt, spider-webs, or other debris that may have found their way to your home over the previous fall and winter. But you also need to be careful: The water pressure can damage your skin if you accidentally get hit with the spray. Always use caution when operating a pressure-washer.
Once your walls are done, it’s time to clean your windows and doors. If you have windows or sliding-glass doors that move on a track, you’ll want to clean the track with baking soda and vinegar. Put the baking soda on first, and then pour the vinegar over it. It’s best to clean the area with an old toothbrush or some Q-tips. Once the gunk has been wiped clean, pour water over the area and then dry it with paper towels.
And if you’re putting window and door screens in for the warmer months, wash them with water mixed with a cleaning solution, as they’re probably dirty from sitting in the basement or garage all winter.
Then, of course, there’s the windows themselves. Mix dishwashing liquid with warm water and then apply to the window surface with a sponge or cloth. Wipe the surface clean with a squeegee. You may need to cut the squeegee with a saw in order to fit the panes on your window. If you have different-sized windows in your home – as most people do – it may be best to buy multiple squeegees.
Now it’s time to clean the doors to the house. This can be done with a cloth and a bowl of water mixed with dish soap or vinegar. Once you’ve washed the door, simply dry it with paper towels or an old bath towel. If you’re so inclined and really want your door to shine (and make your neighbors jealous), try polishing the doorknob and doorknocker.
Into the house we go, and the living room/den is always a good place to start. Before vacuuming, you’ll want to dust all over: lamps, blinds, overhead lights, etc. Once that’s done, then you’ll be ready to vacuum and perhaps even shampoo the carpeting.
It’s also important to clean the walls in your house. Washing the walls is a particularly important job if you’re not planning on painting your house in the near future. The type of cleaning you’re going to do on the walls is dependent on what kind of paint you have on the interior walls. If it’s a latex-based paint, mix dish detergent with water and clean the walls with a sponge, but make certain the sponge is wrung out first so as not to leave streaks on the walls. With an oil-based paint, try a mild degreaser before applying the mixture of water and dish detergent.
Let’s move on to the bedroom. In addition to the same procedure for cleaning carpets and walls that you performed in the other parts of the house, you’ll also want to flip the mattress and change the sheets – especially if you put flannel sheets on your bed for the winter. (There’s nothing worse than hopping into a bed on a humid night and realizing that the flannel sheets are about to raise your body temperature to the approximate temperature of molten lava if you don’t take them off.)
If you have a walk-in closet in your bedroom, it’s never a bad idea to take out any old boxes or containers so you can clean or vacuum that space. As long as you have all that material out, it’s a good idea to go through things and get rid of any old material that’s just taking up room. You may also want to assemble a pile of clothes that you don’t wear anymore and donate them to a charity.
The nice thing about cleaning the kitchen is you don’t have to worry about carpeting. Of course, you do have to worry about expired food. Yuck, right? Well, it may not be the most appealing job, but it does have to be done. Pull up your trash can and start going through your refrigerator and get rid of anything that’s no longer good or that no one in the house is going to eat.
As long as the expired food in the refrigerator is getting pitched, you might as well go through the pantry as well. Because, let’s face it, if you haven’t eaten that pumpkin butter Aunt Alice handed out at Christmas three years ago, you’re not going to eat it. It’s also a good idea to dust and wipe down the shelves.
Once you’ve re-organized the refrigerator and pantry, break out the cleaning solution and start cleaning your kitchen counters. Remember to get under all the appliances, like the coffee maker, toaster oven, microwave, etc.
Buck up: You’re almost done. You just have to spruce up the one room in the house where most of the, ahem, personal cleansing is done. Let’s start with the toilet. Obviously, there’s plenty of bacteria inside the bowl, so take your toilet brush and use a toilet-cleaning solution to clean inside. Once that’s done, use a disinfectant to clean the outside of the toilet and the bathroom sink and vanity.
Moving on to the bathtub, the first thing you can do is take down the shower curtain and put it in the washer. Then, spray disinfectant or some type of bathroom cleaner in the bathtub before using a sponge or cloth to wipe it clean. This is often a tricky chore, as there are so many crevices and odd angles in a typical tub. You may also need a hard sponge to get encrusted soap scum off the surface of the bathtub.
You’re almost home free. But, before you throw out your cleaning gloves, pour yourself an adult beverage, and start binge-watching your favorite show, there’s one tiny job yet: the bathroom trash can. Many of us keep a trashcan in the bathroom. The problem is, too many of us wait weeks before emptying it. So, make sure to take out the bag and disinfect the basket before putting a new trash bag in.
And that’s that. Give yourself a pat on the back because your spring cleaning is done. Well, at least on the inside. Now, about those sticks in the yard, bare spots of grass, dead leaves in the flower bed …