Spring Cleaning 101: The Definitive Guide to a Tidy Home

Basket with brushes, rags, natural sponges and cleaning products.

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Cleaning process.

Tidying Tips

It comes around every year: Spring cleaning, the (perhaps dreaded) annual tradition that involves deep cleaning and decluttering your home. But spring cleaning isn't just about making your home look and smell fresh — it can offer significant benefits to your health and well-being by eliminating dust and other irritants that have accumulated during the winter. By keeping these spring cleaning tips and strategies in mind, you can gain a sense of accomplishment and control over your living space. 

Related: Spring Cleaning: 50+ Things to Toss Right Now

Bacteria…I will hunt you down and I will exterminate you

Do Your Research

While spring cleaning is a great way to freshen up your home and get it ready for spring and summer, it's important to avoid common mistakes that can make the process more difficult or less effective. One mistake is not decluttering before cleaning, as this can make the experience overwhelming. Another mistake is not using the right cleaning products or tools for the job; using an abrasive cleaner on a delicate surface can cause serious damage, for instance. It's also important to set realistic goals: Spring cleaning can sometimes take weeks to complete, so it's important to break it down into manageable daily tasks. Creating a cleaning schedule for yourself is a great first step.

Related: 16 Filthy Things Even Clean Freaks Miss

Donating Decluttering And Cleaning Up Wardrobe

'Spark Joy' by Axing Excess Clutter

As cleaning extraordinaire Marie Kondo said, it's important to "spark joy" by getting rid of unnecessary items in order to keep your living space feeling fresh and inspiring. To declutter effectively, start with a spring cleaning purge and identify the items that you no longer need, use, or love. Sort them into categories such as donate, sell, recycle, or trash. Consider whether each item is still functional and adds value to your life. If not, it's time to let it go; you might want to donate your old items to a thrift store. Once you've decluttered, organize what's left by finding a designated home for each item, and consider investing in cheap storage solutions such as baskets, bins, or shelves.

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Prep Your Products

Preparing your spring cleaning products ahead of time can help minimize stress before you dive into the thick of it. One cost-efficient way to do this is by using DIY cleaning products that work efficiently and are safer for your health and the environment. An easy way to create a multi-purpose cleaning solution is by mixing equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle to be used on windows, countertops, and floors. To create a natural disinfectant, combine water, vinegar, and tea tree oil.

Pro tip: Baking soda can be used to clean tough stains and remove odors. Simply mix baking soda with warm water to create a paste and use it to remove grime in grout, sinks, and tubs. 

Hands in gloves disinfecting kitchen counter

Work From Top to Bottom

Cleaning from top to bottom is a smart and efficient way to tackle spring cleaning tasks. Start by dusting the highest surfaces in a room such as ceiling fans, light fixtures, and high shelves before moving on to surfaces at eye level, like furniture, windowsills, countertops, and your medicine cabinet. Finally, clean the floors by vacuuming or sweeping, followed by mopping or spot-cleaning as needed. Cleaning from top to bottom is important because it helps prevent dust and dirt from resettling on surfaces that have already been cleaned. 

brushing away cobwebs on ceiling - spring cleaning

Get Into Those Nooks and Crannies

While spring cleaning, be sure not to overlook hard-to-reach places. These areas, such as the tops of cabinets, refrigerators, or ceiling fan blades, can easily collect dust and dirt that can worsen allergies and respiratory issues. Neglecting to clean these areas can also create an unpleasant odor or unsightly buildup over time. Additionally, hard-to-reach places are often forgotten during regular cleaning routines, so spring cleaning is a great opportunity to tackle them. 

Handyman fixing a fridge at a house

Give Your Fridge a Deep Clean

Since your refrigerator is an essential appliance that stores food items, it should be cleaned regularly. A dirty fridge can harbor bacteria and unpleasant odors while leading to energy waste and decreased efficiency. Deep cleaning your fridge involves removing all the contents, wiping down the shelves and drawers, and cleaning the interior and exterior surfaces with a gentle cleaning solution. By giving your fridge a deep clean, you can keep it running efficiently, prolong its lifespan, and ensure the safety and quality of your food. 

Clean a microwave oven

Steam Clean Your Microwave

Steam cleaning the microwave is an effective way to remove dirt, grime, and food stains that may have accumulated inside your appliance. To do this, fill a microwave-safe bowl with water and white vinegar. Place the bowl inside the microwave and heat it on high for 5-10 minutes until the water boils and creates steam. Let the microwave cool down for a few minutes, then use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe down the interior. The steam will loosen up any stuck-on food or grime, and the vinegar will help eliminate any lingering odors.

Close Up Shot of a Person Washing a Chopping Board with a Cleaning Liquid Under Tap Water. Using Dishwasher in a Modern Kitchen. Natural Clean Home and Healthy Way of Life Concept.

Give Your Cutting Boards a New Lease On Life

Since cutting boards can harbor harmful bacteria such as E. coli or salmonella from raw meats, thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing them is essential for maintaining a healthy and hygienic kitchen. (And remember that they should be replaced from time to time). To clean a cutting board, start by washing it with hot, soapy water and a scrub brush, paying close attention to any grooves or crevices where bacteria can hide. For extra sanitization, try using a solution of one part white vinegar to four parts water to wipe down the cutting board, then letting it air dry.

Professional cleaner vacuuming a carpet

Clean and Deodorize Carpets

Carpets and rugs can accumulate a lot of dust, dirt, and odors over time, making your home feel less clean and smelling questionable. If you have pets that shed, your carpets could also be covered in fur and dander that can trigger asthma or other breathing problems. To give your carpet a deep clean, use a carpet cleaner (ideally with a rotating brush); try sprinkling baking soda or a carpet deodorizer and letting it sit for 15-20 minutes to help further neutralize odors and lift stains. 

Air purifier on wooden floor in comfortable home. Fresh air and healthy life.

Upgrade Your Air Quality

Improving indoor air quality is crucial for maintaining a healthy living environment. One way to achieve this is by cleaning and replacing air filters regularly, as well as vacuuming and dusting carpets, surfaces, and furniture to help remove dust and other allergens. 

Another way to improve indoor air quality is to increase ventilation by opening windows or using air purifiers to remove moisture and odors. Want to bring a little more green into your home? Indoor plants are a great way to improve air quality, as they absorb pollutants and release oxygen into the air. 

Young woman wiping white wall from dust

Don't Forget Walls and Windows

While it's easy to focus on surfaces and living spaces that are more commonly used, such as furniture and carpets, it's important to remember that walls and windows can also collect dust and other irritants. To clean walls, start by dusting them with a microfiber cloth or a soft-bristled brush to remove any loose dirt or cobwebs. Then wipe them down with a damp sponge or cloth and a mild cleaning solution. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive sponges as they can damage the paint or wallpaper.

For windows, start by vacuuming or dusting the sills and frames, then clean the glass using a microfiber cloth and gentle glass-cleaning solution to remove any streaks or water spots. Avoid using newspaper as it can disintegrate when wet, leaving behind clumps or stains. 

Plant in warm living room

Don't Forget to Address 'Germ Magnets'

Objects such as curtains, drapes, bath mats, mop heads, and decorative pillows can sit in your home for years, and it's easy to forget that they should be routinely cleaned and sanitized as well. Since these germ magnets can gather bacteria, dust mites, and other microorganisms — especially if they are located in humid or damp areas — it's important to thoroughly wash and dry them to help improve the air quality in your home, and to create a healthier and more pleasant living environment. 

Cleaning the cell phone
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Disinfect Your Mobile Device and Other Electronics

Believe it or not, your cellphone can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Since we often lay our phones down on all kinds of surfaces (restaurant tables, dirty countertops, etc), germs and bacteria can stick to the surface and get you sick. Apple says you can use 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipes, 75 percent ethyl alcohol wipes, or Clorox disinfecting wipes to clean and sanitize your mobile phone, paying close attention not to get any liquid in the charging port of openings. 

To disinfect other electronics such as keyboards, gaming consoles, and remote controls, experts recommend unplugging and wiping them down with a microfiber or soft cloth dampened with a disinfecting solution.