What was hidden during the wan days of February becomes painfully obvious as March sunlight streams through the windows: Your house could use a spring cleaning.
If those words make you cringe, don’t worry! There’s no need to dread the annual ritual to rid your home of winter’s dust and post-holiday grime. Tackling just six areas in the house can have your home looking and feeling fresher in a jiffy.
Start at the Top
Home cleaning experts typically recommend starting at the top of a room and working down. Clear the cobwebs from the cornices - the crease where your walls meet the ceiling - with a vacuum hose, dusting wand or even a gym sock wrapped around the end of a yardstick (you can use a rubber band to keep it in place).
Don’t neglect ceiling light fixtures. Carefully remove and wash glass globes and light shades. Wipe down any part of the fixture that can’t easily be removed. Dust ceiling fan blades, or remove them and give them a good wash with spray cleaner or soap and water.
Do you have a crystal chandelier? Molly Maids recommends cleaning each prism with a mixture of distilled water and isopropyl alcohol. Wipe crystals using a clean microfiber cloth and wear gloves to prevent fingerprints.
In the bathroom, vacuum or remove and scrub the vent cover to the exhaust fan. Vacuum or use a small brush to carefully remove any dust that has accumulated around the motor and blades.
Walls and Doors
Your walls get dusty, too! While you may draw the line at wiping the walls (although this is a good idea if painting is on your spring home improvement agenda), you’ll want to pay attention to your vertical surfaces. This includes louvered and paneled doors, whether they are painted or stained.
Run a duster over and behind picture frames, signs, wall lighting, shelves and decorative items. Spray and wipe mirrors and the glass in cabinet doors.
If your wall art is protected by a glass pane, clean the glass so the beauty of your art shines through.
Window cleaning can be a huge job, especially if your windows aren’t the kind that tilt to clean. Homeowners who can’t afford to have their windows professionally cleaned may be tempted to ignore them.
But when the spring sun begins to shine, a clean window that provides a clear view to the budding outdoors is wondrous!
Window washing isn’t a chore that needs to be completed all in one day. Tackle one or two rooms each weekend and soon you’ll be ready to welcome in those fresh spring breezes.
To start, remove and wash any window treatments. Wipe the top of the window frame and the finials on your curtain rods, too.
Next, wash the curtains or blinds. Window treatments can get incredibly dusty, so clean them as best you can. If your curtains can’t be machine washed, at least give them a good shake outside or a refresh with a tumble in your dryer on the no-heat or “fluff” setting.
Some vinyl blinds can be cleaned with a hose or shower head. If you don’t want to take them down, wipe each slat with a microfiber cloth, or vacuum with a soft dusting brush attachment.
Finally, with the window treatments removed, use window spray or a mixture of water and vinegar on a clean microfiber cloth or sponge to remove grime and spots from window panes. Don’t forget to wipe down the window sills. You don’t want all that old dust and grime blowing into your nice clean house!
Wood furniture is beautiful, but dust can dull its shine. Regularly dusting and polishing your wood furniture keeps it looking its best and also prevents the wood from drying out and cracking over time.
Painted surfaces, like shelving and the tops of door frames, also need regular dusting. Spray cleaner works well on stubborn dirt. Scratches might need a touch-up with paint or stain.
Use spray window cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and water to remove dust and smudges from glass tabletops.
If you have marble or granite countertops that need to be periodically sealed, now’s the time. Use a good quality sealer and follow the instructions carefully. Check with an expert who knows all about your particular countertop material for tips and advice.
Move larger furnishings like sofas, dressers and beds to clean behind and beneath. Vacuum underneath chair cushions and use your vacuum’s wand attachment to get into couch crevices.
Notice any spots or stains? While not all upholstery can be cleaned (and some stains are permanent), you may be able to remove stains with a commercial upholstery cleaner. As a precaution, use your product on a fabric scrap or in an inconspicuous spot. Bob Vila recommends testing the product on the underside or back of the chair, or the side of a cushion that isn’t seen. Let it dry completely so you can check the results before working on the stain.
In the bedroom, remove and wash the mattress cover and flip your mattress, if possible. Throw your pillow in the washer, too.
Save a complete closet overhaul for another day, but do remove items from your closet floor and wipe or vacuum.
Move your bed and vacuum underneath. Are your shoes and off-season clothes stashed under your bed? Do a quick sort and start a donation pile. A pretty new storage container will keep the items you’re keeping tidy and within reach.
Dust and wipe all the decor on your tabletops and shelves, including desk lamps, vases, picture frames and other decorative accents. With the brush on your vacuum’s hose attachment, dust fabric lampshades.
Tidy up any plants you have growing around the house and consider repotting any that are getting leggy. If your plants are beyond hope, consider replacing them with a vase full of faux spring tulips, or with artificial plants that will stay fresh-looking without care or watering!
Wipe down your fireplace mantel and around the hearth. If you have a wood burning fireplace, it might be time to sweep out the firebox, clean the fire screen and empty the woodbin for the season.
You probably vacuum or mop your floors regularly, but an occasional deep clean doesn’t hurt.
Use a cloth to dust baseboards and vents. For baseboards that are harder to clean, try washing away the grime with a damp cloth and a mixture of water and vinegar. Run your vacuum wand on the carpet or floor along the baseboards. Get into the corners!
Move floor lamps and furniture to dust, sweep or mop your wood, laminate, vinyl, stone or tile floors. Vacuum and steam clean or shampoo your carpets and area rugs. Clean other flooring surfaces with the proper cleaning products according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Area rugs are a great solution to cover worn areas in carpets and protect your flooring, especially in high traffic areas. Many people place an area rug at an entry way to catch dirt and keep it from being tracked through the house.
Luckily, area rugs are easily available and come in all colors, sizes and styles to coordinate with your decor.
Fresh and Clean
Congratulations, you’ve now cleaned your house from top to bottom! You’re ready to greet spring sunshine and breezes with a fresher, brighter home.
If your rooms could still use more of a refresh, we invite you to browse our extensive selection of home decor and furniture.
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