Are you a spring cleaner? There are some chores that really need to be done seasonally and I find that spring and fall are perfect times for a more thorough top to bottom house cleaning. I tend to wait until April is over to do most of my spring cleaning – mainly because by then the weather has generally dried up somewhat and the nearly constant spring rains (and the mud the dog brings into the house) are pretty much over. Even if you aren’t planning to do a more in-depth cleaning, these tips will help you tackle those jobs that need to be done now so you can relax and enjoy the lazy hazy days of summer.
1. Clean out the eavestroughs and downspouts.
Winter storms may have added debris to them. While you’re at it, check them over for any damage that needs to be taken care of.
2. Vacuum both sides and flip (or turn if you have a pillow top mattress like mine) your mattress.
If you don’t have one already, this is a great time to put a mattress cover that protects against dust mites on it. Don’t forget to vacuum the boxspring and frame too.
3. Clean your carpets.
You can hire someone to do this or rent a carpet cleaning machine at most home improvement stores.
4. If you use them, remove and store storm windows and doors
Wash windows inside and out and install window screens.
5. Clean your winter bed linens
Put into storage (if you change them out seasonally – heavier duvets and comforters, flannel sheets) but please oh please don’t use mothballs. They are quite toxic (a possible carcinogen). If you need something to protect against moths, cedar wood is often quite helpful or you can purchase non-toxic moth traps at hardware stores.
6. While we’re discussing bedding, when was the last time that you replaced your pillows?
Two years is the maximum amount of time you should ever keep them! Did you know that the contents of a two year pillow can be up to 10% dust mite feces and carcasses? Ummm yeah, gross. If they’re newer, most pillows can be machine washed (check the tags).
7. Clean your outdoor furniture and get it ready for nice weather.
Does it need any repairs? Replacement? Freshening up with some Rustoleum paint? What about the chair cushions? Just like your pillows, these should be replaced every couple of years.
8. Go through your medicine cabinet (or wherever it is that you store your medications since the bathroom and its humidity isn’t really the best place for them).
Clear out expired medications and any leftover antibiotics – you know, the ones you were supposed to take until finished but then you didn’t because you started feeling better? That’s one of the ways antibiotic resistant bugs become stronger –did you know that? When getting rid of the old medications, DON’T dump them down the sink or in the toilet! You can take them to your local pharmacy for safe disposal. Think ahead to your spring and summer needs: spring/summer allergies, asthma, sunscreen (it expires so check the dates on it too!), insect repellent, and so on and stock up. Remember to restock your first aid kit too.
9. Take down all your draperies and curtains and clean them or have them cleaned.
Remove mini blinds and give them a good washing too. Other types of blinds that can’t be washed can get a thorough vacuuming.
10. Do you have a dog?
If your dog is the shedding type, they may be losing their winter coats right about now so increase the brushing and grooming to take care of it.
11. When was the last time you cleaned your oven?
One of the sunny spring days when you can open up the windows and let the fumes out is a great time to take care of this. I hate using chemicals unless I really have to but if your oven won’t come clean using a natural cleaner like baking soda paste, here’s a tip for using spray oven cleaner. Remove the racks and take them outside. Give them a good spraying and place each one in a plastic trash bag. I find the super cheap black ones work really well. Don’t ask me why. Spray the oven and cover with another of the trash bags. Leave all of this for several hours. It should wipe away with ease – don’t forget to wear gloves and use caution because oven cleaner is caustic!
12. Now, when was the last time you gave your fridge a really good cleaning?
If it’s been a while, you could be harboring germs in there so give it a good scrubbing out! Don’t forget to check for and chuck any expired foods while you’re at it.
13. Give your car a thorough cleaning inside and out.
Undoubtedly it has salt and grime and mud that needs to be removed. Take out the mats and spray them off. Vacuum out the car and use carpet cleaner and upholstery cleaner as needed.
14. Have any water filters?
Whether in a filtering water pitcher, in a dispenser on your refrigerator, or so on, bacteria levels build up. In fact, they may actually be up to 2000 times higher than the bacteria levels in unfiltered water if you aren’t maintaining them properly!
15. The filters on your furnace need to be changed seasonally (every 3 months).
Call now (before they get too booked up) to schedule a check-up and servicing for your furnace and air conditioner.
16. Inspect your barbecue.
Be sure to check the lines and burner pipes thoroughly and clean them out as needed. Spiders and insects like wasps like to take refuge in them. Change your lava rocks and fill your propane tank so you are ready for grilling season.
17. Have your lawn mower serviced and sharpened.
Sharpen your garden tool blades.
18. Clean or replace door mats.
Door mats are key in keeping nasty germs and dirt like fecal matter out of your home.
19. Been using your fireplace during the winter months?
When finished using it for the season, clean it out well – sweeping out the debris. You can clean off the build-up of soot and smoke by using a dry soot sponge (from hardware stores) and wiping firmly in one direction only. Call to book a professional chimney sweep to clean the rest properly.
20. Pull out your kitchen appliances (fridge, stove) and clean behind and under them.
Remember to unplug the fridge and clean the condenser coils too. Remove the filter from your dishwasher and clean it well with soapy water. Run a cup of vinegar through the dishwasher on the heaviest cycle.
21. Clean behind your washer and dryer.
Check the hose coming from your dryer to ensure that there are no clogs of lint in it.
22. Move furniture away from the walls and clean behind and underneath.
Clean the cushions well, using an upholstery or leather cleaner as needed. Be sure to clean under the cushions too!
23. Clean the baseboards, window casings, door jambs, tops of doors (seriously – so easy to forget but they get so disgusting!), ceiling light fixtures, and any other areas that don’t get cleaned during your regular daily or weekly cleaning.
24. Wipe down the walls and vacuum the ceilings (or at the very least, give them a really good dusting!).
25. Polish or wax your wooden furniture and wood floors.
26. Clean (or dry clean) your winter clothing and pack it away (see the hints regarding bedding).
Clean your boots and use a protective coating on them before packing them away.
27. What about your trash cans and recycling bins (both indoor and out)?
A nice spring day is perfect for taking them outside and spraying them out really well. Give them a bit of a scrubbing and rinse. Once they’re dry, put a bit of baking soda in the bottom of the trash cans to keep germs and odors at bay.