To make spring-cleaning as easy as possible, I want to give you a blueprint for tackling any area in your home. I’ve laid out a blueprint that applies to any room so that you can go in and clean it using the blueprint, followed by any specialty tasks. That way you’ll know that you have done a thorough clean.
Underneath and Behind
The first thing to clean is underneath and behind any large items in the room. This includes sofas, beds, TV stands and more. Frankly, this isn’t my favorite thing to do (I rarely clean behind my sofa, which only makes the task more daunting!) If you can’t move furniture because it is too heavy just do the best you can, vacuum underneath or vacuum around. If possible try to get someone to help you move to furniture so that you can do a full and thorough clean. Now, once you actually move the furniture, you’re going to see some not so nice stuff. If there’s anything large that’s not dust, for example, hair elastics or paper clips, manually remove it so that it doesn’t ruin your vacuum. Then vacuum up all the dust and put the furniture back where it belongs.
You might be wondering why this is an important place to clean. I get it, no one sees back there. But here’s the deal, dust gather under and behind them and will affect the odors and smells of that particular room. It will also affect the quality of your air. If you have dust behind your sofa or dust under your bed, eventually, that’s going to make its way into your air system, which will affect the way that you breathe. It’s important to take care of these areas (but luckily, you only need to do it once a year).
Up High and Down Low
It may sound like a game of Simon Says but I assure you, spring-cleaning is the time where you want to focus on those areas above eye level and below eye level. This includes crown moldings, ceilings, corners, and any areas around your light fixtures that are a little bit dusty or full of cobwebs. Looking down, you want to focus on your baseboards.
I like to do this with a mop. I simply secure a microfiber cloth over top of it with an elastic band. I use this to do all of my high dusting and then I just flip it on over and use it to do my baseboard.
Windows and Window Tracks
Why didn’t I include windowsills? Because it’s a horizontal surface that often gets dusted when you’re doing a regular cleaning. But windows often get ignored during the winter. Window tracks? Those rarely get cleaned, and if you open your window and you let air come into your home dirt actually comes in through that screen and settles right there in your window track. You want to make sure that you’re cleaning that and again, you don’t have to do it all the time, but spring cleaning is the time to do it.
To clean windows, I like to mix equal parts white vinegar and water with a teaspoon of cornstarch. It’s a great solution for window cleaning and I use a microfiber cloth to make sure I don’t get any streaks. Once the windows are done I’ll move down to the tracks. What I like to do is use a dry-cleaning toothbrush to brush out any of the debris that’s stuck in the tracks. Then, I take a vacuum and remove any other schmutz. Finally, I’ll use an all-purpose spray on the area and wipe it clean with a paper towel. I don’t like using a microfiber cloth for this because a paper towel can get really grimy in there, and I’d rather just toss it out.
I’d love to know when the last time you guys cleaned your window coverings was, because I certainly can’t remember. You might not think that these need to be cleaned all that often but they are a soft surface, which means they attract odors and dirt and over time which will make them start to look dingy.
There are a few different ways to clean them. You can use a vacuum with a brush attached to remove any dust or you can remove them and wash them in your washing machine (make sure you check your fabric care label first so you know if they are machine washable). If they are not and you have a steam cleaner, you can steam clean them yourself.
I don’t have drapes in my house, rather I have vertical and horizontal blinds and they also get dusty. Which means they need attention too. An easy way to clean blinds is to take the brush attachment on your vacuum and simply go back and forth, getting all dust on both sides. If you don’t have a brush attachment, or you are short on time, you can use a sock turned inside out that you’ve sprayed with a little bit with all-purpose cleaner. Just wipe from left to right or top to bottom, depending on what way your blinds go (you can even use a microfiber cloth and do the same thing).
Obscure Horizontal Surfaces
In every space, there are those services that you might skip when you’re cleaning. I do it too and it’s no big deal. You don’t need to touch them most of the time. However, once a year, it’s good to think about them. This would be anything like the top of artwork, picture frames, or your doorframes. If you take your finger and run it across your doorframe, I can assure you it’s going to come up quite dusty. So to take care of them use a microfiber cloth dampened with a little bit of all-purpose cleaner, just so it’s got that extra attraction that can really pick up dust, and give it a quick wipe and you’re done.
I’m not saying you have to clean every wall in your house but there are those special walls that need some extra TLC around spring cleaning time. They are grimy areas such as the kitchen walls, bathroom walls, anywhere you see drip marks on the paint, or even your kid’s room. These walls tend to get dirty and you don’t really think about them throughout the year. Even on a regular day when you’re in any room that you’re cleaning, you can always just do a quick spot check and see if there are any fingerprints or scuffs that you want to get rid of.
If you want to spot clean the wall just take a microfiber cloth, spray a little bit of all-purpose cleaner on there and give the wall a quick wipe. If there’s a stain, you can add a little bit of baking soda onto your cloth and see what it does for you.
Now, if you want to clean the entire wall, take a flathead mop and fix a microfiber cloth on the head and spray it with all-purpose cleaner. Work your way with the mop from the top to the bottom and then, back up to the top using a W pattern.
Now, this is an area we rarely think about cleaning. If we consider our soft surfaces for a moment (pillows, cushions, blankets, upholstery) we can see that they are dirty. You sit on them. Your dead skin cells get brushed off and absorbed right into those soft surfaces, along with dust, dirt, debris and pet dander. Soft surfaces are like sponges. So we need to clean them.
Start off by checking the fabric care label of your soft surface. A lot of them are machine washable. Make sure that you wash them according to care instructions. The next thing you can do is sprinkle baking soda on any soft surfaces that you can’t machine wash. This will help break down odors and bring dirt to the surface. 30 minutes later you can easily vacuum it up. Just remember to use a brush attachment. You can also take soft surfaces into the dry cleaner if you can’t otherwise treat them. They can take care of that for you quite easily. Additionally you can bring in somebody who does carpet cleaning and they will handle carpet and other soft surface cleaning for you.
Now that you’ve got your blueprint for spring-cleaning any room, you can go in and tackle each space. Forget about the stuff you normally do and focus on these rarely cleaned spots.