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Spring cleaning time comes just once a year. And when it does, it helps to have a plan. “Block out a day in your calendar to spring clean, and hold yourself accountable for getting it done,” Matthew Baratta, VP of Operations at Daimer Industries, says. “Then, write out a checklist of tasks, and cross them out once they have been tackled.”
These steps may sound basic, but they’re important. A designated cleaning day will ensure you actually get around to spring cleaning, and a checklist will keep you from forgetting tasks in the middle of your cleaning spree.
Of course, creating a spring cleaning to-do list may sound as daunting as spring cleaning itself, so we turned to the experts for advice. We asked four cleaning experts how to spring clean a house from top to bottom and compiled their wise words into a checklist—one you can easily whip out the next time you spring clean your home.
Meet the Expert
- Matthew Baratta is the Vice President of Operations at Daimer Industries, a Massachusetts-based company specializing in commercial and industrial cleaning equipment.
- Derek Chiu and Leslie Tam are the co-founders and directors of UrbanMop, a cleaning service business based in Canada.
- Emil Perushanov is the owner of Top Cleaners London, a London-based cleaning company.
Why Should You Spring Clean Your Home?
Spring cleaning may sound overrated. After all, if you keep your home in tip-top shape, do you really need to deep-clean it every spring? The simple truth is, deep-cleaning your home periodically is a good idea. And spring—with its brighter days, budding trees, and inviting warmth—can be a motivating time to do it.
“Spring is a season of fresh starts, and people want to get out of their winter blues,” Derek Chiu and Leslie Tam, co-founders and directors of UrbanMop, say. “Some people have less motivation to clean their homes thoroughly during the winter season, so the spring season might be a good time to refresh their space.”
Feel free to deep-clean your home during any time of year. But if you like being able to open your windows and let in some fresh air after scrubbing every inch of your bathtub, sink, or stove, spring might just be the cleaning season for you.
Things You’ll Need
- Dish detergent
- Baking soda
- Laundry detergent
- Dish soap
- Cleaning cloth
- New air filters (optional)
- Surface cleaner
- Glass cleaner
- Cleaning gloves
- Toilet bowl cleaner
- Bathroom cleaner
- Toilet brush
- Bleach-based cleaning spray
- Degreasing spray
- Multipurpose cleaner
How to Spring Clean Your Home
Step 1: Do the Dishes
When you have an entire home to clean, it’s tough to know where to begin. But experts recommend starting with something simple, like washing the dishes. Since the task is so basic, it’s easy to knock out—allowing you to kick things off with a win.
“Wash any leftover dishes to get the momentum going,” Chiu and Tam say. “This is a task that needs to be done on a regular basis. So starting there can help you move toward other tasks that seem daunting.”
Hand-wash your fragile dishes. Pop the rest in the dishwasher. And run a quick cleaning cycle.
Step 2: Strip and Wash Your Bedding
Cleaning your bedding is a must, and odds are, it’ll take a while. Start the cleaning process while you still have plenty to do.
You may need to run several cycles to get the job done, so revisit this step as you work through your spring cleaning checklist. Take breaks from your other cleaning tasks to move stuff into the washer and dryer, and once everything is ready, re-make your bed.
Step 3: Clean and Flip Your Mattress
While your mattress is bare, take a moment to clean it. According to Emil Perushanov, owner of Top Cleaners London, this is a task way too many people overlook.
“Surprisingly, the most overlooked task concerns the part of the home we use most often: the bedroom,” he says. “People often skip mattress cleaning and forget to flip their mattresses.”
Start by vacuuming your mattress to get rid of built-up dust and debris. Then, spot-treat stains with vinegar and dish soap. If you have the kind of mattress you can flip, go ahead and flip your mattress. Then, finish things off by sprinkling a layer of baking soda over your mattress to clean it.
Step 4: Declutter
Clutter will only get in your way while you clean. So take a quick pass through your home, and declutter anything you can.
Start with the obvious stuff: Toss dirty clothes in the laundry hamper, throw garbage in the trash can, and put out-of-place items back where they belong.
Then, designate a spot to store giveaway items, and add to this pile as you clean. Every time you find something you no longer want or need, put it in the giveaway pile. And take the pile to a donation facility as soon as you finish your deep clean.
Step 5: Dust and Wipe Down Every Surface
Over time, dust accumulates in any home, and spring cleaning is the perfect time to get rid of it. Walk through your home with a duster in hand, and wipe down any surface that looks dirty. Be sure to inspect dusty hotspots, like:
- Door frames
- Window sills and blinds
- Baseboards, trim, and crown molding
- Light fixtures and fans
- Shelves and cabinets
- Tables, chairs, and furniture
- Stairs and handrails
As you dust, keep an eye out for other kinds of mess. Use your duster to remove any cobwebs you see. And use a damp cleaning cloth to wipe down surfaces that look dirty, rather than dusty.
When dusting, work your way from top to bottom. “Always start from the top,” Perushanov says. Why? As you clean, some dust may fall off your duster—dirtying the surface below it. If you just cleaned that surface, you’ll have to take another pass at it, doing more cleaning overall.
Step 6: Clean Your Air Vents, Filters, and Radiators
Your dusting duties aren’t done just yet. Dust loves to build up along air vents, in air filters, and on radiators. So take a moment to clean these up.
Air vents and radiators are pretty easy to clean: You can use your duster to wipe them down. But your air filters might require a little more work. Start by removing your air filters. Then, you have two options. You can vacuum the air filters to remove built-up dust and debris. Or you can replace them with a brand new set. (Since air filters need to be replaced every 3 months, you’ll probably want to opt for the latter.)
Step 7: Deep-Clean Your Windows and Doors
Doors and windows can get as dirty as the rest of your home. So don’t neglect them during your deep cleans.
Start by dusting your doors and windows. Then, open them up and clean the screens behind them. You can gently vacuum screen doors and window screens to remove dust and debris. Or you can wipe them down using a wet sponge.
Once your doors and windows are dust-free, clean up dirt, scuffs, and gunk with a cleaning cloth and some cleaning spray. Surface cleaner is usually great for doors, and glass cleaner is ideal for windows.
Be sure to clean both sides of your doors and windows. With doors, this should be pretty easy. But if some of your windows are hard to reach from outside your home, you’re not out of luck. Just open the windows, remove their screens, and reach through them to clean their exteriors.
Step 8: Vacuum Your Floors
“By this point, you should be finished with all the tasks that can spread dust and debris around your home,” Perushanov says. So the natural next step? Vacuum your floors.
Start by vacuuming your carpets. “Carpet cleaning is a core task that should be on everyone's spring cleaning checklist,” Baratta says. “Over time, carpets accumulate dirt, grime, and other dry particles.”
Then, move onto slicker surfaces—like tiles and hardwoods. You’ll sweep and mop these surfaces later. But vacuuming them now will give you a helpful headstart.
“Always use your vacuum cleaner’s attachments,” Perushanov says. The crevice tool is great for cleaning baseboards and corners. The extension wand is helpful for reaching under furniture. And the upholstery tool is ideal for sucking lint, dust, and debris out of carpets, rugs, and upholstery.
Step 9: Spot-Clean Your Carpets
If your carpets still look dirty after you’ve vacuumed them, it’s time to do some spot-cleaning. Keep an eye out for stains, and clean them using dish soap or laundry detergent.
“When using dish soap or laundry detergent for spot cleaning, always rinse with cold water,” Perushanov says. “Warm water will cause the solvents to foam.” And that can make the soap harder to rinse off.
Step 10: Deep-Clean Your Upholstery
Once you’ve given your carpets the deep-clean treatment, give the rest of your upholstery some love.
Start by vacuuming your sofas, loveseats, and armchairs. You’ll want to vacuum the dust and debris out of every single cushion, and you’ll want to clean the crumbs hiding underneath them, too. “Vacuum your upholstered furniture—especially the hard-to-reach places, like in between the cushions, behind, and under the couch,” Baratta says. Then, spot-clean any stains you see using dish soap or laundry detergent.
Once your furniture is good to go, move on to other upholstered items, like pillows, blankets, and drapes. “If you can, pop your curtains, pillows, and blankets in the laundry machine,” Perushanov says. “If not, vacuum them on the spot.” Be sure to spot-clean any stains or spills you see.
And if you’re really feeling ambitious, deep-clean your upholstery with a steam cleaner. “You can easily purchase an at-home steam cleaner,” Chiu and Tam say. “Or, you can hire a professional cleaner to tackle these tasks.”
Step 11: Wash Your Bathroom and Kitchen Linens
When your laundry machine is ready for a fresh load, keep the textile cleaning going. Head to your kitchen, and grab all your dirty kitchen towels. Then, snag dirty towels, bath mats, and shower curtains from your bathroom, too.
Throw these essentials in your washing machine, and continue with the rest of your deep clean.
Step 12: Deep-Clean Your Bathroom
It’s time for everyone’s least-favorite part of spring cleaning: deep-cleaning your bathroom. So whip out a pair of cleaning gloves, flip on your fan and open your windows for ventilation, and get to work.
Start by rimming your toilet with toilet bowl cleaner. And while that sits, scrub your sinks and countertops with bathroom cleaner and a cleaning cloth. Use the same bathroom cleaner to clean tile floors, walls, and backsplashes. And wipe down your mirrors with glass cleaner.
Once your toilet bowl cleaner has had a chance to work its magic, scrub your toilet with a toilet brush. And wipe down your toilet seat with bleach.
If you need a break, Perushanov says this is a great time to take one. “Sit down and relax,” he says. “Go take a bath.” Once your bath is finished, grab your bathroom cleaner and wipe down the inside of your tub.
And if you’re not a bath person, take a shower, instead. Once you’re done with your shower, wipe down your shower walls and floors with bathroom cleaner. Then, flip the shower back on to rinse everything off.
Step 13: Deep-Clean Your Appliances
Once your bathroom is squeaky-clean, head straight to your kitchen, and start tackling your appliances.
- Clean your microwave: Microwave a bowl of white vinegar and water. Then, wipe down the inside of your microwave with a cleaning cloth.
- Clean your stove: Wipe down your stove with dish soap and a cleaning cloth. And use degreasing spray to tackle sticky, built-up grease.
- Clean your oven: Flip on your oven’s self-cleaning function, and give it a couple hours to complete its self-clean cycle. Or, wipe down your oven using vinegar, water, and a cleaning cloth.
- Clean your dishwasher: Take all the dishes out of your dishwasher. Then, run a standard cycle while it’s empty, putting vinegar where you’d usually put dish detergent.
- Clean your sink: Use a multipurpose cleaner to wipe down the inside of your sink. Then, clean your garbage disposal with baking soda and vinegar. (You’ll want to pour both into your garbage disposal and let them fizz for several minutes, before running your garbage disposal and rinsing with cold water.)
- Clean your fridge: Wipe down the inside of your fridge with some multipurpose cleaner. Then, throw out any old or expired items you see.
- Clean your freezer: Clean the inside of your freezer with a multipurpose cleaner and a cleaning cloth. And toss out anything that’s been lurking in there for way too long.
Take a look around the room for any appliances you haven’t cleaned yet. Keep an eye out for coffee makers and air fryers—these deserve a deep clean, too. Then, go ahead and declutter your pantry and cabinets, and wipe the dust off your shelves.
Once you’re finished with your kitchen, head straight to your laundry room. Clean your washing machine with white vinegar and a sponge. And give your dryer a quick wipe down with a multipurpose cleaner while you’re there.
Step 14: Wipe Down Your Countertops
Clean your kitchen countertops with surface cleaner and a cleaning cloth. And while you’re at it, wipe down the other surfaces in your kitchen, too. Clean your backsplash, your cabinet fronts, and the outside of your appliances. And take solace in the fact that you’re almost done with your deep clean.
Step 15: Sweep and Mop Your Floors
Remember earlier when we told you you’d be sweeping and mopping your floors? Well, now’s the time to do it. Whip out your broom, and sweep up any dust and debris your vacuum left behind. Then, finish the job with your mop.
Baratta recommends starting with high-traffic areas, like your entryway or the hallway between your kitchen and living room. Why? These areas tend to be the dirtiest—so cleaning them feels like a big win.
“The first step should be to clean the entryway,” Baratta says. “With the accumulation of snow, salt, water, and mud build-up during the winter, this spot should be prioritized.”
Step 16: Do Any Leftover Laundry
If there’s any dirty laundry lurking in your hampers, throw it in your washing machine, and start your final laundry cycle.
Step 17: Take Out the Trash
Finish off your deep clean by taking out the trash. Odds are, you unearthed a lot of junk during your cleaning process. So get it out of the house, once and for all. And seal the deal by wiping down your trash bins with your multipurpose cleaner.
Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Home
Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of spring cleaning? Experts have some tips for making the process both easier and more fun.
- Stock up on supplies before you start cleaning: “The first and most important step is to get all of your supplies ready,” Perushanov says. “Once you start cleaning, you need to have everything neatly arranged [so you] don’t waste time running to the store in the middle of [your clean].”
- Take things room by room: “Cleaning a home can seem extremely daunting, especially when it is not done often,” Chiu and Tam say. “Focus on one room at a time, so cleaning those areas doesn't overwhelm you.”
- Recruit loved ones to help you out: “Another great way to stay motivated is to … reach out to your friends or family if you need a hand,” Baratta says. Treat them to some thank-you snacks and drinks, and turn spring cleaning into a party.
- Set a timer: “Start small by setting a timer to make each task seem less daunting,” Tam and Chiu say. Spring cleaning can take hours. But breaking things down into 5- or 10-minute chunks makes the whole process feel more manageable.
- Flip on your favorite tunes: “Play music or listen to an audiobook,” Perushanov says. Having something to listen to can keep your mind occupied—preventing you from getting bored, and giving you something to do while you clean.