Spring is synonymous with deep cleaning and a fresh start. After being cooped up all winter, it’s time to let the sunshine in and declutter our homes for a fresher, more springlike feel.
While we all do some daily cleaning here and there, there’s a difference between “cleaning” and “deep cleaning.” House cleaning may seem like a chore, but a shiny, organized home can lead to improvement in other areas of your life as well. Just think about how you feel in a clean room versus one filled with hair, dust, and clutter.
These spring cleaning tips and tricks will not only improve the quality of your mood and wellbeing, but also create a safer, healthier, and more efficient home for you and your family.
General Cleaning Tips
- Write down a cleaning to-do list to stay on task. You probably won’t be able to do everything in one day, so keep the list short and manageable.
- Start upstairs and work your way down. Make sure you have all the proper cleaning supplies before starting.
- As you go through each room, collect donation items you no longer need or no longer bring you joy (à la Marie Kondo).
- Recruit helpers. Cleaning with family and friends is much more enjoyable (usually).
- Start high and work low. When you are cleaning ceiling fans and top shelves, dust and dirt will naturally fall down to the lower levels. Leave the floor for last.
- Use natural cleaners that won’t emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Read the labels before you buy and consider making your own cleaners from natural ingredients.
- Stick to a cleaning schedule. Set calendar reminders for weekly and monthly tasks, such as checking air filters and cleaning towels and linens.
Before Anything, Replace the Air Filter
Spring cleaning begins with your HVAC system. By replacing your dirty air filter with a clean one and running the air conditioner while you clean, the filter will collect any large airborne particles.
Clean air filters also promote healthy airflow and will extend the lifespan of your HVAC equipment. Choose replacement filters with a higher minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating for superior filtration.
For some homes, such as those with pets, you may need to clean or replace the filter every month. In other homes, you can probably wait around 60-90 days. The frequency of your air filter changes will depend on the cleanliness of your home, the number of your household (including pets), and how often you run the HVAC system.
Still, it’s a good habit to check the filter every 30 days. Set calendar reminders and write the date of replacement on the filter itself so you remember this important home maintenance task.
In addition to compromising your system’s efficiency and reliability, dirty air filters also lead to poor indoor air quality and shortened equipment lifespans.
For central air conditioners, filters are generally located somewhere along the return duct’s length. Common filter locations are behind large supply vents in walls and ceilings or in a slot near the indoor air handler. Room air conditioners have a filter mounted in the grill that faces into the room.
Fix Moisture and Drainage Issues
Low humidity and high humidity are both bad for your home and health. Excess moisture in the air doesn’t just cause discomfort, it also promotes the development of mites, pests, mold, and other biological contaminants.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dust mites thrive in relative humidity levels of around 70% to 90% and temperatures of 75°F to 80°F. Most dust mites are found around beds since their favorite food is human dander.
One of the best ways to prevent dust mites is by keeping the indoor humidity level between 30% and 60%. You can measure your indoor humidity with a hygrometer, a measuring device that can be purchased online or at your local home improvement store.
If you or your family experience bloody noses, dry eyes and skin, allergies, or respiratory problems, ask your HVAC professional about a whole-home humidification system and other indoor air quality solutions. Your experienced technician can also tell you if your exhaust fans are working properly and provide suggestions for ventilation and indoor air quality improvements.
Standing Water and Structural Issues
Keep on the lookout for standing water around the home, especially in the bathroom, kitchen, and outdoor area. If you have structural issues causing moisture in your home, such as a roof leak or foundation crack, schedule professional service as soon as you can.
Unclog Drains the Natural Way
Chemical drain cleaners are bad for the environment and may damage your pipes. It’s a good idea to consult with a professional plumber about the best way to keep your drains clean and clear.
- One natural way to clear clogged drains is with a plunger. Make sure the flange is completely submerged in water for the suction effect to work.
- For professional drain cleaning that lasts, contact Bell Brothers.
Unless you’re trying to filter the sun with a layer of gray grime, it’s time to deep clean your windows.
- Clean the inside and outside of your windows. Dry the windows with horizontal strokes on one side and vertical strokes on the other. This way, if there’s a streak, you know which side it’s on.
- You can make your own natural window cleaner by mixing one part water and one part white vinegar in a spray bottle. For really dirty windows, pre-wash with soapy water. Try to avoid chemical cleaners, which can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air.
- Instead of paper towels, use newspapers, coffee filters, or microfiber cloths for drying the windows. There’s something about the ink and paper of a newspaper that doesn’t leave streaks behind. But while the ink won’t stick to the glass, it could adhere to the wood molding surrounding the window. Pros use a squeegee.
- Choose an overcast day to wash your windows since a hot, sunny day will dry the washing solution too quickly, leaving lots of streaks behind.
Bathroom Deep Clean
Towels, Mats, and Shower Curtains
- First, remove the towels, bath mats, and shower curtain. Place everything into the washing machine, and when it’s time to add the detergent, add a ½ cup of baking soda. Keep in mind that some shower curtains cannot be run through the wash, so make sure to read the label first.
- Follow this with a ½ cup of vinegar right before the rinse cycle starts. The towels will help to clean the mildew off the shower curtain. If there are any remaining spots, you may be able to clean it by hand with a little soap and water.
Pretreat and Wipe Down
- Spritz the sink, tub, shower, vanity, tiles, and walls with an all-purpose cleaning solution of one part water and one part white vinegar. Then turn on a very hot shower and close the door for a few minutes. Let the steaming action take effect. Then, wipe down the surfaces with a microfiber cloth.
- For heavier stains, sprinkle the area with baking soda and spray the water-vinegar solution on top. Let this reaction bubble for a few minutes until a pasty substance is formed. Then, scrub with an old toothbrush, wipe and rinse.
- If you need more cleaning power, use cream of tartar (or make your own). Mix one part hydrogen peroxide with two parts baking soda. Then, rub the paste into the stain and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Clean Magic Eraser can help clean scuffmarks and other stains on your surfaces and walls. Make sure you read the label and only use as directed.
- If you have hard water stains around your showerhead, drains, and other areas, simply apply some vinegar-soaked paper towels to the area and let it stand for about 2 hours.
- Minor rust stains can be cleaned with borax and some lemon juice. Let the mixture sit on the rust for 30 minutes, wipe and rinse.
- Use a squeegee on glass surfaces for a streak-free clean.
- Put away all those moisturizers, shampoo bottles, and other things you aren’t using on a daily basis. Check the labels for expiration dates. When in doubt, throw it out.
- Organize things into bins and boxes inside of drawers for easy access. By putting clutter away and wiping down the bathroom after each use, there won’t be any slime buildup and cleaning will become much quicker and easier.
- Clean all around the toilet with a general-purpose cleaner.
- Use toilet bowl cleaner and a good bowl brush to clean the inside of the toilet.
- Let toilet cleaner sit in the bowl overnight to kill germs and remove odor.
Mop the Floor
Don’t forget to clean the floor. Start in the far corner and work your way out. Then wipe the floor dry with a clean microfiber cloth.
Daily Wipe Downs
Take a couple of seconds after each use of the shower and sink to wipe the area dry. This will keep your bathroom forever clean and sparkling while reducing the risk of mold and mildew.
Consider switching from bar to liquid soap. If you use bars of soap, a wall-mounted dish can help keep the cleaning to a minimum.
Kitchen Deep Clean
- Never use abrasive agents to clean stainless-steel sinks. No matter what cleaner you use, always follow the label instructions carefully. Many powdered abrasive cleaners will strip away the glaze of your sinks.
- Clean your stainless-steel sinks with baking soda and rub with a damp cloth in the direction of the grain. Rinse and wipe the sink after each use to keep it in good condition.
- You can use an old toothbrush to get into crevices and hard-to-reach spots.
- Clean hard-water stains by soaking a paper towel in white vinegar and letting it sit on the stain for about two hours. Then, wipe clean.
- Sick of white spots and mineral stains? Contact a professional plumber if you’re interested in a point-of-use or whole-home water softener system.
Refrigerators and Freezers
- Pull the refrigerator out at least 3-4 times a year so you can clean behind it and vacuum the condenser coils. The coils may be on the back, on the top, or behind the base grille of the refrigerator. Consult your owner’s manual for instructions on cleaning condenser coils.
- Don’t forget about cleaning the inside too. Now’s the time to throw away any expired items and use hot sudsy water to wash all the corners and crevices.
- As with the bathroom, store as many items as you can in cabinets and drawers.
- The area around the stove is particularly hard to keep clean. Spices and other items stored in the open will get covered with a film of oil, splatter, and other remnants from food prep.
- The cleaner your counters, the easier it will be to maintain a spotless kitchen.
Counters and Floors
- Use an all-purpose spray (or water and vinegar solution) to spray your countertops. Wipe clean from back to front with a microfiber cloth, sweeping any crumbs onto the floor.
- After cleaning counters, cabinets, and other higher-level places, you can tackle the floor. Vacuum the crumbs up first, then wipe the floor with mop, wet Swiffer, or damp microfiber cloth. Again, start in a far corner and then work your way out.
Microwave Cleaning Hack
You may have heard of this cleaning hack for loosening up baked-on food inside of a microwave, but it works like a charm.
- Simply fill a bowl with a ½ cup of water, cut a lemon in half, squeeze the lemon in the water bowl and drop the rest of the lemon inside the water.
- Then microwave the mixture for about 3 minutes. Let stand for 5-10 minutes while the citrusy steam does its work.
- Finally, wipe away all the food and grease with a sponge and towel.
Cleaning Countertops and Range Tops
- To clean a glass cooktop, consult your owner’s manual. There may be specific cleaners to use and/or avoid. They may also recommend using a razor blade to scrape off hard-to-remove gunk.
- Not following the manufacturer instructions could void any warranties. Keep in mind that abrasive cleaners and scouring pads may leave scratches. Stick to sponges and microfiber cloths.
- For daily cleaning, keep a spray bottle of one part water and one part vinegar close by. Wait until the stovetop is cool, then spritz it and wipe up with a dry microfiber cloth.
Cleaning and Deodorizing the Garbage Disposal
- A quick and easy way to refresh your garbage disposal is by grinding up some lemon or lime wedges and ice cubes. The ice cubes will help clean and sharpen the blades, while the citrus deodorizes everything. Do this every 2 weeks or so for a clean garbage disposal all year long.
- For a deeper clean, clean the inside of the rubber splash guard with an old toothbrush dipped in a kitchen degreaser. Make sure you unplug the unit before attempting to clean it!
Clean and Vacuum Regularly
- Vacuuming is much better than feather dusting, which just moves the dust around. Use a vacuum with a HEPA(high-efficiency particulate air) filter for the highest level of cleaning.
- Remember to clean behind furniture and underneath beds. While you are at it, make sure no air vents are being blocked by rugs, drapes, furniture, or anything else. It’s important to keep all your vents open for proper airflow and ventilation.
Tips for Allergy Sufferers
Nobody can tell you what you are allergic to except a doctor, but by cleaning and improving the quality of your indoor air, you’ll have much less to worry about.
- See a doctor for a custom allergies or asthma management plan.
- Get rid of as many allergens as you can. Stay inside when pollen counts are high. Wear a mask when mowing the grass. Change your air filter frequently.
- When you come home after a long day’s work, take a shower and change your clothes as soon as possible to remove any pollen and pollutants that may have gathered on your hair and clothes.
- Your mattress and pillow gets you face-to-face with millions of germs and bacteria. Use hypoallergenic pillowcases and mattress covers to block out moisture, pollen, dust mites, and other allergens. Wash your linens in hot water to kill off any dust mites.
Annual Professional Cleaning and Maintenance
When it comes to spring cleaning and purging, most of it can be done on your own. There are certain areas, however, that should only be cleaned by a professional, such as your HVAC system.
Spring is the perfect time to schedule a precision AC tune-up and cleaning to make sure your system is safe, clean, and efficient for the warmer months ahead.
For professional HVAC, insulation, plumbing, and window service, schedule a free in-house estimate with your favorite technicians at Bell Brothers.