Spring is officially here and what better way to celebrate it than with a little spring cleaning!
I know, I know, there’s probably nobody who would consider it their idea of fun but it really is the best time of the year for a deep clean – that’s why it exists.
Even if your house isn’t starting to smell a little too “homely” after being cooped up during the colder months, there’s still months worth of dust, allergens and clutter building up. Nobody wants to deal with that on top of new seasonal allergies.
And everybody wants to come home to a clean home at the end of the day right?
So get your brooms and get your mops, it’s time to learn how to make the whole process as painless as possible with some tips that will turn you into a spring cleaning pro.
Planning Your Cleaning Session
Let’s face it, nobody enjoys planning a cleaning session and especially since it isn’t the most complex of tasks.
So what gives?
As it turns out, it really sucks to discover that you’ve missed an important item in your mental list of what needs to be cleaned. Or if you weren’t paying attention, you may not even have noticed that nasty spot under the microwave has turned into the hangout of your least favourite critters.
Chances are, once you’ve stashed your cleaning kit away after a hard day of work, it’s not coming back out. Definitely not for some measly obscure corner.
To avoid this happening, and the subsequent gnawing of the dirty spot that got away at the back of your mind, try spending a day consciously taking stock of what needs to be cleaned and what can be saved for another session.
All it takes is a little mindfulness and a notepad on your phone as you carry on through your day.
Removing The Clutter
Spring cleaning isn’t just about stopping dust bunnies in their tracks and banishing grease stains. As important as those are, you can’t have a clean looking house when there’s clutter everywhere.
It’s time to literally sort things out, and when better to do it than right at the very start. Clear that clutter with some organizational magic and move other impediments to your cleaning to a designated area.
Not only will it be so much easier to clean with nothing to trip you up, but you may also discover some new areas that you didn’t know were quite that filthy.
Use Gentle Products
Psst, here’s a secret… gentle products are as effective as the stronger stuff. Well at least 99% of the time they are. So there is absolutely no need to let loose on the bleach and other products that will leave your house smelling like a science lab.
Really, all you need to clean your house are 3-5 things, some of which you’ll already have lying around:
Liquid castile soap:
Skin and eco-friendly liquid soap made with all natural ingredients. Dr Bronner’s is a particularly famous example.
Clean soft cloth:
Microfiber cloth is one of the best choices for cleaning.
Dishwashing liquid(not detergent):
Stronger than the castile soap for and also be used to substitute it, but remember to use less.
Mix roughly 1 tablespoon of liquid castile soap for per cup of water in the bottle and spray it wherever needs cleaning.
Really good at cleaning ceramics and leaving them shiny 🙂
And if you’re using them right (which we will get into later), they’ll be all you need save for the nastiest stains that have celebrated a few birthdays.
Not only will they be better for your skin and health. They’ll also be less likely to damage your surfaces (like wood) which can discolor when in contact with harsh chemicals.
Clean Top Down
Beginning your clean from top to bottom is one of the oldest secrets in the book. That means starting with the ceiling and end with the floor.
Nobody likes cleaning twice, and that’s what will happen if you don’t start top down since dirt and debris get dislodged and are knocked downwards.
Plus there’s usually a substantial amount of dust, cobwebs and other yucky stuff hidden up there so get the difficult part of the job out of the way first.
Clean in an S shape
If you’ve ever watched someone clean a surface in a movie, you’ve probably seen them hard at work scrubbing furiously in a circular motion.
Well don’t do that. It’s a lie!
I know, I found it crazy too as someone who does that all the time. And while wiping in a circle is the ideal way to apply wax to a car or shine shoes (getting a substance onto something), it’s the total opposite when cleaning (getting dirt and dust off something).
Essentially, we’re just rubbing the dirt round and round. Hospitals in particular warn against wiping like this because it recontaminates the surface.
What we really want to do is clean in an “S” shape. Starting at the top corner of any flat(ish) surface and wiping across, before moving the cloth downwards and wiping across again – almost like laying bricks layer by layer.
Let the product clean for you
If gentle products clean just as well as the stronger stuff for the most part, then why are so many people quick to pull out the big guns?
Maybe it’s because they haven’t learned this simple trick: which is to let the product do your job for you.
Instead of just dripping some cleaning liquid onto the counter and using a cloth to wipe it around, give it time to work it’s magic. Without getting all science-classy, it takes time for the chemical reactions necessary to break down grease and stains to occur.
So spray that liquid mix you’ve created in the spray bottle until it covers the surface and simply leave it for 5 minutes before coming back to wipe and dry it. To be time efficient, you can even move onto a different area to clean while you wait.
Use the right products
Using the right products for the right job makes any job easy – and any house sparkly clean!
Start by getting your supplies together and place them in a basket. This way, you won’t have to forget where you left them and scurry from room to room to find them.
Once that’s done, it’s time to start cleaning. Here’s how you can use what you have to shine your home like it has never shone before.
For counter tops, cabinets, stainless steel (faucets, handles) and wood:
Use the spray bottle mix of water and castile soap. Spray it on and give it time to work before wiping it off with a soft cloth.
For ceramics like sinks, bathroom tiles, glass stoves and the toilet:
A little water and dishwashing liquid soap on the magic eraser works wonders for cleaning and shining. The secret? It’s because the magic eraser is like extremely fine sandpaper which easily polishes ceramics.
As for the sofa and drapes:
Put them in the washing machine if they are machine washable (check the tags). Of course, here we are talking about the sofa covers (if it isn’t upholstered) and not the entire sofa. So figure out if your sofa is slipcovered by looking for zippers on the sofa cushions and checking the label for machine-washability. If you can’t find any then your sofa is upholstered and has to be cleaned by hand.
Last but not least: Gear Up
Allergic reactions are so commonly triggered when someone in the house is having a good spring clean.
Residue from dust mites, dust, pet hair, pollen and many more microscopic horrors you may not be aware of are kicked up in the process and there’s a good likelihood that you or someone else will soon be scrambling for the tissues.
And let’s not forget the allergic reaction won’t just go away once the cleaning ends. Once these particles are in the air, they will stay there for a while.
To prevent some much unneeded suffering and the wrath of your fellow housemates, it’s best to get geared up – them as well. At the very least that means masks to protect the face and gloves to protect your skin (for those cleaning) because even with the mildest of products, cleaning simply isn’t good for your skin.
For example, even plain hot water is terrible for your hands. It damages the same skin that will soon be touching a lot of nasty stuff harboring bacteria. Yucks!
Looking for more ways to keep your home as clean as possible? Try using machine washable fabric couch covers. Not only will it make cleaning the most used piece of furniture a cinch, but will also give it a brand new look.