March has officially begun, which means the vernal equinox approaches — the official first day of spring. There are many ways to celebrate the new season, but spring cleaning is perhaps the most iconic method. People love to use the symbolic rebirth of nature as an excuse to freshen up their homes and take care of the cleaning they put off all winter. Or maybe they just enjoy a thorough, deep clean. We pass no judgment here! If the warmer weather has put you in a cleaning mood, here are a few tips for sprucing up each room in your home.
Many of the tips for the bedroom apply to other rooms as well, so it’s an excellent place to begin. Start by dusting your shelves and dressers. Be sure to lift any decorations or cluttered objects and wipe them down as well. Then, dust the blinds. We don’t often think about cleaning them, but they can collect dander and mold just as much as anything else in the house. You also want to take down your curtains and launder them. Don’t forget to wash the windows too — both inside and out!
Just as much as we neglect our blinds, we tend to forget our mattresses as well. Remove the mattress cover and give it a cycle in the washing machine. If you have a pillowtop bed, rotate it. Rotating the mattress will even out the wear. You might as well change your sheets and pillowcases too! Throw pillows and other bed toppers should be laundered semi-regularly to prevent dander and mites from infesting.
While in the bedroom, there’s one more place to clean out: the closet. Put away any bulky winter clothes (although you should keep a few hanging up in case of a sudden chill). Are your drawers filled with clothes you’ll never wear? Donate them to Goodwill. Obviously, this applies only to clothes in good condition. If an old shirt is in tatters, simply discard it.
The bathroom might not be our favorite place to spend our time, but we spend much of our lives in there. Roughly one and a half years of an average American’s life is spent behind bathroom doors. We might as well ensure that we spend that time in a clean place! Scrub down the sinks and toilet, give the floor a good sweep, and wash any rugs or bathmats. If you hope to save money in the spring, try adopting a water-saving trick or two in the bathroom.
Next comes the shower. Remove any toiletries and scrub the entire shower down. Remove the faucet and bath stopper and give them a thorough clean as well. And don’t neglect your shower curtain! Most people don’t even realize it’s possible to clean shower curtains and instead replace them. Save some money by freshening it up. Fabric curtains are machine washable. Plastic liners should be taken down, treated with detergent or baking soda, and rinsed off.
Some say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. Much like the body’s heart, its well-being determines how the rest of the household fares. As such, treat it with special care when cleaning it out. Sweeping and mopping the floors is a good start. From there, wipe down the counters and appliances. You may also want to treat your cabinets as grease and other residues can build up on the wood, causing it to warp.
Give special attention to the fridge and pantry. Clean out any dated or expired food and dispose of it promptly. Then, remove the food you still plan to keep and set it aside. Take a wet rag or sponge and wipe down the refrigerator’s interior. While the offending food may be gone, mold particles may still linger. Don’t give them a chance to grow!
Finally, the oven — nobody’s favorite place to clean. Thankfully, many modern ovens come with a self-cleaning function. However, that doesn’t mean you should just hit the button and walk away. You’ll need to do a bit of a “preclean” before letting the self-clean run. This feels counterintuitive, but it’s relatively easy in practice. Simply remove the racks from the oven and scrape off any burnt residue. Double-check the gasket for any damage and clean it off as well. That’s it! You’re free to run the self-clean function. While it runs, wash off the oven racks in your sink.
Finally, the living or family room — or den, depending on the household. Whatever you call it, the chores we provided for the previous rooms also apply here. Begin by dusting any shelves or TV units. Take down pictures and dust those too. Vacuum the carpets and sweep the hardwood floors (It’s best to vacuum or sweep after dusting to pick up any excess stirred-up dust.).
Send decorative throw pillows to the washing machine. You may want to use one of the attachments for your vacuum and go over the couch and chair cushions. Tackle the windows and any sliding doors on both sides. If your pet has toys lying around, pick them up and launder them, if possible. At the very least, put them in a storage area that the pet can still access easily. Rotate any houseplants you might have so they can absorb sunlight better.
We covered the main areas of your home, but you’ll want to make sure all aspects are covered. Here are other things you should check, clean, and toss out:
- Check your fire extinguisher and smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. Ensure the detectors are still responsive; if not, replace the batteries. Dispose of your fire extinguisher if it’s past the date printed on it.
- Clean out your vents! No, we don’t mean hiring an air duct cleaning company (although that will certainly make your house cleaner). Instead, make sure the vents themselves are not obstructed or dusty. This will improve airflow and your home's heating and cooling.
- Look through your first aid kits. Replace anything that has expired. Nobody wants to worsen an already tense situation by using expired triple antibiotic cream!
- Have you gone through your makeup lately? Believe it or not, makeup products can expire, and they can pose serious risks to your health. Throw away any expired makeup, regardless of how much is left.