For many of us, spring cleaning is a dreaded task. You have a year (or more) of dirt and dust to get rid of, and you’re looking at hours of spraying, wiping, vacuuming, mopping, and sweeping. Sound familiar? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Below are some foolproof tips to help you strategize your time and minimize frustration, so pull on your cleaning gloves and turn up the music as you check each of these items off your list.
Tip: Before you begin, do yourself a favour and complete some basic stretches, like these, to help prevent muscle pulls and strains.
In the kitchen:
- Work top to bottom – wipe away dirt and dust from the upper cabinets and counter-tops before sweeping and mopping the floor.
- Before spraying and wiping up counter-tops and dining room tables, use a napkin to push crumbs and dust onto the floor. Vigorously shake place-mats and tablecloths above the floor to get rid of crumbs.
- If possible, move tables, chairs, and appliances aside in order to get your broom/vacuum/mop into hard-to-reach places.
- To avoid back pain when sweeping, vacuuming, and mopping, bend your knees rather than your back. So, instead of bending at the waist, bend both knees while keeping your torso straight, letting your arms and legs do all the work.
- Sweep towards the centre of the room, creating one big pile. If you have a mini duster and dustpan, squat down (instead of reaching down) while you sweep the pile into the pan. If you just have a large broom, it helps to have someone else hold the pan in place while you sweep the contents into it.
- Clean your microwave and electric kettle with vinegar – find out how and why that works here and here.
- Be careful to not use too much spray on counter-tops as that can leave a grimy or greasy residue.
- Dishwashers and ovens often come with a self-cleaning option, so let those run if they’re available.
- After mopping the floor, use an old bath towel to absorb the moisture.
In your bathrooms:
- Use an all-purpose cleaner that will work on every surface – the floor, sink, faucets, shower tiles, tub, toilet, counter-tops, etc. (Browse through eco-friendly cleaners here.)
- Wipe away streaks on your mirror with a soft cleaning cloth (as opposed to napkins or paper towels, which often leave behind bits of lint). Use the all-purpose cleaner or a specialized mirror cleaner.
- If possible, turn off your ceiling fan and overhead lights and wipe them by hand or use a small vacuum to get rid of dust and mold.
- Sweep up – you may be surprised at how much dust and hair will appear.
- For a really deep clean, don’t forget to scrub shower curtains/doors, wipe the insides of cabinets and cupboards with a wet towel, throw bath mats and towels into the laundry, and use a disinfectant spray to clean the garbage bin and doorknobs.
In your bedroom:
- Dust accumulates everywhere, so make sure to wipe everything down (including window sills, bedside cabinets, desks, lamps, drapes, and so on).
- Remove everything from your cabinets, bookshelves, and drawers. Use a dampened cloth to wipe up the dust from the shelves and drawers, then let them air dry while you reorganize their contents.
- Place everything from your closet on your bed or couch and open the windows to let your closet/drawers air out. Optional: spray Febreze fabric freshener or a homemade air freshener onto your clothes and into your closet and drawers.
- Sweep and vacuum the floor and rugs, making sure to get into the corners, closets, and underneath beds and desks.
- Throw your bedsheets, pillowcases, and pajamas into the laundry. Dry-clean or machine-wash your duvet if it hasn’t been washed in at least 3 months, or simply let it run for a cycle in the dryer on the lowest heat setting to fluff it up and get rid of dust.
For the windows:
- Use a streak-free cleaner and a soft cloth (microfiber is best) for a sparkling finish.
- For larger windows, a squeegee may come in handy to cut down on time.
- Don’t forget to wipe both sides (though you may want to hire someone to clean the outsides if you have very high windows).
- Rather than spraying and wiping random spots, try to go vertically or horizontally to limit streaks.
- Use the all-purpose cleaner to wipe away dust and grime from the window sills.