Spring Cleaning Tips and Guide For A Beautifully Clean Home

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After a brutal and bitterly cold winter it’s time to reclaim my home and rid it from all the grime and dirt winter will bring into the house. I like to start spring clean as soon as the first signs of spring are evident but this year we fell behind in our schedule.  We finally managed to get all the heavy work and chores done and we even checked off every single thing on the lists below.

Spring cleaning can be a very daunting task especially if you’re the only one doing all the cleaning; fortunate for me I have a team of five helping me get the house in tip top shape for spring and summer all in one weekend ~ that’s two days ~ that’s it! Who wants to spend beautiful days indoors doing back breaking work when there is a lot of living to be had outdoors?

Spring and summer are our favourite seasons; as soon as the days get warmer we are outdoors all the time and only use the interior of the home on rainy days, and of course to sleep and bathe so essentially our home looks like a showroom throughout these two seasons.  Throughout the warmer months we do have a light cleaning schedule such as sweeping, mopping, dusting and vacuuming which can all be done in a matter of a couple of hours per week; the rest of the time we’re out in the beautiful sunshine either sitting around chatting, joying the company of guests or lazing around the pool.

This year we're planning on listing our home for sale so we're going the extra mile to get our home perfectly clean and showroom ready!

The first main job is to go through each room and make three piles; a maybe keep pile; if you’re anything like me, it’s difficult to part with some things but not everything is precious and sentimental and sometimes we just need to liberate ourselves and get rid of stuff. We also have a donate pile which will cart off a carload to donation centers such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill; there maybe a pick up option for you to choose; great for big items. Last but not least the garbage pile that will end up on the curb or driven over to the local dump.
We start cleaning on the top floors and work our way down. Starting in bedrooms on the upper level isn’t quite as daunting, so starting off with easy rooms that get done quickly give us a sense of accomplishment.
We hope that our room by room tips will help you get your home squeaky clean and summer ready and hopefully you’ll find things to do on our lists that perhaps you haven’t thought of doing!

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BEDROOM CLEAN UP

It’s time to open the windows and let some air into the bedrooms. We start by stripping all the bedding down. This is a great opportunity to spot clean your mattress and give it a flip and rotate (we do this every three months; from side to side and up and down to get even wear and extend the life of the mattresses). Don’t forget to wash your pillows too; they could be a breeding ground for dust mites and other wonderful things not visible to the human eye! Read the labels for washing or you’ll end you with grossly disfigured pillow. If they’re not dirty throw them into the drier and let them tumble around for 20 to 30 minutes with a fabric softener sheet, this will freshen them up and kill some of those things we cannot see! It’s also time to launder the heavy winter bedding and put it away for the winter months.
To Do:
  • dust ceiling, corners, crown moldings and baseboards
  • clean windows and window sills
  • dust and polish furniture
  • dust edges of wall hangings, mirrors, and pictures
  • clean glass and mirrors
  • dust and vacuum lamps and lamp shades
  • clean light fixtures and light bulbs
  • clean under your bed (get all those nasty dust bunny that have been getting larger under your bed)
  • shampoo carpet or polish hardwood flooring
  • remove scuff marks from doors and moldings
  • organize your closet
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BATHROOM CLEAN UP

Who loves cleaning bathrooms? I can’t think of one person that actually enjoys snapping on a pair of rubber gloves and getting down to some hard labour in the bathroom. It is a necessary evil that we all have to face. I’m sure you have a weekly routine and you think you’re bathroom is clean; think not, next to the kitchen it is one of the dirtiest rooms in the house and can be a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
To Do:
  • clean bathroom exhaust fan (time to pull out the ladder and take the air vent down for a good cleaning; a good de-greaser or a bleach based cleaner will have the grills sparkling in no time), get the vacuum out and vacuum the blades and corners out really well; by doing this the fan will work more efficiently as it will not be bogged down by dust and debris)
  • while you’re up on the ladder give the ceiling as well as the walls a good cleaning; you’ll be shocked on your first wipe how dirty it actually is; remember while you’re showering the steam rises and leaves a film on your ceiling
  • scrub the bathtub and/or shower
  • caulk around bathtub
  • re-seal tile and grout (if necessary)
  • clean shower head (a good trick is to take a zip lock bag, fill it with vinegar and rubber band the bag around the shower head and leave it wrapped around the shower head while cleaning; this will breakdown the mineral deposits and provide you with a better flow)
  • clean shower curtain (replace liner if necessary)
  • scrub and disinfect toilet inside and out and don’t forget behind, around the base, under the seat and around the hinges (tighten hinges if necessary)
  • wash light fixtures and light bulbs
  • clean mirror
  • clean shower door frame and glass
  • disinfect countertops
  • dust and clean windows, inside and out
  • polish faucets
  • wash trash can (inside and out)
  • wipe down and polish cabinets, knobs, towel racks and toilet paper holder
  • clean, organize and de-clutter cabinets and drawers
  • clean, organize and de-clutter bathroom closet
  • mop and hand scrub floors (a great investment is a steam cleaner which will zap all the dirt embedded in the grout)
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KITCHEN CLEAN UP

If your kitchen is anything like ours it is the center of the house. We all gravitate to the kitchen for meals and socializing and when we cook we cook. The kitchen is always the hardest room in the house to keep clean although we’re in there wiping and cleaning every day. Doing a thorough cleaning does have it challenges, I don’t typically clean the walls and the ceilings and move the appliances on a regular basis; I usually like to do these heavy tasks every three months or so, especially moving the appliances. Things get dropped on the floor and accidently kicked under the stove or the fridge (my kids are notorious for that; they’d rather kick the problem away than actually take the time to pick up whatever the dropped). Time to get that ladder out and start cleaning, those ceilings and bulk head can get dusty and greasy even though we cook with the range hood fan. Believe it or not, I get a totally amazing cleaner and of all places at the Dollar Tree (it is available in both Canada and the US); LA’s Totally Awesome All-Purpose Cleaner for a buck and it is an amazing de-greaser as well; I just spray it on, leave it for a few minutes wipe the grease away and then re-clean the same area with hot soapy water and a micro fibre cloth. I also use it on the vent hood filters. A generous spray down of the filter and it cuts through the grease like a knife through butter on a hot day.
To Do:
  • wash ceiling and walls including bulkhead or tops of cabinets
  • wash down and polish cupboards inside and out, don’t forget to get under the sink; we keep our garbage can there so it can get nasty
  • remove all the dishes from your cupboards, throw out old shelf liners and replace with new
  • wash all dishes and reorganize cupboards to optimize space and functionality of your kitchen
  • slide out stove and refrigerator to clean flooring and sides of appliances (vacuum coils behind the fridge)
  • clean the oven and stove top burners
  • clean the hood vent and change filter if needed (a good dose of de-greaser will get this cleaned in no time)
  • clean the microwave (place a cup of lemon water into the microwave and microwave about 60 seconds until the water boils; let sit for a couple of minutes and wipe clean)
  • deep clean the dishwasher to remove all the gunk around the doors and hinges (pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain, 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup vinegar into the drain which will bubble up and fizz; leave for 15 mins then chase that down the drain with boiling water to clean the drain)
  • clean and organize the refrigerator (time to check those expiry dates and toss old stuff out)
  • clean and organize the freezer (toss out anything that is expired or freezer burned)
  • clean coffee maker (if you’re coffee is taking forever to brew it needs to be de-calcified; pour in equal parts of vinegar and water into the reservoir and let brew half way, turn off the coffee maker for about 30 minutes and then continue to brew; run a few pots of water through the machine to rid the vinegar scent)
  • time to dump out your junk drawer (you all have one; I’d bet my life on it! You’ll be surprised what you find in there that shouldn’t be there)
  • reorganize and thin out your pantry; get rid of expired items and reorganize
  • deep clean your flooring; if you have ceramic tiles it may be a good time to get your grout looking like new by zapping the grout lines with your steam cleaner
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LIVING ROOM/FAMILY ROOM CLEAN UP

Our living room is the first room guests see when they enter our home and I work so hard every day keeping it clean and tidy, but when you run a very busy house like ours things seem to get overlooked; generally our living room sadly becomes a dumping ground for jackets, baseball caps, newspapers and pretty much anything else you can think of so when spring rolls around I get super excited that everyone’s winter wear will be put away reducing the clutter in the room. It’s time to roll up the sleeves and get working.
To Do:
  • dust window blinds and if they’re extremely dirty, soak them in a bathtub of warm soapy water for about half an hour and then wipe down each slate; rinse with the shower nozzle and let dry. Wash and dry curtains or send them off to the dry cleaners.
  • wash windows and window frames
  • remove cushions from the couch and give the corners a good vacuuming; spot clean any soiled cushions
  • dust crown molding, wall corners, baseboards
  • vacuum and shampoo carpet or area rug
  • move the furniture around and give the floors a good thorough vacuuming
  • condition leather furniture to bring it back to that beautiful texture and shine; just like the day it arrived brand new in box
  • clean lights, lamps, lightbulbs
  • vacuum lamp shades
  • declutter; anything that does not belong needs to find a new home
  • dust and polish furniture and bookshelves
  • dust edges of wall hangings, mirrors, and pictures
  • remove scuff marks from doors and moldings
  • dust electronics
  • organize electronics and accessories
  • disinfect remote controls and gaming devices

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DINING ROOM CLEAN UP

We use our dining room on a daily basis only because of the way our home is designed so it does get cleaned daily, having said that it still needs a through deep clean. Those of you that have dining rooms that you use for holidays and special occasions surely dust and maintain the room on a regular basis but a yearly complete overhaul is still in order just to freshen things up.
To Do:
  • dust window blinds and if they’re extremely dirty, soak them in a bathtub of warm soapy water for about half an hour and then wipe down each slate; rinse with the shower nozzle and let dry.
  • wash, dry and iron curtains or if they’re not machine washable; send them off to the dry cleaners
  • move the furniture around and give the floors a good thorough vacuuming
  • dust crown molding, wall corners, baseboards
  • clean an scuff marks off walls
  • dust and polish wood cabinets
  • clean and de-clutter hutch cabinets and drawers
  • dust and clean windows, inside and out
  • wash or spot clean chair cushions if necessary
  • clean light fixtures and wipe down light bulbs
  • disinfect table and wipe down all chairs, including legs and underneath
  • remove rug, shake, vacuum

LAUNDRY ROOM CLEAN UP

Cleaning the laundry room can be a chore. It is one of the most overlooked homes in the house since it’s shared space with the furnace and water tank. It is one of the most important rooms in the house to keep clean and free of clutter. You want to keep things away from beside, behind and in front the furnace, you want it to breathe and be easily accessible should you have to call for service. I can’t stress enough the importance of checking your dryer ducting system. We all routinely pull out the drier vent and clean out the lint drawer but we never or seldom disconnect the ducting and check to insure that there is a build up of lint. Our friends dryer system started a fire; the dryer ran far too long, the lint heated up and all it took was a small spark to set the lint on fire, thankfully they were home and could smell something burning in the house and caught it before it got out of control.
To Do:
  • clean dryer vent/ducting system
  • dust walls, corners, shelving, any utility piping
  • dust behind and underneath washer and dryer
  • give the washer and dryer a good cleaning
  • sweep and mop floor
  • wash walls
  • clean and organize contents on shelving
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EXTERIOR OF HOME CLEAN UP

Now the best for last, getting the exterior of the home spring cleaned and ready for a beautiful spring and summer season is one of my favourite tasks where I can get creative with choice of colour in my flower planting, patio decor, have a little fun (sometimes we turn the garden hose on each other) and so much more. One of the first things we do is ask a volunteer (aka one of the children) to get up on top of the roof to check for loose shingles and insure that the eavestroughs are clear of any debris, check that the downspouts are connected so when it rains the rain water will have a clear path to the sewers. Get your power washer ready; there is a lot of grime from the winter to wash away.
To Do:
  • power wash windows and siding
  • power wash decking, patios and porches
  • power wash garage door(s)
  • power wash trash cans and recycling receptacles
  • clean outdoor light fixtures
  • clean outside patio furniture
  • touch up paint trim, wood, doors, and shutters
  • stain deck (if needed or applicable)
  • clean grill
  • trim trees, bushes and shrubbery
  • plant flowers
  • plant garden
  • clean out garage

Please let us know if we've missed anything or offered you suggestions to get your home sparkling clean and summer ready!

Have you started your spring clean yet?