Lemon scents wafting through the halls. Dust bunnies banished. Crisp, clean curtains waving in the wind. Ahhh, it's time for spring cleaning... even if it's not spring.
Cleaning from top to bottom any time of year
Did spring cleaning season pass you by? Never fear. It doesn't have to be spring for homeowners to get the itch to clean house. No matter what season it is, homeowners can enjoy that same feeling by shaking the dirt down from the ceiling and sweeping it out the door.
Clean scents, polished floors, spotless window glass and scrubbed decks -- here we come!
Before jumping in, gather tools, cleaning supplies, buckets, trash bags, boxes -- and a few friends to help out. Wear something old so good clothes won't get stained or bleached.
You'll also need to decide how much time your spring cleaning will take. Of course, that depends on the size of your home and how many family members will pitch in... and how messy it is! If there's a lot of work to do, you might want to separate the work into two days.
A week before you plan to start your spring cleaning marathon, review what supplies you have on hand.
Cleaning supplies you'll need:
Purchase versatile concentrated cleaners when possible. You'll be able to dilute cleaner to different strengths depending on the cleaning job involved. They also cost less per use and require less packaging, making them environmentally friendly.
Brushes and brooms that are made for a specific purpose make the job of spring cleaning easier. Toilet-bowl brushes scrub under the rim with less effort. Cleaning refrigerator coils is as easy as an afterthought when you use a soft brush made for just that job. If it's a brush you don't plan to use that often, don't worry. If you clean the brushes well when you're done, you can use them again next year.
A lamb's wool duster with an extended pole makes it easy to sweep walls and ceilings for cobwebs and dust. The static in the wool works like a magnet to attract dust with little effort on your part.
Make your supplies easy to access and carry.Rags, sponges, gloves that protect your hands from the effects of cleaners, mops and brooms can be stored in one place until you need them. A small laundry basket or extra bucket can be used to carry supplies from room to room. Create one bucket of supplies for bedrooms, living rooms and dining areas and another one of supplies for bathrooms and the kitchen.
Don't forget cleaning supplies for outdoor decks, window washing and the car. A ladder (and someone to hold it steady) is required for window washing. A soft chamois and cleaner specifically formulated for washing cars makes the finish cleaner and shinier.
Make washing windows easier by purchasing two sizes of squeegees. You'll need a small one for multi-paned windows and a large one for sliding-glass doors. Use the squeegee to dry the window for the quickest, streak-free finish.
Take it from the top to the bottom
Clean one room at a time before moving on. Don't begin cleaning another room until the one you're working on is completely done, otherwise, you may miss some spots.
Always start at the top. As you clean, dust and debris will fall to the ground. So if you start with the floors, they'll be dirty again when you finish things that are higher up. First, sweep for cobwebs and clean ceilings and light fixtures with a lambswool duster. Light fixtures that are dirty or greasy, as they are likely to be if near the stove, need to be removed and washed in warm soapy water.
Move down the walls, dusting pictures and decorations. The rest of the room can be best tackled by starting at the door and moving around the room. Pick up objects, then dust, clean and remove spots. Decide whether curtains and rugs go to the cleaners or get tossed in the washer with a laundry booster. The carpet should be the last thing you clean.
Bring a box and a bag into the room.Your goal is to find a storage place for everything. Books go back in the bookcase and pictures back on the mantel. Loose papers need to be filed, tossed or shredded. As you go, weed out all the objects that are cluttering up your home. The box is for objects you plan to donate, give to friends or sell at a yard sale. The garbage bag is for everything else you don't want anymore that cannot be recycled.
Spring may have sprung, but remember: Spring cleaning is for all seasons!
More tips and tricks for cleaning your house