Thursday, 23 March 2017

Make Your Home Sparkle with Our Spring Cleaning Checklist

The sun's shining, the dust is laying and all those cobwebs are wafting in a warm breeze - it must be time for spring cleaning!  It all seemed OK whilst the days were grey and the evenings dark, but suddenly your home looks like Miss Havisham's.  Don't panic, just follow our checklist and you'll have it all done in no time.  Whether you tackle it all in one go over a couple of days, or just tackle one task a day, here's everything you need to think about for your big spring clean, plus a few tips to help your home sparkle.


De-clutter

Tackle one room a day and banish all the stuff you no longer need.  Take three boxes in with you: bin, charity, sell and re-evaluate every item.  If a whole room seems too daunting, tackle one cupboard or even one drawer at a time.  Once you get the bug, you won't want to stop.

Trash anything that is past it's best, mend what you can, and pass everything else to the charity shop or Freecycle.  If you want to make money, try an Internet auction site or get up early and have a car boot sale in the sunshine.

Tackle piles of papers, magazines, mail and cards using our how to organise your paperwork guide.  (But make sure you keep one back for a sit down with a cup of tea and a biscuit when you're done.)


Clean the Windows

Don't waste money on expensive window cleaners that always leave streaks.  Try newspaper and white vinegar just like grandma did, or invest in a good microfiber cloth and use it with hot water to leave a streak-free finish.

Start with horizontal strokes from the bottom up, then horizontal strokes down from left to right.  Result: sparkling, streak-free windows.


Deal with Bed Bugs

Of course, I'm sure you don't really have bed bugs, but we all have dust mites in our beds and bedding, so get your duvets and throws laundered, wash your blankets and pillows, and vacuum your mattresses thoroughly, on both sides.  This is a great time to turn your mattresses, but do enlist some help for the double and king sizes!  (Memory foam mattresses don't need to be turned over, but can be turned top to bottom.)

Replace your mattress, duvet or pillows if they have seen better days.  Pillows should automatically be replaced every two years, as they will be half full of skin flakes, dust and dust mites by then.  Eurgh!

Dry washed items outside in the sunshine for extra bleaching and freshness, and always air any dry cleaned items for a minimum of 24 hours after collecting.


Treat the Carpets

If your vacuum cleaner has seen better days, consider investing in a new one, especially if you have pet hair and small people to deal with.  Not sure where to start?  See our GTECH AirRam review.  If you can't buy a new one, go over the floor with sticky tape on your hands, or rub over with a damp hand, to lift stubborn pet hair.

Once you have vacuumed the floors thoroughly, pull out the sofa and beds and really get in there.  It's amazing how much dust accumulates.  Vacuum under, behind and down the sides of furniture too, moving any out that you can.  Vacuum and wash down your skirting boards and other wood work.

After vacuuming everywhere, wash the carpets too.  This is best done first thing in the morning before you head out for the day, allowing them plenty of time to dry.  Even with the best vacuum in the world, there will still be ingrained dirt and muck, so washing the carpets is the only way to get them really clean.  Launder, dry clean or wash rugs too.


Spruce up Sitting Rooms

Wash or have your curtains cleaned.  You could also try steaming them with a proper steamer, or just use your iron.  If possible, take them down and hang outside on a sunny day too.

Wash down walls with a bicarb solution and deal with any mould spots before they get worse.  Work out if it's a building issue or a condensation one.  Leave a small window open in each room year round for ventilation, if possible.


Deal with the Dining Room

Check through all your crockery, cutlery and glassware, discarding anything you never use, or that has seen better days.  Don't bin china or glassware, your local charity shops may take them, or local animal rescue centres may be happy to use the dishes you no longer need.  Take old cutlery to your local recycling centre's metal bin.

Polish wooden furniture with commercial polish or olive oil, and freshen up fabric seats by steaming.  Wipe over dining chairs, including legs, backs and feet.  Add some fresh flowers to cheer the room up.


Tackle the Kitchen

Use our green cleaning tips for great ways to tackle kitchen issues and grime, such as popping half a cup of baking soda and a cup of white vinegar down your garbage disposal or drain to get rid of nasty niffs and stuck on grime.

Take everything out of your fridge and freezer, de-frost thoroughly, then wash the shelves, wipe the interior and seals, and wash baskets and drawers.  Wipe all jars and check dates and condition on everything before returning to the fridge.

Do the same for your food cupboards and pantry.  Take everything out, clean shelves thoroughly, replacing lining papers if used, and return items in the best order for your kitchen, checking dates and condition as you go.  Remember best before dates mean just that, so don't chuck liberally just because the date is past, check the contents thoroughly too.  If your cupboards are looking bare, or you need some help with establishing meal planning, check out our kitchen cupboard stock list.

Use a toothbrush to apply a paste of lemon juice and cream of tartar to stainless steel appliances, grills etc to keep them looing as good as new.  Find more great cleaning tips and top kitchen hacks in these other posts.

Wipe the walls and surfaces down, a quick sweep up, mop the floor, and your kitchen will look as good as new!


House done, now it's time to think about how to get your garden ready for spring.

Find a printable spring cleaning checklist here.

What are your top spring cleaning tips?


And don't forget to enter our competitions



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