If spring cleaning is on your to-do list for the weekend, here are a few extra tips to help you along. Start with the basics (wipe down the counters, clean the toilet, vacuum the carpet, wash your bed sheets and comforter, etc.) and then move on to tackle those harder-to-reach nooks and crannies where dust collects. After that, go the extra mile and get to cleaning those often ignored home spots, such as the area under and behind the fridge. Still not sure where to start? Check out our list of spring cleaning must-dos below.
Flickr photo by Jude Doyland
1. Wipe down the freezer. Clear out the contents, and clean it with a solution of one to two tablespoons of baking soda and one-quart hot water.
2. Soak all oven knobs, burners, burner covers and spill catchers in hot water with dish soap. Clean the oven and stove, then rinse the soaking items and replace them.
3. If possible, pull out the stove and refrigerator and sweep and mop behind them.
4. Clean all small appliances like toasters, blenders and coffeemakers.
5. Clean refrigerator coils. It will boost energy efficiency, saving you money in the long run.
6. Sweep and mop the floor.
7. Throw out any expired products from the cabinets and refrigerator.
8. Pour hot water down the sink drain to clear out any drain sludge.
1. Take medicine cabinet inventory. Throw away anything that's expired.
2. Clean the fan and vent.
3. Wash the shower curtain.
4. Donate old and worn towels to your nearest animal shelter, like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
5. De-scum the showerhead. If you can easily remove the head, soak it in a pot of one part-vinegar and one-part water and bring it to a simmer for 20 minutes. Then, brush off any deposits with a toothbrush. If your showerhead is not a removable fixture, pour hot water and vinegar into a zip-lock bag and secure it around the showerhead with durable tape, like painter's tape. Let it soak for eight hours, then brush off any remaining deposit particles with a toothbrush.
6. Scrub the sink, toilet and tub.
7. Clean mirrors and any windows using our streak-free tips.
8. Pour boiling water down the drain to clear out any sludge.
1. Flip over your mattress. This will even out the weight and maximize its lifespan.
2. Wash the pillows. Most pillows, whether they're down or polyester, can be cleaned in your washing machine; just double-check the label. Place two pillows maximum per wash cycle and use a mild detergent. Make sure to thoroughly dry down and feather pillows using, since dampness can lead to mold. Dry synthetic pillows on low heat and add a couple of tennis balls covered in cleans socks to refluff the pillows.
3. Empty dressers and cabinets and use a vacuum attachment to suck up any loose particles.
4. Wash bedding you don't normally wash like the mattress pad, bed skirt, and comforter. Most bedding can be machine-washed with cold water and mild soap and dried on low heat in the dryer. However, some down comforters need to be professionally dry cleaned. This will be indicated on the care label.
5. Wash the window using warm water and few drops of dish soap.
6. Clean blinds by using a vacuum attachment and sliding it across the blinds from top to bottom. Then, dip a clean cloth in soapy water, wring it out, and spot clean any stains. Dab with a clean cloth to dry.
7. Machine-wash, or, if necessary, dry clean, window drapes and panels. Also, consider switching out thick window treatments with a lighter fabric.
1. Take closet inventory. Go through each article one by one to determine if you should keep, donate or toss something.
2. Store winter clothing to make more room for spring and summer wear.
3. Label storage boxes.
4. Organize your clothing by the most efficient method for you, i.e. by function, style or commonly worn.
4. Dust the shelves.
5. Sweep and mop the floor.
1. Dust display shelves. Remove everything from the shelves, dust the surface, and then dust each item before replacing it.
2. Shampoo or steam clean the rugs. No matter how much you spot-clean and vacuum, there still might be stained fibers that can make your carpets look dingy. A deep clean will brighten it up. But because antique and Oriental rugs have delicate fibers, they require professional cleaning.
3. Machine-wash or dry clean the drapes as instructed on their care labels. And, keep in mind that many natural-fiber fabrics can be washed at home.
4. Vacuum and, if necessary, spot clean all your furniture and chairs.
5. Dust inside of lamps.
6. Clean off the TV screen by simply wiping it down with a microfiber cloth lightly dampened with distilled water -- you'll be surprised at how much clearer the picture will be!
7. Remove any item that shouldn't be there -- i.e. shoes -- and place back into the rightful place.
1. Clean the air conditioning filter. Simply pull out the filter, rinse it off in your sink or tub and use a little dish soap and a toothbrush to clean any grime. Give it another rinse, let it dry and snap it back into place.
2. Polish your wood and metal hardware, from doorknobs to towel rods.
3. Dust around all wall art and photographs.
4. Wipe down every light switch.