Your guide to spring cleaning: A household checklist and tips

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clothesline with 'spring cleaning checklist and tips' text

March 20 marks the first day of spring. In the coming months, homeowners and renters will scrub walls, clean out closets, organize pantries and tidy up their living spaces. It’s an annual ritual instilled in us by our parents and grandparents.

Spring cleaning is a chance for those of us who suffer from allergies and cabin fever to prepare our homes for warmer weather.

Use our checklist and tips to complete your spring cleaning this year. Some tips are adapted from University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County and Michigan State University Extension.

Spring cleaning checklist

Floors

  • Carpet: Move all furniture (beds, couches, tables, bookcases, appliances) to vacuum hidden areas that aren’t cleaned throughout the year.
  • Consider using a carpet cleaner, especially on high traffic areas.
  • Vinyl and ceramic: Use a non-abrasive all-purpose floor cleaner to scrub floors.
  • Hardwood: Sparingly use a wood cleaner or clean water to scrub hardwood floors. Hardwood floors shouldn’t get too wet.

Windows

  • Wash windows with glass cleaner.
  • Vacuum screens using attachment.
  • Remove horizontal aluminum blinds from windows. Combine a small amount of mild all-purpose cleaner in a bucket of warm water. Lay blinds on clean towels and wash each slat of the blinds with a clean rag and the cleaning water. Once dry, return blinds to windows.
  • Clean fabric and wood blinds by closing blinds so they’re facing away from you. Then use your vacuum cleaner’s brush attachment and gently go over the blinds to remove dust and other particles. Rotate the blinds and repeat.
  • Wash curtains and drapes, following individual instructions.

Furniture

  • Remove cushions and pillows and vacuum underneath for both cloth and leather furniture.
  • Vacuum all surfaces of furniture.
  • Clean lamp shades with vacuum brush attachment.

Closets, cupboards, basement, attic

  • Remove all clothing and other items from closets and storage areas.
  • Wash or dry clean any clothing before storing again.
  • Wash walls and woodwork.
  • Vacuum the floor before moving items back into closets and storage areas.
  • Remove all items from cupboards. Wash all inside surfaces of cupboards with a solution of water and mild all-purpose cleaner. Allow to dry completely before returning items to cupboards.

Kitchen

  • Check cupboards and your pantry for expired items to throw away. Do the same in your refrigerator and freezer.
  • Make sure there is ample airflow in your freezer. This will help to regulate the temperature.
  • Check to make sure that refrigerator and freezer temperature gauges are safely set.
  • Arrange your cupboards and pantry by putting items that should be used first to the front.
  • In your freezer, check foods for freezer burn. If you find anything without a date and you’re not sure how old it is, throw it away.
  • Thoroughly clean the floor, cupboards, walls and spaces behind appliances.

Bathrooms

  • Use an all-purpose cleaner to wash walls, tub, shower, fixtures and towel racks.
  • Remove hard water minerals with a mildew remover in the tub and shower, if needed.

Bedrooms

  • Wash all bedding (mattress cover, sheets, pillows, bed skirts, blankets, comforters).
  • Vacuum all surfaces of mattresses to get rid of dust mites.
  • Dust all woodwork, furniture, light fixtures and other surfaces with a clean, microfiber cloth and dusting spray.
  • Wash walls.

Living and family rooms

  • Wash walls.
  • Dust all woodwork, furniture, light fixtures and other surfaces with a clean, microfiber cloth and dusting spray.

5 spring cleaning tips

While you’re focused on getting your house in clean order, consider the following tips from Ohio State University Extension’s Live Healthy Live Well blog to promote the health and safety of your home and family:

      1. Check damp areas in your home (bathrooms, basement, under kitchen sinks) for mold and mildew. If you notice mold or mildew, clean the area immediately.
      2. Spring cleaning is a great time to make an annual habit of checking smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Change batteries and ensure that alarms and detectors are working properly.
      3. Round up hazardous wastes in your home and dispose of them at a hazardous drop-off center. Hazardous wastes include:
        • Old batteries
        • Paint and paint thinners
        • Solvents
        • Stains
        • Toxic household cleaners
      4. Clean all ducts and vents for heating and cooling, and clean and replace all filters.
      5. Keep up with basic, routine cleaning throughout the year. When it’s time for spring cleaning next year, you won’t be overwhelmed at your list of chores.

Green spring cleaning

Try using natural products for your spring cleaning routine this year. Online columnist Ivory Harlow explains how to make your own natural cleaners:

  • Laundry detergent
  • Glass cleaner
  • Soap scum scouring powder
  • Septic tank helper
  • Grimy ring cleaner
  • Hard water remover
  • Garbage disposal/drain freshener and cleaner

Harlow also explains how some essential oils — lemon and rosemary — can be used for household cleaners and fresheners.

Recycle, throw away, donate

All of this spring cleaning presents us with options for what to do with our clutter. We can recycle some products, throw away some “trash” and donate items that others may be able to use.

Recycle

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Clean aluminum
  • Clean plastic bottles, jugs and jars
  • Certain glass items

You can learn more about items you can and can’t recycle on Waste Management’s website.

Donate

Do you have any clothing that you haven’t worn in the past year, or household items that you haven’t used? Donate them.

Items to donate:

  • Gently used clothing, shoes and accessories
  • Gently used kitchen essentials, such as silverware, dishes, cooking utensils, pots and pans, reusable storage containers
  • Old, gently used furniture

Throw away

If there are any items in your closets, cupboards, attics, basements, garages or sheds that have no functional use, consider throwing them away.

Do you have any other spring cleaning tips? Share them in the comments below.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Spring cleaning is a deep clean that you do on your entire property. This isn’t stuff everything in the garage or the shed, because you need to clean them out too. Hopefully it doesn’t take too much time, but I guess that’s all on you isn’t it?

  2. Sometimes when it comes to spring cleaning, or any cleaning for that matter, it’s hard to stay organized and remember what you still have left to do. Checklists like these are so helpful! Thanks for sharing yours, I’ll definitely have to use it when I need to do my next deep cleaning!

  3. My mom and I just got done making a spring cleaning checklist as well! I am now googling to see if there is anything I left off my list. Your list reminded me to clean my heating vents. Thanks!

  4. When I clean homes, I always ALWAYS ALWAYS make sure I bring a checklist with me. I have homeowners look over the list BEFORE I start to ensure that they don’t want to add anything to the list. It leaves very little room for error and makes for more satisfied customers. It also works for my husband! From your TX cleaning enthusiasts http://bcijanitorial.com/!

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