The Importance of Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning is a great way to give your home a refresh after spending much of the winter holed up indoors. In some cultures, there is even a deeper meaning to spring cleaning as you clear away the physical and spiritual “dust” of the winter and old year. No matter when or why you do it, there are some very important areas to hit during this deep cleaning ritual.
In the Kitchen
The average kitchen collects dirt and grime from a number of sources, including cooking grease and old aromas, crumbs that can fall into cracks and crevices, and old produce that may be left and forgotten. Here are some of the key areas to hit in your kitchen:
- Cabinets, including inside and outside of doors and their tops. This is especially important for the cabinets over the stove, where grease accumulation will be the heaviest.
- Behind appliances. Sweep out from behind the stove and fridge. Give the back of the fridge a good sweeping as well, paying careful attention to the coils. This will help prolong the life of the appliance by allowing it to work more efficiently.
- Dump out, rinse, and replace the refrigerator’s drip pan. This should be done on a regular and frequent basis. If you have not done so in a while, rinse off with a solution of water and white vinegar or bleach to kill off any bacteria or mold spores that may linger.
- Clean under the kitchen sink, paying careful attention to any signs of dripping or leaking water. This is a prime spot for mold growth as it thrives in wet environments. To remove any mold, scrub it with soap and water. Then throw out the sponge that you used to remove it and immediately fix the leak to prevent the mold from having a water source to attach to there again.
- This is a good time to wash kitchen curtains and windows as well. If the weather allows it, leave a window open for a short period of time to air the room out.
- As a final tip, consider adding a row of potted herbs to the window sill. Not only do plants help keep the room cleaner and add a pleasant visual touch, but they also smell delightful. Opt for easier care plants that only need a bit of water every now and then, and you will be rewarded for the entire season.
In the Bathroom
The bathroom is one of the toughest areas to clean in the house with many hard to reach areas that can get very dirty. This is a room where deep cleaning is vitally important to keep sickness at bay.
- Scour all like surfaces with the same cleaner to avoid cleaner overload. If you can open a window, do so; if not, use the vent fan to prevent fume buildup.
- Check around pipes and fixtures to ensure they are not leaking. If they are, get them repaired to prevent mold and mildew growth.
- Check that the toilet is not running constantly as this can really drive up your water bill every month. For simple cleaning of the toilet, toss in a few overnight denture cleansing tabs, close the lid, and continue with the rest of the room. By the time you go back, rings and stains should just brush off.
- Remove and wash the shower curtain if you can. If not, consider replacing it every so often to prevent mildew in the folds. Get in the habit of leaving the curtain open for a few minutes after a shower and then closed for the rest of the day so that it can dry between uses.
This is a great time to declutter this room and make it more restful.
- Change bedding to lighter weight blankets and sheets. Air out any bedding that cannot be washed, and consider having it dry cleaned before storing it away.
- Flip mattresses. Vacuum box springs before replacing the mattress.
- Remove excess books and other dust collectors.
- Dust off lamp shades and other fixtures.
- Wash pillows if possible, or hang them in the sunshine to deodorize.
Common Living Areas
This is usually the room that people try to keep tidy in case of unexpected guests, but it is also typically the room that gets the most use and therefore may need a refresh the most.
- Remove all furniture cushions, and give them a good shake outside. Vacuum underneath before replacing.
- Wash any throw rugs, doilies, or other items.
- Remove anything that is damaged or just is not adding to the room any longer.
- Switch to lighter, airier curtains to let in more light.
- Clean ceiling fans, including the top side of the blades. If you are lucky enough to have the kind that slides out, remove, clean, and then replace each blade.
- Dust surfaces, paying careful attention to areas that might need repair of any kind, such as window sills.
- Knock down cobwebs, especially from out-of-reach, forgotten corners. Do this before you vacuum.
- If needed, clean the carpet, paying careful attention to any stains that may need pretreating before you get started.
In the Basement
While most “cleaning” is meant to keep the house looking nice, spring cleaning should be a little more in depth. Even if the basement is only used occasionally or only for storage, it is important that you put in some time down here at least a few times per year.
- Do a thorough inspection of the floors along each wall, under any windows, and near any appliance (hot water heaters and washers) while looking for signs of leaking or damage. These are areas where mold can quickly become a problem.
- If the pipes are exposed, give them a visual exam to make sure there are no leaks that will need repairs.
- Check for any off odors that could indicate a mold problem or a gas leak of any kind. Off odors could also be a warning of a pest problem.
- Consider going through and getting rid of items in storage that you haven’t touched in years. No better time than the present to declutter your space.