Spring time has arrived, and with summer just around the corner it is traditional to start thinking about having a spring clean. Moreover, if you plan on moving soon, this is the perfect time to start planning, preparing and cleaning so you’ll be ready in plenty of time. Use the following tips to help transform your home in time for the warmer weather and ahead of your move.
Cleaning the kitchen
Although you should be keeping the kitchen clean all year round, with the sun shining, dirty, dusty areas can really start to show, and bacteria can start to breed more easily in the warmth. To get your kitchen spring clean underway, begin by clearing your counters and cupboards and disinfect them thoroughly.
The next task will be to clean the oven. Make sure every area of your oven is scrubbed clean, including the stove, and use a cleaner to spruce up the inside and remove stubborn dirt, grime and grease; do the same for the microwave, or get a professional in to do it for you.
With the oven clean, now is the time to concentrate on the fridge. It’s likely you will have accumulated food that wasn’t eaten and has been discarded at the back of the fridge, or they’ll jars that have been half used and forgotten about – throw away anything you can’t use, clean the shelves and drawers and sort out things you no longer want, and defrost the freezer if it needs it.
With all of the major appliances and counters finished, you’ll want to finish by cleaning the floor. Using an antibacterial cleanser, or make your own by following one of the natural recipes further down the page.
Extra tip: Ahead of your move, turn the fridge off, unplug it from the mains and allow at least 24 hours for it to defrost.
Cleaning the Bathroom
Cleaning the bathroom is the one area nobody enjoys doing, but a thorough spring clean is essential for maintaining good hygiene for your family and for keeping the bathroom looking good.
Focus on the toilet, tubs, taps and the sink. When cleaning the toilet, you’ll need to concentrate on both the inside and the outside - especially at the bottom of the toilet, where dirt and grime tends to accumulate and can often go unnoticed. Next, clean the bath or shower with antibacterial cleanser and then finish by cleaning the countertops, taps and floor, and sort out the bathroom cabinets.
If your children are old enough, encourage them to clean up their own bedrooms and to sort out any toys/books/clothes that they don’t want any more. When you are cleaning the bedroom, think about all the areas that often get ignored: under the beds, window sills, tops of closets and cupboards, where dust often gathers, and use this as an opportunity to sort out any clothes that you don’t wear.
Cleaning the Closets and Drawers
With the cleaning complete, now is the time the sort out all your closets, cabinets and drawers. During the colder months, you are likely to have accumulated clothes that won’t be worn for a while – see if you can find a more suitable storage space for them, or if you don’t think you’ll be wearing them next year donate them to a good cause.
Clear out the bedroom drawers and rid them of anything that you don’t need any more, and find appropriate places for paperwork, medications, etc., which might have accumulated during the colder months.
Mirrors and Windows
Mirrors and windows often get ignored, especially if you keep the curtains or blinds drawn during the fall and winter. Take the curtains or blinds down and clean the windows, and wash the curtains or dust the blinds if they need it.
When you have finished completing the above tasks, it’s time to give the carpets, mats, rugs and floors a clean. If there is a lot of dirt ingrained, it is a good idea to find a professional firm to do this task for you.
With the inside of your house scrubbed from top to bottom, you might want to move on to the shed/garage, especially if you plan to sell your home. As the weather will be warmer, it is also a good time to start looking at the exterior of the house and anything that might need fixing, as this can make your home more presentable to potential buyers.
Creating your own environmentally friendly cleansing products
Commercially brought cleaning products can be expensive and damaging to the environment, but you can make your own cost effective cleaners from natural ingredients.
You might be unaware of the cleansing powers of baking soda, however, you can make an effective all-purpose cleanser by combining baking soda with vinegar and applying it to a damp cloth - this combination can be used for kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
Again, baking soda is one of the best natural deodorizers. Use it in the kitchen for deodorizing the fridge cleaning units etc., in the bathroom, or for neutralizing the smell of pet odors. Lemon, vinegar, and eucalyptus oil also work well as natural deodorizers; they can be used around the house.
Crayon mark removal
If you have children, you’ll probably understand the difficulty of removing crayon marks, but there is a natural solution. If the marks are on the floor, adding toothpaste to a damp cloth can help to remove it but this method isn’t suitable for any porous surface or for wallpaper.
If the wall is painted, try using mayonnaise, leave it on for a few minutes, and then use a damp cloth to wipe it off. You could also try baking soda added to a damp cloth.
Salt can make a good oven cleaner; you can use it to get rid of stubborn areas of grime. Use it when the over is warm, apply a layer of salt and then remove it with the oven is cool enough. Vinegar combined with baking soda can also make a useful oven cleaner.
Greasy spots and scratches
Use salt on greasy spots, but add it straight away if you want it to be effective, or try applying baking soda for older spots. Using a 50/50 blend of vegetable oil and lemon juice can remove scratches. A blend of olive oil and vinegar can also lessen scratches on wood.
Cleaning Glasses/ Glass
Using a spray bottle, create a 50/50 blend of vinegar and water, add it to the glass and gently clean it; dry the glass with some newspaper when you’ve finished. You could also try adding some essential oils and using the same blend of vinegar and water to clean windows.
When used in the bathroom, baking soda is an effective cleaner and it helps to neutralize odors. For a fresher smell and brighter look, add some baking soda to the toilet bowl, pour on a small amount of vinegar and then remove with a toilet brush – Important: only use this combination if you haven’t used a commercially brought product to avoid toxicity issues.
For added freshness, use some essential oils and add these to the blend. Alternatively, a mix of one-part lemon juice combined with two parts borax will make a good cleaner.