Spring Cleaning Check List
Spring cleaning can make this wonderful season a dreaded time of year.
But I really look forward to spring cleaning! Yes, it's true- but it's not for work, but the opportunity to open windows, let the fresh air and sunlight in and make our home fresh and clean.
Set your Schedule: I usually block out at least three days to get our spring cleaning jobs done. If you're a go-getter maybe you can get it done faster, or if you like to take your time - maybe it will take a little longer. We usually go room by room opening windows, cleaning walls, dusting and vacuuming, fluffing pillows and so forth.
Don't Cook Big Meals: Give yourself a break! During this time we will plan our meals accordingly. I don't particularly want to spend a good portion of my day cleaning only to then wind up also cooking a large meal at the end of the day.
Keep a List of Problems you Find: I also keep a list going for any touch-ups that need to be made such as paint or new things we might need like pillows, bedding, pots and pans.
Not only will you be cleaning inside, but the best part (for me) is a lot of the cleaning is done outside where you can enjoy some sunny and beautiful weather.
So are you ready then? Let's get busy spring cleaning!
1. Clean the Walls
Once a year, at least, you should wash semi-glossy and glossy painted surfaces and vinyl wall paper. If you have flat painted surfaces or delicate wallpaper and scrubbing won't do, just spot clean stains and marks with a damp cloth. This is especially important if you have smoke (from fireplaces or cigarettes), fingerprints, grease in kitchens, and streaking on the bathroom walls from shower steam.
If you don't have children, no fireplace and no cigarette smoker in the house, you might get away with only washing the walls of the rooms that are most often used. In other rooms that aren't used much but look a little dingy, try vacuuming with a soft brush using a telescopic wand.
Wall Cleaner Recipe:
- 1 cup ammonia
- 1 teaspoon dish soap
- 1 gallon of water.
When I clean walls I prefer to work in sections from the bottom up. Starting at the base board prevents dirty streaks and drips which can sometimes just cause more problems and work. Follow with a clean cloth dipped in clean water to get in those last swipes. Wipe up the rest of the moisture with a clean and dry cloth as a final touch.
Don’t scrub your walls as you can cause damage to painted or wallpapered surfaces, and be careful around wallpaper seams. If you have hair spray on the walls of your bathroom, diluted shampoo works great.
2. Clean the Windows and Window Screens
Cleaning windows is best done on a day that isn't particularly hot and sunny. You don't want to spend all that time cleaning them just to have the sun streaking them before you've finished washing and drying.
- Take the screens off the window.
- Rinse the window screens with the hose and wash them carefully with a soft brush.
- Avoid damaging the screen by not pushing too hard with your brush.
- Let them air dry while you go back in to wash the windows.
If your screens are not that dirty, it's possible they only need a good vacuuming. Use a soft brush attachment and go over them lightly to avoid damage.
Window Cleaning Recipe
If you have windows that are really dirty, combining rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) with vinegar and water can be an effective tool.
The alcohol will cut through greasy fingerprints better than just the vinegar alone and it evaporates quickly, reducing streaking. Get a spray bottle and mix the following ingredients.
- 1 cup rubbing alcohol
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1 cup water
Make sure the solution doesn't come in contact with woodwork, as the alcohol could etch, discolor or damage this area.
3. Clean out the Dryer Ducts
Take the dryer duct off the back of your dryer and vacuum it to make sure it’s free of lint.
Every other year (or every year as they are not expensive), you should replace the duct instead of cleaning it. This will prevent possible fires and make your dryer work more efficiently.
Also take this opportunity to check your vent cap (on the outside of the house). Make sure it is still there and in good repair so it doesn’t let in mice or other unwanted creatures.
4. Clean the Refrigerator & Freezer
This is the time to do a thorough job where you take out all refrigerator contents and clean the shelves. Don't worry, your food won't be out long enough to spoil if you just get in there and do it.
You can use an antibacterial household cleaner for the shelves. While you are at it take out the drawers and wash them in the kitchen sink. When you’re done, remove everything from the freezer and put it in one side of the sink. Use the same cleaner to wipe down all surfaces.
If you have ice cube trays, wash them in the top shelf of the dishwasher or just let them soak in the sink.
5. Service the Air Conditioner
If you have a central air conditioning unit and you don’t use a cover for the outside unit, you should have the unit serviced before it is used.
The company will professionally clean and test your unit to make sure it’s free from debris and working properly. Before starting your unit for the first time, make sure to restore power to it for at least 24 hours. You should also vacuum all inside vents and registers for a cleaner unit.
6. Change the Battery and Test the Smoke Alarm
Twice a year (spring and fall), you should change the battery of your smoke alarms. You should also take off the cover and vacuum the alarm to get rid of dust or cob webs that might make it malfunction.
Test the alarm afterward by blowing out a candle underneath it. If it doesn't work, contact your local fire department for advice.
7. Clean out the Shed & Garage
It’s time to de-clutter and clean your shed and/or garage. For most people, this will be your biggest outdoor spring cleaning project. The easiest way to accomplish shed and garage cleaning is to enlist help.
It’s definitely worth your while to beg or bribe children and teenagers (try forcing them under the euphemism of “family bonding”). If you don’t have help, it’s still doable, but you should break it down and do a little at a time. Get some music on the radio, lots of trash bags, and go.
A good rule of thumb is to get rid of anything you haven’t seen and haven’t missed in the last year.
- Throw away ancient bird seed and fertilizer.
- Take everything out, sweep the floor, and put things back in a logical and orderly way.
- Return tools back to their proper places.
This is usually the time to have a garage sale or make a large donation to a local charity.
8. Clean out the Gutters
Before the spring rains, it’s an excellent time to clean and flush your gutters to make sure they will do their job.
Remove any debris from the gutters and downspouts, and then flush with a jet spray nozzle on your garden hose.
9. Clean the Patio Furniture
To be able to enjoy the spring weather outdoors, you’ll want to clean your patio furniture. It’s very simple to do, but it can be avoided completely if you purchase weatherproof covers for your furniture.
Start with a broom or stiff brush and get all of the dirt, debris, and spider webs off the furniture. Using a mild solution of dish soap (or dish washing detergent) and water, brush the furniture clean. Rinse and wipe with a clean cloth.
10. Clean out the Birdbaths, Bird Houses, and Feeders
Birdbaths, bird houses, and bird feeders can get grungy, harbor unwanted guests (insects and rodents - yuk!), and when left uncleaned over time can get bacteria and fungus from old feathers and other building materials the birds used. Birds are pretty particular and you don't want the possibility of any nesting birds to get a disease.
They aren't happy when there is soap or cleanser residue in the baths, homes, or food. To avoid this, use water only or a damp cloth on houses and feeders when you can. Surprisingly, birds have no reaction to a weak bleach solution (one part chlorine bleach to nine parts warm water).
This is what you should use to clean birdbaths and very soiled bird feeders. Sometimes you’ll find that a wasp or spider family prefers it for a home.
Be very careful, and never just grab a bird feeder or birdhouse. I always give mine a light whack (after making sure there are no birds inside) with a wooden broom handle before I touch them.
11. Tune Up the Lawn Mower
Spring cleaning means the lawn needs attend to. Check and replace (if necessary) the air filter on your lawn mower. To make your lawn mower last longer, you should have a professional tune-up at the beginning of the mowing season.
If the tasks are attended to before the job gets overwhelming, you'll have much less work over all to deal with.
We hope this spring cleaning checklist has given you some new ideas where to clean that you may not have thought about. At the same time we want this to help you stay on top of your spring cleaning chores.