Your Spring Cleaning Checklist

The spring clean is an annual rite of passage for most homeowners. It’s a chance to root out dirt in dark corners, clean up allergens and dust that have accumulated over the winter, and to freshen up musty carpets and upholstery.

Most of us commit to spring cleaning to get organized, too. According to a survey for The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA), the number one reason people spring clean homes is to remove clutter, followed closely by the desire to eliminate asthma and allergy triggers. “Take the time to map out your cleaning tasks,” suggests Nancy Bock, SDA vice-president of education, in a press release. “Put a reminder on your calendar or smart phone, because having a schedule can help you clean more effectively and efficiently.” Then, use these tips in each room to make your space sparkle.

Step One: Wash baseboards and trim.

Start by dusting with a duster or cloth. Work out scuffs with a scrub brush and finish the job with a washcloth and liquid cleanser, diluted with three parts water. Dry with a paper towel or dry rag.

Step Two: Clean walls and ceilings.

Remove dust with a vacuum or a broom for hard to reach corners. Remove surface grime with a multi-surface cleaner. When you wash your walls, remember to start from the bottom and work your way up. Why? According to Shari MacDonald, president of the Prince Edward Island Home Economics Association in PEI., it’s harder to wipe up drips on a dry wall.

Step Three: Scrub windows and screens.

Remove screens from windows and hose them down outside. Dry them gently. Vacuum the sills, and then wipe them down with a mixture of one part bleach and six parts water to remove any mildew and grime. Clean windows with a glass cleaner and paper towels. Tip: Wipe the interior side up and down, and exterior side left to right. That way, if there are any streaks, you’ll know which side they’re on. Return screens.

Step Four: Refresh carpets and rugs.

Today’s carpets are better than ever at resisting stains and soiling, but they still need to be deep cleaned every 12 to 18 months. Look into renting or investing in a carpet cleaner, which typically sprays a detergent and brushes while sopping up the dirty solution. For a quick freshen up, however, use a fabric deodorizing spray or sprinkle corn starch on the carpet, let it sit for one hour to absorb odours, and then vacuum away.

Step Five: Clean the floors.

Most floors, including linoleum and hardwood, can be cleaned with a damp mop and a diluted multipurpose cleaner (just make sure you dry the hardwood floor with a rag right away). For ceramic tile, try a rubbing alcohol solution (1/4 cup rubbing alcohol in two gallons of water). To get the grout clean as you go, carry a spray bottle with a slightly stronger alcohol-water solution.

Step Six: Refresh upholstered furnishings and window treatments.

Start by removing cushions from furniture. Give the sofa a vacuum using the crevice attachment to reach into folds and corners. Gently beat cushions outside to remove dust and pet dander. Now is a good time to spot clean upholstery; use a teaspoon of clear liquid dish detergent in a cup of water. Remove window treatments and launder where appropriate. To eliminate odours on upholstery and window treatments, give them a spray with fabric deodorizer.

Step Seven: Dust bookshelves and fans.

We often dust everywhere but bookshelves and hard to reach places. When spring cleaning, take out all the books and dust them and the shelves with an extendable duster. Or, use a damp cloth to trap and lock dust and allergens. Don’t forget the fan, which will only circulate dust if it’s not clean when turned on after months of disuse.

Step Eight: Freshen up.

Crack open the windows and let the fresh air in. On cooler days, sustain that just-cleaned smell with a scented candle or air freshener.

Spring cleaning is a fair bit of work, but it’s one of the most satisfying deep cleaning jobs you’ll do. Do it right this year to get the season off to a fresh start!

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Lesley Young
Michael Graydon