Spring into Cleaning Now

by Little House on 2 February 2011 5 comments
Photo: Yuri_Arcurs

I'll admit that I'm not Mrs. Clean Genie. I'll keep the bathrooms respectfully clean, I'll vacuum every couple of weeks, and I'll break out the feather duster to keep cat hair at bay. But every few months, I tackle a room and give it a good, deep cleaning instead of waiting once a year to give my entire place a thorough spring cleaning. Not only does this save me time in the long run, but as a person who is constantly sniffling, I know that fewer dust particles are healthier for me than a tabletop lined with a layer of film. (See also: Control Your Allergies with Regular Cleaning)

Since I don't necessarily love cleaning (who does?), I attack a room efficiently. I also don't want to use harsh chemicals that could irritate my allergies even more than the dust, so I've found one product that is multi-functional, inexpensive, and biodegradable — Simple Green. It comes in a gallon sized container in concentrate; my last gallon lasted ten years, which equated to about $1 annually in cleaning solution. Since I can dilute it to meet my needs, it's a flexible, inexpensive, and safe product. I use it for countertops, sinks, showers, and floors in different dilutions.

I also like to use white vinegar for shower doors and mirrors, and it can be added to baking soda and lemon juice for a gentler cleaning solution. These are common kitchen ingredients that have universal uses and are environmentally safe.

Cleaning Method

I don't like to spend more than a couple of hours cleaning at any one time, so when it's time for "spring cleaning," I'll choose one large room or two smaller rooms to focus on. Since I only deep clean every few months, this is the time to focus on the details and not just the parts of the room that are visible or obvious. I also work top to bottom so that the floor is the final surface I clean.

Baseboards

I have a habit of looking at other people's baseboards. I can tell when they've never been cleaned or dusted, ever, and that just irks me. During my deep cleaning, I make sure to wipe down the baseboards with a damp sponge and follow up with a dry hand towel after a good sweeping, and I may follow up with a vacuum around the baseboards using my extension tube. I usually clean the floors after the baseboards since it's the finale to a room.

Ledges

There are ledges or lips of furniture and appliances in every room. I make sure to wipe down the ledge of the bathtub, mirrors, and dishwasher. These are often-missed parts that gather dust.

Backsplashes

The backsplash behind a kitchen or bathroom sink needs a good cleaning. Since vertical surfaces are a little more difficult to clean, I often miss them during my weekly turbo-cleans, but I make sure I give them a good scrub during my spring-cleaning sessions.

Corners and Hard-to-Reach Areas

I normally look at hidden corners, like behind a toilet. It's another area that tells a lot about a person's cleaning habits. Again, during my deep cleaning of a particular room, I make a point to clean behind the toilet and in every corner of that room. For the ceiling corners, I use a feather duster to remove any cobwebs that may have appeared between cleanings.

Appliances

I usually clean the top of my stove during my turbo-cleaning of the kitchen, but not the front. I focus on the front and interior of each appliance during a deep clean. Since I focus on only one or two rooms at the most during these kinds of cleanings, adding the appliances doesn't tack on that much more time.

Bathtubs and Showers

Again, I focus on one or two rooms so I don't overwhelm myself.

Visible Areas

Since I often clean the visible areas of every room every week (or 10 days if I'm feeling lazy), these sections don't need as much attention during my deep-cleaning sessions. Instead, I quickly give these a once-over:

  • Counters: Normally cleaned weekly, so they aren't that dirty come spring cleaning.
  • Toilets: Again, cleaning weekly means they aren't untouchable. Yuck!
  • Floors: Vacuumed or mopped, weekly cleanings take care of most of the dust and dirt.
  • Mirrors: These aren't too terribly difficult to include in weekly cleanings.

You might have noticed I left out windows. I've never really cleaned my windows, as they don't seem to get too terribly messy. Of course, that might be because I don't have kids. However, whenever I see some fingerprints, I'll quickly wipe them down with a damp cloth.

Minimizing my cleaning time by tackling one or two rooms at a time makes it a bearable chore. There's never as good a time to spring into cleaning than now.

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Andrea Karim's picture

I always get itchy with the desire to clean this time of year, and we're still in the throes of (a typically mild) Seattle winter, and this is a great list, thanks! I'm actually really bad at cleaning because I get distracted by all that I have to do.

Something to consider that might spur readers on, if you need help getting in the mood to really clean out your attic/garage/house - donations to Goodwill and other charities drop immediately after Christmas, so now is the time to embrace minimalism and get rid of stuff you don't need, like, or use through some donations to your favorite second-hand seller. Of course, you can also sell it on eBay or Craigslist if you are organized (I am not).

Guest's picture

That's actually really funny because baseboards are one of my 'things' as well. I always look at them and try to keep ours clean, because they seem to be such an obvious sign of whether a home is clean or not!

Guest's picture

I am terrible at cleaning. :(
The Mrs. is in charge of that department. I try to help a bit here and there, but I'm just not very useful. I have other chores instead.

Guest's picture

Sounds like the perfect way to go about it! White Vinegar rocks!!!

Still, I wish I could afford a monthly house cleaner... Oh well...

Guest's picture

I'm obsessed (Okay maybe just a bit concerned) with dust. I hate it. Especially on baseboards. Couple that with my disdain for cleaning, and I definitely have a problem. I like your approach! :) Good article.