Spring is here, which means it’s time to break out the mop, duster and rubber gloves and get rid of all the junk that accumulated over the winter. Spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to get your house back in order and give it a deep clean before allergy season.
However, this isn’t the only time your home should get a good scrub. “The parallel is to bathing and showering. Clean your home as often as you wash your hands and body,” says Allen Rathey, director at Indoor Health Council, an organization that connects cleaning with public health. “How often do you wash hands, bathe or shower? What level of detail? It’s really ‘spring cleaning’ time all year round depending on how dirty your body or home gets.”
To help you make spring cleaning more manageable, here is a spring cleaning checklist and advice from experts.
— The importance of regular cleaning.
— Refresh your cleaning supplies.
— Deep clean indoors.
— Don’t overlook your home’s critical systems, appliances and safety features.
— Freshen up the outdoor space.
[READ: What to Do When Your Home Improvement Project Goes Wrong]
The Importance of Regular Cleaning
Regular cleaning is a vital part of maintaining a healthy, comfortable and happy living space. Cleaning removes allergens, dust and other pollutants that can accumulate over time and can help to improve your mental well-being.
“A regularly cleaned home is healthier, looks (and) smells better, and lasts longer,” Rathey says. “Less soil and moisture present reduces the growth of disease and odor-causing bacteria. Less grit on flooring lessens the wear on both hard and soft floors. Less airborne and resettling dust cuts down respiratory exposure, overheating of electronics, HVAC maintenance, clogging of air purifiers and less household dusting.”
Cleaning can also reduce the risk of a slip, trip or fall, which Robert W. Powitz, a forensic sanitarian at R.W. Powitz & Associates, PC, and member of the Indoor Health Council, says is the leading cause of trauma in the home environment.
Refresh Your Cleaning Supplies
Before you start cleaning, it’s time to give your cleaning supplies an overhaul and stock up on the essentials. Courtney Klosterman, home insights expert at insurance company Hippo, says to ditch the toxic supplies to create a cleaner, healthier and safer home. Klosterman recommends replacing them with cleaning supplies that meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice requirements.
Make sure you have these items before you start your spring cleaning:
— Microfiber cloths.
— Rubber gloves.
— Vacuum cleaner with attachments.
— Broom and dustpan.
— Carpet cleaner.
— Scrub brush.
— Garbage bags.
— Dish or castile soap.
— All-purpose cleaner.
— Window and glass cleaner.
— Baking soda.
While you’re doing your spring cleaning, it’s also a good time to declutter your home
and get rid of items you no longer use or need. “Clutter can make your home feel chaotic and disorganized,” says Armeka Townsend, cleaning expert and senior consumer relations representative at Zep, a chemical manufacturing company.
“By implementing the one-year rule, you can more objectively evaluate whether an item is worth keeping. If you haven’t used something in the past year, it’s likely that you don’t need it. Donate, sell or recycle these items to create a more streamlined and functional living space,” Townsend says.
[See: 7 Ways to Cut the Dry Air in Your Home This Winter.]
Deep Clean Indoors
Open the windows, start your deep clean from the top and work your way down.
— Dust. Dust and debris usually fall from higher surfaces, says Townsend, so it’s important to clean them first. “Start by dusting ceiling fans, light fixtures and shelves, then move on to furniture and countertops,” she says. “Finally, clean your floors, ensuring that you vacuum or mop them thoroughly to remove any remaining dirt.”
— Glass. Use old T-shirts, socks or newspaper to clean glass. These items are perfect for streak-free cleaning. Klosterman says you can even make a DIY glass cleaner — equal parts white vinegar and water — and then shake, spritz and wipe. You can also use a microfiber cloth, water and mild soap.
— Walls. Use soap and water to erase scuff marks from walls and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or similar product for tougher areas.
— Floors. Mold can quickly grow and go unnoticed during the colder months, even on your carpet. Klosterman recommends using a carpet cleaner to thoroughly clean and remove excess moisture from your carpet.
— Furniture. Furniture holds onto heat, sweat, dust and grime. Use a steamer meant for furniture and upholstery for a deep clean, says Klosterman.
— Grout. Cleaning grout can be tough, but you can still get those hard-to-reach crevices and grout lines, Klosterman says. “Try an extendable scrubber brush that can help you reach these germy spots without straining your back or overworking your knees.”
— Bedding and mattresses. Wash all bedding and vacuum the mattress. “Vacuum the mattress’s top and sides using the upholstery attachment. If your bed has any odor or shows signs of staining, sprinkle baking soda over the top of it and let it sit for 30 minutes before vacuuming up,” Klosterman advises. “Finally, rotate the mattress 180 degrees or give it a flip to prolong its lifetime.”
Don’t forget areas that are typically neglected. “Some areas of your home may not receive regular attention but still accumulate dirt and grime,” Townsend says. “Be sure to clean baseboards, air vents, window tracks and the spaces behind and beneath appliances. You may also want to deep-clean your upholstery, carpets and curtains to remove dust and allergens. Don’t forget doorknobs and handles as well.”
Don’t Overlook Your Home’s Critical Systems, Appliances and Safety Features
Your annual spring cleanout is the perfect opportunity to check your home’s major systems and appliances.
— Plumbing. Klosterman recommends checking areas for early signs of plumbing issues and water damage — under sinks and in the basement — and pouring a cup of white distilled vinegar down drains and dishwasher a couple of times per month to keep them clog-free. You should also inspect and drain your water heater to remove built-up sediment.
— Appliances. Scrub the stove and hood vents and vacuum dust and dirt from your refrigerator coils. Don’t forget your washer and dryer. “The leading cause of home fires involving dryers and washing machines are from dust, fiber or lint buildup in the dryer exhaust vent,” Klosterman says. Hippo’s 2022 Housepower Report revealed that most homeowners wait two years or longer to clean their dryer exhaust vent, if ever.
— HVAC. Make sure you replace the air filter on your HVAC or call and schedule your biannual maintenance with a technician.
— Safety. Check fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors to see if they are functioning properly. If you have a fireplace, have a professional do an annual cleaning and inspection.
[See: 11 Tips to Get Your Garden Ready for Spring]
Freshen up the Outdoor Space
As warmer weather approaches, you can’t forget the outdoors. Now is the time to get your yard ready for spring.
“Give your patio furniture a thorough cleaning, remove any debris from your deck or balcony and check for any necessary repairs or maintenance,” Townsend explains. “You may also want to add some new plants or decorations to create a welcoming atmosphere.”
— Gutters. Clean leaves and debris out of your gutter lines. “With the help of a ladder to access those tough-to-reach areas, check all potential points where clogging could occur, and using a pair of gloves, clear out any visible debris,” Klosterman says.
— Siding. Consider giving your home a fresh coat of paint. Klosterman says painting and sealing the siding can help keep pests out and prevent leaks and mold from forming. Look for signs of damage or deterioration and make repairs as soon as you can to protect your home.
— Trim trees. High winds and storms can bring down limbs or entire trees, potentially damaging your property. “Do a quick walkthrough to remove branches touching or overhanging near or on your roof,” Klosterman advises. “Trim trees that are encroaching or overhanging near gutters or rooflines, to help prevent damage.”
— Lawn equipment maintenance. Clean your lawn equipment and get rid of any debris left over from last year, Klosterman says. Check the oil level in your lawn mower, and whether the blades are dull or worn. Replace any components if necessary.
— Get out the grill. It’s almost grilling season. If you have a grill, give it a good scrub. Klosterman says to use the grill brush to remove visible residue on the grill plate and use a damp rag to wipe down the exterior.
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Spring Cleaning Checklist for Your Home originally appeared on usnews.com
Update 03/20/23: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.