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Welcome to spring cleaning season! That glorious time of year when you finally get to throw open your windows to let in the bright spring light and notice the layer of dust and grime that has built up in your home all winter. Don’t panic! We’re here to help.
This spring cleaning cheat sheet will help get your home sparkling with just four big bursts of work. Even better? We know you don’t want to spend those first nice spring days inside with a scrub brush, so we’re officially giving you permission to spread out the cleaning chores. We think dedicating just a few hours once a week is the way to go. Simply deep clean one room at a time, and in a month, your whole house will be refreshed and spring ready.
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Week one is all about the bathroom. No doubt you already clean here frequently, but when was the last time you actually looked under the sink? Busted. This plan will deep clean those often-forgotten areas but also hit up your regular suspects.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Rubber gloves for cleaning
- Microfiber cloths or clean rags
- All-purpose cleaner, like this one.
- Baking soda
- Glass cleaner (or make your own by combining a 1:1 ratio of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle)
- Cleaning spray
- Toilet cleaner and brush
- Old toothbrush or another small brush for scrubbing
- Broom or vacuum
- Bucket of warm water
Start a load of laundry
Gather up all dirty towels, washcloths and bathrobes and throw them in the washing machine. Remove your bathmat and take down your shower curtain and liner and prep a second load. Check that these are machine washable — most fabric mats, curtains and liners, even plastic ones, will wash up just fine in cool water. If your liner has mildew, it's time to replace it with a new one.
Wipe surfaces and storage area
Take out the trash and wash out the can with warm, soapy water. Set it upside down and outside to dry. Next, empty all products from your medicine cabinet, drawers and under the sink and set them outside the room.
From here, wipe down all shelves and drawers both inside and out with a microfiber cloth and mild, soapy water or cleaning spray. Take stock of your pile of products and discard any that are empty, old or unused (no sense in continuing to store products you hate). Return everything else neatly to the drawers and medicine cabinet. Wipe the drawer pulls, light switches and door knob with cleaning spray.
Wash walls and windows
Use a microfiber cloth and mild, soapy water to wipe down the baseboards, window sills and tracks (the grooves that allow your window to slide open and shut). Polish the window itself with glass cleaner and a non-fibrous paper product like newspaper, which will help get your surface clean without leaving streaks behind. Wipe down the globes of your light fixture and polish the mirror. If you have glass shower doors instead of a curtain, wipe them down with newspaper and cleaner, or, if they’re covered in soap scum, switch to a textured pad and use full-strength white vinegar to scrub them well. Rinse.
Add toilet cleaner to the bowl and let it sit. Give your shower walls and tub a good scrubbing with cleaning spray — add baking soda if you like a little extra grit. Use an old toothbrush (and patience) to get into all corners and get the grout really clean. Clean your sink and faucet well and wipe down all countertops with cleaning spray and a new cloth. Scrub your toilet — paying special attention to the grime underneath the seat and other hidden areas.
Remove any hampers or other furniture from the floor. Run the vacuum or sweep the floor to remove large debris and hair, then mop or scrub floors well. Start in the far corner and work toward the door so you wind up outside the room instead of marooned inside. Use this drying time to get a snack. You earned it.
You're almost done ...
Check that your drains are running efficiently. If they’re slow, sprinkle a quarter cup of baking soda down the drain followed by half a cup of plain white vinegar and watch it fizz. Wash the whole mess down the drain with several cups of boiling water to completely break up clogs or slow running drains.
De-gunk your showerhead. If your showerhead is sputtering, remove it (don’t worry, it’s easy, just unscrew it) and soak in a 1:1 mixture of white vinegar and water for several hours or overnight. Make sure the liquid covers it completely.
This soak will clear mineral buildup from those tiny holes in your showerhead and restore full power to your flow. If you really don’t want to remove the head, you can fill a plastic bag with your diluted vinegar solution and secure it over the showerhead with a rubber band. But be warned, it’s pretty tricky to maneuver a bag full of liquid (much more so than unscrewing a showerhead, in my opinion) and you might wind up with some splashes.
Don't forget the grout! If you have stubborn grout stains or mildewed areas that won’t come clean, get them back to white by soaking a tissue or roll of cotton with full-strength bleach (you must wear gloves to protect your hands) and apply directly to the discoloration. Remove after a few minutes and rinse well. Another quirky solution, cream of tartar!