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Spring cleaning: Step-by-step guide to cleaning your living room

Don't let dust and dirt overtake your favorite place to chillax. Here's what you'll need to clean your walls, dust surfaces, refresh furniture and more.
Stockard Channing's living room
Your clean living room is just one day away.MLS via Zillow
/ Source: TODAY

Welcome to spring cleaning season! It's 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. But don’t panic! We’re here to help tackle that cleaning to-do list.

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, and we think dedicating just a few hours once a week is the way to go. Simply deep clean one room a day, and in a month, your whole house will be refreshed and spring ready.

How to clean a living room

You’ve already cleaned the bathroom, the bedroom and the kitchen. You’re so close to the finish line now. Your home is looking sharp, and there’s just one big push to go. It’s time to tackle and deep clean the living room. Imagine gathering your family in a spotless space for a movie tonight. Imagine feeling no panic whatsoever the next time a neighbor drops by unannounced. Your clean living room is just one day away. Let’s do this!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Rubber gloves
  • A powerful vacuum cleaner with attachments
  • Microfiber cloths or clean rags
  • Warm water and mild soap
  • Glass cleaner (or make your own by combining a 1:1 ratio of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle)
  • Furniture polish
  • Disinfecting spray
  • A new cotton mop (the kind with the soft loops) or a clean long-handled duster

Start a load of laundry

If you’re able, remove the covers of your throw pillows and blankets and put them in the washer along with the pillow inserts. As long as they are down or down alternatives, pillows can usually be machine washed and dried. It helps to wash several pillows at once and spread them out evenly in your washer’s drum so the load stays balanced. As with all down, make sure to dry them completely on low heat or you could encourage mold to grow in the feathers.

If your curtains are very dirty, take them down and either wash or dry clean them according to care instructions. Otherwise, keep them in place and use the hose on your vacuum to dust them well. If you have blinds, you’ll need to expose both sides to get them really clean so close them one direction, dust, then close them the other direction, and dust again.

Clean your walls and windows

Use your cotton mop or duster to brush cobwebs and dirt from the high corners of your walls. Use a microfiber cloth and warm soapy water to wipe window frames, windowsills as well as dirty window tracks (the grooves that allow your window to slide open and closed). Polish glass with a glass cleaner and a non-fibrous material like newspaper that won’t leave strands behind. Clean your ceiling light fixture if you have one. If you can remove the glass globes, it’s easiest to wash them in the sink. Otherwise, dust well. If you find stubborn smudges on your walls, try wiping them gently with a magic eraser.

Dust surfaces and storage areas

Remember the only rule of dusting: move from the top down and don’t make it harder than it needs to be! Always start with the highest surfaces, so when dust falls, you’re not contaminating just-cleaned areas. Remember to dust door jams and picture frames. Use the vacuum to clean dust from any heat or air conditioner vents. Lastly, wipe all furniture and lamps with a damp cloth.

Clear all knick-knacks and books from shelves, and wipe them down the surfaces. Dust each vase or book as you replace it. Because you can’t use a damp cloth on paper books, try dusting them with a dryer sheet — it’s designed to attract lint and has a nice nubby texture which really helps gather up all the dust. Wipe the TV and other electronics with a dry microfiber cloth. Clean light switches, door knobs and TV remotes with a disinfecting spray.

Refresh the furniture

Remove the cushions from your couch and use the crevice tool on your vacuum to suck up all the debris you’ve accumulated under there. Switch to the larger brush head to vacuum the cushions themselves before replacing them. Flip each cushion to expose a new side. If you do this regularly, it will help your sofa wear evenly and last longer. If you have a lot of stubborn pet hair on your upholstery, put on a clean rubber glove and briskly run your hand over the surface of the fabric to sweep the fur up into the glove. Use wood polish to shine up any wood furniture like tables, shelves or cabinets that could use a moisture treatment.

Clean the floors

Wipe down baseboards with a cloth and mild soapy water. If you have a large area rug, rotate it to a different position to keep it wearing evenly. Otherwise, high-traffic areas will start to fade and fray prematurely. Vacuum the rug well. Try going over it twice — in two different directions in order to pull up the pile and root out all the dirt. Use the vacuum extension to clean under any low furniture. Vacuum or sweep hardwood or tile floors to remove larger debris, then mop well.

Congratulations, your living room housekeeping needs are taken care of!

This article was originally published on March 27, 2017.