Welcome to organization season! It's that glorious time of year when you finally get down to business and go through your closets ... but then you notice the layer of dust and grime that's been building up in your home. Don’t panic! TODAY Home is here to help you tackle that cleaning to-do list.
Use this handy guide to clean the items in your bathroom. Just click on the circles to see the item and click "read more" to see the full story.
Now it’s time to turn your bedroom into a clean and relaxing place to be. You’ll be crawling into clean sheets in a spotless room by nighttime. Let’s get started!
Here's what you'll need:
- 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-to-1 ratio of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle)
- Disinfecting spray
- A new cotton mop (the kind with the soft loops) or a clean, long-handled duster
- Baking soda
1. Start a load of laundry
- Strip the bed of sheets, pillowcases, comforter and mattress cover. Get your laundry started so the cycle can run while you’re working on the rest of the bedroom. (You should wash these every week or so.)
- Down and down-alternative blankets can usually be machine washed in cool water and dried in the dryer. Just remember to set the temperature to low and add a wool ball (not a tennis ball) to the dryer to plump it up while it tumbles. Stop the cycle every 20-30 minutes to break up any clumps with your hands and let it run until you’re sure it’s completely dry.
2. Clean pillows
- Aim to clean your pillow every six months or quarterly if you have allergies.
- Feather down pillows or foam pillows should be hand washed with warm, soapy water. Allow to air dry, preferably outdoors.
- Man-made fabrics — like cotton, nylon and other synthetic materials — can be thrown in the washing machine with a detergent that doesn't suds up a lot. An ideal mix for cleaning is hydrogen peroxide to kills germ, baking soda to get rid of smell and oxygen bleach to get rid of any mysterious stains.
- If using a top-loading machine, stand pillows up and put a towel on either side using 1/3 cup of cleaning solution. Front loaders should wash one pillow at a time and use 1 tablespoon for each. Set the cycle on “gentle" and "extra-large load."
- Man-made fabrics can be dried on medium heat, but make sure to read the labels to make sure nothing will melt. Wool balls can prevent clumping, but avoid tennis balls since they could be toxic.
3. Wash walls and windows
Dust isn't just for side tables and dressers. It can also coat walls, ceiling fan blades, crown molding and window sills.
- Use a new cotton mop to dust walls and corners, or use the extension on the vacuum to suck up cobwebs from the top corners.
- Vacuum your heating and air conditioning vents to clear them of dust.
- If you have a ceiling fan, slip an old pillowcase over each blade to trap falling dust while you wipe the surface with a damp cloth.
- Use a microfiber cloth and warm, soapy water to wipe the window sills and tracks and use glass cleaner to polish the windows.
- If you have an overhead light fixture with removable globes, wash them in the sink and set to dry. Otherwise, dust well.
- Clean light switches and doorknobs with a cloth and disinfectant spray.
4. Clean surfaces and storage
- Use a clean damp cloth to dust all surfaces, furniture, door frames and lamps.
- Remember, when dusting, you want to start with the highest surfaces and work down so you prevent knocking dust onto items you’ve already cleaned.
- Using your vacuum’s crevice tool, vacuum the folds of your bare mattress until it’s really clean. Then flip it over to help it wear evenly over time. If you have a pillow top, try rotating head to foot instead.
- Either take down your curtains and wash or dry clean them according to care instructions, or use your vacuum’s hose attachment to thoroughly dust them.
- Remove clothes from the closet and bureau. Vacuum the closet well. Use the crevice tool again to clean all corners and wipe down the shelves with a damp cloth.
- Wipe the inside and outside of the bureau drawers, and dust the top. Neatly return clothes to their places.
5. Clean floors
- Use a microfiber cloth and warm soapy water to wipe down the baseboards.
- Use the vacuum extension to clean under the bed. Remove any area rugs and vacuum or just give them an old-fashioned, stress-busting beating outside.
- If you have hardwood floors, vacuum and mop the floor.
- To freshen up carpets, sprinkle some baking soda and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, vacuum the rug twice — once in each direction — to deep clean the pile of your carpet.
- If you run a humidifier in the bedroom, fill the tank with a 1-to-1 mix of water and vinegar and let it sit for a few hours before rinsing well. Wipe down the body and spout and dry.
- While you're at it, check your smoke detector to make sure it’s working.
Want tips for cleaning the rest of your house? Check out our interactive cleaning guide.
Graphics by Jovanna Tosello.
This article was originally published on March 15, 2019 on TODAY.