Spring Cleaning Guide
There’s nothing like a good spring cleaning to refresh your home from top to bottom—and the secret to a good spring cleaning is to start with a great spring-cleaning checklist. Checklists make the job more manageable and less overwhelming, not to mention checking things off your checklist is oh-so-satisfying. Don’t forget to pace yourself, as they say, Rome wasn’t cleaned in a day.
Of course, you CAN do your spring cleaning in one dedicated day, but you don’t have to. Once you have your checklists, divide them up however you like: 3-4 hours per weekend for a month? One big weekend push and then takeout dinner, or maybe 1-2 hours’ worth of tasks each evening for a week? Even small helpers can lend a hand: gathering items to launder or washing cabinet fronts or baseboards. Put on some music, divvy up the tasks among household members, and move and groove your way together to a fresh, clean home just in time for the season of renewal.
Use this guide to personalize your room-by-room spring cleaning checklists. In each room, check out some bonus info and tips about weekly and monthly cleaning that will keep your home humming along in an orderly manner…and lighten your load for the next spring cleaning.
Room-By-Room Spring Cleaning Checklist
These checklists cover the yearly tasks that aren’t necessarily a part of your weekly or monthly cleaning routines. The approach to each room follows the same general plan. First, assemble the items you’ll need: vacuum cleaner, washrags, window cleaner, warm soapy water, or any other specialty tools.
Then give the room a quick once-over. Make a pile of items that don’t belong in that room. Don’t worry about putting them away—just put them all in a box and stay focused on the room you’re in.
Finally, begin your spring cleaning. Start with anything that can “run in the background” while you work: bring laundry to the laundry room and put in the first load, defrost the freezer, or turn the oven on to self-clean. Then start cleaning the room, moving top to bottom so that you don’t knock dust or grime down onto a surface you’ve already cleaned.
How to Spring Clean the Bedroom
- Assemble your supplies: washrags, window cleaner, basins or buckets of warm soapy water, vacuum cleaner, a box for items that don’t belong in the bedroom, boxes and bags for items you decide to donate or toss out.
- Strip the bed and start the laundry. Wash sheets, pillowcases, and mattress cover as usual, plus the duvet cover, duvet insert or comforter, and pillows.
- Wash curtains, too if they can be machine-laundered.
- Do your quick tidy and set aside items that don’t belong in the bedroom. Start at the top: use a damp rag to wash dust off fan blades, or slip a pillowcase over the blades so that the dust will fall right in.
- Then, working top-to-bottom, wash walls, windows, windowsills, and baseboards. Change out wash water when it becomes discolored. Dust other items and surfaces as you encounter them, working top-to-bottom. Vacuum curtains if they cannot be laundered.
- Vacuum the mattress with the crevice attachment and rotate or flip it.
- Vacuum the floor.
- Freshen the closet: pull out all the clothes, vacuum the floor, and wipe down shelves and drawers. Let go of anything that you didn’t wear this year: if there is still use in it, put it in a box to donate; if not, set it aside to make into rags or put it in a bag for trash.
- Open the windows and let in some fresh air. Twenty minutes is a good minimum.
How often to wash sheets, blankets, and other bedding.
- Sheets and pillowcases: Wash weekly
If you have trouble hitting that mark, you’re not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, 91% of people wash their sheets twice a month…or less. Getting closer to the mark doesn’t just result in a cleaner bed with fewer allergens—a majority of people report getting a better night’s sleep on sheets with a fresh scent, too.
To help yourself out, consider following the “three set rotation” rule: one set on your bed, one in the laundry, and one in your linen closet. On the appointed morning each week, strip the bed of the used sheets and put a fresh set of sheets right on. Now, no matter what the day throws at you, you are ready to go to bed on clean sheets. (If you use cozy flannel sheets in cool months and a crisp cool set in warmer months, have three of both.) By rotating your sheet sets, they’ll be laundered less frequently and last longer.
- Blankets, duvet covers, and mattress protectors: Wash monthly
Bedding that doesn’t come into contact with your body as you sleep can be washed less frequently than sheets. Be sure to take into account how much the bedding is exposed to skin cells (which feed allergen-producing dust mites), dirt, oils, and pet hair, and decide on your washing schedule accordingly.
- Duvets, comforters, and pillows: Wash once or twice a year
Spring cleaning is a great time to give your duvet inserts, comforters, and pillows a wash. It makes especially good sense if you will be storing your winter-weight bedding until the fall, and in the fall, you can wash the summer set before storing it for the winter.
How to Spring Clean the Bathroom
- Assemble your supplies: washrags, window cleaner, basins or buckets of warm soapy water, vinegar, a box for items that don’t belong in the bathroom, a bag for trash.
- Clear the room: take towels, bathmats, rugs, and washable fabric shower curtain liners to the laundry.
- Toss expired medicine and makeup.
- Work top-down: vacuum fan vents, wash light fixture covers, wash windows and mirrors, clean shower door tracks or seal areas, and clean baseboards.
- Wash out the shower or tub and clean shower curtain rod or glass door.
- Use vinegar to address hard water stains in the sink, shower or tub, or limescale buildup on the showerhead.
- Check grout and caulk; re-seal grout or re-caulk as necessary.
- Clean the garbage can.
- Open the windows—20 minutes is a good minimum.
- “No-scrub” and “no-wipe” shower cleaners can prevent mold, mildew, and soap scum buildup between more thorough cleanings. You can buy or make the cleaner in bulk, and portion it into a smaller spray bottle to use each time you use the shower. Top off the spray bottle at your weekly cleaning.
- When shopping for bathroom hardware, consider that both hand towels and bath towels dry more thoroughly hanging along a towel bar than they do on a hook, where folds can trap moisture.
- Bath towels should be laundered every 3-4 uses, and hand towels every 3-4 days. This schedule is simplest with a go-to second set that sees you through the second half of each week.
How to Spring Clean Other Areas
- Assemble your supplies: washrags, window cleaner, basins or buckets of warm soapy water, a box for items that don’t belong in the room, boxes for items to donate, bags for trash.
- Tidy the room and set aside anything that doesn’t belong in it.
- Gather and bring window treatments, blankets, pillow covers, and throw rugs to the laundry.
- Dust or wash glass light fixtures; dust or vacuum fabric lampshades.
- Vacuum fabric furniture, using upholstery attachment and crevice tool.
- Condition leather and wood furniture.
- Wash windows.
- Clean blinds.
- Clean walls and baseboards.
- Vacuum/wash vents.
- Launder and store winter items like heavy coats, hats, and gloves.
- Open the windows for 20 minutes or more.
- Sweep porch and/or deck.
For reducing clutter and staying clean:
- To keep basic cleaning and tidying under control, follow the 30-second rule. If something will take less than 30 seconds to handle, just handle it as soon as you see it.
- Make it easy for kids to take out and put away toys in common areas using large open storage baskets. (It’s easy for grownups to quickly tidy up the room that way, too.)
- Keep cleaning supplies where you’ll use them. Notice how each room’s checklist started with “assemble your supplies”? You need to do that pretty much every time you clean. If the supplies are already there, you can immediately check Step 1 off your list.
Enjoy the satisfaction of completing a big job, whether you broke it down into smaller tasks or took it all on in one fell swoop. And, oh yeah, enjoy your sparkling-fresh home, too.