’Tis the season for cleaning and refreshing! While a clean, tidy home is always the springtime boost we need, the process of spring cleaning can be daunting.
With this in mind, we turned to a few cleaning pros to ask how they approach spring cleaning in their own spaces—and learn a few tips and tricks for refreshing our own spaces.
Meet the Expert
- Alicia Sokolowski is a cleaning expert and co-CEO of AspenClean, a natural cleaning company.
- Leanne Stapf is the chief operating officer of The Cleaning Authority, a professional cleaning service.
- Jeremy Tompson is a strategic cleaning advisor at YouthfulHome.com, a home services-finder.
- Brandon Pleshek is a cleaning expert and creator of Clean That Up.
Always Make a Plan
Alicia Sokolowski of AspenClean says she never starts a deep clean without a plan of attack.
“I’m a fan of good planning, so I start by taking a tour of the house, assessing what needs to be tackled, and making a schedule,” says Sokolowski. “If you have drapes that need to be dry cleaned, make arrangements with the provider and schedule to take them down before your spring cleaning day (or weekend). If you have really high ceilings that require a specialist to clean your windows and possibly chandeliers, plan for it, and get it done first.”
“Use a checklist, and focus on the areas that are not done regularly, like under the cupboards, and behind the furniture,” she says.
Look for Air Leaks
During your full house tour, Leanne Stapf of The Cleaning Authority says that you should also look for any drafty spots.
“As tempting as it may be, don’t skip out on a quick walk around your home to make sure there are no faulty cracks or openings within window panes and doors. Any air leaks, no matter how small, could lead to a larger issue, resulting in poor insulation,” she says.
Assemble a Cleaning Kit
As part of her planning process, Sokolowski also creates a cleaning kit. Among her must-haves are:
- A natural all-purpose cleaner
- Scouring powder
- Baking soda and vinegar
- A concentrated cleaner that you could use “as is” for areas not cleaned on a regular basis
- Floor cleaner
- Window cleaner
- Bathroom and kitchen cleaner
- Microfiber cloths
- A set of tools, like a HEPA filter vacuum with all the attachments, a mop with an extendable handle, and a squeegee
Take It From the Top
YouthfulHome.com’s Jeremy Tompson tells us that when it comes to a deep clean, there’s one rule he always follows. “I always clean top to bottom,” he says. “Cleaning shelves, cabinets, and the top of your refrigerator spreads dust to countertops and floors, which you’ll clean next.”
“Stay organized,” agrees Sokolowski. “Clean from top to bottom and left to right to not retrace steps.”
Clean the Carpets
While you likely vacuum regularly, Brandon Pleshek of Clean That Up uses this time of year to really clean his carpets. “Our carpets are the largest air filter in our homes. A good deep cleaning can reset that filter and keep not only our carpets fresh but the air, too. I also open up all the windows (weather-permitting) to help the carpets dry and let some fresh air in the spaces,” he says.
Don’t Forget the Windows
After a rough winter, Pleshek says he makes sure to let the sunshine back in: “I clean all my windows! Wisconsin winters can be long and COLD. Once the weather starts to warm up, it’s great to clean up all the windows and screens from all the winter weather.”
Look beyond your go-to window cleaning tools this year with an unexpected recycling and cleaning combo hack.
“For streak-free glass, use a 3:1 mixture of water and white vinegar and wipe with old newspapers,” says Tompson. “Newspaper absorbs the liquid and cleans more efficiently than paper towels. If newspapers are not available, use paper coffee filters.”
Dust With Dryer Sheets
When it comes time to dust, Tompson suggests swapping your usual rag for dryer sheets. “Dryer sheets are great for cleaning surfaces that collect dust, such as ceiling fan blades and lights, baseboards, and lampshades,” he says. “The anti-static nature of the sheets keeps dust from staying on the cleaned surface.”
Tackle the Tough Stains with Toothpaste
“Old-fashioned toothpaste, not the gel kind, is a terrific cleaning agent,” says Tompson. “It gets off coffee stains, soap scum, even crayon marks on the wall. Put a small amount on a clean cloth and wet it. Use this to clean porcelain sinks and toilets, chrome, and tile.”
Give the Garage a Deep Clean
“Wisconsin winters consist of nonstop slush, salt, and snow,” says Pleshek. “Tidying up the garage and power washing the floors is a great way to welcome the warm spring weather.”
Use an Old Tennis Ball for Scuffs
If you find some old tennis balls during your garage re-org, don’t throw them out. Instead, Tompson says you can use them to clean: “If you have shoe scuff marks on your floor, try rubbing them with a new tennis ball. It works!”
Focus on the Details
Stapf says she uses this time to focus on the small things. “For spring cleaning, it’s important to remember that even the smallest of items in your home can get quite dirty,” she says. “Items such as TV remotes or doorknobs that we use constantly tend to attract a lot of germs, so make sure to wipe them down with a disinfectant wipe.”
Give Drains a Little TLC
“Your sink disposal can be the source of bad odors,” Tompson tells us. “Put citrus peels (orange or lemon work best) in the disposal before running it. Ice cubes also do a good job of cleaning the disposal blades.”
"While it may seem tedious, it’s important to keep kitchen and bathroom drains clean as well to avoid clogging them,” agrees Stapf. “Pour a cup of white distilled vinegar down the drain, allow it to sit for half an hour, and then run cold water through the drain to wash it out.”
Don’t Forget the Invisible Spots
“Pay attention to everyday items that we don’t usually remember to clean as frequently,” says Stapf. “Water filters are commonly forgotten about when cleaning. Make sure to change the filter every two to six months. Make sure to also clean out your trash can. While people remember to take their trash out, many forget to clean the actual trash can! To clean them, create a mixture of half vinegar and half water and wipe the can down. This will eliminate lingering odors.”
Refresh the Refrigerator
"Refrigerators are often overlooked when spring cleaning, but leaving your refrigerator too full can lead to a less efficient appliance!” says Stapf. “Make sure to remove leftovers and old food so that it is about two-thirds full to promote circulation and lessen cooling time. Don’t forget to dust the coils in the back of the exterior of your fridge as well. Dust forces your appliance to work harder to maintain a cooler temperature, which is something you always want to avoid!”
Clean All Mattresses
“People often forget about their beds,” says Stapf. “Clean your mattress to avoid dust mites, dead skin cells, and other bacteria.”
The good news? It’s easy! “To clean your mattress, simply vacuum the surface, and for stain removal, spray the spot with vinegar and sprinkle baking soda over the top,” she says. “Place a towel over the area, let it sit for one to two hours, and then vacuum over once again for a final clean.”