Dig or dread it, giving your home a thorough clean is a great way to cut through the clutter that has accumulated during the past several months you've spent ignoring it. Your home will be bathed in a whole new light when you're done, and it's a light you won't be afraid to switch on. To help give your home a thorough deep clean, here are our top tips for tackling every single room in the house.
Take an archaeological approach to your home and discover what lies beneath. Look first to your walls and windows. There's bound to be a buildup of everyday grime here, and addressing this each year will stop the grime from becoming a permanent fixture that dulls painted walls. If your window treatments need laundering or a professional clean, this is the time to sort it out.
Dust and vacuum (in that order) the walls, starting with cobwebs in corners and on cornices, working down to floor-dwelling dust bunnies. The brush attachment for your vacuum is ideal for this job. Finish by wiping your walls with a multi-purpose spray.
Use a microfiber cloth to clean light fittings, windows, and mirrors for a streak-free finish. Then with a slightly damp cloth, clean all paintwork including doors, windowsills, and skirting boards. For polished timber, a rag with a touch of furniture oil will do the job.
Now you can tackle what lies under and behind your sofa, TV unit, and bookshelves — give these larger furniture pieces a dust then vacuum hard floors and go over with a mop. Carpets can be sprinkled with a little baking soda or carpet cleaner and then vacuumed.
Use the philosophy of a kitchen work triangle to take on cleaning your cooking zone — think cooktop, sink, and fridge. Your cooktop and sink get the majority of your everyday cleaning attention, but how often do you check what's in your pantry? Do a stocktake and discard items past their use-by date, then wet wipe, dry, and restock and organize your pantry.
Move onto your cupboards taking the same approach — remove cutlery, glassware, small appliances, platters, and cookware. Be ruthless and donate anything that you no longer use, and again wipe the shelves before replacing what you're going to keep. Be sure to double check your storage containers while you're at it. Also, take a look at the state of your oven, microwave, and dishwasher. Take this opportunity to give each a proper clean.
Big Task: Switch off your fridge and freezer before you start cleaning and empty the contents into the sink with ice. Toss anything past its prime. Use baking soda and warm water (two tablespoons to four cups) to clean and deodorize the interior and shelves. Once clean, keep a small bowl of bicarbonate of soda in the back to absorb any fridge odors. Give the coils at the back of the fridge a vacuum to remove all the dust before plugging the power back in.
Finishing Touch: Create a little breakfast corner by keeping your kettle, coffee machine, and toaster on a tray. This will keep any spills and crumbs off your countertop, and cleaning will just be a matter of rinsing the tray and giving each appliance a quick wipe.
Lint from winter woollies and flannel is no doubt lingering behind the dryer and can be a fire hazard — your vacuum cleaner will make short work of this. Then wipe down both the dryer and washing machine with a little soapy water.
Big Task: Sanitize the inside of your washing machine by running it on the longest and hottest cycle with a cup of white vinegar. If the machine has separate detergent and fabric softener containers, give them a rinse in the sink along with the lint filter.
Finishing Touch: Pop plastic clothes pegs in the cutlery basket of your dishwasher next time they need a clean.
Put your bathmats in the wash. Vacuum then clean the walls with a bucket of hot water and two caps of eucalyptus oil or multi-purpose cleaner. Set aside a set of sponges and brushes for bathroom use only and scrub down your shower, bath, sink (don't forget taps, spouts, and the showerhead) then tackle the toilet.
Empty out your cabinet or vanity and carefully dispose out-of-date cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Finish off by giving the floor a mop.
Big Task: Get rid of yucky grout by scrubbing it with an old toothbrush dipped in bleach, then rinse well.
Finishing Touch: A new shower curtain, towels, and bathmat in this season's colors will instantly freshen up your pamper zone.
When it comes to cleaning the bedroom, open all the windows to get as much fresh air and light as possible flowing through. Clean the walls and windows, leaving the floor as the last cleaning task. Strip the bed and sort what needs to be aired, washed or dry-cleaned. To clean your mattress, flip and turn it, then sprinkle a little baking soda and vacuum with the upholstery attachment.
Big Task: Commit to a wardrobe edit. Empty closets and drawers and clean them with a damp cloth. Divide your clothes into those to be donated or stored until next winter from the ones you want to put away. Be sure that all your cool-weather clothes and linen are clean before you store them. Scrub sliding door tracks with a dry toothbrush to help the doors run smoother.
Finishing Touch: Pillows, quilts, and blankets can be freshened up with a cycle on the coolest setting of your clothes dryer or air out these sleep accessories in the sun.
Use the same tactics as you did in the master bedroom — beds need to be stripped and all bedding washed, and mattresses flipped and turned. Dust and wipe down bookshelves, wardrobes, drawers and toy boxes. And don't forget to give toys a clean, too.
Big Task: Sort through the toy box and wardrobe for toys and clothes that the kids have grown out of or have become a bit shabby.
Finishing Touch: Organize a garage sale with any bits and bobs you no longer use, or compile a care package of cute hand-me-downs for friends and family who are expecting. Share the love!
Take a clinical step-by-step approach when you begin cleaning the living room. Once you've cleaned the walls and windows, dust books and ornaments as you reorganize them, then wipe down tabletops and bookshelves. Take rugs and cushions outside and give them a good whack with the back of a broom. Shift your sofa, coffee table, and TV unit to clean behind and beneath. When it comes to cleaning, your vacuum is your best friend.
Big Task: Hire a steam cleaner to refresh carpets and fabric-upholstered furniture. The models from hardware stores and supermarkets are very easy to use, so make the most of your booking and do all your carpets in one go.
Finishing Touch: Open all the windows after you've cleaned and treat yourself to a bunch of fresh flowers on the coffee table.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.