Spring Cleaning Checklist: The Ultimate Guide to a Tidier Home

farmer sink and white cabinets in modern farmhouse
Photo: Laura Moss

Welcome spring by giving your home a good deep clean. Our handy guide breaks down the must-do chores into a three-step system. First up are the spring cleaning checklist and to-dos, the once-a-year tasks perfectly suited for spring. Next, tackle exterior spring cleaning with tips on fix-ups and repairs for the outside of your home. Finally, room-by-room cleaning tips will help you declutter and tidy up specific areas.

01 of 20

Spring Cleaning List

kitchen gray cabinets with dining table
Kim Cornelison

Spring is the perfect time to deep-clean your house or embark on an apartment-cleaning marathon. Work these chores into your cleaning schedule and get ready to face warmer days with a space that sparkles. Before you tackle the project, make a cleaning checklist tailored to your home and needs.

02 of 20

Spring Cleaning To-Dos: Wash Windows

enclosed porch with dining table and mint green retro chairs
Frances Janisch

Be sure to pick a cloudy day to wash your windows. "If it's too sunny, the cleaning solution will dry too fast and you'll have streaks," says cleaning expert Donna Smallin Kuper. Water and a microfiber cloth will typically clean windows more effectively than chemicals. Otherwise, make your own glass cleaner solution with 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/3 cup vinegar, and distilled water.

03 of 20

Spring Cleaning To-Dos: Sliding Door Tracks

back of taupe house with upper deck and lower patio sitting area
Peter Krumhardt

Sliding glass door tracks probably aren't the first spots you'd think to clean, but you'll appreciate having done it before the outdoor entertaining season gets into full swing. Smallin suggests scrubbing the tracks with an old, dry toothbrush to loosen debris, then using your vacuum hose to remove it. Finish with a wet sponge.

04 of 20

Spring Cleaning To-Dos: Overlooked Surfaces

detail of intricate white molding and cabinets
Gordon Beall

Spring cleaning is an opportunity to address those surfaces you overlook on a daily basis. Once a year, give your baseboards, door frames, and walls a good thorough cleaning. Wash them with a sponge and a squirt of dishwashing liquid mixed in a bucket of warm water.

05 of 20

Spring Cleaning To-Dos: Deep-Clean Carpets

modern beige bedroom with blue, green and orange color pops
Edmund Barr

To maintain a new carpet's warranty, you may need to have it cleaned professionally every 12-18 months, Smallin says. Otherwise, you can tackle DIY carpet cleaning by renting a deep cleaner or buying a professional-style model designed for home use. Follow the directions for mixing the cleaning solution, rinsing, and drying carefully to ensure you get the best clean.

06 of 20

Spring Cleaning To-Dos: Clean Under Furniture and Appliances

pink-and-blue themed open-concept living room and kitchen
David Tsay

Before vacuuming the floors, ask a partner to help you move your sofa and chairs and roll up the area rugs. Move kitchen appliances away from the wall as much as you can. "In some cases, you can pull them out enough that a vacuum hose will reach," Smallin says.

07 of 20

Spring Cleaning To-Dos: Freshen Furniture

Dining area in front of window with booth seating
Erin Kunkel

Restore smooth leather with an upholstery cleaner and conditioner. Use a suede brush to perk up nubuck leather. For wood furniture, use Smallin's recipe to make your own all-natural cleaner and polish: Mix 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and 1/2 cup of vinegar or lemon juice in a plastic spray bottle; shake well and spray onto a microfiber cloth.

08 of 20

Spring Cleaning To-Dos: Refresh Window Treatments

shabby-chic bedroom with lace curtain details
Scott Little

Curtains and draperies aren't typically dirty enough to launder. Instead, go over them thoroughly with the upholstery attachment on your vacuum. "To remove dust from sheer curtains, put them in the dryer on low with a fabric-softener sheet," Smallin says.

09 of 20

Spring Cleaning To-Dos: Dust Light Fixtures

detail of mint green vintage light above corkboard
Brie Williams

Use a microfiber or lint-free cloth ($9, Target) to dust fixtures and bulbs you can reach. For ceiling fans, skip the ladder and use an extendable duster ($11, The Home Depot). To clean grimy bulbs, lightly dampen a cloth with vinegar and wipe. Caution: Be sure bulbs are cool to the touch and your hands are dry. Tackle light fixtures before cleaning the rest of the room, so any errant falling dust doesn't disrupt already-clean surfaces.

10 of 20

Spring Cleaning To-Dos: Get Organized

Entryway with wooden shelf and striped rug
David A Land

Pick up and eliminate clutter in each room before you start cleaning. If you're feeling a little overwhelmed by clutter, designate some organizing "power sessions" into your spring cleaning schedule. As you declutter, equip yourself with a few boxes for sorting: one for garage sale items, another for items to donate, and a garbage bag for items to toss. Return the things you intend to keep to their rightful places and rooms.

11 of 20

Spring Cleaning To-Dos: Make a Wardrobe Transition

organized closet
Marty Baldwin

Storing items you aren't currently wearing or using in a tucked-away place will help streamline your closet and keep seasonal essentials at the forefront. Put away gloves, winter clothing items, and boots, so you'll have plenty of space for warm weather clothing. Always label the bins and boxes so you'll know where to find your winter gear next year.

12 of 20

Spring Cleaning To-Dos: Safety Inspection

woman checking once-hidden thermostat on wall
Helen Norman

Consider spring cleaning your prompt to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Perform all the required safety checks around your home. If you don't own a fire extinguisher, purchase one. Learn how to use it, and keep it in the kitchen. You may want to purchase another for your garage.

13 of 20

Exterior Spring Cleaning Tips: Exterior Paint

yellow wicker rocking chair next to turquoise front door exterior
Cameron Sadeghpour

While you're spring cleaning, consider freshening the face of your home with a new paint job. An updated color scheme can take your house from forgettable to the best on the block. The average exterior paint job lasts 10 years, so make sure it's done right. If your house doesn't require a full paint makeover, consider a touch-up, which can prolong the life of your siding and trim.

14 of 20

Exterior Spring Cleaning Tips: Power Wash

charcoal gray exterior view to porch
Brie Williams

Spruce up your home's exterior surface by power-washing the siding and windows. This also helps prevent the growth of mold and mildews that feed on grime. If you're worried about whether your home's exterior can handle the force that pressure-washing nozzles exert, hire a professional to do the work.

15 of 20

Exterior Spring Cleaning Tips: Gutter Maintenance

detail of copper gutters on house exterior
Edmund Barr

Your roof's drainage system diverts thousands of gallons of water a year from your home's exterior and foundation walls. This hardworking system merits a semi-annual inspection. Clean and repair gutters and downspouts every spring before heavy rains begin and late in autumn after leaves have fallen.

16 of 20

Exterior Spring Cleaning Tips: Seasonal Change

organized garage corner with built-in hooks and shelving
Adam Albright

Hit the garage to store or unpack seasonal items at the return of spring. Put snow shovels, salt, scrapers, and other winter gear in an out-of-the-way storage spot to make room for garden tools and potting supplies. Consider servicing your snowblower before storing it for spring.

17 of 20

Exterior Spring Cleaning Tips: Outdoor Furniture

patio furniture and green cushions on deck beneath arbor
Kritsada Panichgul

Get ready for outdoor entertaining season by cleaning exterior furniture. Clean and repair furniture on your deck, porch, or patio, including chairs, tables, and benches. Use outdoor spray enamel to touch up chips on painted outdoor furniture.

18 of 20

Room-by-Room Cleaning Tips: Bedrooms

red and robins-egg blue boho dormer bedroom
Greg Scheidemann

Devote a portion of your spring cleaning efforts to giving every room in your home a thorough cleaning. In the bedroom, rotate and flip mattresses. Wash blankets and comforters, or take them to be cleaned. Wash mattress pads and bed skirts. Clean area rugs or have them dry-cleaned. To clean your pillows, send them to a professional cleaner, hang them outside in the fresh air, or freshen them with the air (no heat) cycle of your clothes dryer

19 of 20

Room-by-Room Cleaning Tips: Bathrooms

detailed lace shower curtain in bright white modern bathroom
Robert Brinson

You may scrub your bathroom every week, but now it's time to conquer clutter and toss old and expired products. Go through your medicine cabinets and safely discard any outdated items. Replace worn bath mats, shower curtains, and liners, or wash and dry shower curtains and liners.

20 of 20

Room-by-Room Cleaning Tips: Kitchen

farmer sink and white cabinets in modern farmhouse
Laura Moss

To spring-clean your kitchen, take time to declutter your pantry, kitchen cabinets, and drawers. Wipe them out and install fresh shelf paper. Store or donate equipment you don't use, such as small appliances or cookware. Discard stale spices or expired items. Clean the refrigerator and freezer. Vacuum the cooling coils under or behind your refrigerator.

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