Ready to tackle your spring projects? Our handy guide breaks them down: Spring Cleaning & To-Dos (once-a-year tasks perfectly suited for spring), Exterior To-Dos (fix-ups and repairs for the outside of your home), and Room-by-Room Tasks (decluttering and cleaning tips for specific rooms).
Be sure to pick a cloudy day to wash windows. "If it's too sunny, the cleaning solution will dry too fast and you'll have streaks," says Donna Smallin, author of Cleaning Plain & Simple (Storey Publishing, 2005). For a window-washing solution, Smallin combines 1/2 cup of sudsy ammonia (which is a specific type of ammonia), 1 pint of rubbing alcohol, 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, and 1 gallon of water.
Make dusting less of a chore with these genius tricks for cutting cleaning time.
Sliding Door Tracks
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.
You may overlook these surfaces on a daily basis, but once a year, give your baseboards, door frames, and walls a good scrub-down. Wash them with a sponge and a squirt of dishwashing liquid mixed in a bucket of warm water.
To maintain a new carpet's warranty, you may need to have it cleaned professionally every 12-18 months, Smallin says. Otherwise, you can do it yourself by renting a deep cleaner or buying a professional-style model designed for home use.
Clean Under Furniture & Appliances
Grab a partner and move your sofa and chairs, roll up area rugs, then vacuum the floors. Move your 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.
Clean floors faster, smarter, and better with these tricks.
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.
Refresh Window Treatments
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.
Dust Light Fixtures
Use a microfiber or lint-free cloth to dust fixtures and bulbs you can reach. For ceiling fans, skip the ladder and use an extendable duster. To clean grimy bulbs, lightly dampen your cloth with vinegar. Caution: Be sure bulbs are cool to the touch and your hands are dry.