Lambs are in the fields, frogs at ‘it‘ everywhere, daffodils are out and there’s a hint of warmth in the middle of the day - yep, Spring must be here. Now’s the time to fling open the doors, give your home some air and a darn good clean. Spring cleaning isn’t just an opportunity to vacuum, dust and polish but also a chance to de-clutter, revamp and reorganise your home.
Firstly, get organised. A cluttered house is difficult to clean. Invest in some storage boxes or containers to get stuff stashed away. Search online for stacks of storage gizmos. Sort stuff into four boxes (1) Stuff to throw away (2) Stuff to donate or sell (3) Stuff to store and (4) stuff to keep.
Room By Room
Don’t try and do the whole house in one go - you’ll end up making more of a mess. Instead tackle one room at a time. You can spread the work load over several days if necessary.
Kitchen - Remove all appliances and clean work surfaces, shelves and splash backs with suitable cleaner. Empty the fridge, remove the shelving and wash all in warm soapy water. Run a special dishwasher cleaner through your dishwasher. To get grime off the front of your cabinets, try mixing baking soda or white vinegar with warm water and apply to the cabinets for a few minutes before rinsing off thoroughly. If you’ve got wooden cabinets stick with soap and water and furniture polish.
Bathroom - Thoroughly clean all bathroom fittings with bathroom cleaner. If there’s a build up of limescale around the taps or in the loo - an acidic cleaner such as white vinegar works well - you’ll have to leave it for a few hours. Use a brush and baking soda to scrub grout that may have discoloured due to mildew. Replace any damaged tiles. Undo screws to exhaust fans and remove dust with brush or vacuum cleaner. Remove the shower curtain and wash in the machine or replace altogether.
Bedroom - Turf out the wardrobe and drawers and clean them. Moths like quiet, dark corners so disturbing them will get rid of them. Use the opportunity to cull your clothes and donate unwanted stuff to the charity shop. Clean winter clothes and pack away in an old suitcase in the loft or in a vacuum bag to save space. Delve under the bed and throw out any rubbish. Use underbed storage drawers for stuff you want to keep. Flip the mattress over and ideally wash the duvet.
Lounge - Unplug all electronic items such as DVD players and Hi-Fis and check for wear and tear on cables. Clean appliances with a soft cloth. Carefully dust photos and paintings. Check that picture hooks are still tight. If you are moving the furniture to do a good clean, consider re-arranging it and giving the room a mini-makeover. Dust plants off too.
Outside - Power wash your patio or decking to remove algae that has built up. You can treat with Algaecide to combat algae and fungi growth.
Carpets, Curtains & Upholstery
A big part of getting your home gleaming again is cleaning the carpets, curtains and upholstery.
Carpets - Use a specialist carpet cleaning company - Not only will your carpets and rugs be clean and dry again in a couple of hours, they use techniques which won’t leave a sticky residue. If rugs are past cleaning, its maybe time to replace them. Make sure that any company you employ is a member of the National Carpet Cleaning Association (NCCA).
Curtains - Pleats and gathers are hiding places for dust and linings can get mildew on them from condensation. You may be able to wash and iron at home otherwise take them to the dry cleaners. Bung net curtains into the washing machine. Whilst your curtains are down, wash the windows too.
Upholstery - Use a hoover attachment to get into the back of sofas and chairs. If covers are removable, take them off and wash them. Consider getting new scatter cushions or lampshades for an immediate new look.
If you can’t face doing the spring clean yourself, contact a professional cleaning company They have outlets throughout the country and can do one off cleans. They can also use special anti-bacterial products.
You home is packed full of eco-friendly and natural cleaning products if you know where to look:
Baking Soda - Can be used in conjunction with vinegar to unblock drains; as an odour eater and an abrasive cleaner for cleaning bathroom tiles.
Borax – Can be used as stain removal aid and slowing down the growth of mold and mildew and cleaning wallpaper. Available from www.biggreensmile.com
Cream of tartar – Good for removing stains from porcelain when you sprinkle some on a damp cloth and wipe the affected area.
Hydrogen peroxide – Mix with water to remove mold and mildew, can be used as a stain removal agent too, as it’s a milder alternative to bleach.
Lemon – Has many uses include; buffing fixtures and fittings, removing soap scum and remove odours from waste units.
Salt – Can be added to a half cut lemon to make a light-abrasive cleaning tool. Can also be used as an aid to stain removal.
Vinegar– The daddy of eco friendly cleaning products as it’s similar to an all-purpose cleaner. It can be used on nearly all types of work surfaces and is especially useful in bathrooms and kitchens.