Spring cleaning checklist: Your guide for spring cleaning tips

Spring cleaning can be totally overwhelming — there are so many jobs to be done, and most of them are labor- and time-intensive. If you’re a person who doesn’t know where to begin with your spring cleaning efforts, even those spring cleaning checklists can feel like too much. So to help you get started and to stay focused, we’ve broken spring cleaning down room by room, suggesting two to three deep-cleaning jobs to consider for each.

But, even more importantly, we’ve talked to experts about the tools and cleaning agents that will make heavy duty cleaning faster and easier, and about some surprising spring cleaning uses for home appliance stalwarts like your vacuum and washing machine.

After a long winter, the bedroom can take on a stale feeling, so focusing your spring cleaning efforts on freshening up will lead to a big payoff in the end.

Refresh your bedding: Even if you’re diligent about regularly laundering your bedsheets, laundry will play a big role in spring cleaning the bedroom. Mary Begovic Johnson, a principal scientist at Tide and Downy, points out that sheets aren’t the only textiles that take on dirt and odor over time. “People don’t always think to wash the other textiles on or around their beds like bed skirts, shams, throw pillow covers, blankets, comforters, stuffed animals, throw rugs, laundry bags and even the pillows themselves!”

Because these items are washed infrequently, soils become deeply embedded, so using a laundry detergent designed for stain removal, like Tide’s Ultra Stain Release detergent, should be part of your regular spring cleaning routine.

Deep clean the mattress: As Josh Mutlow, a design manager at Dyson, points out, “We spend almost a third of our lives in our beds, but we very rarely give any attention to how clean our mattresses are.” Of course, you can’t just toss a mattress in the washing machine, but you can use another household appliance to give it a good spring cleaning: your vacuum. Mutlow suggests using a motorized attachment, such as the Dyson Tangle Free Turbine tool, to pick up hair, dust, pollen and other allergens that build up in the bedroom.

See more of our favorite handheld vacuums here and for more ideas and tips, check out our complete guide to spring cleaning the bedroom.

Let’s face it: Deep cleaning the bathroom can be a real chore of a chore. But there are some miracle products that will do a lot of the work for you, sparing you time and elbow grease.

Brighten up dingy grout: OxiClean is typically used to brighten up laundry, but it can also be used to brighten up dingy, dirty grout. To use it for deep cleaning, dissolve the powder in hot water to make a solution. Apply a thin layer of the OxiClean solution to the floor, then let the solution do its thing on your floors for 30 to 60 minutes before mopping it up. Give the floor another pass with the mop and clean water, and allow it to dry, at which point you’ll be greeted with bright, clean grout.

Eliminate mold and mildew: X-14 is a heavy-duty cleaner that eliminates mold, mildew and Serratia marcescens, that pinkish/orange shower scum that collects around drains, grout and caulk. Because X-14 is so powerful, very little scrubbing is required; simply spray the product on the moldy surface, allow 10 to 15 minutes to penetrate and eliminate the bacterial growth and rinse the area clean.

The living room is a great place to let machines do a lot of the spring cleaning for you, from freshening up furniture to cleaning those ceiling fans.

Freshen the furniture: As with mattresses, we spend a lot of time on our couches and sofas and often overlook the need to clean them. According to Mutlow, sofas and other upholstered furniture should be cleaned every month. (Every month!) Cordless models make vacuuming oversized and bulky items less cumbersome than corded machines.

Wash the windows: Washing windows has typically been considered one of the worst spring cleaning chores, but now there’s a robot that can do them for you. Window washing robots use a tethering function that allows the machines to literally cling to vertical surfaces like windows, sliding glass doors and even glass shower doors as it cleans.

In the kitchen, spring cleaning jobs tend to fall into one of two categories: major purging — decluttering and reorganizing spaces like the pantry, or the cabinet where you store your food storage containers — and major appliances, which we tend to put off cleaning because, let’s be honest, we tend to dread jobs like cleaning the oven or refrigerator.

Scour the oven and refrigerator: If your major appliances need some major attention, this tip is one you need to know: The tool you use for the job is just as important as the cleaning agent you choose. When it comes to cleaning the interior of the oven or the refrigerator, a Dobie Pad — a nonscratch scrub sponge that will scour away stubborn messes — will make the job much, much easier.

Wash smelly, soiled curtains: “The grease and other molecules released by cooking will travel throughout the house and settle on textiles like curtains causing dinginess and odors,” Johnson explained. “Some odors and dingy soils can become so deeply embedded that they can’t be removed with regular washing.” For items like curtains or small kitchen rugs, Johnson suggests using a laundry detergent designed for heavy duty washing, like Tide’s Hygienic Clean detergent.

Address sticky, grimy cabinets: If organizing your cabinets and pantry is on your list of spring cleaning chores, it’s also worth taking the time to deep clean the shelves and cabinet doors. Airborne grease from cooking leaves a sticky film on hard surfaces that regular all-purpose cleaners won’t cut through, so for this job, reach for a heavy duty degreaser like Zep Industrial Purple.

Home offices have two major, and related, problems: clutter and dust. Focusing spring cleaning efforts on eliminating those two sources of messiness will leave your workspace looking brighter, cleaner and more organized.

Dust those hard-to-reach areas: An inexpensive vacuum attachment can work wonders when it comes to spring cleaning your home office. Mutlow points out that “we may be used to cleaning the bottom of a windowsill, but the top of one can go untouched for years,” collecting dust, dirt, pet hair and more. He suggests an extending wand attachment like this one from All Parts for cleaning high-up spaces where your eyes can’t spot dirt, but do check to make sure “universal” applies to your machine.

Organize your files: Scanners aren’t typically associated with cleaning, but if your home office has been overtaken by papers, spring cleaning may take the form of a digitizing project. If you’re serious about streamlining, investing in an easy-to-use scanner will allow you to organize files digitally, eliminating that pile of papers on your desk and leaving your workspace looking neat and tidy.

Garage and outdoors spring cleaning checklist

Outdoor spring cleaning can be backbreaking work, which is why power tools are such an important part of outdoor cleanup. Kevin O’Connor, the host of the television program “This Old House,” has some favorite multitasking power tools for spring cleaning, which he calls his “favorite of all the chores to be done!”

Blow away dirt & debris: Leaf blowers aren’t just for leaves. Kevin O’Connor, the host of the television program This Old House, said “A powerful leaf blower will help you clean out beds, clear the lawn, and tidy up your driveway, patio and walkways.” Is the garage filthy? Use the leaf blower to remove dirt and debris. O’Connor prefers a gas-powered backpack blower, like the Poulan Pro Backpack Leaf Blower, for its size and power.

Powerwash the garage floor and more: People love pressure washers so much there are entire online forums devoted to them, and O’Connor explains why, “There are endless uses for this tool, your imagination is the only limit.” The jobs O’Connor uses a pressure washer for include cleaning the grill and outdoor furniture, clearing gutters or unclogging a downspout, cleaning brick and wood decking, and even washing out garbage cans.

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