When you’ve endured a long, cold winter, spring comes as a wonderful relief. The days stay lighter for longer, plants start coming back into bloom and, hopefully, the weather’s showing signs of getting warmer, too. So, to celebrate this new beginning, lots of us like to give our homes a good spring clean. The tidying tradition has been with us for centuries – and for good reason.
For months we’ve been kept indoors by the weather, so when we do venture outside we often bring back mud and other mess with us. The dirt accumulates over time so by the time spring rolls around, it’s high time to give everything a good cleaning.
In some countries it takes on even greater significance than just a chance to get our homes spick and span. For example, in China it takes the form of a ritual called Ninyabaat, which is carried out on the eve of the Chinese New Year. The thorough scrubbing symbolizes the banishing of bad luck before making a propitious start to the next 12 months. In Buddhist countries like Thailand, April 13th sees the start of a two-day festival called Songkran, in which the people not only give their homes a good, deep clean, they also hold parades where crowds throw water on icons of Buddha in order to give them a ritual clean.
While our own spring cleaning efforts may not have quite the same symbolic significance, there’s no reason why you can’t introduce a little spirituality into the process – just check out this zen guide to spring cleaning for a little inspiration.
But when it comes to a room-by-room guide, look no further than below, where we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to getting every space in your house squeaky clean in the calmest way possible.
Rule #1 – don’t cook with the windows closed
Let’s start with the one room in your home that’s likely to have got a little messy over the winter. Cooking with the windows closed is going to lead to a build-up of dirt, however good your extraction system is. So start off by giving all the walls and ceiling a good wash down with a mild detergent. Depending on the state of the kitchen, this may take a couple of goes.
Next, clean out your oven. You don’t need to use one of those heavy-duty cleaners that also gives off noxious fumes, when a simple paste of bicarbonate of soda and water will do. Rub the paste all over the inside of the oven – avoiding the element if it’s electric – and leave it to work its magic for a few hours. Then wipe it off with a damp cloth, taking all the grease with it.
Then it’s the turn of the cupboards for a good clear out. Empty out all your food and check for any that’s out of date. Thoroughly wipe down all the insides of the cupboards and wait for them to dry before putting things back in. It’s also a good time to organise where things go more logically, as well as taking a quick inventory of what’s left, and deciding whether you need to stock up on the sorts of foods that are especially good for you.
Finally, here’s a handy tip if you have a stainless steel sink and draining board. Olive oil is the perfect substance to clean them – just rub in a few drops and wipe with a clean cloth to get a lovely deep shine.
The living room
Cleaning your living room can be a challenge – especially if you have pets.
The first thing to do when cleaning your living room is take down the drapes or blinds to either wash or wipe clean. When they’re down there’ll be far more light being let into the room, so you can see what really needs some attention.
The next step is to dust everything down including mantelpieces, bookshelves and table tops. If you’re allergic to house dust or have other nasal allergies it would be a good idea to wear a face mask, so you can avoid having to contend with streaming eyes and a runny nose while you clean.
Move all the furniture aside before you start to vacuum. If pet hair’s a problem in your home, you can pick up a lot of it by putting on a pair of rubber gloves and rubbing carpets and furniture before you vacuum. You’ll find it sticks to the gloves that can then be rinsed under water. Sprinkling a little powered cinnamon on the carpet before hoovering will leave the room smelling lovely and fresh.
Last but not least, if you have any fabric lampshades, use lint rollers to get the dust off these awkwardly-shaped items.
Cutting down on clutter can make a big difference to how tidy your bedroom looks
We spend a third of our lives in bed, and it’s also been shown that the quality of sleep you get can directly affect all parts of your life. So it certainly pays to spend a little time making sure that you’ve got a clean and calming environment to rest in.
A spring clean is the ideal opportunity to have a good look through your wardrobes. Cut down on the clutter by taking the clothes you don’t want any more – as well as those you keep thinking you’ll get around to wearing but never do – and donate them to charity.
It’s also a good time to turn over your mattress, as recommended every six months. Sprinkle the mattress with baking powder to deodorize it, and hoover it off a few hours later.
Naturally, you should also wash curtains and give the carpet a good hoovering. Remember to clear out all the boxes that you’ve stored under the bed and hoover there, too.
Shaving foam and vinegar are blessings when it comes to bathroom cleaning.
Like the kitchen, steam will have left its mark on the bathroom walls, so give those and the ceiling a thorough washing-down. Make sure that any ventilation fans are thoroughly cleaned and cleared, too.
A handy tip is to use shaving foam to clean your mirrors – not only does it create a lovely shine, it also prevents them from steaming up.
If there’s a build-up of limescale on taps, you can use ordinary household vinegar to get them shining. Just soak some kitchen paper with it, wrap it round the taps and leave for a couple of hours to work its magic.
Empty out the bathroom cabinet and give the inside a good clean before seeing if there’s anything that can be thrown away, to create a little more space for your bathroom essentials.
The one last thing to say is that you should make cleaning fun, so listen to your favourite music and bop while you mop. You can also keep motivated by promising yourself a little treat for completing each task as you do them. Happy cleaning!