It’s the most refreshing time of the year. Yes, spring cleaning season has rolled around again. And even if you have no intention of making an official spring cleaning to-do list, there are still certain parts of your home that probably could use a serious cleanse. Here are 15 spring cleaning tips that can help make your house a healthier place to live.
1. GET SOME FRESH AIR
Many of us can’t wait to throw open our windows in the spring. (Sorry to those with spring allergies.) And your house might desperately need that ventilation to reduce indoor air toxins that built up during the winter months. Natural ventilation has the ability to reduce lung-related illnesses by up to 20 percent, according to the World Health Organization. It also helps with moisture control, which hinders mold growth. If you can’t open windows, some other ways to improve indoor air quality are to bring in some houseplants, invest in an air purifier, limit the products you buy that contain VOCs and simply remove your shoes at the door.
Decluttering isn’t just for Marie Kondo fans. Getting rid of unnecessary possessions can do wonders for anyone’s health and wellbeing. According to Mayo Clinic, a tidy house can decrease stress, improve energy, spark creativity and leave you feeling happier and more accomplished. Plus, that organization can trickle into other areas of your life. For instance, you might be inspired to adhere to a healthier diet or a more structured workout plan. So jump on the decluttering bandwagon this spring, and start tidying up.
3. CHECK EXPIRATION DATES
As you declutter, make a point to look at expiration dates on any products that have them. Spend a day taking inventory of everything in your fridge and pantry. Get rid of food that’s past its prime, and plan to use anything that will expire soon. Plus, check the expiration dates on medications and first-aid items, household products and even any fire extinguishers you have in the house. It should bring you some peace of mind knowing everything is in working order.
4. BE PICKY ABOUT CLEANING PRODUCTS
Before you really get down to spring cleaning, take inventory of your cleaning products to be sure you have the tools you need for a healthy house. Consumer Reports recommends closely reading the labels of any store-bought products and adhering to their instructions. “A label with the words ‘poison’ or ‘danger’ indicates that some ingredients are toxic if ingested; one with the words ‘warning’ or ‘caution’ means there are ingredients that could be dangerous if swallowed,” Consumer Reports says. Even better, learn to make your own natural cleaning products that are better for your health and often your wallet, as well. You might already have many of the items you need right in your kitchen.
5. DUST OFTEN-OVERLOOKED SPOTS
Let’s be honest: There are parts of our homes we often skip with the dust cloth, as they can be tedious or difficult to clean. But a dusty house can have several consequences for our health. So as the season changes, prioritize dusting all those overlooked spots — blinds, baseboards, the tops of doors and cabinets, shelving, fan blades, etc. “You can fit a pillowcase around the fan blade, and use it as a dust rag,” HGTV recommends. “Any dust that falls will land into the pillowcase rather than on the floor or furniture below.”
6. DEEP-CLEAN RUGS AND UPHOLSTERY
It’s also ideal to give your rugs and upholstery a good cleaning to remove dirt, dust and other allergens that have settled in them. If you’re able, move your furniture, so you can reach all of your flooring to clean. HGTV even suggests making this the time of year when you invest in steam cleaning your carpets. “An annual steam clean helps to lift stains and refresh the fibers in high-traffic areas,” HGTV says.
7. THOROUGHLY WASH WINDOWS
Before you throw open those windows for the spring season, make sure they shine. Wash the insides and outsides, getting between screens and the glass. If you’re feeling especially ambitious, head to the exterior side to knock down any debris and cobwebs around your windows, so they aren’t trapping pollen and other contaminants near your open windows. Plus, freshen up your screens for the season, especially if they’ve been sitting idle (and dusty) all winter. “To quickly clean screens, use a scrap of carpeting,” HGTV says. “It makes a powerful brush that removes all the dirt.”
8. DISINFECT TRASH CANS
If you’ve never cleaned your trash cans, well, it’s probably time. It’s not a pleasant chore, but it will ensure that your cans are odorless and bacteria-free. The Kitchn recommends using a clean toilet brush and your preferred disinfecting spray to scrub down the inside of a trash can. Then, rinse, tip it upside down and allow it to dry thoroughly before you use it again.
9. DETOX THE REFRIGERATOR
A clean fridge is a healthy fridge. Besides killing any mold and bacteria, detoxing your fridge also removes spoiled food from the equation that could get you sick. Simply use your favorite natural disinfectant on the interior (and exterior). HGTV suggests working one shelf at a time, so you don’t have to remove the entire contents of your fridge all at once. “Every time you go to the store, make it a goal to clean a single shelf before you pile in new groceries,” HGTV says.
10. DEGREASE THE STOVE AND OVEN
Cleaning grime off stoves and ovens can take a bit of elbow grease. But the good news is you don’t have to resort to any toxic cleaners or even your oven’s potentially dangerous self-cleaning function. Simply create a paste of baking soda and water, and coat the dirty areas, The Kitchn says. Let it sit preferably overnight, and then wipe up the paste. Finally, spritz a little vinegar on any leftover baking soda, which will bubble, and wipe it away.
11. MAKE FAUCETS SHINE AGAIN
Hopefully, sanitizing faucets is part of your regular cleaning routine, as they’re a prime spot for germs to live. But there are some parts of faucets that tend to accumulate buildup over time. For lime buildup, HGTV recommends placing a vinegar-soaked towel over the spot and allowing it to sit for about an hour. That should make the deposits easier to wipe off. Likewise, check your showerhead for any mineral deposits, which can affect its performance. “Keep the jets in the nozzle clear and clean by misting the showerhead with a mixture of 50 percent white vinegar and 50 percent water,” according to HGTV. “Allow it to sit and drip for a few minutes and then wipe it clean with a dry cloth.”
12. CLEANSE THE BATHROOM
Use spring cleaning as a reason to finally tackle any mold and mildew lurking in your bathroom. Try a spray bottle filled with white distilled vinegar, which is highly effective on its own in killing mold. For a more pleasant smell, you can add a few drops of essential oils — or even some tea tree oil, which is an antifungal itself. And if you have a shower curtain (and liner), simply throw it in the wash with a cup of vinegar to kill mold and mildew.
13. REFRESH THE BED
A spring refresh might be just what your bed needs, especially if you have allergies. You should wash your sheets and pillowcases at least weekly, according to The Spruce. Pillows should be washed about every one to four months, depending on whether you use a pillow protector. And if you use a duvet cover, the duvet itself probably only needs to be washed a couple times a year, so spring cleaning can be one of those times. Plus, throw your mattress cover in the wash (ideally do this monthly), and give your mattress a good vacuuming to remove dust and dirt. Then, relax and breathe a little easier in your sleep.
14. HUNT FOR HOME REPAIRS
The spring cleaning season is a prime time to spot any potential repairs your home might need. So as you move about your cleaning tasks, keep an eye out for damage. “Investigate all doors and windows for leaks and drafts, particularly near the corners,” HGTV recommends. “Look for peeling and chipping paint, which can signal water intrusion.” Try to take care of any issues as soon as possible before those spring showers and hot weather complicate matters.
15. PACE YOURSELF
Just because it’s called spring cleaning, it doesn’t mean you have to get everything done before the flowers fully bloom. Divide and conquer your to-do list, while being mindful that some of these jobs can be pretty physically taxing. Do what you can. Pace yourself. Check off the tasks that are most pressing. And remember to stop and smell that fresh spring air.