Spring cleaning is an annual ritual that many perform—some more enthusiastically than others—to clear out the winter debris and achieve a more comfortable environment for everyone in our households. But performing spring cleaning and annual home maintenance tasks isn’t only good for our homes. According to medical science, it’s actually good for our mental and physical health too. In fact, increasing numbers of people have begun to view spring cleaning as an act of self-care because of its benefits to mind and body health. This year, don’t skip this ritual; luxuriate in its healthful benefits, and enhance your living space with improved maintenance at the same time.
Ever walk into a cluttered room and feel tense or suddenly stressed? A messy home can induce stress. Cleaning your home can “uplift your mood,” as reported by Cleveland Clinic. Performing cleaning tasks has a lot in common with exercise. As we move to perform chores like mopping or window washing, our bodies act as if we’re exercising and release feel-good endorphins that don’t just soothe our muscles—they also flood the brain with ‘feel-good’ relief. It’s why so many people who exercise religiously report less chronic stress. As you’re cleaning, you can reward your brain with ‘less worrying.’ In this way, cleaning lets you practice mindfulness, which can relieve anxiety or depression symptoms.
Moving is exercising—and that’s good for many aspects of your physical health. Many cleaning tasks are very nearly cardio in nature. Scrubbing your kitchen and dining room floors may leave you just as sweaty and well-exercised as a session of low-impact aerobics. Cleaning can also help you burn calories. For instance, you can burn more than 100 calories with just a half-hour of vacuuming. Finally, removing dust, mold, and other allergens during your spring cleaning ritual can benefit your immune system as these pollutants make you feel miserable by causing allergy systems to erupt.
The ideal thing about a spring cleaning ritual is that it encompasses the whole house—not just one or two rooms. While it may take you an entire week or weekend to complete your annual spring clean and maintenance tasks, you’ll enjoy a thoroughly cleaned home once your chores are complete, allowing you to address only routine cleaning and maintenance tasks during the hot season ahead. Use the following checklist and guide to ensure you target all necessary tasks during your big spring clean.
Each room may require many of the same repetitive tasks, so we’ll outline them for you here:
Check Smoke Detectors
It’s a wise idea to check your smoke detectors each season to ensure that each one is in proper working condition—but definitely inspect them during your spring clean. Keep batteries on hand so that you can easily change them when you need to.
Dust Ceiling Fans and Light Fixtures
Did you know that dust doesn’t just trigger allergic responses? It can actually harbor viruses that you can contract when breathing in dust. When dusting these features, it’s a good idea to wear a dust mask.
Search and remove cobwebs from ceiling corners, above cabinets, and windows.
A thorough spring clean means cleaning your indoor and outdoor glass panes as well as window sills and tracks that can become caked with dust and debris.
Disinfect Commonly Touched Features
Whether you use a commercial cleaner or make your own eco-friendly DIY cleaning solution, it’s vital to disinfect light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet pulls to reduce germ spread—especially in light of new viruses like Covid-19.
Is anything more wonderful than a spotless kitchen? Grab your rubber gloves and cleaning rags because you’re about to find out!
Whether you use your microwave to reheat or cook food or defrost foods like raw meat, you need to clean it routinely to eliminate dangerous pathogens like E.coli that could be present. If you prefer not to rely on commercial cleaners, grab a lemon and slice it into a microwavable bowl filled halfway with water. Heat the bowl in the microwave for about four minutes. You’ll find that any hard-to-remove food gunk wipes cleanly away with ease. Don’t forget to clean the outside of the appliance too—especially the handle and touch screen.
Remove all items from your refrigerator so you can thoroughly clean its trays and shelves. Take extra care with lunch meat and vegetable compartments—these are known to harbor the most germs in this appliance. Remember to clean the fridge coils, freezer vents, and ice maker, and change the water filter.
Empty and defrost your freezer, and scour its interior. Most manufacturers suggest defrosting your freezer on an annual basis.
Clean the Stove and Oven
Use a paste made with vinegar and baking soda to clean your stovetop and oven for a cheap and effective DIY way. Slather the paste on the surfaces inside the oven and the stovetop, and allow it to sit for a few hours—or overnight if you can. Then, use a damp sponge or microfiber cloth to wipe away the paste—and with it, the grime.
Wipe down your toaster’s exterior, including the cord, and don’t forget to empty and clean the crumb tray.
Disinfect the handles or controls of all small appliances you use routinely, such as your coffee maker, mixer, and can opener.
Clean Out Cabinets
Empty your cabinets so that you can quickly scour each shelf. Before returning food items to cabinets, check their expiration dates and toss anything that’s expired.
Spring Cleaning Tips for Bedrooms
A thorough cleaning can leave bedrooms feeling like the personal sanctuary spaces they’re meant to be. Use these tips to transform your bedrooms into oasis-like retreats:
Bedding and Pillows
Wash all your bedding—comforters and duvets as well as sheets and pillowcases. Pillows can harbor harmful bacteria even when adorned with clean pillowcases, so if they’ve been in use for more than a year, consider replacing them each spring. While it’s crucial to wash certain bedding items like sheets and pillowcases weekly, you can generally wash quilts and comforters every two to four weeks to reduce the presence of germs.
Turn your mattress over to protect it from premature damage, and rotate it to help prevent wear in the same places.
Organize Drawers and Closets
Spring is a great time to organize your wardrobe. If you haven’t worn certain garments in over a year, consider donating or upcycling them.
If you’re cleaning children’s bedrooms, be sure to disinfect all toys with hard surfaces to reduce germ spread.
Aside from basic bathroom cleaning tasks you do on a routine basis, like cleaning the toilet, tub, sink, and floor, you’ll want to tackle these chores each spring:
Wash Shower Curtain
Wash your shower curtain, and if you have a shower liner, replace it with a fresh one.
Wash or Replace Floor Mats
Floor mats can harbor icky bathroom germs. You’ll want to wash them routinely, but spring is a great time to replace them if needed.
Declutter Storage Features
Organize your bathroom’s cabinets and drawers—discard old or expired toiletries, cosmetics, and medications. Check with your local pharmacy about how to dispose of prescription medications.
Update Your First Aid Kit
Assess your first aid kit, and be sure it has fresh supplies. Include gauze, bandages, antibiotic cream, and over-the-counter pain relievers so that you’ll always have them on hand in an emergency.
Wash the Walls
While most of us are used to washing shower walls, bathroom germs can technically attach themselves to any room walls. Because bathrooms are notorious for germ build-up, it’s a good idea to wash all of the walls and doors of each bathroom in your home.
Don’t neglect rooms like your home office, laundry room, living room, and family room during your spring cleaning ritual. Add these tasks to your spring to-do list:
Rugs and Carpeting
A thorough vacuuming makes your rugs and carpets look and smell fresh. However, consider inviting professionals to your home to steam clean your carpets for a deep, penetrating clean—especially if you live with pets. Many carpet manufacturers suggest steam cleaning your rugs every 12 to 18 months.
While you can have your upholstery professionally cleaned, there are many commercially available upholstery cleaners and DIY solutions you can employ.
Spring is the perfect time to assess your home for any cracks or problem areas that could be inviting to pests. Fix leaks, and seal holes and cracks to keep rodents and insects outside. If your area is prone to pests, consider hiring a pest control professional to spray around your home’s foundation to deter pests like ants from entering.
Outdoor Spring Cleaning and Maintenance Tips
It can feel delightful to get outside on a warm, sunny spring day after spending so long indoors during the cold season. You might even enjoy performing the following outdoor tasks:
Make Time for an Inspection
Rough winter weather can take a toll on exterior home features. Take time to inspect the roof, siding, fencing, deck, patio, and structures like gazebos and pergolas. If you spot damage, you’ll need to make the repairs—ideally before the heavy spring rains—or hire a professional contractor to address the issues.
Winter winds may have blown considerable debris like lingering autumn leaves and twigs into your gutters. To ensure your gutters can dispel those spring rains, be sure to clean them thoroughly and make sure they’re in good repair.
Clean Outdoor Features
To ensure you’re ready to enjoy the warm season ahead, clean your outdoor features, like the patio furniture and your barbecue grill.
Clean Trash Cans
It’s a dirty job, but using a hose and disinfectant can make cleaning your trash cans a quick and relatively painless task.
Test Lighting and Water Features
Ensure that your lighting features are functioning properly this spring. Test your water features like your pool, fountains, and irrigation systems to ensure they’re in proper working order, too.
While you can use pre-emergent sprays to prevent weed growth, you can also employ more eco-friendly solutions, like spreading fresh mulch or merely removing any weeds that pop up.
If junk and debris have accumulated in your back yard over the winter, remove it as part of your spring clean—rent a roll-off, take loads to the dump in your pickup truck, or hire a service that specializes in junk removal.
Spring is the ideal time to perform many important lawn care tasks, like aeration and overseeding. These two tasks alone can help you achieve a lush lawn, even if you choose not to apply fertilizer.
Make It Pretty
While addressing your outdoor setting, you may find that paint touch-ups are needed for porch railings or fencing, as well as other features like metal patio furniture or shutters. Spring is also an excellent time to address damage to hardscape features like walkways, driveways, and curbs.
Once you’ve completed your spring cleaning tasks, you’ll be ready to put up your patio umbrella and start to plan your warm-season gardening and landscaping projects. While you may find that many of the tasks outlined here are no problem for do-it-yourselfers, you may need to rely on professional contractors to address some issues, like roof damage or asphalt patching. And with your spring cleaning ritual complete, don’t be surprised if you feel a bit rejuvenated in mind and body!
Originally posted on Porch.com