Okay, so since the last post we’ve all de-cluttered, made space in our home or office and are now ready to start the actual task of the spring cleaning right? (If not, please go back a step and read our de-cluttering post to get you on track)
To help you along with this big annual task I have put together this guide along with some useful hints and tips to help you achieve a clean, fresh, sparkly home without too much pain, so lets get on shall we as we have homes and offices to make beautiful…
1) Get bodies on board – A spring clean is not a task to be done on your lonesome, it’s a big job and should you try to be a hero and do it alone you could be trapped in your property until next spring! Recruit your fellow family members, colleagues, flat mates or use a professional service, as I am sure you did not create the mess alone, so don’t take on the task of cleaning it alone!
Children can help with wiping walls, wiping cupboards, dusting and using a feather duster among other duties and if children are set a task and are given the authority for it, not only will you have less work to do, but your children will feel important and like they make a difference in the home… also bribery of ice cream afterwards, trip to park, movie night etc usually help too.
2) Check you have the tools – Before you psyche yourself up and start doing your stretching exercises and limbering up for the cleaning event (not compulsory ) check to make sure you have all the tools you need to be able to undertake your spring clean.
You will need:
- Jay cloths – Normally coloured, light textured cloths that can be bought cheaply and are excellent for wiping sides/doors/paintwork and can be thrown away afterwards or washed and used again
- Sponges – Ideally the sponges with the scouring pads on are best and are great for cleaning baths/sinks/stubborn marks on worktops/kitchen cupboards etc.
- Microfibre cloths – these are soft cloths that feel a little like a child’s blanket – I personally love these cloths and they are great tool to have in any cleaning box – my advice is don’t always think cheap with these, as they can be washed and re-used (no fabric softener or tumble dryers please as they ruins the cloth and it won’t work as well). Microfibres are used for buffing and polishing as well as cleaning and are excellent for shining your sink in your bathroom to making your windows sparkle
- Bowl/bucket – Needed for hot soapy water for cleaning paintwork, walls and doors
- Mop and vacuum
- Feather duster
- Bin liners
- Products – Be your products the natural remedies or the over the counter cleaning agents you will need, in some description; multi surface cleaner, polish, glass cleaner, de-scaler, anti-bacterial wipes, bleach and plenty of elbow grease!
3) Start up, work down – Help gravity out, by always starting at the top of the room and work downwards – so ceiling dusting for cobwebs, then walls, then door and architrave, then skirting, then floor
4) Get behind the big stuff – spring cleaning is that time when we move the settee, pull out the beds, move the kitchen dresser etc in order to get behind them and clean those areas – Please never do this alone, pair up with another and remember “knees bend, back straight, we go up without a break”. Use your crevice tool for the hard to reach places to go over the carpeted or hard floor area and also the skirting
*** top tip *** If you have cream or lighter coloured carpets you may notice around the edges it will still look dark after vacumming, this is trapped hair and dust and it will never come out with a vacuum alone, even using the crevice tool. Solution? Wrap a damp jay cloth around your finger tip and run it between the wall and carpet, it collects all dust and hair in one go.
Okay, now the nitty-gritty, are you ready?
5) Cleaning walls – After using your feather duster to go around the ceiling, its time to start on the walls. The first thing to do is eliminate the dust that will naturally settle.For a textured wall, use nylon socks over your broom head as this will prevent snagging and stop you having lots of matted and ripped material stuck to your wall. For wall-papered walls, a normal yellow duster will suffice, attached on to your broom head and brush the walls from the top down
After dusting off all walls, take a look for marks (especially finger and hand prints where people may lean or touch i.e. by light switches, door handles, the water cooler), if you paint is washable then please wipe away with a multi surface cleaner, if you have paint that is not washable or you have wallpaper that has greasy or crayon marks for example, panic not, a art-gum to erase marks could be used among many other solutions
6) Cleaning windows – Windows can be tricky and personally I find that allot of the over-the-counter cleaners, whilst smelling very nice don’t often deliver on their “no streaks” promise. I find washing the windows with good old fashioned soapy water (or 1 part water, 1 part white vinegar if you’d prefer) and then buffing with either newspaper or a good quality micro fibre will do a very nice job. My two top tips are to firstly clean your windows on a cloudy day when it is not sunny or too warm and secondly buff one side in one direction and, should you do the outsides too, to buff the other side in the opposite direction so that if there are smears you can tell which side is the culprit!
7) Cleaning paintwork – Using your bowl, jay cloths and sponges wash all architrave (door frames), doors and skirting boards in the rooms - Psst don’t forget the top of the door frames and to wipe over your doors and architrave afterwards with a microfibre to have high gloss finish without water marks
Also wash down banisters, spindles, strings (the triangle piece up the side of the stairs don’t-you-know) and hand railings as these areas get very dusty, very grimy and carry germs that can lead to viruses.
8 ) Wooden flooring – Grit is the enemy of the wooden floor, so in order to prevent a build up it is always best to have mats for visitors to wipe their shoes off before they step on your floor. Regularly brush or vacuum (on flat setting, no brush bars please as they will scratch) or invest in a microfibre flat head mop, as theses can be used for buffing as well as collecting dust and grit
With wooden floors it is best to “mist” the mop head (spray solution onto it) rather then the traditional method with a mop and bucket, as the water residue will sit on top of the floor and will, over time, cause damage to the flooring
*** Top Tip*** When cleaning your wooden floor, attach a waxed piece of paper to the bottom of your flat-head microfibre or broom – this will not only pick up any little bits that were stuck to the floor but will also polish the floor too!
9) Cleaning Kitchens – On a spring clean, the kitchen (along with bathroom) should have the longest time spent on them, as they are the two areas of your home that will encounter high traffic. In the kitchen all kitchen cupboards should be washed both inside and out, all kick boards, pelmets and handles. As well as the paintwork, windows and walls the other areas to pay attention too are the appliances, a great tip is to wipe them over with vinegar and lemon juice to keep white and buff afterwards to keep that new look shine. Also tips for a clean sink are to use lighter fluid (yes really) on stainless steel sinks to get rid of any staining – on porcelain sinks, place paper towels on the bottom of the sink and drench in household bleach, leave for 8 hours overnight and hey presto a lovely sparkly sink (not to be used on coloured sink please)
A top tip for your refrigerator is to place a small box of baking powder in there to eliminate odours
10) Cleaning bathrooms – In my opinion bathrooms should dazzle and shine, they are place we go to get clean ourselves and therefore it should be clean to begin with as what’s the pointing of bathing in a dirty tub?
For bathrooms, all walls, tiles, grout and paint work should be washed, as well as the toilet (don’t forget the back of the toilet where the pipes are and the sides where the toilet bolts in, both places that collect allot of dust and grime) the hand basin, shower tray and bath – then all should be buffed to a high shine with your microfibre.
My biggest bugbear with bathrooms is glass and chrome – these should sparkle within a bathroom and my ideal clean is when a shower is so clean it looks like it has no glass in it at all – to achieve this the product I would recommend would be Viakal or for those that prefer the natural remedy, use 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup ammonia and 1/2 baking powder to one gallon water – use your dis-scalers all over the screen, scrub lightly with a sponge scourer, rinse, wipe off dry and buff and you will have a shower of a luxery hotel in your very own bathroom
So there we have it my top ten guide of spring cleaning… now go and get your marigolds on as we have work to do