Once upon a time, you probably thought that spring cleaning was only something that your Aunt Millie did. Seriously, are dusting and sparkly windows really that important?
But now, you get it. After months of being holed up inside, your space is looking kind of…sad. And you’re ready to bring it back to its former glory.
Guide to Streamlined Green Spring Cleaning
How to get started? This 7-step green spring cleaning checklist will help you get the job done—without taking forever or using tons of chemical-laden cleaning products.
Let’s do this!
1. Purge unwanted items.
Don’t bust out the mop quite yet. When it comes to spring cleaning, the first step is getting rid of stuff you no longer need.
Rounding up unwanted clothes and shoes is a good start, but don’t stop there. Clear out old books, magazines, mail and any other stuff you’ve had sitting around forever that you keep saying you’re going to get rid of—like that waffle iron you haven’t used in 3 years.
Once you’ve gathered it all up, do the green thing by recycling reusables and donating or reselling your gear.
2. Do a major dust-up.
Chances are, you’ve got months’ worth of fuzz and lint all over your space. Which is gross, not to mention potentially bad for your health. Unchecked dust can wreck your indoor air quality and wreak havoc on your seasonal allergies.
Instead of wasteful disposable dusting cloths, grab a couple reusable microfiber cloths. In addition to the usual surfaces, wipe down the baseboards, air vents, blinds, overhead light bulbs, light fixtures and lamp shades, ceiling fan blades, picture frames, as well as any other décor. Upholstery and drapes also harbor dust, so they can use a good vacuuming, too.
3. De-gunk the kitchen.
Hopefully, you’re already in the habit of wiping down the stove and mopping the floor at least every couple weeks. Now’s the time to take care of the tasks you might be doing, err, less often.
First, tackle the fridge. Get rid of any old stuff that’s no longer edible. Then, give the shelves a good cleaning by wiping them down with a 1:1 mix of water and white vinegar, plus a few drops of your favorite essential oil to make it smell nice.
Next, move the fridge away from the wall and use a microfiber cloth to remove as much dust as possible from refrigerator coils. Sweep and mop behind the fridge before putting it back in place.
Other good places to de-grime for a healthier kitchen include burner pans, the inside of the oven, and exhaust fan filters (your appliance manuals will provide instructions).
4. Beautify the bathroom.
You don’t need toxic chemicals to disinfect your tub and shower. A 1:1 mix of water and white vinegar will get the job done. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil (like lavender or citrus) for a fresher scent. Got stubborn scum or grout stains? Sprinkle on some baking soda, add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide, and scrub with a toothbrush.
Next, take a look at your shower curtain. You can get rid of the mildew by washing it in the gentle cycle with your favorite eco-friendly laundry detergent and half a cup of baking soda. For extra scum-fighting power, add a cup of white vinegar or a few drops of tea tree oil directly into the washer.
And before you wrap up, remember to toss those bathmats into the washing machine.
5. Wash those windows.
Chances are, you’ll need to call in the pros if you want to clean the outside of your windows. But you can take care of the insides yourself—no harsh cleaning products necessary.
To make your own streak-free glass cleaner, mix ¼ cup white vinegar, ½ teaspoon liquid soap, and 2 cups of water. Other DIY-ers also swear by formulas with vinegar, alcohol, a pinch of cornstarch and water. Simply add it all to a spray bottle and shake well. Easy.
6. Head to your bed.
If it’s been a while since you flipped or rotated your mattress, now’s your chance. Doing so can help keep the foam or coils from wearing out or sagging, which can help you sleep more comfortably and extend the life of your mattress. While you’re here, consider vacuuming the surface of your mattress with a hose attachment to bust any lingering dust (and, if you notice any weird stains, now’s a good time to get rid of them.)
While you’re at it? If your pillows are washable, do yourself a favor and toss them in the washing machine. (For specific instructions, check your pillow’s care label.) If it’s been a while, you’ll be getting rid of months worth of dead skin cells, dust, and bacteria.
7. Do a quick safety check
Before you cross the spring cleaning marathon finish line, one last thing: If it’s been more than six months since you’ve touched your smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector, replace the batteries.
Finally, check the date on your fire extinguisher. If it’s expired, replace it with a new one. If it’s still good, put the future expiration date on your phone’s calendar so you remember to buy a new one.
Is there one spring cleaning chore that you actually look forward to? What’s the one you dislike the most?