Spring Cleaning Guide — Inside and Out
Spring Cleaning Guide — Inside and Out
Indoor spring cleaning listWhile you wait for the snow to melt, rain to stop or simply warmer weather, take on these indoor spring cleaning items. Whenever you are doing a lot of cleaning, be sure to research your cleaning products and read the warnings and labels. It is recommended you use only one cleaner or chemical at a time and never mix chemicals, as some cleaning products when used with others can create toxic chemicals and gases.
FloorsAll that foot traffic over the year can take a toll on your floor coverings, but regular cleaning and yearly deep cleaning can keep it looking and functioning at its best.
- Carpet. Keep carpets looking and feeling their best with an annual deep clean. It can also extend the life of your carpet. Rent a carpet cleaner to accomplish the task. The Rental Store Quick Locator above can help you find a local rental store. Start by vacuuming the carpet. Next, treat any spots, stains and high traffic areas. Use either an upright carpet cleaner or a steam cleaning machine and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and rental professional’s advice to clean the carpet. Once the carpet is dry, vacuum one more time.
- Rugs. Test your rug to see if it is dirty enough to need a deep clean. Test by lifting and dropping a corner or kicking the underside; if a cloud of dust rises, it’s due for a cleaning. Many rugs include instructions on a tag, which should always be followed. If your rug is delicate, oriental, persian or antique, it’s best to leave the cleaning to a professional, but most other rugs can be cleaned at home. Vacuum both sides of the rug, or beat the dust out of the rug using a broom to begin. When washing, rinsing and drying a rug, be sure to do it in a location safe for handling water without damaging your floors. Test the rug cleaner solution of your choice in an inconspicuous area before working it into the whole rug. Rinse until the shampoo or solution is completely gone from the rug. Use a squeegee or wet-vac to remove excess water. Allow the rug to fully dry before returning to its place.
- Tile. If your tile — or more likely your grout — needs attention, allot some spring cleaning time to give it new life. Often, hot water and elbow grease will do the trick, but a homemade cleaning solution or tile and grout cleaner safe for your sealed tile and grout may be used if needed. For any stains that remain, a rented steam cleaner may be the answer to lifting them from the surface. Once clean, it may be a good idea to reseal your tile and grout, but be sure to wait at least 24 hours after cleaning to ensure it’s fully dry.
- Wood, vinyl and linoleum floors. These floors all benefit from regular care, but now is a good time to move furniture to sweep and vacuum if it has been a while.
FurnitureSpring cleaning can refresh your furniture and give it a longer life.
- Glass and mirrors. There are many glass cleaners available, but using a simple method with items often on hand can work just as well. First, clean with a mild dish detergent and water solution using a microfiber cloth will eliminate most residue. Follow up with a spritz of a mild vinegar solution (¼ cup vinegar to two cups water), and a wipe down in a z-motion with newspaper is a great way to get a streak-free finish.
- Mattresses. Vacuum your mattress using the crevice tool.
- Upholstered furniture. Always follow care instructions for your furniture. If your fabric or microfiber covered furniture could benefit from a deep clean, begin by vacuuming with the crevice attachment. Next, spot-treating spots and stains. Be sure to test your method in an inconspicuous area first. With stains removed, use a rented hot water extraction machine to finish the deep clean. For leather furniture, now is a good time to use the proper cleaning and conditioning procedure to keep it in optimal condition.
- Wood furniture. Dusting regularly is a good idea with wood furniture, and spring cleaning is a great time to reach any places you don’t regularly clean. It’s also a time to wax the wood and polish hardware, as well as filling any gouges with wood filler or several thin layers of a colored filler wax stick that closely matches the wood tone.
Walls and doorsMarks and dings are easily forgotten, but over time they can add up to make your home look weathered.
- Doors. In addition to washing doors, removing scuffs and polishing hardware, be sure to check the weather stripping and door sweep to make sure the door has a good seal. This will prevent drafts and moisture problems in the future.
- Trim. Dust molding and trim work and take the time to do any touch up work as you go.
- Walls. Spot clean marks and, if needed, give the whole wall a wash. Fill holes and touch up paint.
- Blinds. Dust and — if needed — wipe down metal and wooden blinds. Now is a great time to order replacements for damaged or broken blinds.
- Curtains and drapes. Read the tag for care instructions and follow recommendations. Many curtains and drapes can be refreshed using the air-only cycle on a dryer, and for a deeper clean can be thrown in the washing machine and followed by the dryer. Be sure to hang them promptly after drying so wrinkles don’t develop.
- Screens. Spray down screens to remove dust and build up. Scrub as needed. Repair ripped or damaged screens using a screen patch, or replace the screen material. Both are simple DIY tasks that require few tools.
- Windows. Use a microfiber cloth to clean the glass using a mild dish detergent and water solution (a couple drops of dish soap in a bucket of cold water) to remove dust and grime. Next, spray a mild vinegar solution (¼ cup vinegar to two cups water) on the windows and use a squeegee to remove for a streak-free finish. Test to make sure windows are functioning properly and order any necessary pieces to restore functionality.
- Ceiling fans. Cutting through the air, ceiling fans pick up dust. Now is the time to get out the step ladder and use a dust cloth to wipe them down. It may also be time to switch the fan from its winter setting (clockwise) to the summer setting (counterclockwise).
- Exhaust fans. Cleaning exhaust fans makes them function properly. Some also include filters and now is a good time to check those.
- Faucets. Polish faucets and hardware and repair any leaks before they become major problems.
Fire safetyNothing is as important as safety and to make sure it isn’t overlooked, put it at the top of your spring cleaning checklist.
- Cords. While cleaning, pay attention to cords. Look for fraying or damage and replace them.
- Dryer vent. In addition to removing lint with every load throughout the year, now is a good time to check the vent and around the machine for lint and any clothing items that need to be picked up.
- Fire extinguishers. Check your fire extinguishers to ensure they haven’t expired.
- Flammable products. Cleaning products and many other products are flammable and should be stored according to instructions on their labels.
- HVAC. Schedule a professional checkup for your heating and air conditioning systems to keep them functioning and to look for any potential issues.
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working properly. If not, replace the batteries or the whole unit depending on the style you have installed. Be sure to dispose of batteries promptly and in a safe manner. Storing batteries incorrectly is a fire hazard. Check the number and placement of detectors to make sure they meet local code requirements.
- Stove and oven. Regularly cleaning your stove and oven minimizes the risk that fallen food particles will catch fire, as does a deep clean as part of your spring cleaning routine.
Outdoor spring cleaning listJust like the interior of your home, the exterior needs attention and spring is a great time to tackle many of these yearly clean up projects so you can enjoy the space throughout the warm months. Taking care of maintenance and making repairs now with these spring will ensure you enjoy it for years to come.
Deck and patioSome decks and patios stand up to the elements better than others, but all can benefit from general cleaning and maintenance.
- Concrete patios and walkways. Begin by picking up or sweeping debris. For simple cleaning, hose off the sidewalk or patio, then use a broom and a small amount of dish soap to scrub the surface; follow with a thorough rinse. If a deeper clean is desired, rent a pressure washer to remove dirt and grime. If your patio or walkway should be sealed, wait at least 24 hours after cleaning or rainfall so it is dry to apply sealant. Spring can also be a good time to fill any new or existing cracks with a patching compound. If sealing and patching, follow product recommendations.
- Composite deck. Brush off surface debris with a soft bristled brush and clear out any debris in the gaps between boards. Warm soapy water should be sufficient for washing, followed by a rinse with water. Using cleaning solutions and a pressure washer can damage composite decking, so be sure to follow your decking manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Patio and deck furniture. Simply use dish soap and warm water to wash and rinse with plain water. Use furniture covers to make the most of your cleaning efforts.
- Stone and paver patios and walkways. Paver and stone surfaces are naturally low-maintenance, but spring cleaning is a great opportunity to keep them in tip top shape. Remove any furniture, accessories and container plants to give the patio a good sweep. Use a garden hose nozzle to get a strong stream to rinse it off. Spot clean with a mild soap and water solution as needed. Fill in any gaps between pavers or stones with sand or gravel.
- Wooden deck. Wooden decks should be deep cleaned once a year and spring is a great time to do it. Inspect the deck to make sure it is structurally sound and replace any broken or damaged boards, supports or hardware. Clear furniture and accessories. Sweep the deck and clear debris from between deck boards using a screwdriver or putty knife. Rinse the deck with a garden hose. If pressure washing is needed, make sure you follow manufacturer’s guidance for pressure level and nozzle choice. Too high of a setting and the wrong spray pattern can damage the deck.
LawnSpring lawn clean up and maintenance helps them look their best throughout the year.
- Aerating. If soil is compacted, it can benefit from spring aeration. Rent an aerator to do it yourself.
- Clean up. Remove old debris — including branches, twigs, and leaves and add to your compost or compost using local composting programs. Spring yard clean up should also include picking up any pet waste.
- Seeding. Lay down seed in early spring to cover any bare spots. It is worth noting that a pre-emergent herbicide will also hinder grass germination.
Garden and flower bedsDon’t forget about spring clean up: landscaping. Current beds benefit from a good clean up, and it’s also a good idea to create and change existing beds at the beginning of the growing season.
- Current beds. Trim or mow old growth on grasses and other perennials. Prune only shrubs and trees that should be pruned in the late winter or early spring, such as summer-flowering shrubs.
- Edging beds. Spring is a great time to redraw the edges of your beds. Lay a garden hose in the shape you’d like to your new beds and use a sharp edger to cut new lines. Remove sod with a shovel or if the area is large, rent a sod cutter for the large patches.
- Mulching. It’s generally best to wait until the weather warms more to lay new mulch to give pollinators a head start.
- New beds. Rent a tiller to create new garden and flower beds. Be prepared to mulch with straw or another material as the weather warms. Turning soil exposes the underlying seed bank and weeds will begin growing as they receive sunlight.
HomeCheck the exterior of your home for signs of damage and items in need of repair and maintenance.
- Facade. Spot clean the facade to clean off general buildup. Repair morton joints and touch up paint. Look for any other needed repairs to the exterior of your home.
- Gutters. Check for and repair any gutter damage and clear any clogs. Gutters perform a very necessary task of keeping water away from your house and its foundation.
Wooden fences and privacy screensProtect your fence and privacy screen investments with repair and maintenance.
- Cleaning. A pressure washer can work wonders quickly on a fence or privacy screen, but be sure to follow manufacturers’ recommendations as too high of pressure or the wrong nozzle can cause damage. Find a rental partner using the search at the top of this page.
- Patching and repairing. After a proper cleaning, glue damaged pieces, patch rotten portions and tighten loose connections to keep your fence structurally sound.
- Staining and painting. After cleaning and repair, scrape any loose or flaking paint and freshly paint the fence. Staining or sealing with a UV inhibitor can also help prolong the life of a fence. Make sure the fence is thoroughly clean and dry before painting, staining or sealing.