One easy remedy for the cabin-fever blahs many of us are feeling lately is to get busy with projects around the house. So if you find yourself with too much time on your hands, catch up on housework!
There are lots of jobs around the house to occupy your mind and pass the time. Getting moving is bound to improve your mood, and your sense of accomplishment when the job is done will make you feel great.
Here are some suggestions for areas around the house that always need work.
Clean Under Area Rugs
Roll back areas rugs, sweeping or vacuuming the underside as you go. At the same time, sweep or vacuum the floor underneath. If necessary, damp mop and allow to dry before replacing the rug.
Shake small scatter rugs outdoors, if possible, and let them air. Run washable rugs through the washer and hang to dry.
Wash Door Mats
Rubber-backed door mats and boot trays can be easily washed outdoors. Spray them with a little all-purpose cleaner and rinse thoroughly with water from a bucket or hose. Air-dry in the sunshine.
Sort through medicine cabinets and other cupboards in the bathroom. Dispose of outdated medicines, first aid items, and toiletries. Sort and re-organize as items are replaced.
Remove all linens and towels from the linen closet and sort through everything. Get rid of (or convert into rags) anything that isn’t in great shape. Then replace all items, neatly sorted and folded.
Dust Book Shelves
Remove all books from books shelves, dust the shelves and books, then re-organize and replace books. Give away any books that are no longer of interest to you.
Clean Garage Windows
Grab some window cleaner and clean the garage windows, inside and out. Pick a nice day to complete this task and enjoy the fresh air while you’re outside.
If there is any noticeable dust on lampshades, use a clean paintbrush to gently knock the dust down onto a table or other hard surface, then wipe it up with a damp cloth.
Vacuum Upholstered Furniture
Use the upholstery tool with your vacuum cleaner to thoroughly vacuum couches and chairs, rotating cushions as you go.
Vacuum mattresses, flip them over, and vacuum the other side too.
Sweep dirt and debris off of porches and steps to freshen them up and prevent dirt from entering your home.
These are just a few ideas to get you going. Look around for chores that haven’t been done in a while. Spending time on tasks that make your home a nicer place to live is sure to lift your spirits and make you feel productive.
When you live with small children who are on the move, house cleaning has special challenges. Since toddlers put their hands on everything, and put everything into their mouths, your house cleaning routine should include steps above and beyond the typical basics. The following are tips for cleaning a home with toddlers.
Tackle Everything Down Low
When cleaning a home with toddlers look at everything from their perspective: floor level. Think about which objects might be handled or touched by tiny hands and potentially be a source of germs or bacteria.
Don’t skimp on this step. Look into corners and under the edges of furniture. Toddlers can venture into tiny spaces, so take care to cover all the bases.
Do a Germ Patrol
Pay special attention to surfaces that could potentially harbor germs and use your due diligence to reduce the spread of these pathogens. Use common sense; every surface doesn’t need to be disinfected. But if little Henry’s nose is running from a cold and he’s wiping it with his hands, pay attention to areas that he subsequently touches.
Scope Out Fingerprints
It shouldn’t be difficult to deduce which surfaces your toddler favors for tactile stimulation: the fingerprint trail will tell the tale. Keeping this evidence cleaned up reduces the spread of germs and keeps areas looking fresh and clean.
Use appropriate cleaning agents when cleaning surfaces with which toddlers will come in contact. Read labels to be sure whatever you’re using is safe for your toddler, safe for the surface being cleaned, and doesn’t pollute your indoor air quality.
Keep Cleaners Close at Hand
Keep track of your supplies when using cleaning agents around toddlers. Accidents take only seconds. Wear an apron with pockets or clean at naptime and don’t allow yourself to become distracted so something toxic gets left where it shouldn’t be.
Wash Floors Often
Toddlers need safe spaces in which to explore. Keep carpets vacuumed and floors mopped. Spot-clean soiled areas ASAP.
Pick Up Toys
Don’t allow toys to accumulate on the floor. When not in use, keep them picked up, both to make floor cleaning easier and to reduce the transfer of dirt and pathogens to the objects with which your child plays.
Cleaning homes with small children is challenging, but it’s important to make the effort. Beyond just having a home that looks clean; small children need a safe, clean environment in which to live and grow. You owe it to them to do all you can to provide them with one.
No one wants to spend hours upon hours cleaning their home. The key to keeping a house cleaning regimen short and sweet is simple: maximize efficiency. By making the most of your time and efforts, your house cleaning routine will be streamlined, leaving you plenty of time to do more interesting things. The following are some house cleaning tips to maximize efficiency.
Begin With a Walk-Through
Before starting to clean, take a quick lap through your home with a laundry basket and large trash bag. Gather up loose items that should be put away and deposit them in the basket. Empty trash containers into the trash bag and pick up debris as you go.
Pay attention to what tasks need to be done, what areas might require extra attention, and what spaces are in good shape and therefore don’t need any sprucing up. Mentally calculate how much time you’ll need for each area, keeping in mind how much time you have overall to spend cleaning.
Starting off knowing that there’s dog hair all over the sofa in the family room and the upstairs bathroom is a disaster makes it easy to allocate enough time to these areas. This way you will know from the start that you don’t have time to vacuum under beds today.
Set aside the basket of lost items that you collected on your walk-through and deal with it later. Picking up and organizing are not part of house cleaning; they are prerequisites. Clutter control should be an ongoing process. Spending an hour picking up and putting away miscellanea before you can start cleaning means you’ll potentially run out of steam before the housework is done.
Working around, or worse, having to shift and replace, clutter while cleaning eats up time as well. Clear surfaces and spaces make cleaning quick and easy. Cluttered surfaces and piles of paraphernalia collect dust and complicate cleaning.
Have What You Need On Hand
Keep your cleaning closet stocked with whatever you need. Penalize household members who make off with the vacuum cleaner or the broom and don’t return it. Having to spend twenty minutes tracking down the mop is an inefficient use of time.
Wear an Apron or Tool Belt
Keep what you need readily at hand as you work so you don’t have to repeatedly stop to fetch supplies. Wear an apron with lots of pockets, or a tool belt, or carry a caddy with you. Reducing steps reduces time and maximizes efficiency.
If chatting with a buddy while you work isn’t a distraction, clean your homes simultaneously and cheer each other on. Exchange cleaning tips. If it keeps you motivated, go for it.
Pay Attention to What You’re Doing
On a related note, don’t allow your mind to wander off while you work. Pay attention to the job at hand. An efficient cleaner cleans only what is dirty, which requires mindfulness.
Anticipate what’s next as you perform each task and work in such a way as to minimize unnecessary steps.
Don’t Get Sidetracked
Stay focused. If you’re easily distracted by side jobs, keep a small notepad in your apron pocket and make a to-list as you work. If you notice that the fridge needs to be wiped out or the kids’ closets are a mess, plan to tackle these extra chores as soon as your schedule permits, but don’t stop doing what you’re doing now. Completing one job from beginning to end is satisfying and motivating. Starting three jobs and not finishing any of them is frustrating.
Work in a Straight Line
Clean either room by room or in zones, and work in straight lines. Don’t backtrack.
Don’t sit down. Keep working until the job is done. If you must take a break, time it. When your ten minutes is up, so are you.
Focus on What Shows
Clean what’s dirty, focusing on areas that stand out. When there’s time, clean the dusty bookshelf in the corner. When there isn’t time because the sofa has to be vacuumed free of dog hair, leave it. The dust will be there next time.
Treat Cleaning Your House like a Job
Cleaning your home is a job, treat it as such. Make a schedule, stick to it, see the job through to the end.
Use an Eraser-Type Sponge
Eraser sponges have many uses throughout the home. Soap scum removal, tough kitchen cleanups, scuffs on floors, and fingerprints on walls are just a few. These sponges save time and effort, both of which maximize efficiency.
Forget dusting with a cloth; the quickest means of removing dust from surfaces is to use a tool, preferably a microfiber wand with nubs, because this will grab and lock down dust. Don’t belabor the task; working from the top of the room downward, dust ceiling fans and light fixtures, wall hangings, window treatments, window sills and grates, chair rails, baseboards and baseboard heaters. Then tackle furniture and lamps. Work swiftly, don’t backtrack, and make every movement count.
Keep a Spray Bottle of Water on Hand
A damp cloth cleans a variety of surfaces, from wall smudges to water glass rings to fingerprints on switch plates and sticky doorknobs. Avoid having to hunt down a cloth and find a faucet; keep a supply of cleaning cloths and a spray bottle of water on hand as you work.
Work Out a Routine
A regular, consistent cleaning routine works to your advantage in several ways. First, repeating the same tasks over and over increases speed and efficiency (the learning curve). Second, a regular routine gives you the chance to clean everything in your home on a rotating basis. From week to week some tasks can be deferred until next time, and others can get the attention they need right now. Third, working out a system forces your focus onto efficiency; over time your routine will inevitably become more streamlined as you work out the bugs. Finally, by making home cleaning a habit and a priority, it will get done. Period.
Stay motivated by finishing what you start. Each time you successfully complete your cleaning routine, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. Take a little time to admire your handiwork. This feeling of pride in a job well done will inspire you to take up your broom next week and clean on.
Use the Right Cleaning Supplies and Equipment
Use whatever cleaning agents and equipment make you happy. If you use scented cleaners, be sure the scents make you feel good. Likewise, cleaning agents should do the jobs for which they’re intended; leaving you feeling satisfied that you’ve accomplished something by using them. Your equipment should be easy to use, not frustrating.
Spending a little more money on good cleaning supplies that you’ll look forward to using (or at least not mind using) is well worth the investment. Your cleaning tools should be easy for you to use, perform well, and make you feel glad to use them.
Eat Right, Exercise, Get Some Sleep
Cleaning is hard work! Give your body what it needs to do the job. If you feel sluggish and run down, you’re not going to feel overly enthusiastic about mopping and vacuuming and making beds. When you feel good and are energized, cleaning is a breeze.
If you’re the type of person who is motivated by crossing items off your list, write up a list of chores before you start cleaning. Staying on task is very important to cleaning efficiently, so if writing it down helps achieve this goal, go for it.
Don’t be a Perfectionist
It’s a waste of time to try to remove 100% of the dirt from your home. Perfectionism will turn a three-hour job into a six-hour job. The difference between 95% efficiency and 100% isn’t worth three hours of your time.
Set Realistic Goals
There’s only so much any one person can accomplish within a few hours. Don’t set the bar too high. Set realistic goals that you’ll be able to achieve. Accomplishing goals is motivating. Failing to achieve goals is not.
Don’t Make a Big Production Out of It
House cleaning is labor intensive but not overly difficult. Don’t make it harder than it is. Don’t’ clean what isn’t dirty. Don’t perform elaborate cleaning rituals that make no sense just because your grandma did it that way. Simplify your procedures and get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible, leaving you free to spend the rest of your day on play.
The thought of tackling big cleaning jobs can be intimidating, even overwhelming. Whether the project involvescleaning dirty windows, descaling bathroom showers, or dealing with out-of-control clutter, the key to getting it done is converting it into manageable pieces. This is best achieved through a basic process whereby the job is first clearly defined and then broken down.
Define the Job
The first step is to define the issue at hand. In order to find a solution, the problem must be understood. This can be in the form of a simple statement, such as “my windows are dirty” or a detailed list, for example: the kitchen appliances and floor need cleaning, the whole house needs vacuuming, the showers have to be scrubbed, and the laundry has to be washed, dried, folded, and put away.
If the job is large, write out a detailed list. This will be the basis for determining how best to break down the large job into smaller increments, so think in terms of sectioning the job into manageable portions.
Make a Plan
Next, outline a plan to deal with the issue. For example, if your windows are dirty, the plan would be to clean them. Seems simple enough, but maybe not.
If you’ve got five windows in your home and they all tip in for cleaning ease, the plan will be straightforward: clean the windows. You’ll have a little bit of planning to do, for instance figuring out what supplies to use and whether you’ve got time to clean all the windows at once. Sorting out the details shouldn’t be a big deal.
If, however, you’ve got twenty-five windows, each with additional storm windows to remove and clean as well as screens, and none of them have been cleaned in ten years, this is a big project. You would want to break it down and complete the steps over a period of time. This would require some planning.
For instance, you might plan on cleaning the windows over the course of three or four Saturdays and enlist assistance so that one person could work inside while another works outside. The procedure would be somewhat complicated, and a variety of supplies would be needed, such as a ladder and squeegees and lots of rags or paper towels and a bucket. Cleaning window screens adds an entire step to the plan. Writing out some lists or flowcharts to help break the job down into smaller steps makes a lot of sense when the job looms large.
Understand the Job
If you’re not sure how to clean this type of windows, the planning stage would be the time to research the issue to understand what’s really involved. Any specific challenges would be addressed at this time, for example windows that are immovable in their tracks, or outside surfaces that are inaccessible from outdoors. Fully understanding the scope of the job and planning for the specific issues that need attention helps the job flow smoothly because you’ll know what to expect, have the proper supplies on hand, and have good ideas about how to successfully complete the job.
Break It Down
The planning stage is the point at which a large job is converted into a series of smaller jobs, which are both mentally and physically easier to manage. Always plan such that the goals you set are attainable. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to accomplish more than you set out to do. It’s not so great to complete only half the job before you run out of steam, time, or supplies. You want to end up feeling good about your day’s work, not be left feeling like a failure because you weren’t able to meet your goals.
Complete the Project
If steps one and two were completed thoughtfully and thoroughly, the final step, actually completing the project, will be a simple matter of following through on the framework of plans that were set up. By breaking the job down into smaller, manageable pieces and taking time to understand the process, you’ve set yourself up for success. When the job is done, you’ll feel great about having mastered not only the job itself, but the equally large challenge of making a big job manageable.
Spring is the time to refresh and rejuvenate. It’s also an excellent opportunity to do those cleaning jobs around the house that you don’t usually get around to doing. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. Using these shortcuts to spring cleaning can get the job done.
Vacuum Upholstered Furniture
The next time you’ve got the vacuum cleaner out, tackle upholstered furniture. Vacuuming and rotating sofa and chair cushions takes just a few minutes, freshens the furniture, and prolongs its life. Use the upholstery tool or dusting brush attachments, depending on your furniture’s composition. Be gentle on delicate fabrics.
Get Rid of Cobwebs
Use a telescoping dusting tool to reach cobwebs that form in high spots, like where walls and ceiling meet, on light fixtures and ceiling fans, along the tops of window and door frames, and in any recessed areas like skylights. While you’re at it, dust the tops of any cabinets or tall furniture.
Freshen Window Treatments
Dust horizontal blinds with a damp cloth or your vacuum cleaner dusting tool. Vacuum heavyweight curtains; take lightweight curtains outdoors and give them a good shaking to remove dust. Use a dusting wand to get into all the spaces on interior window shutters.
If you’ve got tip-ins, this tedious task goes quickly. Have a supply of dry rags on hand. Make a window cleaning solution by mixing a half cup of ammonia into a gallon pail of water. Use a sponge or rag to wipe clean your window surface, rinsing your sponge as necessary. When your surface is squeaky clean, buff with a dry cloth. Switch out your cloths as they become damp to avoid streaking.
Dust Your Curio Cabinet
Spend a few minutes dusting inside cabinets that aren’t routinely cleaned. This is an excellent opportunity to cut down on the free dust circulating in your air. The more dust you can eliminate from your environment, the less dust there is floating around, waiting to settle down on your grandma’s crystal.
Purge Your Pantry
Remove items from your pantry, sorting as you go. Discard expired foods or anything that looks suspect. Dust shelves and re-organize as you restock.
Wash Entry Mats
Rubber and rubber-backed mats and rugs can be sprayed with an equal vinegar/water mixture and then hosed off outside. Leave to dry in the fresh air and sunshine. They’ll look and smell like new.
These are just a few ideas to give your home a spring boost. Look around and see what else needs to be cleaned, polished, or freshened up. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a big deal, but it can make a big difference in the way your home looks and smells.
It’s spring cleaning time! This is the time of year when dedicated homemakers dive in and do a thorough home cleaning, tackling jobs that aren’t part of their regular cleaning routing. It’s also a great time to take control if you’re the type who doesn’t have a regular cleaning routine and want to whip your home into shape.
Either way, this seven-day plan will arm you with all the information you need to deep clean your home in seven days. Day one will start you off right by purging of all the unnecessary clutter eating up your valuable space. Day two will get you organized by taking deep dive inside your closets. Day three will be all about window washing. Days four and five will bring bedrooms and bathrooms up to code. Day six will get your living room and family room into tip-top shape. Finally, on day seven the kitchen will be targeted.
Once you’ve gotten your home into shape, keeping it that way will be easy if you establish a regular cleaning routine. Even if your housekeeping hasn’t been so great up ‘til now, this is your fresh start, a new beginning. And isn’t that what spring is all about?
Day 1: De-cluttering
The first step to house cleaning of any type is de-cluttering and organizing. It’s just plain easier to clean spaces that are free of unnecessary objects. De-cluttering isn’t difficult unless you have years of clutter to clear out. In the event that this is your situation, this step may take longer than one day.
Hopefully you don’t have that much clutter, so the task won’t be that big of a deal. It’s a simple process: throw things away, give things away, and put things away.
The key principle of organizing is that all items have a permanent spot where they live when they’re at rest. This allows you to put things away when you’re not using them and readily recover them when you need them again. The end result: everything you own doesn’t end up on the island in the middle of the kitchen and you have nowhere to eat breakfast.
The first step to de-cluttering is tossing out anything that’s just plain trash. Take a good look around, and I mean really look around. Often we overlook stuff that’s right in front of us because we’re so used to seeing it. Piles of old newspapers or magazines or Amazon shipping boxes that you think you’ll use sometime are trash. Toss ‘em (or recycle ‘em).
Get real, be honest, and if it’s something that you might use but probably won’t, don’t let it keep taking up valuable space that you could be using for the things that are of value to you. Be ruthless.
Once you’ve got the outright trash out of the way, take another look around for stuff that’s not trash, but that you’re not using. These are things that have value, and that someone else could use. Again, be honest with yourself. If you’re never going to use it, isn’t it better to pass it along to someone who will?
Put together a donation box and pat yourself on the back for doing your part to help others while also doing yourself the favor of eliminating stuff you don’t need. Win-win.
At this point, whatever clutter you’ve got left is the stuff that you want to keep, so put it away somewhere. If you’ve already got a great system for organizing your stuff, this step should be easy.
If not, get busy. Find a logical place to store each object and put it there. Your storage spaces should be places that make sense to you and that you will remember so you know where to look when you want to retrieve the object for later use. Do this over and over again until everything is put away. It’s very easy once you get the hang of it.
If you’re finding that you haven’t got space for your stuff, don’t worry, because tomorrow you’ll clean out some closets. Set it aside for now and keep in mind how much room you’ll need.
Day 2: Clean Closets
Closets are often the spots where we hide things. All kinds of things. Stuff we don’t know what else to do with, stuff that we no longer want, stuff that we tell ourselves we’re going to use some day. Getting into your closets from time to time to take a good look at what you’ve got is a great way to free up space. Without fail, there’s some stuff in there that can be gotten rid of.
Your day two deep-clean challenge is to clean and re-organize closets. Bedroom closets, linen closets, entry hall closets, laundry room closets, the closet in the family room with all the board games. Make it a fun family day activity and split up the job. Whoever has the best organized closet at the end of the day wins!
Closet cleaning can be a simple process or it can be quite involved. If your closets are small and there’s not a lot of stuff inside, it shouldn’t take long. If your closets are walk-ins packed full of stuff, the job may take a while.
Either way, the basic steps are the same.
First, clear some space for a work area. If you are cleaning a bedroom closet, lay an old sheet over the bed so you can use the space to temporarily place things. Next, pull everything out of the closet. As you remove items, quickly decide whether each object is worth keeping. Have a box ready for things that you will be giving away, or designate a separate area if you are getting rid of a lot of things.
After you’ve got the closet cleared of its contents, dust all areas, remove cobwebs, and sweep or vacuum the floor.
Next, replace the things you’re keeping, reorganizing and cleaning as you go. Dust off any boxes or other containers before replacing them in the closet. Introduce new boxes, bins, baskets or whatever storage containers will help you store things so that you can easily find them again. Label boxes, make lists of contents and tape them to the outside, or use clear storage containers. Don’t waste any space. Arrange articles so that taller things are behind shorter things.
This is a great time to bring in new organizational systems. There are all kinds of shelving and racks to help you create your dream closet, so get creative. Have fun with it. You’re aiming to create well-organized spaces that will make your life easier by helping you keep track of your stuff.
At the end of your day two challenge, your closets should have nothing to hide. You will be able to immediately lay your hands on whatever you’re looking for because your closets will be free of unnecessary stuff and well organized. Pat yourself on the back and get some rest. Tomorrow will be window washing day.
Day 3: Washing Windows
No deep-cleaning project would be complete without a day devoted to windows. It’s best to avoid washing windows when the sun is shining directly on them, so the first thing to think about is what time of day is the best to tackle your project. Observe the sun’s position to make this determination.
The second thing to consider is whether your windows are really dirty or just a little dirty. This will determine what cleaning method is most appropriate in your situation.
If your windows are only slightly dirty, a spray bottle of glass cleaning solution will be the quickest way to go. Use commercial glass cleaner or mix your own using equal parts vinegar and water or three parts water to one part rubbing alcohol.
Spray the cleaner on the glass and then use dry cloths to wipe the glass clean. If you see streaks when you’re finished, repeat the process using a fresh cloth. Sometimes you can buff away streaks with a dry cloth without having to re-apply glass cleaner. If you’re doing a lot of windows, have a lot of cloths on hand because the key to avoiding leaving lint and streaks on your windows is using fresh, dry cloths for buffing.
If your windows are really dirty, the above method will take forever. Instead, mix a window washing solution in a bucket. A simple, effective window washing mixture can be made using a few drops of dish detergent in a gallon of warm water. Alternatively, use a cup of of ammonia or vinegar in the water.
Using a cloth or a sponge, wash the window with your solution, rinsing your cloth as often as needed, until all the dirt has been removed. Then buff the window dry. Switch off your drying/buffing cloth as it gets damp to avoid streaking.
Depending on the type of windows, you may be able to clean them on both sides (inside and outside) without setting foot outside your house. Tip-in windows can easily be cleaned on both sides from inside the house. That’s a no-brainer.
To clean the exterior surfaces of windows that slide or crank open, open the window and see if you can reach your arm around to the exterior side far enough to wipe the area clean. Sometimes this works, sometimes not. This method might be your only option for cleaning upstairs windows, and in this case you’ll have to do the best you can.
Cleaning window exteriors outdoors is sometimes challenging, and sometimes impossible, depending on the nature of your landscaping. Steep grades or dense foliage are typically deal breakers.
If it’s a question of distance, for example awkwardly placed windows or windows that are just beyond reach and impractical to get at with a ladder, a squeegee with a long or telescoping handle comes in handy. Use a squeegee with an attached sponge on one side. Apply your cleaning solution to the window with the sponge side and then pull the squeegee back and forth across the window surface horizontally working from the top down.
Window screens should be removed and cleaned at the same time you clean your windows. They can be vacuumed or wiped clean with a damp cloth.
Window sills and tracks can also be cleaned while you’re at it. If they’re really dirty, first vacuum up loose debris, then wash with a cloth or sponge dipped into a solution of water and all-purpose cleaner, or use your window cleaning solution. Use a toothbrush to get into the edges.
There aren’t any hard and fast rules about window cleaning, so improvise as necessary. When you’re done, take satisfaction in how nice your windows look. Window washing is hard work. Job well done!
Day 4: Bedrooms from Top to Bottom
Deep cleaning your bedrooms is a great opportunity to target accumulated dust under beds and on window treatments, as well as behind furniture.
To begin, temporarily remove any lightweight objects like lamps or knick-knacks to make it easier to move furniture around without fear of breaking anything.
Any small area rugs should be removed and washed or shaken outside and left to air.
This is a good time to wash or air textiles like bed skirts, duvet covers, bedspreads, decorative pillow shams, etc.
Start cleaning from the ceiling down, dusting away cobwebs and dust on ceiling fans, ceilings, light fixtures, and walls. Use a dusting tool or a dustmop.
Pictures, wall art, wall hangings, or anything else on the walls should be cleaned or dusted.
Vacuum or dust louvered doors, ridged doors, door frames, window frames, shutters. Work your way downward, dusting any chair rails, baseboards, and baseboard heaters. Vacuum or dust air vent covers.
Move furniture around as necessary and if possible, to get to all the walls and other surfaces that need to be dusted.
Take the opportunity to vacuum or clean areas of floors which are normally underneath furniture and not easily accessible. If furniture can’t be moved, try to get under and behind it as much as possible using a dustmop, broom, or your vacuum cleaner.
Thoroughly vacuum upholstered furniture. Vacuum your mattresses and flip them over.
Dust or vacuum lampshades and window treatments.
Dust furniture and begin re-assembling your room, dusting objects before replacing them.
Replace throw rugs and any textiles that you washed or aired.
Smell the clean air. Good job!
Day 5: Bathrooms
Deep cleaning bathrooms might take some time, depending on the state your bathrooms are in to start. If you’ve neglected them, this is a great opportunity to bring them up to snuff.
First pick up any area rugs and mats. Wash them, if you’d like. Also take down shower curtains and wash, if necessary.
This is a good time to go through the medicine cabinet and other cupboards. Move everything so that you can wipe off shelves and dust. Get rid of outdated medicine, toiletries, etc. Replace everything in an orderly fashion.
Dust ceilings, walls, baseboards, wall hangings, any furniture or shelves, and whatever else might need dusting. Clear any dust or cobwebs from your vent fan cover if you have one.
Clean woodwork, cupboard doors, sides of vanities. Wash walls if you’re so inclined. Wash any tile on walls and buff dry for a nice shine.
Clean the sink and vanity. If there’s any type of buildup, use all-purpose scrub and rinse thoroughly. Otherwise, clean with all-purpose cleaner or tub and tile spray cleaner. To clean discoloration or gunk from around drain, faucets or other areas, use all-purpose scrub cleanser and a toothbrush or other small scrubbing brush. Remove mineral deposits with vinegar, or use a specialty cleaner.
Clean the mirror, top to bottom. If your mirror has a film or residue that won’t come off, clean with straight vinegar and buff well. Dab rubbing alcohol onto stubborn spots, such as hair-spray overspray.
Clean tub/shower using tub and tile cleaner, all-purpose cleaner or scrub, or the appropriate cleaner if it’s a surface that calls for special care, such as granite.
To eliminate mildew or dark-colored discoloration on your shower walls or tub, use an all-purpose cleaner containing bleach. Be sure to follow safety instructions: never mix chlorine bleach with other products, use proper ventilation, wear gloves, rinse thoroughly.
To eliminate heavy-duty soap scum buildup in your shower, spray your cleaning agent on the shower surfaces liberally up to an hour prior to cleaning the area so it has time to break down the grime. Then use your cloth or a nylon scrubber to remove the buildup.
Using a good commercial tub and tile cleaner specifically formulated to break down soap scum is the quickest way to eliminate heavy buildups. Likewise, for any type of mineral deposits or stains, a product targeting the specific type of stain will be the quickest way to get rid of it.
Don’t forget to run your bathroom vent fan or open a window if you’re using cleaning products that produce fumes.
If you have any type of buildup or mildew but you’re averse to using strong chemicals, here are some ideas for more natural cleaning agents:
~Use an equal mixture of baking soda and Castile soap. Scrub with a nylon cleaning pad to remove soap scum buildup. Re-apply and rinse until you are satisfied with the results.
~To remove mildew from grout, spray liberally with hydrogen peroxide and allow it to sit for 20 minutes, then scrub grout with a toothbrush or scrub brush and rinse. Re-apply peroxide to areas that don’t come totally clean and repeat the process.
~Try straight vinegar on areas with mineral stains or deposits. Spray on, allow it to sit for an hour or more, and then scrub the area with a stiff brush or nylon scrubber. Rinse, and repeat the process, if necessary.
Clean the toilet. To remove toilet stains, try using two or three cups of straight vinegar; pour in and let it sit for a while.
Clean the floor. This is the time to really clean areas behind the toilet and in corners.
Reassemble your room. Take satisfaction in knowing that the toughest cleaning job in the whole house is now over and done. Excellent work!
Day 6: Living Areas
Today your deep cleaning challenge is your family room, living room, and other common areas. Because these are the spaces where we usually entertain company, they tend to be kept in pretty good shape. Your prime objective is getting to areas that aren’t usually in the line of fire when you clean, like under and behind furniture.
Start out by setting aside any objects-de-art or other bric-a-brac so they don’t get broken in the throes of your cleaning frenzy.
Remove small area rugs to wash or shake outside and left to air.
This is a good time to wash textiles like throws that you snuggle under in cold weather.
Dust ceiling fans and light fixtures, ceiling and walls. Clean or dust wall sconces, pictures, wall art, wall hangings.
Dust or vacuum louvered doors, ridged doors, door frames, window frames, shutters.
Work your way downward, dusting any chair rails and baseboards.
If you have baseboard heaters, don’t forget to clean ridges and spaces underneath, not just the top edge.
Vacuum air vent covers with a dusting brush or use your dusting tool.
Dust or wash woodwork. Spot clean walls, switch plates, door frames.
Move furniture around to get to all the walls and other surfaces that need to be dusted and washed. Be careful not to scratch the floor when moving furniture. If you can lift a piece of furniture enough to slide soft cloths under the legs, then you can shove it around on a bare floor.
Thoroughly dust any built-in shelves. Either remove objects completely or shift them so you can dust behind and under them. Dust other areas that you don’t normally clean, like inside of china closets, if necessary. If it’s not dusty inside, don’t bother. Free-standing bookshelves or other shelves that hold objects-de-art should be thoroughly dusted or vacuumed. It’s sometimes easier to vacuum the top side of books with a dusting brush attachment. If there’s a space behind books, pull them out and dust back there.
Thoroughly vacuum upholstered furniture. If cushions are removable, turn them over. You can use upholstery cleaner if you feel the need. Test the upholstery cleaner on your fabric first. Spray on, then blot with a clean, damp cloth. Keep rinsing the cloth in clear water and blotting at the upholstery until it’s clean.
Vacuum lampshades carefully, if they’re dusty. Or use a clean, damp cloth to dust them off.
Vacuum window treatments.
Clean the floor.
Reassemble your room. Replace objects that you removed earlier. Replace throw rugs and any textiles that you washed or aired.
Smell the clean air. Admire your handiwork. Well done!
Day 7: The Kitchen
This is it, day seven of your seven-day challenge. This is the home stretch. The kitchen is the one room in the house that most people tend to keep pretty clean. If this is the case in your home, deep cleaning your kitchen shouldn’t be too difficult.
Start out by getting rid of stuff that’s been sitting around for a while. Clean out closets, cupboards, and drawers. Then reorganize. This is a good time to rearrange those plastic storage containers that you can never find the lids for or to rearrange your pots and pans.
Clean out food cupboards. Take stuff out or shift it around so you can see what you have and get rid of anything with expired dates or that is obviously no good. Don’t forget cupboards up high that you never use.
If you have a drawer under your oven, clean and reorganize that too.
After all your closets, cupboards and drawers are in good shape it’s time to clean.
Temporarily remove knickknacks while you clean. If you have a collection of plates hanging on the walls or salt and pepper shakers on a shelf, this is the time to wash them.
Remove any throw rugs and wash or shake outside and leave them to air. Remove window treatments, if you are washing or airing them.
Eliminate cobwebs and dust from the ceiling, ceiling fans, light fixtures, walls, wall hangings, tops of cupboards.
Dust any furniture. Thoroughly wipe down kitchen table and chairs and any kitchen stools.
Wash or spot clean woodwork, doors, doorknobs. Kitchen doors and doorways attract dirty fingerprints, so pay special attention to these areas.
Clean cupboard doors and drawer fronts.
Clean the stove vent fan cover.
Clean appliance fronts and inside the microwave.
Clean inside the refrigerator thoroughly: wipe down walls, shelves, remove drawers, clean inside the door.
Clean under the refrigerator. If your fridge is on wheels, pull it out to clean the floor underneath, and clean any dust or cobwebs from the back of the fridge and the wall behind it.
Clean the stove top: remove drip pans, if applicable, and scrub. Clean the oven, too, if necessary.
Clean countertops, backsplash, and countertop appliances. If they haven’t been done in a while, take your time and get into all the corners.
Clean garbage container.
Clean the floor.
Reassemble the room: replace curtains, blinds, rugs, knick-knacks, etc.
That’s it! You’ve completed your seven-day deep-cleaning challenge. Your home is now clean from top to bottom and well-organized to boot. It will stay that way if you stick to a regular cleaning routine from here on out. Since you’ve gone to the trouble of whipping your home into shape, why not give it a try? Keeping a clean home is all about maintenance. Set up a regular schedule to routinely clean your home and then stick to it. Once you get going, you’ll see how easy it is.
For today, pat yourself on the back because you’ve done a lot of work and a really great job. Congratulations!