Shortcuts for Spring Cleaning
Might sound silly, but we know when Spring arrives, everyone is itching to get our places freshened up, and we’ve got some easy tips and foolproof strategies for making your home sparkle—fast.
Is there really a way around spending hours and hours on a massive seasonal spruce-up? Sure. Here are quick but thorough strategies and tested cleaning tips for carpets, windows, mattresses, and more that fit your schedule, meet your standards, and give you that let-the-sunshine-in sense of renewal. And for those who clean for the fun of it—instructions for how to go deeper on each.
Carpeting and Rugs: Shortcut
Target needy areas—high-traffic zones and stains that have been bugging you forever. Give the rest a quick (but still substantial) once-over.
LA’s Totally Awesome concentrated cleaner and degreaser—great on carpet stains ($7, amazon.com)
Steps for Wall-to-Wall and Area Rugs
- Scope the joint and determine which areas need the most care (near entryways, where people eat, play spaces).
- Take a vacuum to the problem areas, going back and forth for about 30 seconds in bad spots. For area rugs, do the top of each rug, then lift and fold back the corners where you can, to vacuum the underside.
- Dampen a cloth with LA’s Totally Awesome cleaner and degreaser (not for sisal, which doesn’t like moisture) and apply it to stains; let sit for five minutes, then blot with a fresh, dry cloth, working from the edges of the stains toward the centers. Blot again with a fresh cloth, this time applying pressure with your foot to get really deep.
- Use a hair dryer set on high to dry each spot. Open the windows to finish the job.
Time investment: About 10 to 15 minutes for a 15-by-15-foot carpeted room (the same for each area rug); 6 to 10 additional minutes per stain.
Focus on the exterior, where the most dirt builds up, and don’t sweat the detail work. For best results, choose a wind-free, overcast day. (Gusts will cause you to get sprayed; sunlight can leave streaks.)
Plastic whisk broom (natural bristles tend to shed)
Windex Outdoor Multi-Surface Concentrated Cleaner ($10 at grocery stores). The bottle attaches to your hose.
Bucket filled with a few drops of dish soap for every gallon of warm water
A few microfiber cloths
Steps for Windows
- Close all the windows and screens. Working outside and using a whisk broom, brush debris from the screens you can reach (no need to take them out) and the tracks.
- Attach the Multi-Surface Concentrated Cleaner to your hose and remove the yellow plug. Turn the dial to Rinse and spray your windows through the screens from at least five feet away. The power of the stream will let you reach windows on the second floor without a ladder. Move the stream back and forth to shake debris loose, and make sure you hit cobwebs in the corners and bird droppings on the glass. Also run the stream up and down the window frames.
- Turn the dial to Clean. Shoot suds onto screens and frames. Let the soap sit for 30 seconds.
- Turn the dial to Rinse again. Spray every screen and frame top to bottom to remove suds. Give each another 10-second spray.
- Push the screens (that you can reach) up to expose the windows. Repeat steps 2 through 4.
- Take the bucket inside and lay down the sheet to catch drips. Open the windows. Dip a cloth into the cleaning solution, wring it out, and wipe the screens; close the windows. With a fresh cloth dipped and wrung out, wash the windows from the outside corners in, using circular strokes.
Time investment: About 15 minutes per window.
Refresh a mattress with baking soda while its cover gets a thorough washing, followed by a tennis-ball tumble or a dose of fresh air.
OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover ($11 for 24 ounces, amazon.com)
2 new tennis balls with essential oils, like Young Living Lavender or Purification
Dryer sheets with essential oils, like Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day in geranium ($9, mrsmeyers.com)
Steps for mattress cleaning
- Toss the mattress cover in the wash. If it’s stained, first soak in cold water with OxiClean. Then wash with detergent on the hottest setting recommended on the care label, adding 1 cup of white vinegar to deodorize.
- Working directly over the mattress, pour baking soda into a sieve. Dust the mattress evenly with the soda, which will gradually draw dirt and moisture out of the mattress and eliminate odors. (You’ll leave this light dusting on the mattress when you remake the bed.)
- When the wash cycle is complete, put the mattress cover in the dryer with a couple of clean tennis balls to fluff it back to form. You could also hang the cover outside or inside over a stair rail if possible.
- Remake the bed. (Vacuum up the baking soda the next time you change the sheets.) Tuck a few dryer sheets (try ones with essential oils) under the mattress cover to deliver a fresh scent while you sleep.
Time investment: A morning to take care of three or four mattresses.
* Portions of Article Reprinted from: https://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/cleaning/brilliant-spring-cleaning-shortcuts