Our Best Tips For Getting A Head Start On Spring Cleaning

The longer days, warmer temps, and the re-emergence of bulbs and flowering plants that come with spring serve as symbolic reminders that it's time to wake up from our own hibernation and breathe fresh life into our living space by tackling the winter's grime. But who wants to spend the first warm, sunny days of the year inside cleaning? Getting an early start on your list of spring cleaning projects will help free up some of your time to actually enjoy the weather when spring finally rolls around.


Not only can having a clean, fresh space help improve our mood and our level of satisfaction with our living space, but it can also have an impact on our physical well-being as well. When nature comes alive again, so too do seasonal allergies, which spring cleaning can help combat by supporting your immune system and fighting dust and other allergens in your home. "Dust, mold, mildew, pet dander, and other things like this can be immune system triggers for people prone to allergies. When your house isn't clean, it can gather pollutants — especially during the winter months," says Dr. Adrian Cotton, chief of medical operations at Loma Linda University Health (via Healthline).

Getting a head start on all this year's major cleaning projects will prevent you from being overwhelmed by all the mud and grime when the snow finally melts and the sunlight's return highlights just how dirty your baseboards really are.



The first and most important step in preparing for spring cleaning is decluttering, simply because the less stuff you have, the easier your space will be to clean. While many of us are guilty of holding onto things we don't need, we tend to go into the spring with a little extra clutter since most people accumulate things over the holidays. "When we clear out in the physical realm, it can inspire to begin to cut out what no longer serves us, such as unhealthy relationships, or our relationship to food, technology, or other substances," Wolanin says via Healthline.


Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that clutter in the home can hinder our overall well-being and sense of happiness. "When there's lots of clutter, you lose control over your physical environment, which is very defeating and can bring on stress, depression, or anxiety," says Catherine Roster, Ph.D., co-author of the study (via Everyday Health).

Spring, a time associated with renewal and rebirth, is the perfect time to declutter your closet, garage, junk drawers, and any other living space where things tend to accumulate. Doing so can help you enter the new season with a clean home, and also serves as a reminder of the importance of letting go of what no longer serves you.


Prepare with the right cleaning tools and products

Before getting a jump on spring cleaning, you need to make sure you have the proper arsenal of cleaning products on hand for all your projects. Some of the essential products on the checklist by Molly Maid include an all-purpose cleaner, oven cleaner, glass cleaner, grout and tile cleaner, white vinegar, and baking soda. If you find yourself in a bind or aren't sure what to use, you can always reach for a simple bottle of dish soap. Apartment Therapy lifestyle director Taryn Williford recommends classic Dawn dish soap in addition to Dawn's new Powerwash dish spray which is extra convenient and good for hard-to-reach areas. The formula is safe and gentle enough to use in all areas of the home but is still tough on grease and grime. "It's also just such a good cleaner for everywhere in the house," Wilford says via The Washington Post, adding that she uses it to clean everything in her home from her floors to her countertops.


Additionally, this is also the time to guarantee your cleaning tools such as your vacuum, steam mop, and upholstery cleaner are up to par and in proper working order so they can tackle the winter's grime. If your cleaning tools need any maintenance, repair, or replacement, it's best to get a head start on that as well.

Deep clean your refrigerator

When was the last time you cleaned your refrigerator? Like pulled everything out of it and really cleaned it? If you can't remember, it's probably been too long. While taking every single thing out of your fridge seems like a total chore, it's the best way to sift through expired products and force you to finally throw away that leftover takeout that you forgot about. Melissa Maker, founder of Clean My Space, recommends laying a towel on the floor and using that as a place to set everything if you are low on counter space (per Well + Good). Carefully check expiration dates, toss what's expired or you know you won't use, and put the rest back into the refrigerator once it's fully cleaned –- ensuring you move relatively quickly, as Mayo Clinic warns that consuming refrigerated food that's been left out for longer than two hours increases your risk of foodborne illness.


Once everything is pulled out of the refrigerator, you can focus on deep cleaning the refrigerator itself. First remove the shelves and drawers, after which Maker recommends spraying them with a mixture of two cups of water with about a teaspoon of dish soap. "If there's something really goop-y or stuck on, you can sprinkle some baking soda onto the area and just let it sit," she said. Spray the entire inside of your refrigerator with the same mixture and simply wipe it away with a wet cloth.

Freshen up curtains and drapes

Because your curtains aren't usually dirty enough to have to wash in a machine, one of the easiest ways you can keep them clean and free of dust is to simply go over the material with the hose attachment on your vacuum. "If the material is especially delicate, use the lowest level of suction to avoid tearing or pulling the fabric," says Sunny Wang, the global public relations manager for home appliance company Dreame Technology, via TODAY. Michael Silva-Nash, vice president of Molly Maid adds via TODAY that regularly vacuuming your drapes can help protect the fabric over time by preventing pet hair and dust from accumulating and embedding into the material. You can also use a handheld steamer to eliminate dust mites on the surface of your curtains and drapes, which will also help smooth any wrinkles or creases.


If your curtains or drapes do happen to get dirty to the point they need to be fully laundered, hand washing them or even sending them to a professional dry cleaner is usually the preferred method since not all materials are recommended for the washing machine. Silva-Nash also tells TODAY that direct sunlight exposure can weaken the fabric even further, leaving it more susceptible to damage from the washing machine. If you do decide to launder them in your machine, make sure you use the coldest water and the gentlest cycle possible.

Sanitize microfiber furniture

When it comes to deep cleaning your couch, you will want to use your vacuum hose to suck up any pet hair and crumbs, especially if you plan to deep clean it with the attachment on your carpet shampooer or another upholstery cleaner. While a leather couch can easily wipe clean with a leather conditioner or cleaner, microfiber furniture is a bit trickier. Good Housekeeping recommends going over the surface of your couch with a garment steamer prior to vacuuming to kill any surface dust mites (though it's okay to skip this step if you don't own a handheld steamer).


After vacuuming and before spot-cleaning any stubborn stains, it's important to check the manufacturer's label of your furniture and make note of what types of cleaning solutions are safe to use on the material. If it is labeled with a "W", water-based cleaners are safe to use, if it is labeled with an "S", solvent-based solutions are safe to use, whereas a label of "W/S" means it's safe to use either. Be aware that an "X" means that it's probably not safe to spot-clean your couch at all, and you shouldn't use anything more than a vacuum or lint roller (per Good Housekeeping).

De-funk your washing machine

Washing machines are often overlooked during spring cleaning since it's easy to assume that yours is being automatically cleaned with every load of laundry that you do. As it turns out, your washing machine can actually harbor hidden soap scum buildup and mildew, which can prevent your clothes from getting as clean as they should –- not to mention, it's a breeding ground for bacteria. After all, the dirt and pet hair from your clothes need to go somewhere -– and that somewhere, is hidden in your machine. According to Family Handyman, if your washing machine has any sort of odor, you're likely dealing with some sort of mold or mildew. This is a sign that too much moisture has gotten a chance to build up inside the drum, which often happens when the door is shut before the inside has a chance to fully dry.


Many machines have a self-cleaning function, you can also DIY the process for the same effect. Adding two cups of white vinegar, run an empty cycle on the hottest setting possible (per Better Homes & Gardens). The vinegar will help kill and prevent bacteria while also helping to neutralize and lingering mildew odor. Finish off with one more cycle of just hot water to rinse any remaining vinegar, and wipe any additional residue with a microfiber cloth.