Spring Cleaning Checklist
Spring cleaning isn’t just for spring. Every home needs a regular deep cleaning to get the dust out of drapes, the spills off stovetops and the smudges off walls and baseboards.
Make spring cleaning easier by putting rubber gloves, sponges, microfiber cloths and other frequently used cleaning supplies into a tote you can carry from room to room. Then make a handy spring cleaning checklist like this one so you’ll remember to clean areas that are often overlooked.
These cleaning chores apply to almost every room in your home.
- Work from the top of the room to the bottom. Use a long-handled duster to dust the tops of cabinets, bookcases and other furnishings. Don’t forget to dust ceiling fans, crown molding, beams and other overhead elements.
- Turn off lamps and ceiling lights. When the bulbs are cool, wipe them with a dry cloth. Dust the lamps and light fixtures and vacuum the shades.
- Dust blinds with a microfiber cloth or vacuum brush attachment. Use another cleaning cloth to restore the shine to wood blinds with furniture polish or wood cleaner.
- Machine wash, handwash or dry clean drapes, curtains and valances as the labels direct.
- Sweep cobwebs out of corners and off ceilings and overhead light fixtures with a broom or use a vacuum attachment. Shake the broom outside.
- Dust baseboards with a vacuum attachment or microfiber cloth. Then add a little mild dishwashing liquid to a bucket filled with two quarts of warm water. Moisten a microfiber cloth with the mixture and wash the baseboards. Use old towels to keep drips off the floor.
- Clean corners and around baseboard edges with dampened cotton swabs. Optional: Run fans to help dry the baseboards.
- Dust around window frames or wipe them with a damp cloth, unless they are wood. Use wood cleaner or furniture polish on wood frames.
- Clean interior windows with glass cleaner and a squeegee or microfiber cloth.
- Finish by vacuuming or sweeping the floors to remove the dust that you’ve brushed off shelves, blinds and furnishings.
Wash dirty walls carefully, because some kinds of paint, such as paints with flat and eggshell finishes, may flake off.
- Try cleaning painted walls with warm water first. If that doesn't remove the grime, add a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid to the water. If something even stronger is required, combine one cup of ammonia, 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/4 cup of baking soda per gallon of warm water. After washing each wall, wipe with a clean, dry towel to avoid leaving streaks.
- For outdoor spring cleaning, wash exterior windows with a hose using low to medium pressure. Use a ladder or telescopic scrubber for windows you can't reach from the ground. Some types of outdoor glass cleaners are made to use with a hose, so you can spray the cleaner onto the windows and then scrub off the grime. Finish by rinsing the windows with clean water.
Neglected refrigerators can be a source of bad odors, and mold can grow on dirty gaskets.
- Discard out-of-date foods and old leftovers. Empty refrigerator shelves and bins, then wipe them with warm water and a little dishwashing liquid. If more thorough cleaning is needed, take them out and soak them in the sink. Rinse thoroughly and let them air dry.
- Wipe the refrigerator interior with a sponge dipped in a solution of warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Finish by wiping again with clean water. Clean refrigerator gaskets with warm water and a sponge. Don’t use detergents, which can damage them.
- Dust the top of the refrigerator. Unplug it to avoid the risk of electrical shock and then vacuum underneath it, behind it and along the sides. While the refrigerator is still unplugged, remove the bottom grill and clean the condenser coils. Use a coil cleaning brush or vacuum cleaner attachment. (Some refrigerators may have coils in the back. Read the manufacturer’s manual for details on how to clean your model.)
- Use a product designed for the finish on the refrigerator to clean the exterior.
Dishwashers leave dishes clean, but they need regular cleaning, too.
- After each cleaning cycle, bits of leftover food can settle in the bottom of the dishwasher. Pull out the bottom rack and clean out the floor of dishwasher with paper towels. If the dishwasher has a filter, read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to remove and clean it.
- Wipe spots or stuck-on foods from the door, handles and interior of the dishwasher with a damp sponge. Read the manual before cleaning the control panel to avoid possible damage.
- Run a hot water cycle with dishwashing detergent while the dishwasher is empty. Leave the door open so it can air dry.
Clean the microwave by putting a microwave-safe bowl of water inside. Add a squeeze of lemon to freshen the interior scent. Heat the water until it boils; the steam will help loosen dried food bits. Let the water cool before removing the bowl. Then, use a sponge to wipe out the microwave interior.
- Check your kitchen cabinets and toss expired foods. Wipe off the shelves as needed and replace old or stained shelf paper in cabinets and drawers.
- Clean all the way around the kitchen faucet and underneath it. Use a little mild dish soap and a sponge to clean in and around the sink. Scrub around the drain with an old toothbrush.
- Wipe kitchen counters with a cleaner that also disinfects. Use the cleaner on appliance exteriors, too, if it's labeled for that type of finish.
- Remove fingerprints and streaks from stainless steel surfaces with a stainless steel cleaner or stainless steel polish.
- If you have a self-cleaning oven, use the cleaning feature. If you don't, use an oven cleaner. Follow the manufacturer’s directions, which may include removing the interior racks.
- To clean oven racks, first put an old towel in your bathtub to protect it from scratches. Put the dirty racks on the towel and fill the tub with hot water and 1/2 cup of dishwasher detergent. Let the racks soak for several hours. If any baked-on grime remains, remove it with a non-abrasive sponge. Rinse the racks with cold water and let them air dry before replacing them in the oven.
- Clean the stovetop only when it's cool to the touch. Take off any grates, control knobs or other removable parts and soak them in a sink filled with hot, soapy water.
- Use an oventop cleaner made for the finish. Also clean the sides of the stove and the range hood, if you have one. Go back over the areas with clean water to rinse. Dry with a towel to avoid streaks and spots.
- Clean the exterior of the dishwasher and other kitchen appliances, including the stove, microwave and oven. Unplug small kitchen appliances like can openers before cleaning them. Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning directions or use an appliance cleaner designed for the finish on your appliance.
- Use an appliance polish made for stainless steel finishes to restore shine.
- Refer to your appliance manual for how to clean electronic controls and touch panels.
- Use disinfectant wipes or solutions to clean and disinfect toilets, bathtubs, sinks, showers and countertops. Also clean around and under the faucets and fixtures in the sinks, tub and shower.
- If you have a machine washable shower curtain, wash it on a gentle cycle. Check the label to see if it should be hung to dry or machine dried on low. If the curtain is worn or stained, consider replacing it.
- Wash bathmats, if the label says they’re washable, then line dry them or toss in the dryer as the label directs.
- Tie a plastic bag filled with white vinegar over a showerhead clogged with mineral deposits. Let the showerhead soak overnight. The next morning, remove the bag and turn on the water to rinse thoroughly.
- Some shower doors can be cleaned with a non-abrasive sponge and a paste made from 1/2-cup of baking soda and warm water. Other doors have a protective coating and should only be cleaned with water and a little mild dishwashing detergent or as directed by the manufacturer.
- Bathroom cleaners tackle soap scum, rust stains and lime and calcium deposits on tubs, showers and other bath fixtures. There are also find cleaners for tile, grout and toilets. Choose the product that's designed for your cleaning needs.
- Clean pillows and throws as directed on the labels. If they’re worn or stained, think about replacing them.
- Vacuum underneath and around leather furniture and between the cushions and arms. Then use a leather cleaner and a soft cloth to clean dirty spots. Also vacuum upholstered furniture between the cushions and arms, along the sides, around the legs and underneath.
- Before you spot-clean upholstered furniture, test clean a small area that isn’t noticeable. Use a white cloth moistened in warm water with a little mild dishwashing liquid or a furniture cleaner made for fabric. If the white cloth picks up color from the fabric or the fabric reacts badly in some other way, stop and consult a professional cleaning company.
- Clean bed skirts, mattress pads and pillow protectors as directed on their labels or replace them if they’re worn or badly stained. Vacuum around the box springs and bed frame while the bed is stripped.
- Wash or dry clean duvet covers as directed. In general, washing machines can handle washable bedspreads and comforters up to twin-size. Larger bedding should usually be dry cleaned.
- Synthetic and down pillows may be machine-washable on a cool water, gentle cycle. Dry and fluff the pillows on a low heat setting. Spot clean foam pillows that can’t be washed.
- After you've vacummed furniture, carpets and drapes, use a carpet cleaner to deep clean your carpets. Rentals are available in some Home Depot locations.
- Clean light switches with a dry microfiber cloth. Use dry cotton swabs to reach the dirt in nooks and crannies.
- Remove batteries from your remote control and clean it with a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol. Gently scrape dirt from between the buttons with a toothpick and then clean around them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Dry the remote with a clean cloth and replace the batteries.
- Remove and wash covers for pet beds that are labeled washable. Air dry or machine dry them according to the labels. Wash pet toys, if they are washable.