Spring cleaning can be totally overwhelming — there are so many jobs to be done, and most of them are labor- and time-intensive. If you’re a person who doesn’t know where to begin with your spring cleaning efforts, even those spring cleaning checklists can feel like too much. So to help you get started and to stay focused, we’ve broken spring cleaning down room by room, suggesting two to three deep-cleaning jobs to consider for each.
Even more importantly, we’ve talked to experts about the tools and cleaning agents that will make heavy-duty cleaning faster and easier, and about some surprising spring cleaning uses for home appliance stalwarts like your vacuum and washing machine.
After a long winter, the bedroom can take on a stale feeling, so focusing your spring cleaning efforts on freshening up will lead to a big payoff in the end.
Even if you’re diligent about regularly laundering your bedsheets, laundry will play a big role in spring cleaning the bedroom. Mary Begovic Johnson, a principal scientist at Tide and Downy, points out that sheets aren’t the only textiles that take on dirt and odor over time. “People don’t always think to wash the other textiles on or around their beds like bed skirts, shams, throw pillow covers, blankets, comforters, stuffed animals, throw rugs, laundry bags and even the pillows themselves!”
Because these items are washed infrequently, soils become deeply embedded, so using a laundry detergent designed for stain removal, like Tide’s Ultra Stain Release detergent, should be part of your regular spring cleaning routine.
As Josh Mutlow, a design manager at Dyson, points out, “We spend almost a third of our lives in our beds, but we very rarely give any attention to how clean our mattresses are.” Of course, you can’t just toss a mattress in the washing machine, but you can use another household appliance to give it a good spring cleaning: your vacuum. Mutlow suggests using a motorized attachment, such as the Dyson Tangle Free Turbine tool, to pick up hair, dust, pollen and other allergens that build up in the bedroom.
See more of our favorite handheld vacuums here.
Let’s face it: Deep cleaning the bathroom can be a real chore of a chore. But there are some miracle products that will do a lot of the work for you, sparing you time and elbow grease.
OxiClean is typically used to brighten up laundry, but it can also be used to brighten up dingy, dirty grout. To use it for deep cleaning, dissolve the powder in hot water to make a solution. Apply a thin layer of the OxiClean solution to the floor, then let the solution do its thing on your floors for 30 to 60 minutes before mopping it up. Give the floor another pass with the mop and clean water, and allow it to dry, at which point you’ll be greeted with bright, clean grout.
For mold and mildew: X-14 Mildew Stain Remover
X-14 is a heavy-duty cleaner that eliminates mold, mildew and Serratia marcescens, that pinkish/orange shower scum that collects around drains, grout and caulk. Because X-14 is so powerful, very little scrubbing is required; simply spray the product on the moldy surface, allow 10 to 15 minutes to penetrate and eliminate the bacterial growth and rinse the area clean.
The living room is a great place to let machines do a lot of the spring cleaning for you, from freshening up furniture to cleaning those ceiling fans.
As with mattresses, we spend a lot of time on our couches and sofas and often overlook the need to clean them. According to Mutlow, sofas and other upholstered furniture should be cleaned every month. (Every month!) Cordless models make vacuuming oversized and bulky items less cumbersome, but cordless models can lack the motor power of their corded counterparts, which is why Mutlow suggests Dyson’s V15 Detect, which has the most suction power of any cord-free vacuum on the market.
For cleaning hard-to-reach places like ceiling fans, light fixtures and baseboards, we recommend a duster with a reusable head, which will also make short work of dusting shelves that are filled with books or knickknacks.
In the kitchen, spring cleaning jobs tend to fall into one of two categories: major purging — decluttering and reorganizing spaces like the pantry, or the cabinet where you store your food storage containers — and major appliances, which we tend to put off cleaning because, let’s be honest, we tend to dread jobs like cleaning the oven or refrigerator.
For the oven and refrigerator: Scotch-Brite Dobie Pads
If your major appliances need some major attention, this tip is one you need to know: The tool you use for the job is just as important as the cleaning agent you choose. When it comes to cleaning the interior of the oven or the refrigerator, a Dobie Pad — a nonscratch scrub sponge that will scour away stubborn messes — will make the job much, much easier.
“The grease and other molecules released by cooking will travel throughout the house and settle on textiles like curtains, causing dinginess and odors,” Johnson explains. “Some odors and dingy soils can become so deeply embedded that they can’t be removed with regular washing.” For items like curtains or small kitchen rugs, Johnson suggests using a laundry detergent designed for heavy-duty washing, such as Tide’s Hygienic Clean detergent.
If organizing your cabinets and pantry is on your list of spring cleaning chores, it’s also worth taking the time to deep clean the shelves and cabinet doors. Airborne grease from cooking leaves a sticky film on hard surfaces that regular all-purpose cleaners won’t cut through, so for this job, reach for a heavy-duty degreaser like Zep Industrial Purple.
Home offices have two major, and related, problems: clutter and dust. Focusing spring cleaning efforts on eliminating those two sources of messiness will leave your workspace looking brighter, cleaner and more organized.
For those hard-to-reach spots: ZVac Universal Vacuum Plastic Wand
An inexpensive vacuum attachment can work wonders when it comes to spring cleaning your home office. Mutlow points out that “we may be used to cleaning the bottom of a windowsill, but the top of one can go untouched for years,” collecting dust, dirt, pet hair and more. He suggests an extending wand attachment like the ZVac Universal Plastic Wand for cleaning high-up spaces where your eyes can’t spot dirt, but do check to make sure “universal” applies to your machine.
Scanners aren’t typically associated with cleaning, but if your home office has been overtaken by papers, spring cleaning may take the form of a digitizing project. If you’re serious about streamlining, investing in an easy-to-use scanner will allow you to organize files digitally, eliminating that pile of papers on your desk and leaving your workspace looking neat and tidy.
Garage and outdoors spring cleaning checklist
Outdoor spring cleaning can be backbreaking work, which is why power tools are such an important part of outdoor cleanup. Kevin O’Connor, the host of the television program “This Old House,” has some favorite multitasking power tools for spring cleaning, which he calls his “favorite of all the chores to be done!”
For dirt and debris: Black+Decker Electric Leaf Blower
Leaf blowers aren’t just for leaves! O’Connor says, “A powerful leaf blower will help you clean out beds, clear the lawn and tidy up your driveway, patio and walkways.” Is the garage filthy? Use the leaf blower to remove dirt and debris. You can’t get any better than this top-rated and budget-friendly electric blower from Black+Decker.
For the garage floor and more: Ryobi Electric Pressure Washer
People love pressure washers so much they’ve even popped up on our TikToks, and O’Connor knows why. “There are endless uses for this tool; your imagination is the only limit,” he says. The jobs O’Connor uses a pressure washer for include cleaning the grill and outdoor furniture, clearing gutters or unclogging a downspout, cleaning brick and wood decking and even washing out garbage cans.