Admit it: you’re gross. You’ve kept up with surface cleaning your home so guests aren’t horrified by how you live, but when it comes down to it, your place could use a good scrub.
The fridge is nasty. Your spaces are cluttered. You’re afraid to stick your hand under the couch to look for something because god only knows what lurks beneath.
You need to do your spring cleaning.
Thankfully, we spoke to two cleaning experts to give you some tips on how to get your home sparkling and organized. Let’s face it, you could use the help.
First of all, get safe cleaning products
Read the labels on your cleaning products before purchasing them. Make sure they’re safe and eco-friendly; just because a product contains powerful cleaning agents doesn’t mean it’s the best way to go.
“It’s actually very harmful to be using products like Windex and these heavy duty cleaning products because they end up making the air in our homes more toxic than the air outside, which is the complete opposite effect of what we want when we’re spring cleaning,” Niki Mohrdar, digital marketer with Life Maid Easy, tells Vancity Buzz.
She recommends using household items like baking soda, water, and vinegar to clean. If you want to make your home smell fresh, she says you can simmer a mixture of one cup of water, some slices of lemon, a few sprigs of rosemary, and a couple of drops of vanilla.
“Let it sit on medium heat all day – it makes your house smell incredible,” says Mohrdar.
President and CEO of Aspen Cleaning Alicia Sokolowski agrees. She says people need to get rid of all the toxic cleaners in their home.
“Get more gentle, natural products – they can be quite effective as well.”
Sokolowski says going to EWG.com will help you decide on the right environmentally friendly cleaning products for your needs.
Now make a list of all the things that need to be done
Spring cleaning is daunting, and knowing where to start will help you realize your cleanliness goals. Sokolowski says making a list of both what needs to be done and the products you need will help you achieve your wildest cleaning dreams.
“I would make a list either mental or written of what you’re trying to accomplish and start with the areas that you don’t normally clean on a regular basis. Stop at the top level of your house and work your way down so you don’t retrace your steps and you don’t track dirt back into your house.”
De-clutter and come up with creative storage solutions
Clutter is one of the worst things for contributing to your home’s horrid state. One of the best things you can do is store small household items and food in clear containers so it’s easy to locate what you need. Mohrdar recommends using mason jars.
“That way you can see everything that you have as opposed to having, say, pasta boxes filling up your cupboards, and you don’t have to keep old boxes of cereal with just little bits at the end – it honestly saves you so much space,” she says.
Don’t vacuum will-nilly. Simply running it over the carpets won’t do the trick, says Morhdar. She says one of their maids had to learn this trick the hard way when she was cleaning a particularly filthy home.
“She would vacuum and it just seemed fruitless – just going over and over the same spot with no luck – so then we discovered that if you start in the furthest corner of the room and then work your way towards the door, it will reduce the chance that the dust will fly everywhere and that you’ll walk all over it.”
Sokolowski echoes the sentiment of orderly vacuuming. Vacuuming as much dust as you can, and then using a damp cloth to get the rest will yield the best results.
Get your friends involved, they’ll love you for it
Nobody likes to clean on their own, and when it comes to getting rid of things, friends are invaluable resources. Bring a good friend over who knows you well and get them to help you declutter your closet.
“Have them look through your closet and tell you what you don’t wear anymore because they probably know way better than you. You can make a day out of it – have some wine, and laugh at the poor fashion choices you’ve made,” says Mohrdar.
Stop procrastinating: clean your carpets
One of the things that people tend to procrastinate on when it comes to cleaning is carpeting. It can seem like a lofty proposition to deep clean those bad boys, but never fear – it can be done.
“Besides the basic vacuuming, you’d have to rent a machine or a heavy-duty vacuum that have circulating scrubbers on the bottom,” says Morhdar.
However, it takes more than just renting a steam cleaner. You need to know the materials of your carpet and how it interacts with cleaning solutions so that you don’t end up making a huge mistake.
“It could damage the carpet forever, so make sure you’re educated.”
And while you’re at it, wash your damn garbage can
Who washes their garbage can? Unless you’re my mother, probably nobody. Still, Sokolowski recommends doing it as part of your deeper cleaning because it gets nasty.
“That’s something that must get done on a regular basis,” she says.
She adds spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to wash other things that you don’t normally think about, such as window coverings.
Don’t neglect your kitchen
You probably think your kitchen is fine because you’re constantly cleaning it, but it’s actually a den for bacteria, germs, and disease. Mohrdar says it’s even dirtier than your bathroom. Yuck.
“There’s so much food in there and everyone is always gathering in there, everyone’s cooking and talking. It’s just a room where there’s a lot of people in,” she says. “Because they think the bathroom is dirtier, they take extra precautions when cleaning it, but it’s not.”
She recommends replacing wooden cutting boards on a regular basis since juices from meat can lurk in the boards for extended periods of time. Ultimately, plastic ones are the most sanitary.
You tried, you failed; just hire a maid
Of course, in the end, if your home is so filthy that you’re overwhelmed by the prospect of cleaning it on your own, you can always hire a cleaning service (budget permitting, of course).
According to Mohrdar, the best way to guarantee that your house will be spick and span in time for spring will be if someone who actually knows what they’re doing cleans it for you.