The first step in any major spring clean is to have a total overhaul of the things that are idle in your home. There's no point in trying to clean if your home is too full of trinkets and unused items to be able to get to the places that need the most cleaning attention. Not only will throwing away, selling or donating items that you no longer use be helpful in terms of cleaning, it also adds to the cathartic experience of totally cleansing your home!
The general rule of thumb is to get rid of anything that you've not worn or used in the past six months. However, this advice is always best taken with a pinch of salt, as many of us have things that we use more in winter than in summer, and vice versa!
Decluttering doesn't have to mean throwing away things that can still hold some value, though. Children's toys and outgrown clothes are two of the most common things to build up and clog a home, and if they're not suitable for a hand-me-down to a younger sibling, these can earn you a little pocket money if you're willing to sell items on. Baby and children's clothing is popular on the second-hand market simply for the reason that kids grow so quickly, leaving perfectly serviceable pieces behind them!
Similarly, good condition adult clothes and shoes can be worth a little cash if you're able to get to grips with local selling or larger bidding sites like eBay, as can household accessories.
Once you're happy that you've shed all the unnecessary items from the home, you can really assess the areas that will need the most attention in terms of cleaning.
Especially over the winter months, the windows are often the most neglected part of the home when it comes to cleaning. The UK's variable weather doesn't naturally lend itself to always-pristine glass windows, and no one is going to want to venture out to clean them if a storm is forecast for the next day! But, when it comes to spring cleaning, giving your windows a good wash can ensure that they stay cleaner for longer during those April showers.
A favoured method of many Grandmas, vinegar diluted in water is one of the best glass cleaning tricks going. White vinegar in warm water wiped over the window does bring a brilliant shine when cleaned away with newspaper. This is a great option for those that aren't keen to use chemical-based cleaning products, and the use of newspaper provides a streak-free finish. If you're looking to avoid the use of vinegar, pure lemon juice (not diluted in water) will do the same job.
If your windows are in particular need of attention, a squirt of quality washing up liquid should be mixed with warm water, and applied to the window with a sponge or absorbent cloth. To avoid streaks, this method works best if you have a squeegee to wipe the water and soap suds away. There is a definite knack to effectively using a squeegee, but after a couple of windows you'll have the method mastered!
Don't forget to clean the inside of the windows as well as the outside - and always use the appropriate kind of ladder if you're attempting to clean windows upstairs. You can also use these tricks on mirrors, glass tables and even shower screens!
No matter how often you vacuum your carpets, some marks and stains can build up over time and feel impenetrable - but there are ways to restore your flooring to its former glory! There are a couple of different ways you can go about giving your carpet a lovely deep clean.
Steam cleaning is a common way of cleaning your carpets quickly and efficiently, but it does typically involve equipment that you wouldn't normally find in the home. Most good DIY stores can hire out more industrial-style carpet cleaners which give a really thorough steam clean without saturating the carpet fibres with water.
For more low-key, but still effective cleaning away from shop-bought options, you can make your own carpet cleaner from baking soda and vinegar - a potent mix, any chemist will agree! It's particularly great for removing patchy stains. With this method, combine a teaspoon of washing up liquid in a spray bottle with a mug full of warm water, and a tablespoon of white vinegar.
Next, ensuring that you're holding the spray bottle over a sink, add one teaspoon of baking soda (not baking powder) and screw the nozzle onto the bottle quickly! Ensure you’ve vacuumed the affected spot beforehand, and spray your mixture onto the area. Gently rub the stain with a clean towel or cloth (choose one which won't transfer colour on to your carpet) and you should see immediate improvements. Continue to dab at the stain until the mark is totally gone, and ensure you soak up as much of the remaining liquid as possible.
Though you should always be sure to change your mattress every seven years, it's also a great idea to give it a clean as frequently as you can, just to ensure that it stays a hygienic place for you to spend your nights. Though it feels a bit of a bizarre exercise, regularly vacuuming your mattress can help keep it fresh year-round, but for a deeper clean, you can sprinkle the mattress liberally with baking soda before scrubbing it with a stiff-bristled brush. You can also add a few drops of essential oil (like lavender) at this stage to help your mattress smell lovely too! Vacuum again to get rid of the soda residue.
This can be done to both sides of the mattress if it's one that should be flipped, and don't forget, investing in a quality mattress protector can make cleaning your actual mattress a lot easier. These can usually be put in the washing machine - a fair bit easier than scrubbing a mattress.
Though there are plenty of parts of the home to get busy cleaning this spring, we hope these tips for the lesser-acknowledged areas of the home make the big clean that bit easier!