Spring cleaning isn’t something most of us look forward to—who actually has the time to clean their entire house from top to bottom? We get it. But “procrastinating only creates more work for yourself,” says Sarah McAllister of BleachPrayLove, whose cleaning tips have gone viral.
Here’s the good news: You don’t have to do everything at once. With some expert advice and a caddy of cleaning products, you can break your spring cleaning into easily achievable 15-minute daily tasks.
“The best part is the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction you have once everything is done,” says McAllister. Check out our top fifteen tips to help you tackle your spring cleaning checklist without feeling totally overwhelmed.
1Dust off surfaces, shelves and light fixtures.
Task time: Around 15 minutes or less per room.
This is one of the first tasks you’ll want to tackle for a visibly cleaner place that’s more allergy-friendly, too. Avoid using a feather duster, which just redistributes dust. Instead, use a clean, damp microfiber cloth to remove dust: hold it by one corner and use a spray bottle to mist it with water (don’t overdo it—you don’t want to leave moisture streaks behind). If you can’t easily reach your light fixtures, use a long-handled dusting tool. And remember to work from the top down when dusting shelving units.
2Vacuum baseboards, countertops, furniture—and even toilets(!).
Task time: Around 15 minutes for each room and each major furnishing.
Your vacuum isn’t just for cleaning the everyday mess of high-traffic entryways and halls. Use the upholstery attachment to capture dust from living room furniture, cushions and curtains, too. (Tip: remember to replace your vacuum’s filter regularly to improve efficiency and reduce allergens in your home!) Next, use the same vacuum attachment to take on the baseboards, countertops and yes, even the toilets. This method saves a ton of time when it comes to capturing dust and hair, says McAllister. (When you’re done, disinfect the brush by soaking it in water and bleach, then let it dry completely.)
3Wipe down your baseboards (and walls, if you have time).
Task time: Around 15 minutes per room.
We often overlook our walls and baseboards, but taking the time to give them a good scrub can instantly brighten up a room. McAllister recommends this recipe to her followers, which she says can also be used on floors: mix one teaspoon of powdered Tide laundry detergent (it contains surfactants and enzymes to remove dirt and stains) with about a gallon of hot water in a bucket. Then use a microfiber cloth and some good old elbow grease to wipe down the baseboards and walls. Ease the strain on your knees while you work by kneeling on a yoga mat or towel.
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4Banish mould from your windowsills and window tracks.
Task time: Around 15 minutes per large, grimy window.
It’s easy to miss the mess hidden behind curtains and blinds—but they can be hot spots for dirt, grime and mould (if you notice any, it’s a good idea to put on a dust mask and rubber gloves to protect yourself from exposure). Get rid of dirt and mould by spraying the entire surface thoroughly with an all-purpose cleaner and using a toothbrush or scrub brush to thoroughly scour the surface and break up the mould. Wipe the area clean with paper towels (McAllister points out that cloths will just move the gross stuff around and create more work), and repeat the process until it’s all gone.
5Wipe down your kitchen and bathroom countertops.
Task time: Around 5 minutes or less per countertop.
Take on buildup and get laminate surfaces sparkling with a soft microfiber cloth (steel wool sponges and scouring pads can cause scratches) and a mix of one part vinegar to one part water. For marble and granite, avoid acidic cleaners (including vinegar and lemon) as they can damage the seal of these surfaces. Instead, mix warm water with a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle, spritz your countertops and wipe down with a damp cloth. Use another clean microfiber cloth to buff the counters dry. Take on stained laminate and marble by making a paste out of baking soda and water. Let it sit on stains for five minutes before wiping clean with a soft cloth (baking soda is already mildly abrasive, so no need to scrub!). Repeat the process if needed.
6Clear your fridge of old and expired foods.
Task time: Around 15 minutes per section.
Working one section at a time, and with your compost or garbage bin nearby, toss out any expired food, then empty that section of the fridge. Next, use a solution of one part white vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle to spritz the entire inside surface of the fridge, then wipe clean with a microfiber cloth (don’t use hot water on cold glass shelves, as it could cause them to shatter). Treat your future self by tackling the messiest area first, whether it’s doors, shelves or crisper. If your fridge is prone to odour buildup, consider popping an open box of baking soda on a back shelf to help absorb smells. If you have extra time, you can also remove drawers and shelves, wash in warm, soapy water, and dry thoroughly before replacing.
7Get your fridge shiny clean.
Task time: Around 15 minutes.
Once the inside of your fridge is clean, it’s time to tackle the outside. Remove any kids’ art, cards, photographs and coupons you might have stuck to the fridge before wiping the exterior with that familiar half-vinegar half-water solution and a clean microfiber cloth. Replace your old fridge décor with new photos and art, or enjoy the look of a bare and squeaky-clean appliance.
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8Freshen up the inside of your oven.
Task time: Around 15 minutes, more for an extra-grimy oven.
This one can seem like a monumental task, but it doesn’t have to be! Get rid of baked-on stains and spills with a paste of baking soda and water: spread the mix on the oven’s inside surfaces. Leave to soak in for 10 or 15 minutes, then scrub with a toothbrush or scouring pad. For extra power, add a little bit of vinegar. Remove excess dirt and debris with dampened paper towels.
9Get your stainless steel appliances shining.
Task time: Around 15 minutes for your oven; 5-10 minutes for smaller appliances.
Most stovetops can easily be wiped down with a kitchen sponge, dish soap and warm water. To banish fingerprints, smudges and streaks from your stainless steel appliances, reach for a microfiber cloth and stainless steel cleaner. Or mix one teaspoon of dish soap with a litre of hot water, then rinse with clean more hot water and dry with a clean cloth. If you’d like, repeat these steps on your unplugged stainless steel kettle and toaster.
10Clear out your kitchen cabinets.
Task time: Around 15 minutes for each section.
Start by emptying your cupboards, then take a cue from McAllister and use your vacuum’s hose attachment (or a handheld vacuum) to clean crumbs and other debris from the shelves. Tackle the inside of the doors and shelves with a half vinegar, half water solution (add a few drops of dish soap if your cupboards need a real good clean). Avoid water spots by using a clean towel to dry everything off before replacing the food. If you’d like, wrap infrequently used dishware in old newspaper or bubble wrap and set aside to give to friends, family or charity.
11Wipe down your kitchen cabinets.
Task time: Around 15 minutes.
Now that your inside cabinets are sorted, it’s time to move on to the outside. Using the same vinegar, water and dish soap solution you used on the inside of the cupboards, spritz the outside of the cabinet doors. Let it sit for a minute before wiping them clean with a microfiber cloth. For extra sparkle, use polish to buff copper or brass handles.
12Make your sinks sparkle.
Task time: Around 5 minutes per sink.
You don’t have to wear out your poor arms to give sinks a good clean. Stainless steel is particularly easy: rinse with tap water, then sprinkle baking soda across the entire surface of the sink and use a soft sponge to scrub in the direction of the steel grain. The baking soda is gentle enough to clean without scratching the finish but tough enough to take on grease—plus, it tackles odours without producing chemical residue. Follow up by spraying the sink with vinegar and rinsing it out again. For porcelain sinks, avoid anything too abrasive that could leave marks; just use warm water with a few drops of dish soap and a sponge to gently clean.
13Freshen up your washer and dryer.
Task time: Around 15 minutes.
Next, get your washing machine and dryer sparkling. If the control knobs are removable, take them off and wash them in the sink. Wipe down the outside of the machines with a microfiber cloth and an all-purpose cleaner or cleaning wipes. Then tackle the inside of the washer. Front-load models can create a gunky, mouldy mess in the rubber seals that line the door. McAllister’s trick: use good old-fashioned bleach and a scrubbing brush to scour them clean. Dry them off well with paper towels. For good measure, run a rinse or sanitize cycle.
14Bid grout grime goodbye.
Task time: Around 15 minutes per shower or bath area.
Grab a stiff brush or toothbrush and either a homemade paste of vinegar and baking soda or of oxygen cleaner powder and water, and gently scrub along the grout lines. Rinse with warm water, and ta-da—grime gone!
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15Shower your shower curtain.
Task time: Around 15 minutes active work time (plus 40 minutes or so in the wash).
Remove your shower curtain from its hooks, and place it in your washing machine with a scoop of laundry detergent on a cool, gentle cycle. If your shower curtain is made of plastic or vinyl, toss in a few towels to keep it protected. Then, place it back in the shower and give it a good rinse. Looking to update your shower curtain hooks? Now’s the perfect time!
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