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Spring Cleaning Is Out—Here's When to Clean Your Home Instead

Why wait for spring? Here’s how to keep everything neat and tidy the whole year through.

Illustration by Boyoun Kim
Illustration by Boyoun Kim

Spring cleaning is a dusty, outdated concept. The term itself was popularized in the 19th century, when people had to wait for warm weather to open their windows and sweep out layers of soot left by their coal furnaces. It made sense at the time, but today most of us have snazzy HVAC systems to keep us warm in winter. And vacuums! So there’s no reason to spend the start of a season scrubbing our hearts out. Instead, follow this plan to keep up with your home bit by bit throughout the year, and take it a little easier come March and April. Scroll down to check out this to-do list, then click the links to get into the nitty gritty of the trickier tasks.

At Least Weekly

Illustration by Boyoun Kim
Illustration by Boyoun Kim

No surprise: High-traffic areas of your home need the most attention.

  • Wipe down and sanitize the counters in the kitchen, bathroom(s), and laundry room.

  • Sweep or vacuum and mop the floors.

  • Launder your linens: sheets, all towels (the bath, hand, and dish varieties), and bath mats. Want to keep your towels smelling fresh? Here's how.

  • Wipe down all sinks and the stove.

  • Sanitize high-touch points: doorknobs, faucets, light switches, pulls and handles, keyboards, and remote controls.

  • Clean up any spatters or grease along the kitchen backsplash and inside the microwave.

  • Disinfect the toilets. Hit the bowl, seat, sides, tank, and flusher.

  • Scrub the entire bathtub and/or shower.

At Least Monthly

Illustration by Boyoun Kim
Illustration by Boyoun Kim

Some spots take a little longer to get dirty. Tackle these every four weeks or less.

Everywhere

  • Dust all surfaces: side tables, your TV and con-sole, bookshelves, picture frames, etc. You may need to do this biweekly. Read more about how to get rid of dust from all your surfaces.

  • Spritz and wipe the inside of the windows with glass cleaner and a clean rag.

  • Dust the baseboards with a microfiber cloth, then clean them according to these instructions.

  • Dust blinds with the brush attachment on your vacuum, or wipe each slat with a microfiber cloth. If they're looking super filthy, consider a deeper clean.

  • If you can, rinse your vacuum’s filter. (Deep-clean the entire machine once a year.)

Bathroom

  • Clean mirrors and fixtures. Spray solution onto your microfiber cloth instead of the mirror to keep spots from forming.

  • Launder your shower curtain and liner if they can go into the washing machine. (Most can!) If you need to clean yours by hand, try an enzyme stain spray and these tips.

Kitchen

  • Disinfect the trash cans.

  • Scrub the cabinet doors and appliance fronts with a microfiber cloth and warm, soapy water.

  • Toss expired items and deep-clean the fridge.

  • De-stink the dishwasher by running a cycle with just a bowl of distilled white vinegar on the top rack. And clean the filter. While you're at it, wash the door rack and gasket too.

  • Dust and clean the top of the fridge if it’s exposed.

Living Room

  • Vacuum the couch and other upholstered furniture. Use the appropriate attachment and remove the cushions to get every last crumb. Be on the look-out for loose change.

Laundry Room

At Least Seasonally

It helps to mark the tasks on your calendar. Or just save these pages until you’re in the groove.

Illustration by Boyoun Kim
Illustration by Boyoun Kim

Once a Season

Twice a Year

Spring

  • Disconnect the dryer and use the hose attachment on your vacuum to remove lint from the vent and clean it.

  • Clean the windows—this time, the outside! Hire someone to do the second story (or the entire task).

Summer

  • Deep-clean your grill. Start by turning off the propane tank, carefully detach the gas tubes and burner, and then follow these steps.

  • Sweep and power-wash the deck, patio, and driveway. Scrub mold off of unpainted siding with bleach and water and a stiff-bristle brush.

  • Clean outdoor furniture and wipe down the cushions using a soft bristled brush. (Stash the cushions inside when not in use.)

Fall

  • Give your HVAC system a checkup. Schedule a tech visit to make sure every-thing is in working order before the weather turns.Note: Filters should be changed every season.

  • Do a yard cleanup and pick up errant sticks.

  • Reset the garage. Dust, sweep, vacuum, and organize all that equipment.

  • Clean out your medicine stockpile. Cold and flu season is approaching, and you don’t want expired stuff taking up space in there. Remember, makeup and toiletries have expiration dates, too!

Winter

  • Remove ash from the fireplace regularly. A yearly inspection by a chimney sweep will help keep the flue clear.

  • Shake out and wipe down boot trays or shoe racks.

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