Top tips for the ultimate spring clean
By: Veda Dante
Ahhh, spring. How we love your scented flowers, warmer weather, early sunrises and longer days.
While many cultures celebrate spring in a variety of time-honoured ways – the Swiss burn a snowman on a stake while the Japanese picnic under cherry blossoms, in many parts of the world, there is a shared desire to start the new season afresh with a spring clean.
Spring cleaning is a tradition that allows us to freshen up our homes and get a head start on the busy social calendar that comes with the warmer weather. Here are a few tips to kick-start your spring-cleaning regime.
1. Clean windows for a healthy house
Did you know you can make interior spaces look bigger, brighter and warmer simply by cleaning your windows?
Wipe away any dust, dirt and cobwebs that have built up on the window sills, blinds, windows and flyscreens. It’s best to do this before you start opening everything up and all the dirt blows into the house. And don’t forget to wear a face mask if you suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions.
Pro tip? Wash windows on a cloudy day to prevent the sun from drying the cleaning solution and leaving streak marks.
If you’d prefer a natural alternative, here's a simple formula you can make at home:
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup Vinegar
- ¼ cup rubbing alcohol
- 2 drops orange essential oil
2. Freshen up the cleaning machines
It’s easy to take our washing machines and dishwashers for granted. After all, we usually fill ‘em up and switch them on without much thought – often multiple times a day.
Grimy filters, blocked inlets and outlets, and dirty pipes not only leave stains and detergent residue but can also reduce the lifespan of your appliances. Regular maintenance maximises their cleaning power while saving you money on repairs and replacements.
For washing machines, start by soaking the softener dispenser in warm water to help remove any soap scum. While empty, put the washing machine through a hot temperature full cycle. Add a good splash of vinegar (1 cup) to kill all the bacteria and remove any unpleasant smells.
For dishwashers, begin by clearing any food particles that may be stuck to the drain, which is in the centre of the machine's floor. Next, use a toothbrush dipped in white vinegar to scrub the area located beneath your silverware rack as this is a common place for old food, dirt, and leftover soap to congregate.
Pour one cup of vinegar into a glass measuring cup, and place in the top rack of the empty machine. Run through a hot water cycle, which will break up dirt, stains, and mildew. Let this cycle go until it's finished.
Finally, sprinkle one cup of baking soda across the bottom of the dishwasher and run another hot water cycle.
It’s never too young to teach the kids how to clean!
3. Clean out the refrigerator
This means the outside and inside. After emptying (use an esky to temporarily keep food cool), pull out all of your fridge's interior shelving and wash them with warm soapy water. Then wipe down the surfaces that can't be removed on the inside with a sponge before putting shelves back into place.
Pull the fridge out of its cove and give all sides a good wipe, then sweep and mop the floor before sliding it back into place. Now it’s time to put all the food back.
Finally, remove everything on the front – think school notes, recipes and shopping lists – so you have a clean slate for spring.
4. Streamline kitchen cupboards
To encourage healthy eating habits, tidy up the pantry in preparation for the summer months by sorting and labelling similar foods together. Check expiry dates to reduce food waste. And create a weekly meal plan to use up all the left-over winter foods such as soups, canned food for casseroles and stews.
During winter we use big pots and pans, slow cookers for warm hearty soups and roasts. If you don’t use these in the warmer months store them away so your cupboards are less jumbled, and you can reach what you need with ease.
5. Declutter and donate
As you start to pack away your winter clothes and linen, consider passing on the ones that are still in good condition but aren’t your favourites any more, you could pay it forward by donating them to charities like The Salvation Army to help people in need. Red Cross Shops are always in need of winter woollies (find a shop near you) while Hospice New Zealand is another great non-profit organisation who run second hand retail stores to help support the running costs of hospice services.
If you have any old items like appliances, sporting items, furniture or electronics that can’t be donated, you can organise a collection through your local council. Check your local council’s website for more information.
The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Resimac.