Spring cleaning: what to use and how to do it properly
Gearing up for a deep-clean and declutter? These expert spring-cleaning tips will leave a hard-working home looking like new
Marigolds at the ready for the big spring clean? It’s probably not up there with your favourite ways to spend a weekend, but deep cleaning your house can be just the cathartic clearout you need to refresh your home and turn chaos into calm.
Where to start with your spring cleaning? We’ve gathered the know-how of some of the UK’s top cleaning experts: Angela Lofthouse, franchise owner at Molly Maid; professional organiser Vicky Silverthorn, and Matt Thomas, Partner & Buyer, Utility Shop. Their useful tips will help you break down the most overwhelming tasks into completely manageable mini-projects.
Split it up into smaller tasks that you can complete in a day
Make sure you put aside a realistic amount of time to do the job properly and don’t make mountains out of what could be a few manageable molehills. Whether you start with one room or one corner, breaking a spring clean down into separate manageable tasks over a few days will help you to get through the whole house without feeling overwhelmed. Identify which rooms are high priority and start there, giving yourself an area to start and finish in the same day – you’ll get a sense of achievement at the end of each day that will keep you motivated. Try using a kitchen timer or your phone’s alarm to really focus.
Declutter before you start cleaning
Rid yourself of any not-remotely-useful odds and ends that have quietly filled up your house. The scraps of paper, old chopsticks and expired vouchers filling up that kitchen drawer? The bathroom products that are almost empty and never get used? Get rid of them. Check your fridge and kitchen cupboards for expired products too. If you thought something might be useful but you haven’t touched it in years – let it go. It’ll all make everything far easier to clean.
Start on something small to ease yourself in, like your sock drawer (use dividers to properly organise your underwear), then build up from there: tackle another drawer, a small cupboard, a shoe rack. Try to work room by room, so your concentration and goals remain focused. Once you realise how satisfying it is, you might prefer to declutter regularly rather than letting things build up.
Having the right decluttering kit is essential. Storage boxes are a must (especially if you label each one) and they ensure things stay dust-free. There’s also a wealth of clever organisers and space-saving pieces that you can add to your wardrobe or drawers to max out their potential. Look at The Home Edit and Like-It for drawer and cupboard inspiration.
Get the right tools for the job
Trying to clean the whole house with a single old cloth and one bottle of spray makes for a miserable experience. Instead make sure you’ve got the right cleaning products to make the task as easy as possible and keep them in a cleaning caddy or bucket. ‘Check to see if anything needs to be renewed or replaced,’ advises Matt. ‘There’s nothing worse than starting to clean and coming to a halt because you ran out of product halfway across the sink.’
But what is the ‘right equipment’? One thing Angela and Matt are in complete agreement on is E-cloths. ‘They give a polished quality to any surface without the need for heavy-duty fluids,’ says Matt. ‘Just dampen the cloths with water to extract their cleaning properties. There are different cloths for specific materials, so make sure you look out for ones that are right for your surfaces.’
Minimum space to store your cleaning arsenal? Matt suggests the Satto cleaning set, which includes a mop, telescopic handle and all the cleaning heads you need in one compact pack. Angela also recommends the E-cloth mini mop to make quick work of dirty floors and both cleaning experts rate radiator brushes, blind brushes and OXO appliance brushes for hard-to-reach areas.
Consider natural products when choosing your cleaning kit
‘Natural products are an environment-conscious place to start any spring clean,’ says Matt. Our range of sustainable home cleaning products should be as good for the planet as they are for your home. Angela goes one step further and suggests creating your own simple at-home solutions. ‘Distilled vinegar and water can be used to clean windows and remove limescale,’ she says. ‘Dip a leather cloth in the mixture to remove a build-up of polish on furniture.’
She also recommends ‘dipping kitchen roll in baby oil – it’s great for polishing up stainless steel appliances.’ Angela’s tip for cleaning tarnished silver is our favourite: ‘Place a sheet of tin foil in the bottom of a pan, fill with boiling water and add salt. Plunge the tarnished silver cutlery in and leave for less than a minute. The salt and foil cause a chemical reaction that removes all tarnishing to reveal a fantastic shine. Rinse in warm soapy water to finish.’
Brilliant tips that you might not have tried before
'Put lemon slices in a bowl of hot water in the microwave and heat for a few minutes to remove smells and stop grime clinging to the inside,’ Angela suggests. Afterwards, you’ll be able to effortlessly wipe clean the inside of your microwave. Another of Angela’s tricks is to use damp newspaper dipped into soft ash to clean the glass on your log burner. And does trying to scrub the last of the grease off roasting tins leave you feeling like you’ve had a session at a bootcamp? ‘Washing powder and water works a treat,’ says Angela.
Matt suggests: ‘To rid your washing machine of bacteria and smells, run an empty cycle on the hottest setting – minimum 60°C – with 500g of soda crystals.’ When complete, run once more with a cup of white vinegar in the drum. ‘Taking care of your daily appliances will help them last longer, and makes future cleaning quicker, too,‘ he advises. ‘Make sure to descale kettles and coffee machines – the Caffenu range of cleaners is ideal for this – and also remove deposits on your iron’s soleplate to make it glide smoothly again.’
And the finishing touches? Angela insists on, ‘plumped-up cushions on the sofas, tassels on rugs neatened (use a proper rug underlay too to keep it perfectly flat and easier to vacuum), pictures straightened, curtains adjusted, blinds level, bins empty and beds freshly made’. We like to finish a job well done by lighting a scented candle or plugging in an electric fragrance diffuser and arranging some fresh flowers in a now sparkling vase.
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