The big spring clean: how to make your house really sparkle
Getting ready for a big clear out and clean? These expert tips will help you get stuck in…
If the trend for decluttering has taught us anything, it is that tidying really is good for the soul. We shouldn’t underestimate the energising boost that a deep clean of the house will give, allowing us to take control of our own space and give our lives an achievable reboot.
So we’ve sought insider know-how from some of the UK’s best cleaning experts: Angela Lofthouse, franchise owner at Molly Maid; professional organiser Vicky Silverthorn, and Matt Thomas, Partner & Buyer, Utility Shop.
Their tricks and tips will help you break down tasks into manageable mini-projects that won't threaten to overwhelm.
Never start on something you cannot finish that day
Make sure you fully commit and plot out time to do the cleaning, otherwise it will never get done. But that doesn’t mean it has to be a daunting experience. Whether you start with one room or one corner, breaking a spring clean down into manageable tasks will help you to get through the whole house without feeling overwhelmed. Identify which rooms or areas are of most concern to you and start there. Then you can continue to move out to other areas, filling the time you have left. Try using a kitchen timer or your phone’s alarm to really focus – even 10 minutes a day can make a difference.
Always declutter before you start to tackle the cleaning
First of all, throw away the random bits that have filled up your house. Once the clutter is gone, you will find the cleaning becomes a much less intimidating experience.
Start on something small to ease you in, like your sock drawer. Even though this is a relatively easy task, it will give you a feeling of satisfaction when you wake up the next day. Then build up your decluttering: tackle another drawer, a small cupboard, a section of your wardrobe. Try to work room by room, so your concentration and goals remain focused.
There is a reason to declutter regularly rather than leaving it until the big spring clean. According to Vicky: ‘The less stuff you have to move while cleaning, the less time it will take. The more you have, the harder it is to find everything a home.’
Having the right decluttering kit is essential. Storage boxes are a must since they help you to keep like with like and 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.
The right tools will make light work of a spring clean
Ensure you have the correct cleaning products for the task at hand and keep them in a cleaning caddy or bucket. Not sure you have everything you need? ‘Having all the relevant equipment available is a must, so check to see if anything needs to be renewed or replaced,’ advises Matt. ‘There’s nothing worse than starting to spring clean and coming to a halt just a short time in.’
Wondering what the ‘relevant equipment’ is? One thing Angela and Matt are in complete agreement on are E-cloths. ‘They provide a polished quality to any surface without the need for heavy-duty fluids – simply 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,’ says Matt.
Need to rationalise your kit? Matt suggests the Satto cleaning set, which includes a mop, telescopic handle and all the cleaning heads you need in one compact pack – it's perfect for streamlining your cupboard.
Don’t dismiss natural products when building your arsenal
‘A clean house stems from the products you clean them with, so natural products are a good place to start’, says Matt. Check out our range of sustainable home cleaning products here.
Angela goes one step further and suggests creating your own at-home remedies. ‘Distilled vinegar and water can be used to clean windows and remove limescale. 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 has plenty of cleaning tricks you might not have tried, but her top 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.’
Matt is a big fan of the Redecker range, which is hand-made from high-quality materials that are ethically sourced. ‘The ostrich feather dusters are perfect for delicate ornaments as the fine fluffy feathers contain millions of small fibres that latch onto dust in an iron-like grip,’ he explains. Just shake outdoors to release the dust for next time.
Tips and tricks for your next clean
'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. Once done, you’ll be able to effortlessly wipe clean the inside of your microwave in no time.
Another of Angela’s tricks is to use damp newspaper dipped into soft ash to clean the glass on your log burner. Always trying to get the last of the grease off of roasting tins? ‘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. Take a moment to descale kettles and coffee machines, particularly in hard water areas – the Caffenu range of cleaners is ideal for this – and remove deposits on your iron’s soleplate to make it glide smoothly again.’
And the finishing touches? Matt loves using scented cleaning products to create a fresh-smelling house for longer, while Angela insists on, ‘plumped-up cushions on the sofas, tassels on rugs neatened, pictures straightened, curtains adjusted, blinds level, bins empty and beds made!’
Now, off you go to start clearing out that sock drawer...
Main Image: Getty Images