If the thought of spring cleaning fills you with dread, or you don’t even know where to start (or, hands up who’s guilty, you’ve let the worst tasks slide for longer than you’d like to admit), these spring cleaning tips from some of the country’s best cleaning experts, will help you to get stuck in.
We’ve got insider know-how from Angela Lofthouse, Franchise Owner at Molly Maid; professional organiser Vicky Silverthorn, who has worked with Lily Allen and Jamie Dornan (among others); and Aaron Christopher, Partner & Utility Shop Buyer – as his team say: “What Aaron doesn’t know about cleaning isn’t worth knowing!”
Our simple guide will help you break down the worst of the tasks into manageable mini projects. Because who wants to give up their whole weekend to cleaning the house? Small changes to your routine will mean you can clean as you go without even noticing your doing it.
1. 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. “This way, you never have to fear this giant task,” says Vicky, “instead, you think about it as lots of little jobs that are very achievable. The aim is to finish the day on a high with a feeling of success, no matter how much (or how little) you have got through.”
Angela’s extensive experience means she has cleaning down to a fine art: “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.
For example, the bathroom might need a deep clean, with the shower screen being a big priority. Start with the shower screen seal, then the shower tray, then move on to the grout, the tiles and then the rest of the bathroom.” This way, you’ll have cleaned the whole bathroom without even thinking about it.
2. Always declutter, before you start to tackle the actual cleaning.
Aaron says: “First of all, chuck away the random off bits that have filled up your house, or store them away. Once the clutter is gone, you will find it becomes a much less intimidating experience.
Vicky, who has all the decluttering know-how, agrees: “Start on something small to ease you in. Start with your sock drawer. Even though this is a relatively easy task, it will give you the feeling of satisfaction when you wake up the next day and open up the newly organised drawer. 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 goal is focused.”
There is a reason beyond the big spring clean to declutter regularly. According to Vicky, “less cluttered spaces mean less cleaning time, for several reasons. The less stuff you have to move while cleaning, the quicker it will be to clean your house. The more you have, the harder it is to find everything a home. Without a home, it’s harder to efficiently tidy up a house ‘properly’.”
Vicky also points out that clearer spaces are less daunting and therefore so is the housework. A weekly or even daily mini clean suddenly seems so much easier.
3. The right tools will make light work of a spring clean
If you find cleaning a chore, we can let you in on a few trade secrets that cut the effort in half. Sometimes you need to invest in quality products, but sometimes you just need to know some clever cleaning hacks so you can stop giving over so much time to scrubbing the bath or dusting the shelves.
Angela says “Ensure that you have the correct cleaning products for the task at hand and keep these products in a cleaning caddy or bucket.” Not sure you have everything you need? Aaron advises “Having all the relevant equipment available is a must, so do a little check to see if anything needs to be renewed or replaced. There is nothing worse than starting to spring clean and coming to a halt straight away.”Wondering what the ‘relevant equipment’ is? One must-have both Angela and Aaron agree on are Ecloths.
“They provide a polished quality to any surface – all you need to do is apply water to the cloths to extract the cleaning properties. You can buff over the material you are cleaning without the need for heavy-duty fluids. There are different cloths for specific materials, so make sure you look out for ones that are right for your home,” says Aaron.
Angela also recommends the Ecloth mop system to make quick work of dirty floors. Both cleaning experts also rate radiator brushes, blind brushes and OXO under appliance brushes. It might seem like there’s a lot of extra equipment to buy, but as Aaron says “Using specific, specialist cleaners make the job much less strenuous and save time, tackling associated problems much quicker than you could do with elbow grease and determination.”
4. Don’t dismiss natural products when you’re building your arsenal
“A clean house stems from the products you clean them with, so natural products are a great place to start”, says Aaron. “Method is a non-toxic, plant-based cleaning range and TINCTURE is 100% natural and great for cleaning silver.”
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.”
5. Tips and tricks to try next time you spring clean
There are a few things you can try, whether as part of your big spring clean or on a regular basis, to help you stay on top of the process to make your life so much easier next time you pick up those rubber gloves. Angela suggests “putting lemon slices in a bowl of hot water in the microwave and heating for a few minutes to remove smells and stop grime clinging to the inside.” Once done, you'll be able to effortlessly wipe clean the inside of your microwave in no time.
Another of Angela’s tricks is “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!”
Aaron 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, and remove deposits on your iron’s soleplate to make it glide smoothly again.”
And the finishing touches? Aaron loves “Using scented cleaning products to create fresh smelling house for longer”, while Angela insists on “plumped up cushions on the settees, tassels on rugs straightened, pictures straightened, curtains adjusted, blinds level, bins empty and beds made!” Now, off you go to start clearing out that sock drawer...