I hate to clean! I really do. It’s too bad that I like to live in a clean house, or else I wouldn’t bother. I’d much rather write, read a good book, or be with my family. Butttttt it’s important to have things clean and organized. It bugs me when they’re not. And every spring I feel that I should deep clean. Once I start, I see how dirty things have gotten since I last tackled every little crack and corner. Normally, I try not to look. My eyesight isn’t that good anyway. But I realize that others might notice, and I really do want people to feel like they can eat food from my kitchen and come over to visit me in a clean home. So here I go again, welcoming spring with a barrage of cleaners, some elbow grease, and a group of ladies who are in the same boat. Welcome to our 30-day Spring Cleaning Challenge.
This year, I started a Facebook group where we work together on goals. Every 30 days we choose something that group members want to work on. Then I do some research and organize what we need to do into daily tasks. These can be done in any order, really, in any season. But in the group I post them in the order which they are written, and we share ideas for how to get the jobs done. We learn a lot from each other. Participants choose which days they can work on the goals and do them at their own pace. The main goal is to DO SOMETHING and progress a bit each day. Sound like something you’d like? Feel free to join us.
In January, we started by dejunking. It would be helpful to you to declutter before you start spring cleaning. It’s not necessary; you can dejunk as you clean. Just know that our dejunking tips were covered earlier if you want to review them.
Obviously, your house will be different from mine. So alter any of these suggestions to fit your needs. Also, I share affiliate links here to show you some of my favorite cleaning products. If you decide to make an online purchase, I make a small commission at no cost to you.
We move from room to room in this cleaning challenge. Always start at the top and work your way down so as not to make double work for yourself. Also, use clean rags and hot, soapy water. Cleaning with a dirty rag will only make things dirtier.
I recommend that you read through this entire challenge before getting started. Don’t panic! It’s a long list. But read it just to get a feel for what you’ll be doing. Let’s get started: 30-day Spring Cleaning Challenge, we’re ready for you!
30-Day Challenge: Spring Cleaning!!
1. Purchase products. Make a list of anything you’ll need to get your spring cleaning done. You’ll see my recommendations throughout and at the end of this article, if you’d like a convenient shopping list.
Here’s an overall idea of what we’ll be doing. But we’ll break it down day by day.
2. Kitchen cabinets. We’re going to start first in the room that gets the most use. Start by sweeping any cobwebs from the ceiling. Then clean tops of cabinets, if they don’t go all the way to the ceiling. Remove and clean any knick knacks up there. Don’t worry about spilling dust bunnies on the floor. You’ll clean them later. If you want to make cleaning the tops easier next time, lay down wax paper. Simply remove and toss for subsequent cleanings.
Next, move onto the drawers and cupboards. Do upper cabinets first, starting with top shelves and working down. Remove all items one shelf or area at a time. Toss anything you don’t need or may have missed in our dejunk challenge. Wipe down area. Replace items in an organized manner.
Last, wipe down cabinet fronts. Start with a clean rag, and wipe the handle first. Then clean the surface, moving from the top down. If your cabinets have a lot of dirt or grease build-up on them, you might try cleaning them as suggested here. Notice that Borax is one of the ingredients. I have had the best luck cleaning with it. It’s not just for laundry. You can click here to see lots of other ways to clean with it.
But if your cabinets just need a simple wipedown and shine, go easy on them. I had wooden cabinets in my previous home and used Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean them. It cleans and brightens at the same time. This product is the best and really works to keep wood rejuvenated so it doesn’t dry out.
3. Pantry. If your pantry is decluttered from our previous challenge, you’re set to start cleaning. Start on the top shelf. Remove all items and simply wipe down the shelf and walls, if needed. Move to the next shelf down and do the same until you’ve completed the job. Be sure to give the floor a good scrub. Get into the corners with a clean rag, since this area likely doesn’t get mopped often and crumbs have to be chased down by hand anyway.
Looking for ways to organize your pantry? I must admit that with my family, our pantry doesn’t stay organized. I could work on it weekly, and it would still be a mess. But some sense of organization is good, and I can keep it mostly tidy–or good enough. Clean is the goal here–not necessarily Pinterest perfect unless that’s your thing. But these ideas are pretty good if you need some pantry organization ideas.
4. Fridge and Freezer. Check for expired items and toss. Start with top shelf and work down. Remove items to spray and wipe each shelf. I like to use 409 Multipurpose Cleaner, but use whatever you’d like. For this cleaning job, I do recommend using a cleaner that kills bacteria. Replace items per shelf as you go so you don’t end up with a lot of food on your counter. Try to group like items, but don’t get too fancy. If your family is like mine, a super-tidy fridge organization system will never work. If you don’t have kids and want to get fussy, feel free to super organize. Remove drawers and clean them with soap and water in the sink. Then clean the area behind them in the fridge before replacing the bins. Same with any shelving on the inside of the doors. Defrost freezer if needed. Wipe down all surfaces. Click here to see great ideas for deep cleaning your fridge inside.
Next, move your fridge away from the wall. Vacuum, dust the back of the appliance. Wipe down the top of the fridge and the sides. Mop floor by hand. Push fridge back into place. Wipe down front of fridge, especially the handles. Clean any front vent or grill. Before you check off this project, see if there are any filters that need to be cleaned or replaced. Add two boxes of fresh baking soda (one for fridge, one for freezer) to absorb odors, if you like.
5. Microwave and Stove. For daily microwave use, I make my family cover food with a plastic cover. Just buy an inexpensive one, such as this one from Ikea, which you can order from Amazon as an add-on item. Or if you’re really concerned about BPA, get something like this one. The Ikea one may be BPA-free, but it doesn’t specify. I’ve given these as gifts because mine makes my life so much easier. I almost never have to deep-clean my microwave. I simply wipe it down with 409 cleaner as needed. But if you have a bit more gunk in your microwave, try this easy-peasy cleaning trick: click here.
Before you start to clean your microwave, turn your self-cleaning oven on if you have one. It might as well be working while you are.
To clean the top exterior vent on your microwave, I recommend you spray down the area with the degreaser cleaner of your choice. Let it soak for several minutes. Then use a craft sponge brush to clean the vent creases. You might also try cotton swabs. Work them into the grooves, and you’ll have every crack clean in no time.
Next, clean the range vents that are either on the underside of your microwave or are part of your range hood.
Now clean the stovetop. Mine is a glass one.
Hopefully your oven has been cleaning itself. If so, let it cool overnight and simply wipe down. If not, try this oven-cleaning idea with ammonia. My aunt has used it and says it works really well, but it shouldn’t be used on gas ovens. If you don’t want the smell of ammonia or don’t want to clean with harsh chemicals, you can search Pinterest for lots of other great cleaning options.
When the oven is cool, move it out from the wall and deep clean everything. I recommend wiping down the back of the appliance too.
6. Sink, disposal, and dishwasher. Clean everything in your sink and do the faucet thoroughly too. I have a stainless steel sink and like to use Bar Keepers Friend. I buy the liquid kind and use nonscratch scrubbers. I also use an old toothbrush to scrub every little spot, especially around the drains. And I spray straight bleach on any mold in my sink caulk. I’m careful to aim the spray just on the spots needed. Give it a few minutes, then scrub with an old toothbrush. Repeat as needed.
I just ordered this product to clean my garbage disposal. It’s Glisten Disposer Care Foaming Cleaner. I thought I’d give it a try. But I usually do the baking soda/vinegar trick or just toss in some lemon quarters with ice to keep it smelling fresh and to sharpen the blades a little.
Now for the dishwasher, spray and wipe everything down first. Then add a good cleaner and set the dishwasher for a full clean cycle. Finish Dual Action Dishwasher Cleaner is what I use. Whenever I don’t feel that my dishes are getting clean enough on a regular cycle, I use this cleaner. It’s amazing the difference it makes. I tried some homemade options (maybe you’ve heard of using the Tang orange drink crystals?), but they didn’t work for me nearly as well as this product.
Here are some great instructions for cleaning your dishwasher.
Spray and wipe down exterior. Be sure to clean any vent/grills, using the same technique as you did for the top of the microwave.
7. Dining room. If you didn’t include the walls and baseboards from the kitchen yesterday in this area, do so now. Then clean the light fixture above the dining room table. Wash all parts with soft, soapy water. If you can’t remove them, spray, soak, and wipe with a multipurpose cleaner. Here’s a cleaning trick if you have a chandelier.
Do you have a hutch in your dining room? Now’s the time to wipe it down, inside and out. Dust any wall hangings and decorations. shine any glass. Dust/clean plants or synthetic floral arrangements. Deep clean as needed.
If you have padded chairs for your dining table, deep clean the fabric and spray a protectant to buffer future spills.
8. Kitchen area walls, baseboards, countertops, backsplash, and misc. appliances. More than any room in the house, my kitchen probably needs the walls cleaned the most. With two boys, I spot-clean them all the time. But they need a good, top-to-bottom wash. Here are tips to safely clean painted walls.
And for the baseboards:
NOTE: Instructions for cleaning walls and baseboards are listed in the first room we clean. Please refer to these instructions for each room thereafter.
Here’s my favorite cleaner to use on granite counterops. I love it because it cleans many surfaces. I never worry about damage, and the shine is fantastic!
And if you have laminate countertops, here’s a great resource that shows you how to clean and polish them.
9. Kitchen floors. You’ve likely been sweeping them every day during this challenge because as we clean from top to bottom, all the gunk ends up on the floor. Now let’s give the kitchen floor (and as far as it extends; mine is the entire main floor of our home) some extra TLC. For a deep clean, you’ll need to get on your hands and knees. If your joints aren’t up to it, see if you can hire this job done or enlist someone’s help for an hour or two.
For hardwood floors, Bona is the oft-recommended cleaner. I’ve used it, and it does a great job. The problem is it’s pricey.
Instead, I use Simple Green.
I feel like it’s a great, inexpensive, multi-purpose cleaning product. I don’t worry about it damaging any surfaces, and I think the scent is wonderful. You can also make your own cleaner. Click here for instructions and ideas.
After cleaning my hardwood floors, I like to seal them with Hope’s Floor Revive. Unlike some polishes. it doesn’t leave residue that has to be removed periodically. It naturally buffs off with regular foot traffic. It’s easy to apply. Just squirt a little to a general area and mop. Let dry for at least an hour. I apply it after my kids have gone to bed and let it dry over night.
Our last house had a lot of tile flooring. We loved it, but I had to clean and periodically seal the grout to keep it looking nice. Miracle Sealants 511 is a great product that lasts. Apply to new grout around backsplashes and tub surrounds to prevent grout from eventually cracking at the base near your countertops. Unfortunately, that wasn’t done in the home where we now live, and there’s a HUGE difference. We did it in my former home, and the grout all along the bases remained pristine and wasn’t receding or chipping away.
10. Garbage cans. Gather all of them. If weather permits, hose them down outside and let them soak. If not, soak them in a bathtub. I like to add Pine Sol to the water. You can also use Simple Green if you’re worried about the chemicals getting on your lawn. After scrubbing out the cans and rinsing them down, be sure to add liners. Somehow I can never convince my family to follow up with this last step and then my garbage cans are dirty again right away.
11. Living room. Again, clear any ceiling cobwebs and clean the light fixture or fan. Wipe down walls, top to bottom and clean baseboards. Clean any knick knacks and wipe down pictures. Clean tv screen and dust back. Clean fireplace surround. If it’s wood burning, decide if you need to hire a chimney cleaner. Move furniture and clean behind. Polish furniture, getting into the crevices. I recommend Murphy’s Oil for any wood surfaces. Here are some great how-to’s for cleaning fabric couches.
12-14. A bathroom a day. If you have fewer than three bathrooms, use the extra time to complete a previous task. If you have more than three bathrooms, hopefully you can double up on one of the days. Here’s how you go to town on cleaning a bathroom.
15-19. A bedroom a day. You have four days to complete this one. This gives you some wiggle room to spend time in areas where you need it. Again, start from the top down. Ceiling cobwebs and fixtures are cleaned first. Then tackle the big stuff. Be prepared to vacuum mattresses and turn them, clean behind furniture and under beds, and launder all bedding.
20. Hallways and vent covers. Since your hallways should be fairly easy to clean, we’re going to add vent covers to this task. They weren’t listed for cleaning in any of the rooms you just did. Why? Because it’s easier to do them all at once, especially if they need a good soaking. Here are some tips to make the job a little easier. But if you did them along with baseboards in the other rooms while you were moving furniture, you get to skip this step.
If you use this dishwasher method, I recommend cleaning the vents before you deep clean your dishwasher.
22. Downstairs family room or wherever your tv is. Repeat the cleaning tips you’ve learned for the other rooms, always working top-down. If little people have taken over your family room, try some of these great solutions:
23. Storage room. Please don’t hate me for putting this on the list. It’s a biggie. Just do your best. If you can only do an hour, 30 minutes, etc., just get started and make a plan for finishing the job within a timeframe.
24. Front door and porch. Wipe down the door with a good cleaner, depending on the material it’s made of. Sweep, get the cobwebs out. Hose down the concrete. Make your front entrance pop! Add some cute decorations if you have them.
25-27. Catch-up days. Is there anything you didn’t finish from previous days? Anything that needs to be done that wasn’t on our list? Use these next few days to catch up a little.
28. Windows, blind, draperies–interior. You may have thought we’d forgotten windows throughout the house. Nope, they’re here at the end. I recommend them that you clean them all in one day, rather than piecemeal. I usually do them piecemeal, and my whole house never gets done as a result. And I absolutely HATE cleaning the blinds. Hopefully these tricks will help you and me get this nasty job done.
Sprayway is my favorite glass cleaner. It doesn’t streak–unless my teenager uses it. I don’t know how he does it. I use this awesome product on windows, mirrors, and any surface that needs a quick shine.
You can also use a homemade glass cleaner.
29. Windows, exterior. If there’s any money in the budget, hire this job out. That’s my opinion, but I’ll eat Top Ramen for weeks to have this job done professionally once or twice a year. But if you decide to do the job yourself, here are some helpful tips.
30. Carpets and tile floors. This is another one I hire out. There are so many great deals on carpet cleaning, and I can never get my carpets clean enough with the machines you rent at the store or that you buy. I think they just swirl the dirt around. However, if you have really old carpet, you have to weigh the value of paying for a cleaning. As for grout cleaning on tile floors, it is so much better if you can have them steam cleaned professionally. I have scrubbed the grout by hand several times. It is not fun. It makes me grouchy. But I do like the results. Here are some tips if you decide to DIY your carpet cleaning. And tips for cleaning the grout.
Cleaning Supplies Shopping List
409 cleaner, Greased Lightning or favorite degreaser
Bar Keepers FriendBorax
Glisten Garbage Disposal CleanerMicrofiber cloths
Foam craft brushesSprayway window cleaner
Pledge Multi-surface cleanerWood floor polish
Nonscratch scrub pads