Our homes are subject to a lot of wear and tear, especially after winter. Keeping up with the chores from one week to the next can go a long way towards keeping your home tidy, but once a year, it is a good idea to dive in and scrub those places that might have been neglected during the routine cleaning. This room-by-room checklist for deep cleaning will give your living space the love that it deserves.
- Clear away the clutter
Before you start your deep clean, you will need to do a light clean. Sort through and tidy away those items that accumulate on the floor, countertops, and even the little lip edge of your extractor hood!
- Create a game plan
Plot out the rooms you need to tackle and when so you can plan how much time you are going to need to get the job done. Break up the deep clean-up over a few days, or weeks, and tackle them as your time allows.
- Make sure you have the right tools for the job
Set yourself up for success by making sure you have everything you need to get the deep clean done. My cleaning kit looks something like this:
- Magic Sponge
- Hand brush with stiff bristles
- Cleaning Caddy (Optional but so helpful in keeping everything organised)
- Dishwashing detergent
- Dusting cloths (Microfiber works best. I have different colours for general, kitchen, bathroom, etc.)
- Garden Hose (assuming your deep clean spills to your outside areas too)
- Gloves to protect your hands
- Mop (I recently upgraded to the Karcher FC5 [link] because mopping is my least favourite chore)
- Multi-purpose cleaner
- Quality vacuum cleaner (Make sure you have a unit with a HEPA filter if you are an allergy sufferer)
- Window Cleaner
- Floor Cleaner
We have a plan; we have the kit…now what?
Scrub the baths, showers, toilets, and basins with disinfectant! I like to spray down the bath, shower, and toilet and leave the disinfectant to soak for a while. Most people wipe it away right after spraying without giving the disinfectant the time to work effectively (read instructions for time guidelines for effective disinfecting).
I use my magic sponge to strip away built-up grime on the shower glass, grouting and bath, as I find it removes a lot of the elbow grease needed to tackle some of the more stubborn messes that easily accumulate over a year.
Tip: Don’t forget the base of the toilet near the floor!
Wipe down light fixtures, mirrors, and windows. You will be surprised at how much grime can accumulate in those hard-to-reach places.
Tip: Use a magic sponge for any stubborn build up.
Toss the bathmats/shower curtains and towels into the washing machine. Be sure to check the tags so you wash the items correctly.
Clean under the sink and inside the drawers. It always amazes me what accumulates in these areas. Take everything out, wipe down the drawers (with disinfectant if you are OCD like I am) and sort through the clutter. Toss what you don’t need!
Lastly, disinfect your door handles. These tend to be some of the most grime ridden areas of most homes.
Wipe down cabinets with a damp cloth. For grease splatter, I use a combination of my Magic Sponge and an industrial degreaser (link to both).
Tip: Don’t forget about your cooker hood. The filter panels and tops of the hood are collections grounds for dust and grease.
Vacuum out the refrigerator vents. I was shocked when I pulled my fridge out and saw the dust devils that made their home behind the fridge in its vents.
Tip: Change the attachment on your vacuum cleaner to remove the dirt and dust.
Clean out the fridge and defrost the freezer. Take everything out and check the expiry dates. Toss the items that should have walked themselves out of your fridge and then get into cleaning the fridge while it is empty. Disinfect the sides, the shelves and the nooks and crannies where dirt accumulates.
Tip: Don’t forget to disinfect the door handles.
Throw out old sponges. Traditional kitchen sponges are germ magnets. Even soaking them in bleach won’t kill all the bacteria that find their way into the sponge mesh.
Scrub down the stovetop with a good quality industrial degreaser (link) and scrub stubborn dirt away with a Magic Sponge. This cleaning tool is so versatile and my cleaning kit, simply, must have one.
Clean the oven. Do a quick search on the internet (if you don’t already know) and see if your oven has a self-cleaning function. If not, spray an industrial degreaser onto the grime build-up and leave to soak. Scrub away with a non-abrasive brush or Magic Sponge.
Organise the pantry. After you have removed everything from the shelves and wiped them down, go through your dry goods and toss any that are past their prime.
Cleans out the microwave. Mix a tablespoon of vinegar with a cup of water and microwave for 5 minutes. The vapour from the boiling solution will loosen grime and make cleaning much easier.
Disinfect the sink. If you cook with meat, the chances are high that the kitchen sink is an area with the highest concentration of germs in the kitchen!
Wipe down and disinfect the countertops. Remove any items on the counters (including appliances and the knife block!) and focus on getting into the corners and spaces you might have missed during routine cleaning.
Tip: Don’t forget the walls and backsplashes. These areas tend to attract dirt and grime build-up.
Take off all the removable cushions from couches and chairs and vacuum the spaces underneath. Pay special attention to the nooks and crannies where crumbs or dust might be living rent-free.
Deep clean your rugs, carpets and upholstery. Hire a carpet [link] and upholstery cleaner and get rid of the allergy-causing dust mites, skin cells and other dirt and grime that builds up in the pile of your carpet and upholstery. [link to benefits of deep cleaning carpets]
Polish your wood furniture. Dust builds up on the bookshelves, coffee tables, and other furniture. Clear any items and wipe these surfaces down before giving them some nourishment with your favourite furniture polish.
Wipe down skirting boards, windows, light fixtures, and ceiling fans/air-conditioning. While you are at it, don’t forget to disinfect the door handles.
Dust your décor. Gently wipe or brush away dust from your picture frames, ornaments, and other knick-knacks. Dusting often turns out to be the most time-consuming activity during a spring clean, so plan adequate time for it in your schedule.
Change the bedding, base cover, curtains, duvet cover, and pillowcases. This should be part of your routine schedule, but nothing is quite as satisfying to me as a freshly made bed.
Flip your mattress (if your mattress allows) to stop grooves forming in your mattress from sleeping on the same spot night after night. Freshen your mattress and remove skin cells, dirt and other build-ups by using the deep clean hire unit on your mattress as well.
Tip: A DIY freshening option is to sprinkle baking soda onto the mattress. Let it sit for 45 minutes and then vacuum away. This is excellent for getting rid of bad smells and freshening the mattress.
Dust all surfaces and ledges. This includes light fittings, ceiling fans, window ledges, and your headboard. Use your vacuum cleaner and the attachments to vacuum under the heavy, hard to move furniture.
Sort through your clothes and shoes and get rid of anything you no longer use. My rule of thumb is simple:
- Does it fit?
- Is it flattering to me?
- Have I worn it in the last 6 months?
If I answered, No, to any of these questions then it gets donated or sold.
Rotate seasonal items. If you are anything like my wife, your summer and winter wardrobes will be two totally different beings. Once a year, the vacuum storage bags come up and all the bulky jerseys, jackets and other winter goods get packed up and stored for the summer.
Wipe down and clean out machines and countertops. Dust and lint are very common around the dryer so pay special attention in this area.
Check your detergents and throw away empty bottles. Why not consider placing a cleaning supply order online and have it delivered to your front door? [link to chemicals.]
Organise supplies. Detergents for cleaning tend to pile up. Go through your supplies and organise them so it is easier to see what you have.
Tip: If you have small children, keep dangerous cleaning supplies out of their reach or locked in a cupboard to avoid a tragedy.
Sanitise your washing machine. Disinfect the inside of your washing machine (don’t forget the rubber seal around the door of the machine). Leave the door open to allow the machine to dry thoroughly to prevent mould growth. If the machine has a self-cleaning function, run this cycle on an empty machine using just hot water.
Mop or vacuum the floor to get rid of lint and dust bunnies that accumulate in the laundry room.
Declutter. Take your time to take a good long look at everything in your garage and ask yourself “Do I need this?’ Get rid of old bottles of cleaners/oils etc. broken equipment, abandoned projects or anything else that serves no purpose other than to clutter up your space.
Garages tend to accumulate leaves and dust so take a broom and give the floor a good sweep. Look into utilizing empty spaces to free up room in your garage. Using space on the walls and open ceiling areas gives you a lot of areas to organise those pesky bicycles, garden equipment, and currently unused cooler boxes.