HOW TO CLEAN YOUR HOUSE, TOP-TO-BOTTOM IN ONE DAY
Whether you’re getting your home ready for sale or you just need to freshen up your home after a long winter, nothing brightens your home like a good ‘ole spring cleaning. A true top-to-bottom cleaning can be overwhelming, time consuming and stressful. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to clean your house and on getting your home in tip-top shape in less than 12 hours.
BEFORE YOU START…
- Enlist some help. Arrange for a housekeeper or friend to help if you have a home larger than 2,000 sqft. and need to finish in one day. Delegate chores such as laundry, ironing, and decluttering to able-bodied family members.
- Open windows wide to allow fumes to escape.
- Prepare to work from ‘top-to-bottom’. Start upstairs and work your way down. In each room, clean the ceiling and light fittings first with a feather duster, and vacuum carpets last. This way, any dirt you dislodge gets swept up later on.
9AM: LAUNDRY ROUND UP
Start by gathering up everything to go in the washing machine. Bed linen, towels, mattress toppers, bath mats, cushion covers and cuddly toys can all be washed and then dried outside. Use lavender-fragranced detergent — the scent repels moths.
9.15AM: BLITZ BATHROOMS
Tackle bathrooms first. You’ll be using the harshest chemical cleaners here, so it needs time to air after you’re finished.
- Start in the medicine cabinet —you’ll be amazed at the out-of-date items lurking there! Take everything out, wipe the shelves and return only what you’ll use.
- Spritz the sink, bath and shower with multi-purpose cleaner and leave to soak.
- Dust and wipe walls.
- clean the toilet. Spritz with multi-purpose spray and wipe with a disposable cloth, doing the handle first and the seat last to prevent germs spreading. Bin the used cloth, then squirt toilet cleaner around the bowl and leave to soak.
- Next, wipe down all the surfaces you sprayed a few minutes ago.
- Scrub the shower head, taps and plug-holes with a toothbrush, then rinse thoroughly. Buff shower doors and taps dry with a microfiber cloth or kitchen towel to remove water marks.
- Once you’ve rinsed off the cleaning spray, if tile grouting still looks gritty, mix 50:50 bleach and water, then brush it on with an old toothbrush.
- And if your taps are tarnished with lime scale? Cover them with kitchen roll drenched in vinegar. Leave a few hours, then rinse down. For enamel sinks, baths and toilets, take a dampened pumice stone and rub, rub, rub the lime scale (the pumice won’t scratch the surface).
- Clean mirrors and windows with a splash of clear vinegar and a clean microfiber cloth. Finally, scrub the toilet again and flush.
10.30AM: BANISH DUST AND CLUTTER
- Start by decluttering and dusting the bedrooms, not forgetting the tops of doors and windows. Take down pictures and mirrors, clean with vinegar and re-hang.
- Get rid of any clothes you’ve not worn all year. Take them to a charity shop, or recycle if they’re tattered. Store out of season clothes in space-saving vacuum bags.
- Time to dust. A dry duster is no use: try a just-damp cloth and you’ll be amazed at what you’ll pick up.
- If you have clothes moths, take out every piece of natural clothing, including cotton and linen, and wash or dry clean. Then vacuum every drawer and closet. This is where moths often lay their eggs.
- Vacuum the mattress too. Mattresses can be a breeding ground for dust mites.
- Empty the vacuum into your outside trashcan.
- Most pillows and duvets can be washed and tumble-dried. Check the labels first, and use a third of the usual amount of detergent to prevent a bubbly mess.
- Lastly vacuum thoroughly, moving furniture as you go.
- Then have a well-deserved lunch break.
1PM: WORK YOUR WAY DOWN STAIRS
Your break over, it’s time for the landing and stairs.
- Dust from top to bottom and wipe paintwork, doors and radiators. Tackle marks on walls with a damp microfiber cloth, sprinkling on baking powder to cut through stubborn grime.
- Vacuum carpets, using the crevice attachment in corners.
- If you don’t already ban shoes indoors, make it a rule now.
1.30PM: GET TOUGH ON LIVING AREAS
Your living room is probably the most heavily used room in the house, so give it extra attention.
- Pull furniture away from the walls, and take rugs and sofa cushions outside to give them a good beating with a clean broom. Vacuum the underneath and tops of rugs, and leave them to air outside.
- Wash the windows with Windex and dry with a microfiber cloth. Windex can be substituted with warm water and a drop of multipurpose cleaner or vinegar. With the glass sparkling clean, dirt inside will be that bit more visible so prepare to be horrified.
- Time to dust! Use a damp, soapy terry cloth — old towels are ideal.
- Clean fabric lampshades with a lint roller.
- Wipe ornaments and lamp bases with a damp cloth.
- Vacuum chairs, sofas and curtains with the upholstery attachment.
- For Venetian blinds, rinse an old sock in warm soapy water, put it over your hand and run your fingers over the slats.
- A damp white cloth can be used to scrub away marks on soft furnishings such as a couches and seat cushions, but always test on an area that doesn’t show first.
- Vacuum behind the furniture, then replace.
- Unplug and dust the TV, then wipe with a tumble-dryer sheet to reduce static. This will stop the screen gathering dust again too quickly.
- Vacuum, mop hard floors, and break for a snack.
3.30PM: COOK UP A KITCHEN SPARKLE
In the kitchen, dust may be welded on with a layer of cooking grease.
- Cut through it with a solution of warm water and washing soda, using up to a cup of soda per 500ml of warm water.
- Then empty one shelf or cupboard at a time, working from top to bottom. Throw out any out-of-date flour or nuts. Wipe shelves with a damp cloth, getting right into corners, and buff dry.
- To clean the microwave, put two lemon slices and two teaspoons of vinegar in a bowl of water. Microwave for two minutes, then leave the door closed for 15 minutes.
- Wipe smaller kitchen appliances with warm, soapy water, then wipe out and dry the microwave.
- If your regular oven needs a deep clean, use a commercial oven cleaning product or coat the inside with a thick paste of baking soda and water. (Both methods need to be left overnight.)
- To clean your dishwasher, use a special cleaning product or run it, empty, with a cup of clear vinegar in the soap drawer. Now spritz the hob with multipurpose spray.
- Unplug the fridge, empty the contents into a cool bag and wash the shelves in warm soapy water. Wipe the interior and door seals, then dry with a clean cloth.
- Pull out the fridge, vacuum the cooling elements (the coils) with the upholstery attachment, then wipe with a damp soapy cloth.
- Put an old, dry sock over a broom handle, secure with a rubber band, then use it to dust under the fridge. Push the fridge back into position, refill and switch on.
- Wipe kitchen surfaces and clean the cooker hood. Dry stainless steel surfaces with kitchen towel.
- Clean your sink — including ceramic ones — with clear vinegar. Use a toothbrush to scrub taps.
- Run your washing machine, empty, on the hottest wash with a cup of clear vinegar in the drum. Wipe a cloth dipped in diluted bleach around the door seal.
5.30PM: ON TO THE FINAL STRAIGHT
Dust, wipe and vacuum your hallway, and clean your front door.
Reward yourself with some takeout and a well-deserved glass of wine!