If it seems that spring has suddenly brought light to every corner of the house and the sunbeams are dancing with dust motes, then it might be time for a spring clean at your place.
But that doesn’t mean you need to break out the heavy-duty chemicals and hardware. Some of the best tips for wiping away winter’s dust and grime are also the most simple.
Feria Bilik, manager of Bliss Home Care in Melbourne (and in the cleaning business for 18 years), and Libby Margo (operations manager at Alice in Sydney) have these top tips for anyone keen to get on with the job:
- Start with music and hard work. When launching a full-scale attack, put on some music and start with the room that you least like to clean – probably the bathroom. When that’s done, you’ll feel so good, the rest will seem easy.
- Get your priorities right. Always start at the top and work down. You don’t want dust falling on surfaces you have already cleaned. Dust ceiling fans and light fittings, remove cobwebs, dust pictures and dust the architraves around doors and windows before moving on to skirting boards and floors.
- Microwave magic. Squeeze a lemon into a cup, fill with water, and microwave the lot for two or three minutes. The steam loosens any grime. Then it’s as easy as a wipe clean.
- Use the dishwasher. Toothbrush holders, soap dishes, vases, the saucers under indoor plants and even some of the ornamental things around the house can all have a deep clean in the dishwasher.
- Secret hot tip … If there’s residue or limescale on your shower head, tie a plastic bag filled with vinegar around it and leave overnight. Rinse and it will be shiny bright.
Ms Bilik says sunlight and air are the best things for a clean, healthy home.
“The quality of the air inside the home can be more toxic than the quality outside. You need to air your home often. Turn off the heaters and air it out,” she says.
“When you keep it dark and closed up, that’s when the little creatures grow,” she says darkly, referring to microscopic bugs and mites that lurk in carpets and corners and beds.
Ms Bilik says a lot of her clients book a deep clean at the beginning of spring. Another frequent request is a quarterly deep clean.
“People do their regular clean, but there are always things that they say they ‘will get to next time’. These are usually the places we don’t normally see, such as up against the wall below the bedhead, behind the bookshelves and under furniture, so they call us in to help,” she says adding that Bliss uses only non-toxic products.
Ms Bilik says the best way to approach a spring clean is to prepare beforehand.
“Don’t try to do everything at once. Go through the house the day before and deal with the clutter. Sort out the pile of shoes by the door and the stuff stacked in a corner. Clear the way so that you can just open the windows and clean.”
One of the most important parts of a spring clean, she says, is dusting.
“Give the house a really good dust. If you don’t, the dust just keeps floating around and around. If you have central heating, stick the vacuum cleaner hose in the heating ducts occasionally. This prevents build-up so the heating system lasts longer and also cuts down on the amount of dust swirling around your home.”
Ms Margo also agrees with the power of sunlight, and recommends a spring clean at the end of winter: “Why waste the lovely spring weather?”
If you do your own cleaning, Ms Margo says it’s much better to establish a simple routine, rather than attack house cleaning as a massive, occasional task.
“Do small jobs regularly and it becomes easy,” she says.