Purge Your Pantry
Step 1: Empty and declutter; compost anything that’s expired. Step 2: Wipe shelves with a dustcloth to lift off what’s accumulated over the last year. For tips on pantry organizing, click here.
Make Over The Fridge
Use a cooler to store food while you empty every section and trash old leftovers and oddball condiments. Wash drawers in the sink, wipe down shelves, and mix baking soda with hot water to loosen gunk from caked-on spills.
Get In The Nooks And Crannies
If you can safely access the sides and back of your stove and refrigerator, get in there. “There’s all kinds of yuck there that could interfere with proper operation,” says Brian Sansoni, senior vice president of communications at the American Cleaning Institute. Vacuum debris, then scrub exteriors with an all-purpose cleaner or, for special surfaces, whatever the manufacturer recommends.
Mind Your Moldings
Baseboards turn into dust magnets over time, but a regular once-over with a damp microfiber cloth should do the trick. Jennifer Gregory, brand manager at Molly Maid cleaning services, follows that up with a dryer sheet, which coats woodwork with an antistatic residue that repels dirt and pet hair (and smells nice!). Do the same for chair rails and crown molding.
Scrub The Bathroom
This one isn’t going to be fun, but grab your best brush and scraper and go to town on the soap scum, mildew, and hard-water stains that have made their way onto grout, caulk, and that tiny space between the faucet and the tub. Don’t forget the toilet—designate a brush solely for cleaning it. Be sure to open windows or run a fan if you’re using a stronger cleaner.
Wipe Down Your Bed And Wash Your Bedding
Hygge a little too hard this winter? Read the care tag for how to launder your comforter. Some down ones are dry-clean only; others you may want to send out because of their bulkiness. Before putting on clean sheets, give the bed frame a wipe-down, sprinkle baking soda on the bare mattress to deodorize it, then vacuum it a few hours later. Run pillows through a warm-water gentle cycle—unless they’re memory foam or latex, which must be spot-cleaned with mild soap. Use liquid detergent sparingly on poly fill. Powder detergent is best for down
Give Overhead Fixtures Some Attention
With a stepladder and an old pillowcase, you can make easy work of buildup on fans, pendants, and overhead lights. Slip the case over each fan blade or chandelier arm, pulling it toward you to collect dust and grime. Carefully remove and dust glass lampshades, then wash them in the sink.
Make Windows Sparkle
“Once the sun is shining again, you see how dirty your windows really are,” says Sansoni. Tackle glass with a cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Blinds can be freshened up with a cloth or the brush attachment on a vacuum. For heavier buildup (in the kitchen or a room with a fireplace), choose a method based on the material: Fabric can be laundered or dry-cleaned; an all-purpose cleaner will work on most hard surfaces like shutters and blinds.