Spring is a time when people shake off the winter cobwebs and get their homes in order. The warmth and sunshine lifts the spirits and makes you want to open the windows to let in the fresh air. That nice weather and fresh air hopefully also gives you a little enthusiasm for tackling your spring cleaning.
Here are five steps to a well-cleaned home. Tackle the steps in this order and you’ll avoid having to redo any step due to a new mess being made from a subsequent step. For the most part, we are going to start at the ceiling and move down to the floor.
1. Ceiling and Walls
Spring is a great time to fling open the doors and tackle the dust. Start at the ceiling. Look for dust and cobwebs on the ceiling, hanging around high up in the corners, or lingering along the line where the ceiling meets the walls. Use a feather duster with a handle extension or a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery brush. Move on to the walls, looking for clinging dust and spot cleaning any marks or stains with a mild soap and water mixture and a sponge. Be careful not to over scrub and take off the paint. Keep your spot cleaning centered closely around the stain you are trying to remove.
2. Furniture, Countertops, Cabinetry
From the ceiling and walls, move to the furniture, countertops, and cabinetry. Dust and vacuum any surface that might collect dirt and dust. Use a gentle spray cleaner or soap and water to clean off most hard surfaces, but do not use soap and water on wood—instead, use a spray polish and soft rag. On soft surfaces, like sofas and recliners, follow up vacuuming with spot cleaning using the mildest cleaner necessary to remove the stain. Vacuum crevices, corners, and under the cushions.
There are many ways to clean your interior windows, but here is what we think is the best way: window cleaning solution and a squeegee. Using a spray bottle with a premixed glass cleaner, spray the windows, and then squeegee them off. Use long downward strokes. Wipe the squeegee with the rag after each pass. You will also need to quickly clean up any excess window cleaning liquid before it runs over and off the sill or trim.
4. Window Treatments
Because window treatments are our business, we’re going to go into more detail about this element of spring cleaning. These tips will give you instructions for cleaning sturdy aluminum blinds, delicate sheer drapery—and everything in between.
Drapery should not be washed. Decorative fabrics are generally quite tough, but they are not made to stand up to the rigors of washing. (That said, fabric drapes are among the longest-lasting window treatments available.)
For a thorough cleaning, drapery should be dry cleaned by an experienced professional. But this type of thorough cleaning is best avoided by sticking to a simple cleaning regime. Just bring out the vacuum and your upholstery attachment regularly to remove any dust accumulation. Do this every time you clean your home and you’ll have drapery that lasts.
The different types of shades—cellular, Roman, roller, solar, layered, and sheer—each need a different cleaning routine. But don’t worry—none require more than occasional dusting and a once-a-year thorough cleaning.
Lightly dust and vacuum (with an upholstery attachment) your cellular shades on a monthly or quarterly basis. Spot clean with mild soap and water. When cleaning with soap and water, be sure to wipe in the direction of the pleats. And, when you’re done cleaning, let the cellular shade dry out completely before you raise it.
Roman shades are impressive and elegant. They’re also quite durable and easy to care for. Gently vacuum with an upholstery attachment once a month—or even just quarterly. Classic Roman shades can be taken down for a mild-detergent-and-water spot cleaning once a year
Layered and Sheer Shades
Cleaning layered and sheer shades should be done gently. It is best to use a feather duster. When a more thorough cleaning is necessary, try a hand-held vacuum with low suction—you’ll want to avoid pulling or stretching the thin fabric. Many homeowners have found success using compressed air or a hand-held hairdryer on the cool setting. For spot cleaning, use mild detergent or distilled water. Should a deeper cleaning be necessary, find an experienced professional.
Clean your blinds once a month and give them a deep clean once a year. If that sounds easy—it is. The monthly cleaning can be done with a feather duster. For annual cleanings, utilize a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment. Care should be taken not to damage the vanes or the cords.
Blinds should be spot cleaned once a year. How you spot clean your blinds depends on the material. Aluminum, vinyl, and faux wood blinds can be cleaned with mild soap and water. Wood blinds should never be cleaned with water—instead, use spray polish and a soft cloth. Vinyl vertical blinds can be spot cleaned the same way as you’d clean vinyl horizontal blinds, but they can also be taken down and given a bath in water. However, fabric vertical blinds should not be soaked—instead, give them a light vacuuming.
Shutters are as easy to clean as they are durable. Dust or vacuum regularly. Once or twice a year, clean with mild detergent and water. Follow that with a rinse with plain water.
Natural Shades and Drapes
Shades and drapes made from bamboo, wood, rattan, and natural grasses are durable and easy to care for. There is one important thing to remember: do not use water on natural shades and drapes. The natural materials are best maintained with regular light dusting or with vacuuming with the upholstery attachment. To remove small spots and stains, use a spray polish and a soft cloth.
5. Last But Not Least: The Floors
After you’ve cleaned and dusted everything, squeegeed the windows, and cleaned the blinds, shades, shutters, and drapery, it’s time to tackle the floors. Start by vacuuming, beginning in the corners and along the walls and then finally doing the center of the room (and another quick pass around the walls and corners, for good measure).
Mop hard floor surfaces, treating wood floors with whichever special care and cleaner is indicated by the manufacturer. Springtime, when doors and windows can be opened, is a great time to shampoo or steam clean rugs and carpeting.
This is not a complete list. Every home is different. But these five steps cover the basics and give you a sense of which steps should follow which. You might add polishing the door knobs to your list. Or, a cursory check of the corners for cobwebs and a quick sweep with a broom might be all you need.
Make Spring Cleaning Easy
The best way to ensure that your spring cleaning is manageable is to clean regularly throughout the year. Things like furniture, floors, and window treatments last a lot longer if you make cleaning them part of your regular routine.
Get more information on cleaning your window treatments by visiting graberblinds.com.