Spring cleaning: 22 clever ways to clean your home naturally

Use our spring cleaning tips to get all your rooms hygienic and sparkling without the need for commercial products

spring cleaning tips
(Image credit: shutterstock)

Yes, you could do the spring cleaning with commercially produced products. But if natural cleaning is more your cup of (herbal) tea, there’s no reason to follow this route to get your home pristine this season.

Even better, you might already have what you need to do the spring cleaning in your cupboards and, if you don’t, the remedies we’re going to share with you are easy to obtain, and cheap to buy.

Our spring cleaning list is full of clever hacks and simple strategies that will save you effort and time when you’re taking on this annual task. Just scroll down to find out what you need to do to get surfaces, fittings, appliances and more super clean this spring. 

When should you start spring cleaning?

You should start your spring cleaning in March if you want to follow US and UK tradition. Spring gives you the opportunity to see which parts of your home really need attention as the sun shines in, plus it can be mild enough to give rooms a good airing, which will make everything feel fresher right away.

But we’d say that the point of spring cleaning is that you get to grips with the jobs that don’t get done that often, and as long as you have an annual date to do them, they won’t get missed.

How long should spring cleaning take?

Spring cleaning will take a working day’s length, we reckon, or perhaps a little more, but of course the final duration will depend on what goes on your spring cleaning list and the size of your home. Whether you share it with kids and pets will undoubtedly have an influence on how long it takes, too. 

And while it’s not a cleaning job, do add one other chore to your spring cleaning list: test and change as necessary the batteries in any smoke and carbon monoxide detectors powered that way and change them if you need to. That way, your home will be safer as well as clean.

Spring cleaning checklist

Your spring cleaning list will, of course, be individual, but we’d suggest you include the following tasks:

  • Clean windows: Inside and out (but wait for a cloudy day to avoid streaks), inc. frames and sills
  • Clean mirrors: And any other glass surfaces.
  • Dust everything: Go high up and low down. We’re talking light fittings and bulbs, door frames, baseboards, tops of cupboards and so on. Dust books on shelves and behind them.
  • Vacuum everywhere: Go under furniture, and behind appliances if you move them out. Vacuum blinds and curtains too.
  • Clear out the fridge: Give it a deep clean, then defrost and clean the freezer too.
  • Clean the rest of the kitchen: Shine up other kitchen appliances – both large and countertop versions, clean the oven, cabinets, the works!
  • Head to the bathroom: Make shower glass and faucets sparkle, clean those floors.
  • Laundry: Wash household linens that can go into the machine such as couch covers and cushion covers.
  • Clean dirty walls: Removing any marks and stains by learning how to clean painted walls properly.
  • Refresh mattresses: Naturally, and pillows and duvets too.
  • Tackle stains: Think any carpet stains, mattress stains and any other mark you've been covering up for the past few months. 

1. Deep clean your dishwasher with vinegar

A great spring cleaning tip is to fill a dishwasher-safe tub with white vinegar and place it on the top rack of your machine. Run a full cycle with the temperature on high. This will clean and disinfect. To freshen your dishwasher, sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on the bottom of the machine and run a short cycle.

2. Remove watermarks from shower doors with lemon

Get rid of stubborn water marks on shower doors and tiles with this natural cleaning solution. Just cut a lemon in half and rub it directly on to them. Rinse and buff.

3. Polish your glassware with potatoes (yes, really)

Possibly the strangest of our spring cleaning tips, but it’s effective, we promise. If your glassware has water stains, rub over them with potato skins to remove the grime then rinse as normal. They’ll look good as new.

4. Descale a showerhead with vinegar and lemon

Here’s another task that should be on your spring cleaning list. To clean a showerhead of grime and avoid blockages, fill a clear sandwich bag with warm water, vinegar and lemon then tie tightly round your shower’s nozzle. The mixture will soak in and remove any dirt. Rinse thoroughly afterwards.

5. Remove marks from paintwork with a tennis ball (yup)

Perhaps this doesn’t count as a natural cleaning tip, but it definitely doesn’t involve applying lots of chemicals. Gently rub a tennis ball over marks on paintwork and watch them disappear. OK, so you might not have a tennis ball in your fruit bowl, but maybe there’s a fresh one in the shed?

6. Clean the oven with baking soda

Give your oven a spring clean. You can make your own cleaner using vinegar, dish soap, baking soda and a lemon or lime.

7. Clean the microwave with cider vinegar

Put some cut–up lemons, or cider vinegar in a microwaveable bowl of water before microwaving it on full power for several minutes as part of your spring cleaning routine. Leave to steam inside for five minutes to remove odours before easily wiping away any remaining stains.

8. Unblock a drain or plughole with bicarb

Unclog your drains with this natural cleaning hack. Pour boiled water in before adding a cup of bicarbonate of soda. Next, add a mixture of warm water and vinegar before pouring in more boiled water. Your drain should be good as new.

9. Freshen a mattress with bicarb, too

Put this mattress cleaning hack on your spring cleaning list. Strip the bed, then cover the mattress with large amounts of bicarbonate of soda to soak up any odours. The longer it’s there, the more effective it will be. Vacuum the powder off the mattress when done. 

10. Deal with carpet stains... with an iron

Iron out stains in the carpet by soaking a cloth or flannel in water, placing on the stain and running a hot iron across it. The heat will start to break up the stains, making the carpet easier to clean. This is a great way to remove spilt wax too.

Natural cleaning spray with lemons

(Image credit: Getty)

11. Refresh a freezer with charcoal

A great spring cleaning hack for your freezer is to put activated charcoal in to eradicate nasty smells, or mix equal parts warm water and vinegar and spray sparingly across the inside.

12. Clean a sponge in the microwave

Spring clean your cleaners, too. You can get extra life out of your cleaning sponge by soaking it in water and microwaving it for two minutes to kill off all the bacteria. Allow to cool before reusing.

13. Clean kitchen cabinets with soap

If grease has built up on wooden cabinets try this natural cleaning hack – mix equal parts warm water and soap before wiping the greasy surface down and drying it with a separate cloth. Bicarb of soda is also an effective alternative. Do not over soak a varnished or painted surface.

14. Remove watermarks with the iron (no kidding)

For watermark rings on your table, place some fabric on top of the mark and iron the surface on a low heat.

15. Mix up a DIY fabric freshener

Mix one part fabric softener with one part baking soda and two parts warm water. Put the mixture in a spray bottle for a DIY fabric freshener.

16. Get rid of pet hair

Here’s a spring cleaning tip for pet parents. Scrape hair-covered surfaces with a rubber squeegee to remove fur. If you don't have a squeegee, you can do the same with a rubber glove.

17. Clean window frames with a toothbrush

Grime can build up around window frames but it can be tricky to access. As part of your spring cleaning routine, use an old toothbrush to get into the tracks and crevasses.

18. Clean your car with alcohol and a squeegee

Give your car the spring cleaning treatment as well as your home. Use a dry squeegee to remove lint or hair on the seats and a toothbrush to scrub dirt off hard surfaces. Rub alcohol on your windscreen wipers to prevent them smearing on the windshield.

19. Use vinegar to cut through grease

Vinegar can double up as a cleaner to cut through tough grease and make your home sparkle. It also kills mold, but use a distilled or white vinegar which won't leave a stain.

Top tip: Make humble vinegar part of your cleaning collection by decanting it into a spray bottle – more user friendly than sloshing it all over your kitchen. 

20. Get dusting in hard-to-reach spots

We know you do the dusting regularly, but as part of your spring cleaning make sure you get into hard-to-reach spots.You’ll need an old-fashioned feather duster or a modern microfiber cloth, which makes it easier to tackle areas behind heavy furniture and radiators.

21. Use tea bags to clean hardwood floors

Apparently it’s the tannic acid in black tea that cleans and adds amazing shine to hardwood floors. Simply boil a kettle and let two tea bags steep in the mop bucket for around 10 minutes, add more warm water if you need to slightly lower the temperature and start mopping. 

Just be aware this spring cleaning hack only works for real hardwood flooring not laminate wood flooring. And always spot test, just in case.

22. Use diatomaceous earth to get rid of pests

Spring can be a challenging time if you have a pest issue in your home. Moths seem to multiple even quicker than in winter, and if you have pets that go outside, they may have brought in fleas that have overwintered in your carpet and are now waking up, too (the horror). 

Don't reach for toxic pesticides yet, though. There is a natural and very effective solution: diatomaceous earth. It's a rock powder-based dessicant and will kill any pests that live in your carpet by drying them out, including larvae. It will also deodorise and absorb stains. You will need to keep pets and children out while it's working: sprinkle the carpet with it and let it sit for 12 to 24 hours. Always use food grade product. 

Why is it called spring cleaning?

The big annual clean is called spring cleaning because that’s when the task is undertaken in many cultures: that is, after the cold winter has passed. In other cultures a major annual cleaning session takes place at the end of the year, which may or may not be spring.

Researchers have suggested the practice’s origins may lie in Persian or in Jewish culture while the Catholic practice of altar cleaning on Maundy Thursday is also a spring tradition. 

Whatever the history of spring cleaning, certainly in the UK and the US, the climate makes a major March cleaning session practical. There’s nothing like the stronger sunlight to show up smears in glass, plus dust and accumulated grot all round the house, allowing you to spot it and sort it.

Shop Heinz All-Natural Distilled White Vinegar

Shop Heinz All-Natural Distilled White Vinegar -1 Gallon Bottle (Pack of 2) with By The Cup Swivel Spoons

A must for natural cleaning around the kitchen and beyond.

Duzzit Baking Soda 550g, Non Scratch Multipurpose Powerful Cleaning Action. 

Keep it fresh and spring clean 🙌

Alison Jones
Alison Jones

Alison is Assistant Editor on Real Homes magazine. She previously worked on national newspapers, in later years as a film critic and has also written on property, fashion and lifestyle. Having recently purchased a Victorian property in severe need of some updating, much of her time is spent solving the usual issues renovators encounter.