7 tips for spring cleaning in a time of coronavirus

Spring cleaning is even more important this year. Here are seven of our top tips for making it easier and doing it right.

spring cleaning
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April is prime time for spring cleaning. But what that looks like for many of us this year is different than in years' past. Perhaps you've been deep cleaning every day since you first heard about coronavirus. Or maybe you've been so busy with work and homeschooling you haven't had time to do anything but wipe down the countertops and fold an occasional load of laundry. And of course, this year it's not just about tidying up and removing a layer of winter dust and dirt, but sanitizing our spaces, too.

However you have (or haven't) tackled spring cleaning so far this year, we've rounded up seven of our top spring cleaning tips and hacks that'll help make the most of your effort.

Want more cleaning hacks and how-tos? Be sure to check out our cleaning hub for more of our best cleaning tips

Sanitize the floors without harsh cleaners

Regularly sanitizing the floors is an important spring cleaning step this year, since it will kill any bacteria you may have tracked in on your shoes. Steam mops are one of our favorite household cleaning staples for tackling this task. Not only do they make cleaning a breeze, but the hot temperature of the steam disinfects floors in the process.

Clean your oven with a lemon

Typically, cleaning your oven would be as simple as setting it to self-clean and leaving the house for a few hours. But since heading out for the afternoon isn't really an option, and the smell from a self-clean cycle can get overwhelming quickly if you're stuck inside with it, we've got a better option. 

Here's our quick-tip for cleaning the oven without using the self-clean setting: 

  • Cut four or five in half
  • Squeeze the juice into a baking tray or cookie sheet along with the squeezed lemon halves. 
  • Set the oven to 450°F and cook the lemons for 30 minutes. 
  • The steam from the lemons will steam clean your oven and loosen any grime. 
  • Once it's cooled, wipe the oven out with a damp sponge.

Clean the windows without shopping for glass cleaner

Wiping windows inside and out is a spring cleaning must, and we've got a way to get them sparkling even if you haven't had a chance to stock up on glass cleaner (or it's out of stock at your local supermarket).

So how do you clean windows without glass cleaner? Using vinegar. Here's the how-to:

  • Fill a bucket or spray bottle with one part water to one part vinegar.
  • Wearing rubber gloves, spray the cleaner on windows and wipe with a paper towel, or use a sponge to wipe the solution onto the window. Make sure you only apply it to the glass and avoid the frames.
  • Rinse with clean water.
  • Using a squeegee is key for good results. Work from the top of the window downwards, and wipe the edge of the squeegee with a lint-free cloth after each pass down the window.
  • Buff glass with a microfiber cloth to ensure the window is completely streak-free.

Wash your pillows

Allergy season is never fun, but especially not at a time when a case of hay fever can mimic low-grade symptoms of a global pandemic. An effective way to keep allergies (and the anxiety the could cause) at bay is to wash soft goods and textiles like your pillows. Pillows are a breeding ground for dust mites, especially as the weather becomes warmer and more humid, and they can also trap everything from pollen to pet dander. Giving them a regular deep clean will help you breathe easier. 

Check out our pillow cleaning guide for more.

Get the porch or patio in top shape

If you haven't used your patio or back deck since September, now's the time to give it a good scrub to get rid of any algae, mold, or mildew that's built up over the winter. While a pressure washer is ideal for this job if you can get your hands on one, you can also use a patio cleaner and a stiff scrub brush for equally dramatic results.

We love this patio cleaner for tough jobs, or you can make your own by diluting a few scoops of powdered oxygen bleach in a bucket of water. (Oxygen bleach like OxiClean won't kill nearby vegetation like chlorine bleach will). 

Clean the washing machine

Cleaning your washing machine is a great spring cleaning task to add to your list because it's important, most people almost never do it, and it's almost entirely hands-off (i.e. an easy one to check off your list if you, like us, enjoy making lists just to be able to cross things off of them).

Cleaning your washing machine will help it run more efficiently, rid it of any built up smells, and sanitize it if someone in your household has been sick. To clean it: simple add your regular detergent and run an empty cleaning or maintenance cycle. If your machine doesn't have  pre-programmed one, simply run an empty hot wash cycle. That's it! Ideally, do this once a month for the best results.

Disinfect with a CDC-approved cleaner you can make at home

We don't need to tell you that disinfecting your home should be an important part of your spring cleaning routine this year. But in case you haven't been able to get your hands on your go-to disinfectant like Lysol spray, here's an alternative: make a DIY disinfectant instead. You'll just need household bleach, water, and a spray bottle or bucket.

To make an effective bleach solution, you'll need to mix a third of a cup of bleach per gallon of water, or four teaspoons bleach per quart of water. Keep the surface wet for 10 minutes, to ensure germs are killed, and then wipe down as normal. 

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Kaitlin Madden
Kaitlin Madden

Kaitlin Madden Armon is a writer and editor covering all things home. In addition to Real Homes, she's written for Architectural Digest, Martha Stewart Living, Refinery29, Modern Luxury Interiors, Wayfair, The Design Network, and lots more. She graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in journalism and currently lives in Connecticut with her husband, two sons, and black lab.