Rays of sunshine are finally piercing the gloom as spring starts to make its long-awaited appearance. And that can mean only one thing – it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get cleaning.
“Cleaning a home from top to bottom can seem like an enormous task and it’s all too easy to keep putting it off,” says Lindsey Taylor, an expert from cleaning products brand Vileda.
“But it’s manageable if you have a structured and organised approach. Try to clean methodically, never doing more than one room at a time, and starting with the bedrooms.
“Once they’re sorted, you can move on to the harder cleaning tasks like the kitchen and bathroom. Always clean from top to bottom to ensure nowhere gets missed and dirt doesn’t come down on an already clean area.”
If you’re still struggling to raise enthusiasm, bear in mind that in these days of tightened budgets we’re all spending significantly more time at home. So every dusty, cluttered corner, or surface marred by grubby fingerprints, is much more likely to be noticed.
Spur yourself on with the thought that there are also all sorts of nasties lurking in your home which should be banished.
A survey by Rug Doctor, the carpet cleaning specialist, points out that the average family of four sheds up to 3lbs of skin a year. If that’s not off-putting enough, a carpet can hold up to 2lbs of dirt per square foot.
It also found that 45% of homeowners tread grime, dirt and bacteria into the home by not taking off their shoes when they enter from outdoors.
So stand by your mops and spring into action, boosted by advice from the experts and products which will have your home gleaming in no time.
Always declutter before you clean, advises Taylor. “Make a list of the areas you want to target and tackle them one at a time, if necessary just add one area a week to your normal cleaning routine to make the whole job less onerous,” she says.
Create four piles – one for items to keep, items with sentimental value, items you could do without and items you’re unsure about. Keep the last one for a month and, if you still can’t remember why you’re holding on to them, then they’re probably not vital!
“Bear in mind that not all your possessions have to be on show at any one time. Ringing the changes and storing away pieces can totally alter the look of a room,” says Taylor.
Spring splurge: Improve storage with a rustic-style Bretagne bookcase with room drawers, £399.99, Dunelm Mill. Smaller items could be neatly popped into a set of four Orla Kiely storage tins, £37, STORE. Treat yourself to a funky key hook, Sparrow Key chain, £9.99, Firebox, so that time previously wasted hunting for keys could be allocated for a five-minute household chore.
Technology is now so advanced that you can put your feet up and let a robot do the cleaning at home, or arm yourself with the latest gadgets designed to make cleaning easier and more effective.
Vileda’s Robot, £189.99, can be programmed to clean any size room and has lateral brushes for corners and edges of the room and furniture, as well as vacuum power to suck up dust.
It’s those awkward corners and stairs which seem to be magnetic to dust and dirt. A hand-held Black & Decker V2400 Dustbuster, £19.95, John Lewis, could help.
Spring splurge: A Numatic International Hetty 1200-watt Tank Vacuum Cleaner, £109, Very.
Easy short cuts
If you don’t want to turn the house upside down in the manner of a domestic diva, simply target five chores and use Taylor’s tips to make short work of them.
1. Ovens: “It’s always one of our least favourite chores,” she says. “Make the job easy by mixing bicarbonate of soda into a thick paste. Smear this inside your oven, including the door, and leave for a few hours or overnight. Then simply wipe away with a damp sponge cloth.”
2. Drawers: Use an essential oil such as lavender or lemon and mix with water in a ratio of 1:5. Gently wipe the inside of the drawers to give them a fresh smell but make sure you dry any excess liquid to prevent staining.
3. Shower doors: Dip a sponge cloth in white wine vinegar for wiping glass shower doors. The acidity of the vinegar cuts straight through any soap scum and will leave your shower sparkling.
4. Tiles: “Tackle mildew or staining of grout by brushing tile joints with a bicarbonate of soda and water paste to remove stains. Then, with a heavy duty scourer, such as Vileda Non-Scratch Scourer, and a mild cleaning solution, scrub down tiles.”
5. Bath: Fill the tub with a few inches of hot water from the tap, which will heat the bathroom temperature and improve the effectiveness of alkaline cleaning solutions.