How to Make a Day of Cleaning - dummies

By Gill Chilton

By tradition, the truly big clean of the year is done in spring because the worst of the dirt and dust caused by chimney fires is over. Especially if you work outside the home, your major clean is likely to be dictated by when you have time off.

Don’t let the fact that it’s winter stop you if this is when you can allocate the time. However, if you’re less pressed for time, there are good practical reasons for having a major clear-up in spring:

  • Serious cleaning calls for ventilation. You want to keep open all the windows without freezing.

  • With the central heating off, you can clean radiators and surrounds.

  • Carpets dry quicker with good ventilation.

  • There’s more chance of a good breezy day to air duvets and curtains on the line.

spring cleaning
© Shutterstock/Kzenon

So how far should you go with a major clean-up? For most of us, time is the big factor. Even in a full day, two people working flat out won’t get to every surface. In the days before, look thoroughly over your house to see which jobs need attention most.

Quarterly/Twice-yearly Annually
Remove food and clean food cupboards Clean behind heavy furniture
Shampoo high-wear carpets Shampoo bedroom and dining carpets
Wash appliance filters Clean cooker hood filters
Thoroughly clean windows and frames Wash down walls (some every other year)
Defrost fridge/freezer Sort out major cupboards for charity shops or rubbish
Treat hard floors with permanent polish or wax Launder or have laundered curtains and duvets
Dust blinds Wash fabric blinds
Clean oven (monthly, if high use) Clean fireplace
Take out books to dust
Take down and clean light fittings

To make the best use of your time:

  • Start your day with the physically demanding tasks. Don’t try to do the heavy lifting late in the day when you’re worn out – you just increase your chance of getting hurt.

  • Intersperse physical jobs with sit-down clean-ups, such as brushing out a fireplace.

  • Allow sufficient time to clear up. Set a time to stop working and stick to it.