We all know the term ‘spring cleaning’. Some of us think of it as an invigorating activity to help prepare the home for the warmer months, while others see nothing but hard work and soggy mops!
In centuries past winter was a time to stay indoors and keep warm, which meant burning coal, oil, wood and candles. Come the spring dwellings were grimy with the dust, dirt and soot of those days. That’s no longer how we live, but the tradition of a thorough spring clean persists to this day.
And lets be honest here; the short, dark days of winter don’t motivate us to embark on this kind of work. Rather we all tend to turn up the heating and worry about the dust and mess when we can ‘see it’.
But as the weather begins to improve, the evenings grow longer and the early signs of spring emerge from flower beds and verges, giving your home a ‘bit of a spring clean’ starts to become a tad more appealing.
As a tenant are you under a legal obligation to keep your home clean?
The obligation you have as the tenant is to keep the landlord’s property safe and manage any maintenance issues during the tenancy. Although cleaning isn’t always specified you are expected to ‘behave in a tenant like manner’ and look after the property and are contractually bound to leave it in a condition that reflects the cleanliness at the start of the tenancy.
This is easier to manage if you have a regular programme of cleaning not just in the spring but throughout the year.
Ultimately this is your home, and it will add to the quality of your life if you devote a little time and energy to spring cleaning it. And it needn’t be a chore if you follow our easy steps.
Breaking it Down
Approach spring cleaning in a state of mind that sees it not as one huge project but as a series of small tasks. Compartmentalise the jobs room by room, and draw up a list of what needs to be attended to in order of importance and so that you can make sure you have all the equipment and cleaning materials you may need.
When you’ve finished in one room, close the door. This provides that visible, tangible sign that its done and you move on to the next room or areas and it can help you to chart your progress.
Clear the Clutter
There’s no point in cleaning around broken items or things you no longer need. Take the opportunity to declutter each room before you start.
Ask yourself; have you used it, seen or even thought about in the past twelve months? No, then maybe you no longer need it and so perhaps it can be repurposed as a gift for someone else, taken to a charity or sent for recycling.
Apart from being a liberating exercise in itself, de cluttering each room and area will give you a much clearer view of your property.
If you need some inspiration Kirstie Allsopp is well known for her tips on decluttering and saving space in the home.
Wipe the Windows
Ideally clean the windows when the sun isn’t shining. In direct sunlight it’s easy not to see all the streaks that can so often be left behind.
Use glass cleaner and microfibre cloths, and don’t forget to clean down the windows, frames and sills inside and out!
Swish the Sinks
Sinks and basins are notorious for harbouring odours. Although a lot of your spring cleaning will rely on elbow grease, this is one area where you really do need to use purpose made products.
You can buy cleaning fluids to clear sink and drain blockages or you can use bleach but do be careful as even tiny splashes on your clothes will leave a permanent mark.
If you’d prefer to go greener and not use chemicals then a cup of baking soda in vinegar makes a good alternative. Leave it to work in the bend of the pipe for 10 minutes or so before flushing through.
Declog the Drain
The drain from your shower is easily blocked by a build-up of hair and soap. To clear you can try the soda and vinegar trick again, leaving it for 15 minutes than running hot water through.
Alternatively you can usually loosen any blockage with a few pulls on a plunger. Wash or wipe away any debris and perhaps fit a filter guard so you don’t have the unsavoury job going forward!
Wipe all the surfaces and descale the taps and shower head regularly.
Well renowned tip expert Mrs Hinch gives her tried and tested routine for cleaning your shower.
Open the Oven
When did you last look at the inside of your oven? Likely its been a while so surfaces are going to be greasy with baked on deposits.
But even though it may appear daunting, there’s no need to buy expensive and corrosive brands of oven cleaner. Any burned-on spillages can be loosened by applying a hot, wet cloth and leaving it in place for 15 minutes.
The oven can then be easily wiped away with a non-scratch cleaning pad and some baking powder and rinsed with clean warm water.
If its gone beyond your cleaning abilities or you just don’t want the the hassle then use a recognised oven cleaning company or skilled cleaner to tackle the grease so they leave your oven looking magnificent and ready for the next bake off!
For more advice on the types of products to clean your oven visit Which
Free the Fridge
It’s easy to neglect your refrigerator as its constantly in use with all kinds of foodstuffs going in and out. Bottles and jars quickly accumulate as do the loose tomatoes languishing at the back!
There’s no real substitute for a bit of elbow grease here so bite the bullet and take everything out.
Remove the main shelves and those in the door and use warm soapy water with perhaps a hint of bleach to wipe all around the interior and clean and dry the shelves and salad trays thoroughly.
Once you’ve checked all the expiry dates and replaced the jars and food you’ll be really pleased with the difference.
For more in-depth advice, Candy has some helpful tips on how to clean your fridge and freezer.
Surfaces and Steel
It’s called stainless but it rarely is. If your sink, hob and appliances are looking tired and dull you can bring the shine back to their surfaces with a little squeeze of washing up liquid, warm water and a final buff with micro fibre cloth.
Good Housekeeping has some great tips on how to clean your surfaces that won’t scratch and dull the sink and will keep your appliances gleaming!
Basics for every room or area includes:
- vacuuming the floors
- sweeping and mopping bathroom and non carpeted floors
- dusting skirtings, windows and sills
- polishing surfaces
- opening windows to air the room
- wipe all work surfaces everyday to keep them clean and germ free
- empty the fridge and freezer at last once a month to clean surfaces and remove out of date food
- use only specific cleaning products for ovens or use a qualified professional
- clear out cupboards, remove unwanted food items and remember to check the expiry dates!
- wipe all units, surfaces and tiled walls
- descale shower heads and taps every three months
- scrub baths, shower units and tiles regularly to remove mould
- clean extractor vents
- de-clog sinks
- vacuum the floors
- dust skirtings, windows and sills
- turn the mattress at least every three months
- wipe switches and plates with a damp cloth only
- check sockets for damage or burn marks and report them to your landlord
- dust light fittings frequently and replace bulbs
Smoke / Carbon Monoxide Alarms
- test all the alarms every two weeks replacing batteries or contact the landlord to replace or repair
Spring clean your way to serenity
If you move methodically from room to room you will be surprised at how satisfying and relatively easy spring cleaning your home can be.
The key here is to be organised.
And the pleasure of spring cleaning, both the process and the results which are often quick to see, help towards renewing the comforts and cleanliness of your home for another season.
For help building your own spring cleaning schedule and developing a report visit Inventory Base for information on our features.