You might be spending your coronavirus stay-at-home days watching Netflix, arranging Zoom happy hours and doing online yoga. While there’s nothing wrong with a little R&R and self-care during these stressful times, it’s also a great opportunity to indulge in a major bout of spring cleaning.
Not only does an annual deep cleaning scour your place of hidden dust mites and mold spores, it also helps protect you against viruses and bacteria. With the potential for COVID-19 floating in the air and clinging to surfaces, there’s plenty of motivation to set about spring cleaning coronavirus out of your home.
Traditional spring cleaning includes chores like dusting, window cleaning, giving your carpets a proper wash, and a fair share of polishing and waxing. With this home cleaning checklist, we’ll give you all the best spring cleaning tips, plus a boost for combatting coronavirus.
1. Be sure to both clean and disinfect for a coronavirus spring cleaning
Did you know there’s a difference between cleaning and disinfecting?
- Cleaning is the removal of grime and germs from surfaces. Cleaning doesn’t kill viruses, but it lowers their numbers. You can clean a surface using a simple combination of soap and water, which is very effective against COVID-19.
- Disinfecting involves using a chemical to kill germs on surfaces after you clean it, which lowers the risk of spreading infection. You can use a simple bleach combination to disinfect, which is ⅓ cup of bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. Let the bleach sit on the surface for at least one minute before you dry it completely.
The CDC recommends regularly cleaning and disinfecting areas of your home which are touched frequently -- three times per day if someone in your house is sick. This includes:
- Kitchen and bathroom counters
- Light switches
2. Use the right products for coronavirus cleaning
Bummed out by the empty shelves in the cleaning products aisle of the grocery store? Don’t despair. There are tons of products out there that can get rid of the nasty coronavirus. Luckily, the EPA released a list of the chemicals you can use, which include common household items like hydrogen peroxide, isopropyl alcohol that’s 70% alcohol (rubbing alcohol), and even certain Lysol toilet bowl cleaners.
Bleach does the trick for hard, non-porous surfaces. If you can’t find liquid bleach, look for bleach tablets. Hydrogen peroxide is also a good non-chlorine bleach that’s non-toxic and still disinfects surfaces. If you’ve got kiddos at home and want to avoid harsh chemicals, or just prefer green cleaning products, you’ll find more alternatives in our guide to baby-friendly cleaning products.
3. Dust your home thoroughly
Spring cleaning is a great time to both clean and declutter your home. If you’ve got major clutter to deal with, getting a portable container delivered to your driveway may be just what you need to get the job done, especially if you need to make room as you work. Having temporary at-home storage can also help if you need to separate items to go to relatives, donations, or a garage sale.
If it’s just a matter of dusting and cleaning a room, here are some quick tips:
- Before getting started, take time to peruse shelves and side tables to see if there are any books or knick-knacks you can clear out.
- Empty all shelves and dust thoroughly with a feather duster.
- Use your vacuum to get hard-to-reach spots.
- Gently clean your books with a damp cloth.
- Disinfect surfaces before you rearrange things.
- Don’t forget to vacuum ceiling fans, the tops of your windows and moldings.
- Reach corners in rooms where cobwebs cluster with a long duster.
4. Vacuum floors and deep clean your carpets
Vacuuming and carpet cleaning should be on your list for this year’s deep cleaning. Make sure you move furniture and vacuum underneath so you can suck up those pesky dust bunnies, and don’t forget your air vents! Vacuum under beds and in closets as well. When you’re able to leave the house again, rent a carpet cleaner for a day or two to finish it off.
5. Clean and organize your linens
Go through your linen closet and make sure you really need all those fitted sheets. Toss what you don’t use and keep what you love. Next, take down your drapes, curtains, and pillow covers and throw those in the washer and dryer. For a coronavirus spring cleaning tip, use the hottest water you can and make sure to dry all the items thoroughly. If you’re feeling extra motivated, clean and disinfect laundry hampers as well.
6. Scour your tile surfaces
Tile can really start to look dingy if you haven’t done a deep cleaning in a while. If you haven’t been able to find traditional tile cleaners in the supermarket, a simple mixture of baking soda and water will do. Just pour ½ cup baking soda into 2 gallons of water and mix well. This is a great non-toxic cleaning option for bathroom and kitchen floors. You can even do this on your tiled kitchen countertop before you disinfect.
7. Wipe down your windows
It happens to the best of us. Months go by and we wonder why those trees and blue sky aren’t looking so vibrant anymore. Now that you’re cooped up indoors it’s the best time to give your windows a wipe down. If you can reach, wash both inside and out. Might as well enjoy the view, right? If you have slatted blinds, use a damp cloth to wipe them down.
8. Organize seasonal items
As we move rapidly into spring, you no longer have a need for those lingering holiday decorations, do you? Go through each room and make sure all the seasonal items are put into bins and stored. While you’re at it, grab winter sweaters out of your closet to make room for fun spring and summer clothing. Get rid of clothing and seasonal items that no longer bring you joy.
9. Polish brass and stainless steel
Your kitchen will look like it came right out of a cooking show once you polish all your stainless steel. First, clean your stainless steel with a soft cloth to remove dirt and grime. Then, soak a microfiber towel in olive oil and slowly buff the steel. Buff again with a clean, dry cloth and your stainless will be sparkling in no time.
10. Clean your wooden furniture
Wooden furniture looks simply amazing with that “just cleaned” shine. First, wipe it down to remove dust, then wax it to protect the wood and give it that beautiful sheen. It’s easy to make homemade furniture wax if you don’t want chemicals in your home.
11. Reseal grout and disinfect the bathroom
We’ve all seen those dirty, moldy grout lines in bathrooms, right? A great spring cleaning tip is to reseal your grout so it doesn’t become stained and, well, gross. You can use a penetrating grout sealer and apply it with a small foam brush. Using the cleaning and disinfecting techniques we covered earlier, tackle any surfaces, handles, and floors to get them squeaky clean.
12. Don’t try to do all your coronavirus spring cleaning at once!
If you try to do all your spring deep cleaning in one weekend, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed. Break it up into easy to manage sections, room by room or surface by surface. Don’t forget your electronics and remote controls! The CDC recommends putting a wipeable cover on electronics and cleaning them with alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing 70% alcohol. Once you’re done with your deep cleaning, it’s important to keep cleaning and disinfecting for coronavirus regularly, especially the commonly-touched surfaces.
And let’s say it again -- wash your hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and warm water. You’ve got this!
Kristin Hanes is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in SF Gate, Marie Claire and Realtor.com, among other publications.