7 tips for better spring cleaning

Throw open the windows and get out your buckets, sponges and dusters to say goodbye to the layers of grime that may have built up since last fall.

'Aim for one room at a time to avoid unfinished jobs'

OK, so maybe you're not as excited about spring cleaning as this guy — but getting it done can be rewarding. (Elnur/Shutterstock)

Spring officially arrived a few weeks ago, and now that the snow seems to be well on its way out, it's spring cleaning time.

Throw open the windows and get out your buckets, sponges and dusters to say goodbye to the layers of grime that may have built up since last fall.

"Spring cleaning is by far one of my most favourite things to tackle — weird I know?! It's so satisfying!" exclaimed April Clow, owner of Sparkle and Shine Residential cleaning in P.E.I. 

Sparkle and Shine, Merry Maids and CBC viewers offered their advice for spring cleaning.

1. Set aside one to three days

"We typically aim for a full day for smaller homes and two to three-plus days for larger," said Clow. As people's expectations and homes are so different, she suggested "you should anticipate it taking two days, with help." 

Kim MacLean with Merry Maids P.E.I. suggested one day per home level or storey, with two people working four to eight hours. 

"Every year I hire someone to help me and we do the whole thing in two days!" Glenda Landry commented on Facebook. "Walls, floors, inside the patio doors, light fixtures. If you're not nailed down we will pick you up and wash you!"

2. Make a list of goals

Clow encourages people to make a "tackle list" — what they want the outcome to be for each room, and the entire house. 

Too many books? You may want to declutter before or as you clean, the pros advise. (iStock)

Spring cleaning could also mean organizing and decluttering to some, she added, so add that to your list.

Homes with wood stoves and people who smoke usually always need the walls and ceilings washed, Merry Maids emphasized. 

"Screens and windows," are priorities for Jill Chandler, who responded via Facebook. "Make such a difference!"

3. One room at a time 

"Aim for one room at a time to avoid unfinished jobs," advised Clow. This will also prevent you getting overwhelmed. 

Sparkle and Shine and Merry Maids use microfibre cleaning cloths for most of their cleaning — they're reusable and don't leave dust behind, the pros say. (Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock)

"I take one room at a time — kitchen is the last. A day for each room," wrote Charlene Curran on Facebook. "Once the house is done I start on the outside — raking etc."

"Give one day to each room with the exception of the kitchen, which might take me a week," Pat Martin commented. "I hate doing the kitchen."

"My rule is do the hardest room first — so kitchen, look out your day's coming soon," shared Lisa Creamer. 

4. Top-down approach

MacLean suggested starting at the top level of your house and working your way down. 

The same should go for each room, Clow advised. 

For example, bathrooms — tackle the ceiling if you feel the need to clean it, then wash light fixtures, fans or air exchangers, followed by walls, cabinets, sinks, showers, toilets and finish with floors — vacuuming and mopping. Don't forget under the bed, said MacLean.

5. Multi-task

Clow also suggests multi-tasking — laundry can be done while you are cleaning.

6. Keep it natural 

"Personally, I aim to 'keep the clean green,'" said Clow, sharing that some of her favourite cleaners are full strength vinegar, baking soda, natural dish soap and essential oils. 

Lemons, salt, vinegar and baking soda are natural alternatives to harsh chemical cleaners. (iStock/Getty Images)

Both companies also use Magic Erasers — especially for fingerprints on kitchen and bathroom cabinets. 

"We love using Murphy's oil on wood floors as it has a fresh scent and leaves a nice shine," said Merry Maids' MacLean.

Clow's tip: cut a lemon in half, dip the ends in salt and scrub tough grime in tubs and sinks, then rinse.

"Grime comes off and smells amazing!" she said. 

Both companies use microfibre cleaning cloths for everything as they don't leave dust behind — Clow advises buying them in quantities greater than you think you will need. 

7. Don't forget drapes, furniture 

Drapes should be washed or dry cleaned once a year, Clow advised, as well as vacuumed periodically during the year to get rid of dust buildup, animal hair etc. 

Vacuuming and mopping should be last on your list, the pros advise. (Radio-Canada)

Furniture should also be cleaned — fabric upholstery with a vacuum, and leather or any other washable material wiped with a damp cloth and a natural solvent. You can purchase leather cleaners in stores, she notes. 

Remember to flip and rotate mattresses.

Sometimes, our best intentions go astray, and the spring cleaning doesn't get done. 

"I spend all winter scheming. What will I throw away? Recycle? What will I do with all this newfound space?" wrote Keith Burgoyne. "Then spring comes and goes and then soon it's winter again and I'm back to that hopeless scheming all over again."

It could be time to call a professional — most cleaning companies give individual estimates after a consultation.

Need more tips? Merry Maids has an extensive list of advice here.


Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara has worked with CBC News in P.E.I. since 1988 in television and radio and now focuses on web features. She frequently fills in as producer for P.E.I.'s digital team, as copy editor and as CBC P.E.I.'s assignment producer. Sara grew up on the Island and graduated from the University of King's College in Halifax with a bachelor of journalism degree. Reach her by email at