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Your room-by-room guide to the ultimate spring cleaning regimen

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Been using the not-that-nice weather as a reason to put off your spring cleaning? No more. Once it warms up for real, you won't want to spend weekends inside with a Swiffer. With the help of some of the city's cleaning gurus, we've put together a room-by-room guide to make your seasonal mop-up manageable.

If you're planning to oversee the cleaning and hire someone to do most of the, ahem, dirty we suggest you revisit our guide to hiring a housecleaner. Doing it yourself? Know what products to stock up on ahead of time.

Whether it's your own personal elbow grease, or you're paying someone else to do the majority of it, we bet you're actually glad you don't have a bigger place to deal with now:

The living room

The biggest mandate for living rooms is decluttering: "[It] can get disorganized quickly, especially if you have guests over frequently," says Gary Hu of Synergy Maids, an apartment-cleaning service, who suggests focusing on the area near the sofa. "Place a basket next to it so you can store magazines or toys instead of leaving them on the couch," he suggests. "Clean it out and return the items to their proper places every other day or so." With nothing crowding the seating area, you'll have instant calm.

Once you've cleared the clutter, vacuum any carpets, and wipe down your TV (if you've got one) with a microfiber cloth. "A dusty television screen is very noticeable and can make your living room seem dirty," Hu notes. After that, give the room a standard going over. "Wash windows, and dust everything thoroughly with a wet cloth and water or your favorite all-purpose cleaner or furniture polish," advises Kadi Dulude of Wizard of Homes NYC. "Move around all the furniture to clean under and behind things, clean the light fixtures, and remove cobwebs from the corner of the ceiling."

The kitchen

Besides the usual upkeep—preventing dirty dishes from building up, taking out the trash and recycling, sweeping the floors—deep clean is what's called for here. "Go through your refrigerator," says Hu, "and clear everything off the shelves and toss out anything that is expired. This is also a good time to give your empty fridge a thorough scrub." (He recommends repeating this process every three months.) You'll also want to toss anything expired, or just don't get any use, out of the pantry.

After that, it's time to get scrubbing. "Clean the tops of kitchen cabinets and put a layer of paper towels down so that future cleans will be super easy," advises Dulude. Make sure to clean and polish cabinet doors, too, plus appliances, including the toaster oven. (The glass front needs to be scrubbed, the crumb plate removed and cleaned, too.)

One last, probably-gross step to tackle: pull out the fridge so you can clean underneath. "Be prepared to be super-shocked at what you find under there," warned Dulude.  "Even Martha Stewart will have some Cheerios and dust bunnies under her fridge at one point or another!"

If, after all this, you've got any persistent cooking smells hanging around, Hu recommends leaving a bowl of vinegar or baking soda on the counter overnight to absorb odors.

The bedroom

"The bedroom is one of the most unattended rooms in the house and it deserves more attention," says Hu. "After all, you do spend a third of your life in the bedroom." For general upkeep, he recommends decluttering and wiping down nightstands each week, and putting wastebaskets on each side of the bed to keep junk (e.g. empty water bottles and piles of tissues) from piling up. 

Aside from applying the same regimen you did in the living room—washing windows, cleaning fixtures and floors, etc.—you'll want to freshen up both your bed and the closet. Flip your mattress and swap out your heavy winter bedding for something lighter. Same goes for your closet: clear out your cold weather clothes and shoes to make room for your spring/summer wardrobe. Toss or donate anything you've long since stop wearing, and store the rest, either in bids that can hide under your bed or in cabinets, or in a mini-storage unit if you're strapped for space.

The bathroom

Bust out the rubber gloves, open the window, turn on your bathroom's fan, and get ready to scrub. After you clear any clutter and wipe down your sink and mirrors, you'll need to focus on the toilet, tub, and tiles. "Scrub the walls and tub with Soft Scrub, and use Magic Erasers to get everything sparkling," says Dulude. "Floor tiles may also require some extra love. And by love, I mean super-tough-scrubbing-til-you're-red-in-the-face."

​To handle grout, Hu suggests using a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, then scrubbing with a hard-bristled brush. "Squeegee your shower when you're finished," he adds. If you've put off cleaning the toilet long enough that scrubbing with a standard brush and cleaner won't do, Hu recommends "using a pumice stone to scrub away any stubborn toilet bowl rings."
***This story originally posted on April 13, 2015 and was updated on April 14, 2016.


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