9 Spring Cleaning Mistakes You’re Making
Ready or not, here comes spring cleaning. Stay ahead of your to-do list and avoid these common cleaning mistakes.
Mistake #1: Not Having a Plan
For a successful spring clean, go in with a plan. Sure, tidying up here and scrubbing down there will make your home look a little better, but you’ll get a lot more accomplished with set goals. A few weeks before you start, make a list of your home’s rooms and what you need to clean in each one. (Or save some time and print out our room-by-room cleaning checklist.) Then, make a list of any supplies to buy or services to schedule. Once you start cleaning, cross off each task on the list—and eventually each room.
Mistake #2: Skipping the Tough Jobs
If this is the fifth year in a row you’ve put off cleaning the oven because, well, there’s five years’ worth of burned-on gunk in there, it’s time. Stop procrastinating the tough cleaning projects. Instead, formulate a plan of attack, set aside some time to clean your oven and get ‘er done. An added bonus? You won’t feel that pang of shame every time you walk past the oven anymore.
Mistake #3: Using Dirty Tools
To truly clean, you need to start with clean tools. Before you begin, gather up all of your cleaning supplies and take note of which ones are expired, almost empty, dirty, broken or otherwise unfit for the task. (Here’s how to tell if your sponges and scrub brushes are past their prime.) Make a list of what you need to replenish or replace, then head to the store.
Psst: These cleaning products make doing chores way more fun.
Mistake #4: Cleaning All by Yourself
Unless you live alone, there’s a good chance you’re not dirtying the entire house by yourself. Enlist partners, children and roommates to help with the cleaning. Assign each person a room (such as their bedroom) to tackle, and then divvy up tasks in the communal areas. Even little kids can pitch in. Here’s our chores list by age.
Mistake #5: Expecting to Clean Everything in One Day
Deep cleaning takes time, so don’t expect to finish the entire house in one day. Try this fun minute-by-minute cleaning routine. Or set aside a designated cleaning time each week—such as weekend afternoons—and tackle one room at a time. After a month or two, your entire home will be sparkling!
Mistake #6: Using Only One Product
We wish there was a magical formula that could deep-clean all of our home’s surfaces with one swipe, but sadly that product doesn’t exist. Kill germs, add sparkle and avoid damage by using specialized cleaners for each surface. If you insist on using an all-purpose cleaner, opt for our top-rated brand.
Mistake #7: Holding on to Too Much
If one of your spring cleaning goals is to reduce the amount of stuff in your home, try tidying expert Marie Kondo’s method. Her approach involves tackling different categories of items—such as clothes or paper—and only keeping the items that “spark joy.”
Mistake #8: Cleaning from Bottom to Top
Save the floors for last. As you clean, dust and debris from shelves, ceiling fans and furniture will naturally fall to the floor. Vacuuming or mopping the floor last will save you from doing the task twice and ensure the room is as clean as it can be. Find out if a Dyson is worth the money.
Mistake #9: Keeping Windows Closed
Part of the reason we call it spring cleaning? It’s finally warm enough to open your windows! Fresh air brings new energy into your home after a long, stuffy winter. Plus, a cracked window ventilates your space—which is particularly important if you’re using chemical cleaners. Time to clean your windows? Try these tips from a pro.