Spring is in the air, or at least it is in St. George, and with that comes 2 words that I have feared most of my life: Spring Cleaning. Well thanks to Oprah.com and Lynn Andriani we have been given a way to get it all done in 8 hours! So suck it up, block out a Saturday and JUST DO IT!
image via9 A.M.–10 A.M.: Bathroom
Vacuum and wipe the walls and ceilings. If you clear them annually of the almost imperceptible grime that builds up, then you won't have to deal with the impossible-to-remove kind that can accumulate if they're left untouched for a few years. Vacuum first, using the brush attachment. Then, wipe them with all-purpose cleaner, which is fine for painted walls. Don't forget the wall that's behind you every morning when you do your hair and makeup; it could be coated in hairspray, perfume or other beauty products.
Toss any throw rugs into the washing machine.
Wash mirrors and the insides of windows. Use microfiber cloths (they won't leave lint).
Spray and soak. Steve Mulloy, director of housekeeping at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, recommends rubbing strong cleaning agents into shower walls, tubs, floors and sinks and then leaving to handle a task in another room. Fifteen or 20 minutes later (you can go move the rugs from the washer to the dryer), come back and rinse everything from the top down, starting with the showerhead. Take the same tack with the toilet, moving from the top of the tank to the rim, bowl and base. And don't use the cloths you used in the bathroom anywhere else before laundering them in very hot water.
Rinse the floor. After you've let the cleanser soak, as mentioned above, wipe the floor with a water-soaked mop on your way out.
10 A.M.–12:30 P.M.: Bedrooms
Vacuum and wipe walls and ceilings, and dust all surfaces. Pay special attention to switch plates and the outside edges of doors, where people tend to grab.
Let it breathe. A good airing will reduce the allergens and germs in mattresses, even if you can't lug them outside. Follow the advice of the Victorian era's go-to guide, Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management: "Throw the bed open, by taking off the clothes; open the windows (except in rainy weather), and leave the room to air." In Mrs. Beeton's day, housemaids left the windows open for a half hour, but if it isn't too cold, a few hours is even better.
Head to the washing machine. Once all the linens—sheets, pillowcases, quilts, duvet covers, mattress pads, dust ruffles, shams—are off the beds, wash them in order of what goes on the bed first (i.e., start with dust ruffles and mattress pads; end with shams) so you can put them back on the beds as they come out of the dryer and not have to worry about them sitting in a heap and getting wrinkled. If you're switching over to lighter quilts, wash the winter bedding before putting it away, because moths and other insects are attracted to body oil, perspiration and perfume.
Clean window treatments. For heavy drapes, use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum, or have them dry-cleaned; light drapes can go in the dryer on the fluff cycle with a dryer sheet.
Wash mirrors and the insides of windows.
Shampoo or steam-clean wall-to-wall carpets and area rugs. Some manufacturers will void the warranty if you can't prove that you've had your carpets professionally cleaned every year. Either buy a professional-grade carpet cleaner (which costs around $400) or rent one (many supermarkets now offer this service).