Spring Cleaning, Where It Came from and Why You Do It

With the rapid approach of Spring on March 20th, many are anticipating warmer temperatures and sunshine that is part of this season. Spring also brings another chore that may not be considered quite as desirable as a warm, sunny day and that is Spring Cleaning. For many, this could make you consider going back into hibernation, but the bottom line is that it’s the perfect time to get your home or business in order. So where did this idea to dive enthusiastically into spring cleaning actually come from?

Truth be known, cultures all over the world have been spring cleaning for thousands of years:

  • An ancient Jewish practice of thoroughly cleansing the home before the feast of Passover has been passed on for centuries. During this holy time, Jews must clean their homes of even the smallest remnants of leavened food for the length of the holiday. They do this by “spring cleaning” the home.
  • Iranian Norouz, or Persian New Year, signifies new beginnings. The ritual, “khooneh takouni” which means “shaking the house” has been performed by Iranians hoping to turn over a new leaf and refresh their homes. A complete house cleaning allows for the New Year to start off on the right foot.
  • Chinese mark the coming of a new year with a thorough house cleaning after the winter solstice. They sweep, mop and rearrange to rid their homes of any negativity seen in the previous year. The Chinese believe spring cleaning in preparation for the New Year brings good fortune.

Tradition aside, there are actually good reasons for a thorough spring cleaning. During the long winter months, dirt will have gathered inside and with spring bringing warmer temperatures, bacteria also begins to grow. Spring cleaning then becomes a natural remedy to prevent infection and disease and offers an opportunity to make any building fresh again.

Follow this simple checklist for spring cleaning:

  • Floors: Whether it’s carpet, hardwood, linoleum or vinyl, all of your floors need to be thoroughly cleaned to get rid of deep down dirt and germs. You may vacuum your carpets and sweep your floors weekly, but now you need to deep clean them. Tackle this as part of your spring cleaning.
  • Carpet: Start by going over all carpets with your regular vacuum. Remove as much furniture from the rooms as possible. Any furniture that can’t be moved needs to have plastic placed beneath it. Use a carpet deep cleaner to extract deep down dirt and leave carpets fresh and clean.
  • Flooring (sealed hard wood, vinyl, linoleum, etc): Sweep or vacuum the floors thoroughly. Remove as much furniture as possible. Use a mop to clean and sanitize the floor. Strip the floors as needed and apply fresh coats of wax or finish.
  • Walls: Dust from the top down with microfiber rags, making sure to get the corners and other hard to reach places. Dust crown molding, baseboards and ceiling corners. Use a solvent-free degreaser to get rid of grease stains, food splatters and fingerprints (test the product in a small area to make sure it won’t damage your walls). Pay special attention to light switches. Dust down any light fixtures and ceiling fans, as well as bookshelves, pictures and other furniture pieces located against walls. Don’t forget to wash down doors, handling scuff marks as you go. Touch up any paint on the walls where needed.
  • Windows: Dip a window scrubbing wand into the cleaning solution, picking up just enough liquid to wet the window. Use a microfiber wand or microfiber rags as they won’t leave lint on the window. Wet the entire window, then go back over it once to loosen stubborn soil. If you prefer using a sprayer, spray from top to bottom. Dampen your squeegee blade and pull the dirt and water off the window surface. Continue in this manner across the window, overlapping into the clean, dry area with each stroke and wiping the blade with a damp cloth each time.       Finish with a horizontal stroke across the bottom and wipe any water off the sill with a damp cloth. Clean window treatments in a washing machine if possible, or dry clean if necessary. Wipe down blinds with a damp cloth.
  • Furniture: Gently beat cushions from couches and chairs to remove dust and surface dirt. Vacuum them thoroughly. Check for stains and treat appropriately with proper stain removal products. Use a vacuum with a powerful hose to clean under seat cushions and in hard-to-reach crevices. Take the time to polish any wood furniture and condition leather furniture in the rooms as well. Wipe down fabric shades with a dry cloth.
  • Cabinets, Countertops & Sinks: Use warm water and neutral cleaning solution on a sponge to clean off fingerprints, food stains and other unsightly markings. If grease is present, use a solvent-free degreaser to target those spots. Don’t forget the areas in and around handles, since those often get the most use. Use a glass cleaning formula to shine any metal fixtures. Target any mildew build-up with a powerful cleaner. Put away and organize as much as possible and leave only the bare necessities on the counter itself.
  • Bathrooms & Rest Rooms: Wipe down and sanitize walls and ceilings. Clean air vents. Handle any unsightly grout lines between tiles and reseal tile and grout. Sanitize paper towel holders or hand blowers. Disinfect light switches and fixtures. Mop and scrub floors, paying special attention to grout lines, corners and moldings. Remove rust from toilet seat screws and tighten any toilet seat hinges. Replace toilet scrub brushes and clean all toilets thoroughly.
  • Equipment: Take time to clean your keyboards (use compressed air), monitor screens and check the batteries in your mouse or wireless keyboards. Check your printer as well. Do all the parts move smoothly? Are you up-to-date on manufacturers’ updates? Is the printer free of paper bits? Make sure you have extra cartridges on hand, so you’re never caught short without ink.

Miscellaneous Spring Cleaning Tips:

  • Remove light fixtures and wash them carefully with an all-purpose cleaner and water.
  • Clean and disinfect all trash cans.
  • Replace batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Clean out any refrigerators, throwing away expired food and wiping down all surfaces with soap and water.
  • Sweep and mop underneath refrigerators and dust the coils. Note: Make sure it is unplugged while doing so!
  • Clean the microwave, inside and out and also any dishwasher.
  • Clean and disinfect the coffee maker and any small appliances.
  • Replace and air/furnace filters.
  • Vacuum and scrub all doormats. Replace as needed.

Contact Empire Cleaning Supply directly for any further questions on equipment or products to use for your Spring Cleaning.