The prospect of a major clean can seem daunting, but the trick is to break the job into achievable tasks and create a to-do list for each room, which is immensely satisfying to tick off. To help get you started, we've compiled a cheat sheet, complete with expert tips, to inspire you to clean like a pro.
This super busy family hub is where every day dirt, cooking grime and food scraps gather.
Declutter as you clean, suggests Rowena Jongejan of cleaning agency Family Clean. “In the kitchen, remove the contents of drawers and cupboards before wiping shelves and doors, tossing out what you no longer use as you go. This will free up space for well-organised storage.”
Rangehood filters are a prime grease trap; soak them in hot water with baking soda and detergent, suggests Satya Bourgeot of Pristine Professional Cleaning. “Give cast iron trivets, oven trays and racks the same treatment,” she says.
After sweeping or vacuuming, mop the kitchen floor with a specialist timber or tile floor cleaner. Or make your own solution from six drops of dishwashing liquid or half a cup of white vinegar mixed into half a bucket of warm water.
Stainless-steel can be cleaned using a microfibre cloth with a little water and detergent. “The best technique is to wipe in the same direction as the grain,” says Adriana Aziz of Maidforyou. “Don't forget to clean the oven knobs as well.”
Dishwashers need cleaning, too! Place a glass measuring cup with two cups of distilled white vinegar on the top rack and run a normal cycle without detergent or dishes, says Rowena. “Finish by gently wiping the stainless-steel door using a stainless-steel cleaning product.” Remember to check your appliance manual for cleaning advice from the manufacturer.
Disinfect the bin and leave it out in the sun to dry and naturally deodorise.
Fridge interiors benefit from a good sort of out-of-date condiments, then a thorough wipe. Debbie Harrison of Platinum Staffing Agency says a cut lemon or a small saucer of baking soda on a shelf will help absorb odours.
Turn a dusty, chaotic room into a tranquil sleeping space with a quick tidy and a bedding refresh.
Wash your duvet and pillows on the highest recommended heat and add baking soda with the washing powder for freshness, says Debbie. “Dry your doona in the sun and pop pillows in the dryer to be fluffed up with dryer balls.”
Reorganise your wardrobe and pack away winter items. To prevent mould, place a couple of moisture-absorbing products on the shelves.
Ceiling fan blades can be covered with an old pillowcase, then gently scraped to loosen and collect dust, says Debbie.
Mattresses can be professionally cleaned or freshened with a spritz of water and eucalyptus oil in a ratio of four to one, then left to dry, suggests Rowena. Flip the mattress to improve longevity and comfort. Remember to wash the mattress protector. Complete the job with lovely fresh bed linen.
A little elbow grease along with a few hardworking products can turn a much-used wet room into a welcoming sanctuary.
“Products like Glitz Power Paste, eraser pads and vinegar can help break down soap scum on tiles and glass screens,” says Satya.
Scrub grout with a heavy-duty grout brush, which is also effective for cleaning nooks and crannies around the shower screen. Help to prevent more scum forming with an effective grout sealer like Selleys White for Life.
Exhaust fans and light fittings can be dusted with a soft brush or microfibre cloth.
Toss any expired or unused cosmetics and products.
Tackle floors with a light vacuum then mop with a pH neutral floor-cleaning solution. “Follow with a dry mop to prevent dust sticking to the wet floor,” says Adriana.
Refresh your relaxation zone, then bring in a new indoor plant or bunch of blooms.
Take rugs outside for a shake and leave in the fresh air to naturally deodorise.
Dust fans, cornices and shelves first, and leave the floor for last. “This ensures you don't have to keep recleaning the same space,” says Rowena Jongejan.
Use a track brush to loosen dirt from window and door tracks, then vacuum the debris. “Often they open more smoothly afterwards,” says Satya Bourgeot.
Banish insect bodies from your lights. “Most oyster lights have a spring-loaded clamp that can be released for easy removal and cleaning,” says Satya, who recommends removing cobwebs from pendants and lamps, too.
Debbie Harrison suggests placing an old sock on your hand and dipping it into a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water before wiping the blades.
Shift the sofa as dust bunnies accumulate underneath it. “Move it out of the way so you can thoroughly vacuum and mop the floor and wipe hidden skirting boards,” advises Adriana Aziz.
An organised laundry makes a boring chore more manageable. Get rid of the gunk and your appliances and drains will work so much better!
Assess which products and utensils can be thrown away or stored in cupboards to free up bench space.
Washing machines can grow mould and start to smell. “Pour a quarter cup of baking soda with a quarter cup of water into the machine's detergent drawer, add two cups of vinegar into the drum and run it on a hot wash cycle,” advises Debbie. “Once finished, wipe the seals and, if needed, give the detergent drawer a scrub with hot soapy water.”
“If you used the dryer all winter, it exacerbates dust in the laundry,” says Satya. “Wipe the walls, backs of doors and window coverings, and use a vacuum attachment to get in behind the dryer and washing machine.” The dryer filter should be cleaned of lint after every washing load to prevent it becoming a fire hazard, but take the opportunity to give it a really thorough clean.
Slow-flowing drains can benefit from a clean-out. “To fix blockages, pour boiling water down the drain before adding a cup of baking soda,” says Debbie. “Follow with a mix of warm water and vinegar and more boiling water.” For seriously clogged drains, try Drain Clean.
As the weather warms up, prepare for life on the outside by sprucing up your home's alfresco areas and façade.
Wash windows and screens separately. “For really dirty windows, mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water with a dash of dishwashing detergent. Apply with a sponge and use a squeegee to remove excess water,” says Rowena. For hard-to-reach windows, try a Sabco Professional extension pole). Clean gutters of debris that has built up over winter. “It will enhance the efficiency of your downpipes and make your roof more resilient to water damage,” says Satya. Make sure your ladder is steady – a Ladder's Little Helper safety device can help.
High-pressure water cleaners remove mould, moss and grime from driveways, decks, patios and exterior walls.
Barbecue plates can be tackled with a non-caustic barbecue cleaning product, or given a scrub with a heavy-duty hot plate brush.
Outdoor furniture needs a good wash. “To inhibit mildew, mix two cups of white vinegar and two tablespoons of liquid dish soap in a bucket of hot water and use a soft brush to scrub grooves and seat pads,” says Rowena.
Time to get stuck into it. Head into your local Bunnings to pick up everything you need to get your place squeaky clean.
Photo credit: Getty Images, QEP Interiors, Cath Muscat, Kaboodle Kitchen