Martha offers her best advice for achieving a spotless home—and how to keep the process manageable—this spring in beyond.

Updated February 11, 2020
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There are few rites of spring more satisfying than the annual deep clean. For many people, however, the pleasure comes only after the work is finished. Cleaning your home from top to bottom may never become effortless, but you can make the project more manageable-and even enjoyable. This printable checklist offers an overview of everything you need to know-including information on cleansers, stain removal, fabric care, and storage-to zip through the process.

After you read through the tips and techniques, tailor the list to your home and yard. Whether you prefer to proceed from the attic to the basement or start outdoors and wind your way inside, create a realistic schedule and focus on one task at a time, keeping in mind that a single weekend won't suffice. You'll need several days for more involved projects, such as shampooing carpets and organizing closets. And be sure to enlist the help of family members.

The tips below outline basic techniques that will help you clean almost every surface (or object) in any room, leaving your home refreshed from top to bottom.

Restock Your Cleaning Supplies

Before you can get to work, you need to make sure you're stocked with your must-have cleaning supplies. On the natural front, baking soda, white vinegar, and Castile soap are essentials you can use to make natural cleansers for nearly any spot in the house. A microfiber mop, like Libman's Wonder Mop, makes easy work of cleaning vinyl, wood, linoleum, laminate, marble, stone, and ceramic tile—we like that the Wonder Mop's head is machine-washable, making it an eco-friendly alternative to most conventional alternatives. Plant-based sponges and a reusable spray bottle also make most cleaning jobs easier. You'll also want to stock up on your favorite mild dishwashing detergent and all-purpose cleanser, or else make a batch of your favorite DIY solution.

Wipe Walls and Ceilings

Use a vacuum to remove dust. Tackle stubborn surface grime, especially prevalent in kitchens, with a solvent-free degreaser (test it first in an inconspicuous area to ensure it won't mar the surface).

Reseal Grout Lines

The cement-based material between wall, floor, and countertop tiles is extremely porous and stains easily. Protect it with a penetrating grout sealer; it's best to apply it with a small foam brush.

Vacuum and Shampoo Rugs

Synthetic carpets and rugs with waterproof backings can be deep-cleaned with a rotary shampoo machine and a hot-water extraction machine. Rugs without backings, including Orientals, require professional cleaning.

Dust Books and Shelves

Take everything off the shelves, and brush them (along with the books) with a feather duster. Use the dust brush or crevice tool on a vacuum to reach into tight spots. Wipe the spines of leather-bound books with a clean, soft cloth.

Clean Upholstered Furnishings

Take cushions outside and gently beat them by hand to remove dust. If there are stains, check the pieces for care labels. Use a vacuum's upholstery and crevice tools to clean under seat cushions.

Polish Metal Door and Window Hardware

Liquid polishes and polish-impregnated cloths work well for medium-tarnished surfaces; pastes and creams are best for heavier work. If the tarnish doesn't come off, try a stronger product.

Dust Your Home Thoroughly

This includes hard-to-reach places, such as the tops of ceiling fans and window casings. Always work from the top of a room down, vacuuming the dust that settles on the floor. Avoid using dusting sprays.

Wax Wooden Furniture

Wipe surfaces with a soft cloth dampened with water and mild dishwashing liquid. Apply paste wax, such as Butcher's wax, a few feet at a time with a cotton rag folded into a square pad. Let the wax dry; buff with a clean cloth.

Ensure Fire Safety

Change batteries in smoke detectors (this should be done twice a year), and make sure units are free of dust. Teach everyone in your household how to use a fire extinguisher, and review escape plans.

Wash Window Screens

Using warm water and a mild dishwashing liquid, scrub each screen with a brush; rinse thoroughly.

Clean Window Treatments

Many draperies and curtains are machine washable; check labels. Dry clean fabric shades. Wipe wooden blinds with a damp cloth; warm water mixed with a mild dishwashing liquid is safe for metal and vinyl blinds.

Wax Non-Wood Floors

Vinyl and linoleum floors that have lost their shine should be waxed with a polish designed for these surfaces. Most stone and tile floors can be treated with either a paste or a liquid wax designed for the material.

Comments (71)

Anonymous
May 26, 2019
There is nothing that looks, smells and shines like a home after a good Spring cleaning. Thank you Martha Stewart for all the advice throughout the years. You’re the best!
Anonymous
April 8, 2019
Listen, there is clean and there is clean. That's clean on a visible level and clean on a chemical level where eyes cannot see. I am talking about bacteria. Don't forget cleaning for that https://www.gsccorporation.com/house-cleaning-blog/rid-house-harmful-bacteria-spring/
Anonymous
January 5, 2019
My baby never slept well (especially through the night) until I started using the website >>SLEEPBABY.ORG<< - that website has been by far one of the best things I've ever got my hands on to get him to fall asleep quickly. Best time is 45 seconds from awake to asleep! Can’t imagine life without it! I heard about it through a kindergarten teacher who uses it to put to sleep a group of 30 children. Check it out! >>SLEEPBABY.ORG<< - sorry, you can't post links here so you'll have to turn it into a normal link :) Best of luck to you and your family!
Anonymous
June 5, 2017
Thanks for sharing!! Don't forget to clean your office. https://www.ugoburo.ca/en/blog/clean-desk-office-furniture/
Anonymous
May 8, 2017
Wonderful read with fabulous info. Thank you for sharing! http://cash4houses.weebly.com
Anonymous
February 16, 2017
Good info, Thank you for sharing. Website designing company in pondicherry
Anonymous
April 2, 2016
excellent article. https://www.aventodesigns.com
Anonymous
February 12, 2016
Thanks Martha! Your checklist really helped me out this spring. I know a lot of people, like me, have cards lying around that the kids just don't play with anymore. If you don't want them, please, don't throw them away, they can be worth good money. Please check out this website if you would like to get some cash for your cards: trumansharp9 . wix . com / cash-for-cards Thanks!
Anonymous
February 2, 2016
Thank you so much, Martha! I love the Spring cleaning checklist!! Your tips and videos make caring for my family and home more manageable, and even enjoyable! It's mind-boggling to even know where to begin, but you make the how so much easier! Busy lives today have no time to show basic knowledge of "family-keeping" to their children. An ever growing void of caring will be evident to the lives of future generations!! School students direly need your knowledge via video, Martha! Seriously!
Anonymous
December 1, 2015
Recently while looking for dusters on Ebay Au I discovered this product called Vac-U-Mitt. I have never seen this type of duster before, it’s a mitt that fits over the top of an upholstery brush, when you turn on your vacuum cleaner the suction makes the flaps of the mitt turn inside the brush so you can vacuum anything and everything without scratching or tearing . It's BRILLIANT. Now I clean spring-clean in less than half the time it normally took me.
Anonymous
December 1, 2015
Recently while looking for dusters on Ebay Au I discovered this product called Vac-U-Mitt. I have never seen this type of duster before, it’s a mitt that fits over the top of an upholstery brush, when you turn on your vacuum cleaner the suction makes the flaps of the mitt turn inside the brush so you can vacuum anything and everything without scratching or tearing . It's BRILLIANT. Now I clean spring-clean in less than half the time it normally took me.
Anonymous
March 30, 2015
great read. i loved https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkx1_b4c6GM for spring cleaning!
Anonymous
March 23, 2015
Thanks for such a thorough list. My house is getting grimy, and I get so overwhelmed I don't know where to begin. This will help me tons. Thanks! web site
Anonymous
March 23, 2015
I am a professional cleaner and this is a great list. Everyone has to find a system of what works for them. There are home chores that need to be done each day, some each week, some monthly and yearly. Professional cleaners always work from the top down, first clean bathroom vents, lights fixtures and work yourself down.Once your whole is done, it is easy to maintain by figuring out what system works for you.Best regards http://www.springcleaners.org.uk/carpet-cleaning-services/chelsea-SW3.html/
Anonymous
March 23, 2015
I am a professional cleaner and this is a great list. Everyone has to find a system of what works for them. There are home chores that need to be done each day, some each week, some monthly and yearly. Professional cleaners always work from the top down, first clean bathroom vents, lights fixtures and work yourself down.Once your whole is done, it is easy to maintain by figuring out what system works for you. Best regards http://www.springcleaners.org.uk/carpet-cleaning-services/chelsea-SW3.html
Anonymous
March 21, 2015
Add a teaspoon of liquid detergent to the window washing solution. Windows cleaned with commercial sprays have wax residues that will leaves streaks when cleaned with vinegar and water, the detergent cuts through the wax.
Anonymous
February 5, 2015
Super useful checklist, thank you for sharing. Wondering what the thoughts on more organic cleaning products would be? Thanks again!
Anonymous
April 22, 2014
Really helpful checklist to make sure your home is as clean and healthy as possible after the long winter. For the best tips to best vacuum your home visit http://montrealaerus.com/1/post/2014/04/spring-has-arrived-its-time-for-spring-cleaning-how-to-best-vacuum-your-home-using-the-attachments-properly.html
Anonymous
January 8, 2014
Good Checklist. They can also try some of the natural and affordable cleanser recipes which you can search on the internet. Thanks! Mini Clean, http://www.miniclean.com.au
Anonymous
January 8, 2014
Good Checklist. They can also try some of the natural and affordable cleanser recipes which you can search on the internet. Thanks! Mini Clean, http://www.miniclean.com.au/
Anonymous
December 8, 2013
Any high wind storm or Ice storm can drop your trees to the ground, or on top of your house. Do not run out there and start chopping with your chain saw. Trees can jump and twist when being cut. Even limbs are heavier than you think and can crush what is under them. A professional will look and see what stresses the limbs may be under and exactly where to cut them safely. Using a chainsaw on a ladder is a skill and not to be taken lightly. For more information on storm clean up safety see my
Anonymous
May 13, 2013
A working link this time! Conquer Clutter in a Month Infographic by Terrys Fabrics.
Anonymous
May 13, 2013
I stumbled across a helpful infographic on this topic, I think you may find it helpful for spring cleaning! https://www.terrysfabrics.co.uk/infographic/conquer-clutter-in-a-month/
Anonymous
March 27, 2013
Brilliant checklist. I am a hoarder so the first thing I need to do is have a clear out before a clean up. I have two boxes ready. one for charity/sell and one for the dump. I am a lover of shoes, some I haven't even worn. Time to clean up my house and life.
Anonymous
December 13, 2012
I'd love to see Martha's Gardening calendar, check lists and supplies lists as apps. I have a binder full of household cleaning checklists, it would be so handy to be able to keep them all on my phone or tablet. Please consider!
Anonymous
March 26, 2012
The biggest challenge I've found for spring cleaning is to remove the oil stains from my driveway where the cars leak. I tried pressure washing but that only removed some of the oil. My friend recommended a green cleaner called eXIMO. It's a waterless concrete cleaner that worked well for me and I had never heard of it before. Here's the link http://mycaf.com/residential/index.php.
Anonymous
March 2, 2012
I have added cleaning out my bookshelf to the checklist. All the books that I have read or no longer want, I sell them to www.Cash4Books.net. This helps makes space for more and also helps clean my shelves. Great way of recycling too. Someone else will get to enjoy my books.
Anonymous
February 29, 2012
Just wanted to know if it's too early to think about Spring Cleaning?! http://www.insearchofwaterfalls.com/2012/02/spring-cleaning-911.html
Anonymous
March 19, 2011
Great fun article on cleaning out and letting go http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/03/the-princess-of-garbage-day/
Anonymous
February 14, 2011
One of the best sets of cleaning products I have ever used is made by a company called F.A. Seeds' which is based out of Atlanta, Georgia. They make a cleaning set called the Parlor Maid's Helper which is a high quality set of polishes including a wood and silver polish that are the best. Their website is http://www.faseeds.com
Anonymous
April 11, 2010
+For+SugarKitty+try+Dawn+spray+on+cleaner%2C+it+works+great%21%0A%0AMy+biggest+dilemma+is+how+to+clean+wood+blinds+-+I+have+a+lot+of+them%21%0A%0Aps.+You+can+use+Magic+Eraser+on+most+anything+including+your+bathtub.%0A
Anonymous
April 11, 2010
+For+SugarKitty+try+Dawn+spray+on+cleaner%2C+it+works+great%21%0A%0AMy+biggest+dilemma+is+how+to+clean+wood+blinds+-+I+have+a+lot+of+them%21%0A%0Aps.+You+can+use+Magic+Eraser+on+most+anything+including+your+bathtub.%0A
Anonymous
April 9, 2010
Moths are a huge problem in this area. I clean and store woolens in plastic containers, but have moth problems. What really works to prevent moth damage?
Anonymous
April 9, 2010
When doing your spring cleaning also remember your box spring under your mattress. I turn the box spring also and vacuum it completely..you'd be surprised at the amount of dust it collects.
Anonymous
April 9, 2010
@wordsnob: Is Mother's Choice only available at Canadian Costcos? I can't find it on line and I've never seen it in a Costco in the states, but I may have missed it.
Anonymous
March 24, 2009
Hey Jescongo, I sent you the file, hope you get it!!
Anonymous
March 23, 2009
does anyone have a copy of the checklist they can email me, my link isnt working. Jescongo@yahoo.com thanks
Anonymous
March 14, 2009
An easy solution that I use to clean blinds is to put them in the bathtub and spray with SPRAY 9. Wait a few minutes and spray them down and viola all shiny and clean.
Anonymous
March 6, 2009
Yes! I know how to easily clean your vinyl blinds. Put them in the bathtub, or hang them over the shower curtain pole, and spray them with Scrubbing Bubbles foam. Rinse with hot water, and it takes off ALL the dirt, even greasy dirt and marks. Really works amazingly well - also on vinyl lawn furniture in the spring.
Anonymous
March 6, 2009
To Rupee RE: cleaning vinyl vertical blinds My suggestion is to take them down and put them in nice warm-hot water in the bathtub. Then I would use the detergent with a soft scrub brush or very rough cleaning pad (not steel wool) to get the dust off. If there are additional marks, try to Magic Eraser. It works on a variety of trouble spots. Hope this helps!
Anonymous
March 3, 2009
Does anyone have a tip on how to clean vinyl vertical blinds? I know Martha recommended mild detergent and water, but mine are dust laden and it doesn't take all the marks off. thanks!
Anonymous
March 2, 2009
Bar Keepers Friend cleaner and polish is good on porcelain and stainless cookwear. I use it on the inside of my All Clad cookware. It looks like new afterwards. I used it a couple of weeks ago on the sink in the laundry room. It looked really bad. It was dirty and scratched from plastic buckets. Afterward, my maid asked me what I used because she had trouble in the past making it look good. The can says strainless steel, porcelain, fiberglass, glass cooktops, copper, tile, and brass.
Anonymous
March 2, 2009
For TeaSea: At Costco, they sell a product called Mother's Choice. It's a pumice-based "puck" of solid surface cleaner in a 500ml container. It doesn't scratch, yet took out the nastiest tea stains that nothing else, even bleach, could take out of my sink. It is completely safe, even for birdie homes. No chemicals or fumes. You can also buy the kit, which is a large bucket of highly concentrated, buttery stuff that you mix with water for all-purpose cleaning. The solid surface puck is incl.
Anonymous
March 2, 2009
or...hire a maid
Anonymous
March 2, 2009
I have some serious stains in my bathtub and I've tried everything. I believe the tub's material is acrylic. Any suggestions?
Anonymous
March 2, 2009
this is so cool! i've never had all this that applies to me written down! i'll try to get it all done, but i don't think it's gonna happen! :)
Anonymous
March 2, 2009
brilliant! So simple, yet it never crossed my mind to do it that way! Thanks!
Anonymous
March 1, 2009
To wash window screens, I fill a bathtub about 1"-2" with water and a little dish soap, then place the screen in the tub, swish around a bit and wipe with a brush, flip and repeat then remove the screen lean it against a towel on the side of the tub to air dry, wipe access water off and reinstall screen (mine remove very easily). Happy Spring Cleaning!
Anonymous
March 1, 2009
For my stainless steel pans. I use vinegar to clean (soak) the insides. I "wash" the outsides with the same mixture and wipe dry. The "wash" is half and half. I use the same mixture for my sink. Good Luck and Happy Spring.
Anonymous
March 1, 2009
How do you remove permanent marker off of wool?
Anonymous
March 1, 2009
Re: Green remedy for stains on cookware: On that wet pan, sprinkle the salt, but then use the cut side of a lemon for a scrub brush! Works like a charm, expecially on copper.
Anonymous
March 1, 2009
When using commercial oven cleaners, be careful not to inhale the fumes. Unfortunately I did, over 30 years ago, and my respiratory system has been troubling me ever since. I would suggest only using it as a last resort.
Anonymous
March 1, 2009
SUGARKITTY - For a "green" remedy for stains on cookware... on a wet pan, try sprinkling the stain with salt and scrubbing with the scrub side of a scrub sponge. The salt is a mild abrasive that won't scratch and then dissolves, and I find that, with a little elbow grease, it works quite well to remove stubborn stains.
Anonymous
March 1, 2009
My Miele Vac doesn't seem to blow much dust and sure removes a whole lot more than it must be blowing--we aren't trying to create a "clean room" for the manufacture of micro chips, after all. We're going to have to do it again real soon, right? I say vacuum, using any good vacuum, anyway you like, after using a washable, reusable microfiber dustcloth to capture the dust as much as possible.
Anonymous
March 1, 2009
JCsmelodie.....When you vaccum, it causes dust to fly up, thus getting on furniture. So vaccum first, then dust !
Anonymous
March 1, 2009
I'll be right back, I have to go buy a corn broom to get those pesky basement cobwebs. Oh wait... maybe the vacuum with the extension wand will work...
Anonymous
March 1, 2009
Regaring the "dusting down" theory, think of it this way. If you start at the top (ceiling, then walls) the dust that flies falls to the floor.Then you only have to dust the floor (or vacuum) once. Saves steps.
Anonymous
March 1, 2009
I agree with my fellow "Stewart " followers here. The checklist is great, but when dusting, one doesn't need to SPREAD the dust and allergens. INSTEAD of a feather duster, use one of the dust catching products - you know the brands I mean. And there are so many GREEN products out there to clean with - we all need to pitch in the wellness of our homes and planet. I believe it's time for the list to be updated.
Anonymous
March 1, 2009
I have discovered that Ceramabrite cleans stains off my stainless cookware. It is typically used for ceramic cook tops to clean and protect the surface.
Anonymous
March 1, 2009
BTW:why 's it when I dust down
Anonymous
March 1, 2009
A list of green cleaning products made from inexpensive ingredients such as vinegar, etc would be great to have linked to this list; in addition to contributors' approved products. Haven't tried the bubbles, always use that pine smelling stuff. Cleaning overall is bad haiku for me. :-)
Anonymous
March 1, 2009
I am a BIG fan of scrubbing bubbles. It works extremely well on laminate kitchen cabinets. Mine are white and really show the dirt and grease build up from cooking. A light spray and 10 minutes later I rinse with clear water and have bright clean cabinets. I also use it on baseboards and window sills.
Anonymous
April 16, 2008
OK, I MUST propound this newly acquired wisdom, and I do it simply, as a haiku: Ah, Scrubbing Bubbles! You get the funk off my stuff Everthing so clean Yes, foaming bathroom cleaner is good for a multitude of cleanings, like my kitchen cabinets (and walls), just test in an inconspicuous area so you don't remove paint from something. . .like I did, but with oven cleaner, which has more limited uses. I feel another haiku coming on: Easy-Off Cleaner Cleans the gunk from my oven But burns my skin off Time to get back to work,eh?
Anonymous
April 5, 2008
Thanks , sometiimes I do not know where to start . This gives me guidance Thanks again. I love this web site. I'm new to this site.
Anonymous
April 1, 2008
Spray oven cleaner can be used on stainless, glass, and baked enamel pans to make them spotless. I spray then leave mine overnight. Do not use on aluminum. It will ruin the finish.
Anonymous
March 31, 2008
cont'd:
Anonymous
March 31, 2008
SugarKitty: Steel wool leaves microscopic ridges behind that are places for bacteria to live, so they're a bad idea. Bon Ami is commonly used by serious dishwashers, since it's very fine and makes things look like new without scouring. Also, I've used brass
Anonymous
March 30, 2008
I have beautiful stainless steel cooking pans. They have cooked on stains on the bottom from something cooking over. But I cannot find any sure way to get and keep them shiny. Some of the scouring pads scratch the finnish. What would you recommend. Please send along of name brands that you recommend, because this is driving me crazy.
Anonymous
March 27, 2008
Is there a homekeeping handbook in Spanish?
Anonymous
March 7, 2008
For my bridal shower, my mother gave me the Homekeeping Handbook and I have used it everyday to figure out everything from buying our mattress and setting up our home to cleaning every inch of our house. I have never felt so domestic and satisfied with cleaning.
Anonymous
March 3, 2008
I highly recommend this book, "Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook" for lots of organized charts for cleaning every room.