How to Spring Clean and Reduce Waste

29th February 2024

By Graham Matthews

As the days start to get slightly longer and a little warmer, many of us emerge from winter hibernation reinvigorated. About now you might look around your home and think about sprucing it up as the dark days won’t hide the dust that’s built up over the past few months. It’s time for some spring cleaning.

An effective spring cleaning session can create bags and boxes of waste – from old clothes, to broken electricals and general junk you’ve been meaning to throw away for ages. Some of this is unavoidable but there are ways to reduce it and what you do with any rubbish your spring clean creates is important.

Use these spring cleaning tips to refresh your home and minimise the amount of waste you create – or at least divert it away from landfill – in the process.

woman wafting sheet in spring clean.

What is a spring clean?

A spring clean is a thorough clear up and cleanse of a house usually at the start of springtime. These often happen in households in locations that experience cold winters (like the UK). One reason for this is that as warmer weather arrives it’s good for opening doors and windows when cleaning.

There are various theories behind why spring cleaning exists, but it’s generally a good time for dusting as high winds can carry dust out of the house. Plus, it’s not yet warm enough for insects entering homes to be an issue. Sometimes a spring clean is simply used to refer to a deep or thorough clean even if it’s not in springtime.

Spring cleaning can apply to the entire home or just one or two rooms. And it’s not just houses – you can spring clean a bungalow, flat, or even the garden shed.

When is spring cleaning?

There’s no official period for spring cleaning. Most people generally start having a spring clean any time from 1st March until the end of April. The official first day of spring is March 20th, while the last Sunday in March when the clocks go forward is also a popular tie to plan a spring clean.

carpet with vacuum cleaner and trainers on top.

How to spring clean your house

Spring cleaning your house can involve simply vacuuming and dusting every room or sorting through every cupboard, wardrobe, and chest of drawers for a complete clear-out. It may take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days, depending on the size of your home and how thorough a job you plan.

An effective and efficient spring clean is preferable whatever size the task at hand. Use these spring cleaning tips to refresh your home, and reduce and manage waste responsibly.

Make a spring cleaning checklist

Writing a spring cleaning checklist is the easiest way to ensure every inch of your home is scrubbed and sparkling. Covering the jobs to do in each room should mean nothing is missed. If you don’t plan on a thorough cleanse you could create a list of general jobs and apply it to every room.

These are some common tasks to add to your spring cleaning checklist for the main rooms in your home:

  • Kitchen – defrost the freezer, clean the fridge, oven, microwave, and dishwasher, mop the floor, dust high surfaces (top of the fridge), clear countertops, degrease drains, clean windows, and wipe the walls.
  • Living room – dust and polish tables and furniture, wash cushion cases and curtains, clean windows and windowsills, wipe down ceiling fans, vacuum sofas and chairs, vacuum/mop the floor, and shampoo any rugs or carpets.
  • Dining room – dust and polish furniture, mop/vacuum the floor, wash table cloths and curtains, dust blinds and curtain rods, clean windows and windowsills.
  • Hallways – clean the doormat, sweep and mop floors, wipe walls and doors, and organise any shoe or coat racks.
  • Bathroom – remove any unused or expired personal care items, clean mirrors, windows, bathtub, shower, and toilet, scrub tile grout, wash or replace shower curtain, mop the floor, and wipe down the walls.
  • Bedrooms – wash bedding, vacuum carpets and rugs, dust blinds and curtain rods, clean the windows, dust and polish furniture, flip your mattress, and remove any unwanted clothing and other items.

Create your own cleaning products

A great way to reduce waste when spring cleaning is with some homemade cleaning products. These are natural alternatives that help reduce any chemical and hazardous waste you’d otherwise produce. Here are some effective and almost effortless ideas to create cleaning products at home:

  • Repurpose old clothes as cloths for dusting, wiping, and even mopping down surfaces. You can always wash them out and reuse too.
  • Use lemon halves to naturally deodorise and clean microwave interiors, leaving behind a citrus aroma.
  • Clean glass surfaces with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar for a streak-free shine. Pour it into an empty spray bottle for that professional feel.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on carpets before vacuuming to remove odours.
  • Save an old toothbrush and scrub with it to clean hard-to-reach areas like tile grout and around faucets.
lemons next to cleaning spray bottle.

Deep clean carpets and rugs

Hopefully, you’ll vacuum carpets and rugs throughout the year to keep your home fresh. For a big spring clean you may want to go that bit further with a deep clean of any carpets and rugs. This helps get rid of the dirt and bacteria beyond the surface and any serious stains.

Start by clearing the room and vacuuming the carpet. Mix 1/4 cup of salt, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 1⁄4 cup of vinegar in a bowl or jug for a DIY carpet stain remover and apply to any stains. Then fill an empty spray bottle with water and a little bit of soap.

Sprinkle baking soda and table salt over the carpet areas for the deep clean then spray with your DIY cleaning solution and leave to soak for a few minutes. Scrub with a stiff-bristled brush in one direction to loosen dirt, then go over in other directions. Press a towel in to soak up any water and then spray with clean water and dry with a towel again.

This method avoids creating any chemical waste. You can do the same on any rug in your home. If you find they’re dirtier than expected or plan on replacing them, arrange carpet and rug removal and disposal. This diverts them away from landfill and ensures they’re reused, recycled, or recovered.

Dust, wipe, and mop surfaces

Dusting is a big part of any spring cleaning. You’ll likely go over worktops and tables regularly but it’s those hard-to-reach areas and places you don’t normally look at that need dusting off and wiping down. It’s the perfect time as you can open your windows now it’s warm enough to encourage the dust out of your house.

Reduce waste by using an old t-shirt as a duster. Turn it inside out and dust away or tie it into a knot for a sturdier grip. You can also use old clothes, towels, and flannels for wiping down surfaces and mopping floors. These textiles should absorb any cleaning liquid or just water to easily wash any surface. Wash and dry them out to reuse as dusters or cloths for future cleaning.

Remember outdoor spring cleaning

It’s not just inside your home that needs refreshing, outdoor spring cleaning is important too. Now is the perfect time to tidy up your garden and spring clean your garage and shed. Treat your garage and shed like the rooms in your home by making a checklist of tasks.

Remove any unwanted items, sweep and vacuum the floor, wash the windows, wipe the walls, dust and clean any surfaces. Taking out stuff from your shed or garage creates a good opportunity to improve its organisation so things are easier to access. Re-organise your system for easier cleaning next year.

Spring cleaning your garden will depend on its size and the plants in it. Mowing the lawn, cutting hedges, trimming branches, pruning perennials, raking leaves, and wiping down garden furniture are common jobs. Add any green waste this creates to your compost pile – if you don’t have one book garden waste removal.

lawn mower cutting grass.

Donate unwanted items

A thorough spring clean will likely unearth various things you no longer need or want in your home. Reduce waste by donating items where possible. Some ideas of what and where to donate items during a spring clean include:

  • Give food from your cupboards to a local food bank
  • Drop off unwanted clothes and shoes at any nearby clothing banks
  • Donate furniture and appliances to charity shops

Not everything will be in a decent condition for donating. Use a man and van removal service to get rid of bulky items or bags of junk and divert them away from landfill.

Add some fun

Let’s face it – spring cleaning isn’t the most enjoyable activity. It can take hours and even days if you live in a big or messy home. The best way to make the time fly is to all pitch in and tackle the jobs together. It can be a fun family bonding activity.

Make a playlist so you can sing and dance along while you work. Turn cleaning into a friendly competition between kids but focus on cleanliness rather than speed to ensure the job still gets done well – such as who can make the best mop out of old clothes.

vacuuming confetti from a carpet.

Get help with your house clearance

Spring cleaning your home may throw up more things you want to get rid of than your first thought. If you’ve got many bags of junk or some big and bulky items of furniture, appliances, or other equipment, then it might be more efficient to use house clearance services.

At Divert our man and van services can remove all sorts of rubbish from your home. They’ll come out to your property, lift and load everything into the van (saving you the effort of a trip to the tip), and take it to a facility away from landfill. Get a free quote today – call 0333 444 0118 or contact us online.

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