Spring is almost here, which means it's officially time to cleanse your home of all traces of winter (those Christmas lights definitely need to come down, then).
As the days gradually become longer, lighter and (hopefully) sunnier, set a few hours aside to throw open your windows, don the rubber gloves and get to work on a little home TLC.
From dusty curtains and rugs to stained worktops and even grimy makeup bags, here's how to tackle the grot whether you have mere minutes, hours or whole days at your disposal...
Make your bathroom smell fresh
This one is as simple as adding a few drops of essential oil to the inside of your loo roll. This will keep your bathroom smelling lovely.
Get rid of mould on tiles
Baking soda, distilled white vinegar, salt and essential oils are all you need. Mix them up, spritz on to your tiles, wait 10 minutes and wipe off.
Clean your toilet
If you'd rather not use toilet bleach, you can clean the loo using that trusty combination of baking soda and vinegar (together they're effective at removing hard-water marks, and rust stains). Another weird trick? You can pour Coca Cola down the toilet – it's believed to work well at removing rust rings.
Deep clean the shower head
Often neglected, the shower head should be a priority if you want a luxurious shower experience. Simply fill a sandwich bag with baking soda and vinegar and tie it around the showerhead using an elastic band, leaving overnight to soak. In the morning, gently scrub with an old toothbrush to remove scale and debris.
Clear out your medicine cupboard
Although it's possible to catch a cold at any time of the year, spring is still a good time to reassess that medicine cabinet. Chuck away mostly-empty packaging to make room for your new batch of medication (hayfever and allergy relief tablets, anyone?). Obviously, get rid of anything that's expired.
Wash your shower curtains and bathroom mats
Shower curtains can get pretty grotty, and are susceptible to mould. Just chuck your shower curtain in the washing machine (along with the bath mat), then hang it back in the shower to dry. Minimal effort, maximum benefit.
Clean out your makeup bag
Now is the perfect time to throw out anything in your makeup bag that’s expired, like that dried up mascara. You can find out what will carry you through the next season and what deserves the chop with our guide to the shelf life of your beauty products.
Wash and whiten your pillows and duvet in the washing machine, and air out your mattress
They’re probably crying out for it by now and think of how much better you'll sleep when you're sinking into a truly clean bed.
Use the hanger trick in your wardrobe
Terrible at hoarding all your old clothes, even though you haven't worn them for years? The hanger trick was made for you. Hang all your clothes so that the hangers are backwards in the wardrobe, then, when you use them, put the hangers on the rack the right way. Do this for about a month and pledge to get rid of those you don't wear. If you love it and don't want to lose it - wear it! Simple as.
Fold and stack clothes vertically in drawers
Organise your clothes drawers by folding and stacking clothes vertically and not horizontally. This makes it really easy to see all your t-shirts in one go and will even minimise creasing.
Vacuum seal your non-seasonal clothes
There's no point in cramming your heavy coats into the wardrobe during the middle of summer, nor having to dig through flimsy dresses in January.
Store sheet sets in pillowcases
Finding matching bed sets can be annoying when you are missing one pillow cover. Stop this from happening by keeping your matching set folded inside a single pillowcase.
Make your bin smell good as new
There are many ways to clean your bin. Hosing the inside and wiping it down with an anti-bacterial spray or wipe is a good start – and a sprinkling of baking soda will help absorb any moisture. Lining the base with newspaper before fitting your bin liner is a good idea, too, and a few drops of tea tree oil will add a pleasantly clean fragrance.
Clean your oven
This one's an overnight job. Sprinkle baking soda over the bottom of the oven, then spray or pour vinegar over it. Simply wipe clean in the morning and ta da – a beautiful clean oven ready to use.
Sanitize your sponges
Whether it's laziness or habit, we often use one sponge for almost anything – which can be a disaster when it comes to hygiene. There is, however, a very easy way to remedy this. Microwave a wet sponge on a high setting for a minute or two and this will kill most of the bacteria lying latent in the sponge. Just remember not to keep your sponges for too long – you should be buying a new one every month or so.
Steam clean the microwave
Microwaves naturally attract dirt from surprise explosions or spillages and it can be difficult to get the kids to remember to wipe down the surface every time. But don't worry: you can clean your microwave the easy way by adding lemon juice or white vinegar to a bowl of water and heating it on full power for about five minutes. Then just wipe down and voilà! You’ll be left with a shiny clean microwave, no scrubbing required.
Get rid of watermarks from stainless steel
Annoying water stains on your tap and sink? Halve a lemon and use it to scrub the steel. Bonus: it will also make your kitchen smell lovely.
around the house
Remove carpet stains with an iron
Completely remove stubbon stains within half an hour with this handy hack: After vacuuming the area, first dampen any spots or stains with a towel soaked in a solution made of one part vinegar and three parts water. Next place the moist towel over the stain and use the iron to heat the towel, lifting the stain into the towel. Magic.
Make your home smell amazing
Struggling with bad smells? Start by opening all your windows to let in some fresh air. Check your fruit bowl for worst-for-wear fruit and take the bin out. Finally, take a leaf out of estate agents books and put a cup of vanilla extract in the oven and heat for an hour, to make your home smell like a bakery. Fresh potted herbs in the kitchen (mint, rosemary and basil) are also a great option.
Rearrange your furniture
Sick of cleaning? Rearrange your furniture. Not only will it feel like you've just moved, it'll also help you clear away clutter and dirt as part of the process. Win win.
Wash Your Windows
The trick to washing windows is to in fact do it on a cloudy day as sun dries them out too quickly, causing streaks. For a quick made-at-home window-washing solution, mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water and spritz away, making sure to rub it in quickly and fluidly.
Create a donations box
By placing a box, bag or bin somewhere handy for unwanted items, you can easily drop in one thing per day that you don't wear or use anymore. You'll be surprised by how quick it will fill up over a couple of weeks and you can donate or sell the collection when the box is full.
Digital clear out
Clean up your desktop
It's not just physical space that needs a bit of a spring clean. Move out of control files on your desktop into their own folder to instantly clear-up the screen. Although this is just a temporary fix, it'll allow you plenty of time to sort through everything in an orderly way, little by little.
Clean your keyboards
Keyboards are often neglected and one of the worst harbourers of germs. The easiest way to deep clean yours is with soap, water and a cotton bud, which will get in between keys without a problem.
Unsubscribe from and delete unwanted emails
Spring clean your digital footprint. We often let emails accumulate in our inbox without even opening them. Thankfully there are a couple of easy ways to tackle this. You can either search 'unsubscribe' in your emails and instantly gain access to the majority of the marketing mails you don't want or, if you are looking to complete the job, sort your inbox by “from” and simply select the sender you don't want to hear from anymore.
Clean your makeup brushes
You'll need to do this when you won't be using your make up brushes so that they have about 24 hours to dry completely. Simply use a brush cleanser or a lightweight, scent-free shampoo.
If you are going to do one thing, make it this. Rather than just clearing surfaces and straightening up ornaments, take the time to dust everywhere. Chances are, if you don’t frequently dust off your bedside table or shelves, your whole house will look better one it's received a bit of TLC. Done and dusted, so to speak.
Clean toys in dishwasher and washing machine
Give your child's favourite playthings a new lease of life by putting plastic in the dishwasher and fabric in the washing machine. Remember to check what the item is made of first, though – you don't want goggly eyes falling off mid-cycle!
Create a space for clutter
After sorting through your clutter, create a dedicated space to store newly acquired bits and bobs to ensure that your spring clean isn't spoiled by new clutter.