With barely a month in between Christmas and the Lunar New Year (gasp), there’s tons to do post-holiday season. Here’s your checklist of spring cleaning must-do's to get your home ready for the Year of the Rat!
Give your floor a good scrubdown
Not literally, of course — but a thorough, gentle cleaning won’t hurt. Start off with sweeping or vacuuming the entire place, then mop the floor with a mixture of warm water, a gentle cleaning solution, and a splash of vinegar. During the mopping process, avoid getting the floor too wet as water can warp your laminate tiles or hardwood — make sure you wring the mop as much as possible in between. Use this opportunity to wipe down the skirting as well.
Make those mirrors and windows shine
Using just water alone to clean glass may result in streaks. Instead, make your own inexpensive cleaning solution by mixing equal parts vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle, then giving it a good shake. Spray this solution onto glass and wipe with a cloth — be careful not to let it drip onto the frames as the vinegar may discolour wood and iron.
Get rid of any potential pest-breeding grounds
Nobody likes cockroaches and lizards! Avoid being an unwitting host for these unwelcome visitors by clearing out any potential breeding grounds — this includes piles of old newspapers and cardboard, and any untouched containers in the store room. If you spot any cracks where pests might get in, seal them up with caulk or sealants (available at all hardware stores). Spritz corners with a mixture of water and tea tree oil, as the scent deters pests.
Clean your sofa and cushions
It’s best to hire a professional to steam your sofa once in a while, especially if it’s a fabric one, but a good vacuuming session can also remove dirt and dust effectively. Don’t forget to remove the covers for washing if you can! If you have a leather sofa, you can gently wipe it with a damp cloth and clean it with leather conditioner or saddle soap.
Clean the gas stove
A greasy stovetop doesn't just look unappealing, it’s also a fire hazard. To clean your stove, make sure you switch off the gas valve and all burners first. Disassemble the removable parts, including the grate, cap, burner, and drip. Scrub each one in hot soapy water, then rinse thoroughly and towel dry.
Scrub the grouting
Give your grouting a good scrub to avoid any unsightly brown spots. You can create a paste using a mixture of water and oxygenated bleach powder, such as Kao Bleach Colour powder. Leave this paste on stubborn stains on grout for a minute, then scrub with a toothbrush. For tougher stains, add lemon juice to the mixture. After the grout is clean, keep it that way with some grout sealer, available at all hardware stores.
Polish all wood surfaces
Wood needs to be polished every now and then to maintain its lustre. Clear everything off the table, then wipe down your wooden table with a damp cloth and gentle cleaning solution (make sure to check beforehand that it’s okay for wood). Afterwards, polish using a microfibre cloth and wood polish — we love Howard Feed-n-Wax for this. Let it sit overnight, then buff again with a dry cloth in the morning to remove any excess polish.
Declutter your wardrobe and shoe cabinet
This is an excellent time to downsize your wardrobe and shoe cabinet! Toss or donate the items you no longer wear often, and invest in some wardrobe organisers to sort the rest. You may also want to put in a small desiccant dehumidifier to keep the place dry and mold-free. As a final touch, toss in a scented wardrobe sachet for a fresh smell every time you open the door.
Clean ceiling fans and hard-to-reach places
Use this opportunity to bring out the ladder and clean those out-of-reach places! If you’re worried about dust falling from the ceiling fan, use an old pillowcase. Take the pillowcase and wrap it around the fan blade, just as you would a pillow. Pull off the pillowcase, wiping the blade as you go, so that the dust falls into the pillowcase instead of onto the floor. You can try this trick with larger pieces of cloth folded in half as well.
Bring in the good energy
After getting rid of all that dirt, it’s time to fill the house with new energy. Bring in some new plants (you can find some easy-to-maintain ones here), or add a splash of colour in the form of new cushion covers, floor mats, or other home accessories. You’re all ready to welcome in the New Year!