Got 10 Minutes? Spring Cleaning Tips By The Clock

It makes me quite sad to say that I think magazines might be a dying art. I can remember scrounging all my money together to purchase new magazines from my very first job in high school. Back then it was glossy fashion magazines like Vogue and Elle, whereas now I have switched from high fashion to cooking, parenting and home magazines.

Recently I was offered a subscription to Real Simple magazine for about a 50 cents per magazine. I said, “Sure! Why not?!” and am actually pleasantly happy with my decision. They have a ton of fresh new ideas and recipes for me to explore.

This month they gave wonderful ideas for one of the most dreaded activities of the upcoming warm months: spring cleaning. It sure seems daunting when you think of cleaning your house top to bottom all within a few days. At least it does to me. I sure love springtime and I would much rather go outside and find real bunnies than be stuck inside be-ridding my home of dust bunnies.

However, as I read their tips it made the task seem much more manageable. Almost exciting. Almost. :)

You see, they broke it up into little segments according to how much time each task takes to complete. So whether you’ve got 10 minutes or a two hour block, you’ll have your house spick and span in no time!


  • DUST: Use a dusting wand on all surfaces. If you have a few minutes to spare, break out the furniture polish for extra shine.

  • DOOR AND SWITCH PLATES: They’re normally overlooked, but fingerprints and smudges on doors and light switches are downright maddening once you notice them. The good news is they’re quickly removed with a damp microfiber cloth.

  • CEILING FANS: Place a pillowcase over a fan blade and pull it towards youto collect dust. The debris will stay contained inside the pillowcase rather than drifting onto the floor. Then wipe the blades with a microfiber cloth dipped in warm, soapy water. (If you try washing the blades before dusting, the surface will become muddy and harder to clean.)

  • BASEBOARDS: Wipe with a microfiber cloth dampened with a solution of a few drops of dishwashing liquid and warm water.



  • 1. Degrease the backsplash, cabinet fronts and handles, and anywhere else suffering from greasy buildup with olive oil or bath oil. (Paradoxically, oil is one of the best oil removers.) Apply it to a microfiber cloth and buff until clean.

  • 2. Clear off counters. Remove small appliances like toasters, shake out crumbs, and wipe down knobs and handles. If you have granite or marble countertops, try this all-natural cleaner: Combine 3 tablespoons rubbing alcohol, 1 ½ cups water, and 1 teaspoon Castile or dish soap. (Avoid vinegar, which could etch the surface.) Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and wipe with a microfiber cloth to make your countertops sparkle.

  • VENTS: It can actually be faster to wash vent covers than to vacuum them. Remove the covers and scrub them with soap and warm water in a utility sink or a bathtub. Let them dry before putting them back. Got a few more minutes? While the covers are off, use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to remove dust bunnies from inside the vent. If you don’t, that dust will continue to be blown out into the room.

  • DECK: A hose with a spray nozzle attachment will help remove the top layer of debris from patios, decks, and furniture that was left outside over the winter.

  • MATTRESSES: Rather than doing one bed at a time, it’s more efficient to clean all your mattresses at once. First, remove the bedding and sprinkle baking soda across the surface of the mattress. It should sit for 15 minutes, which gives you the perfect opportunity to sprinkle the other beds while you wait. After each mattress has been treated, return to the first bedroom and vacuum up the baking soda. Move to each subsequent room and do the same. Now visit each room (in the same order) to rotate the mattress 180 degrees.

  • BATHROOMS: In half an hour, you have enough time to deep-clean 3 bathrooms. Complete each step in each bathroom before moving on to the next step.

  • 1. Drop three denture tablets into the toilet bowl. Let them sit for about 30 minutes. The nonabrasive chemicals lift away stains and kill bacteria without damaging the porcelain.

  • 2. While you wait, collect bath mats and fabric shower curtains and pop them into the washing machine.

  • 3. Dust vents and surfaces. Start at the ceiling and work your way down.

  • 4. Spray cleaner on all hard surfaces: counter, sink toilet, shower bathtub. Letting the cleaner sit while you spray the other bathrooms gives it time to disinfect the surfaces.

  • 5. Go back to the first bathroom and wipe everything down with a microfiber cloth (toilets can be wiped with paper towels or a cloth that goes straight into the wash). Scrub toilet bowls.

  • 6. Wash floors. Start at the back of the room and work your way toward the door. Use your favorite spray cleaner and damp microfiber cloth, or opt for a steam cleaner for a chemical-free shine.


  • WINDOWS: In an hour you’ll likely have enough time to clean the windows on only one floor. If you’re really pressed for time, clean just the outside, where most of the dirt is.

  • 1. Make your own cleaning solution for the interior. Vinegar packs cleaning power, and rubbing alcohol causes the solution to dry quickly and streak-free: Mix together 1 ½ cups water, 1 ½ tbsp. white vinegar, 1 ½ tbsp. rubbing alcohol, and 3 drops of your favorite essential oil. Using a funnel, pour into a spray bottle.

  • 2. People tend to oversaturate a surface with cleaning solution. When you spray too much, you spend more time wiping off excess than actually cleaning. Instead, simply mist the windows, then wipe with a squeegee or a microfiber cloth folded into quarters. Quarter folding maximizes the surface are, so when one side of the cloth is dirty and wet, you can flip it over to use the reverse side, then unfold and fold to use the other sides.

  • 3. You need a stronger cleaning solution for the exterior. Mix together 4 tbsp. Castile soap, 4 tbsp. rubbing alcohol, and ½ gallon warm water. Using the sponge side of a double-sided squeegee, apply the solution (again, do not oversaturate). Roll up a towel and place it at the base of the window to catch excess drips as you wipe the window with the squeegee’s rubber edge. Work from left to right, top to bottom.

  • KITCHEN: In addition to degreasing surfaces and clearing off the counters, tackle the inside of the fridge and freezer, the sink, and the countertop. Using a microfiber cloth moistened with hot water and a few drops of dish soap, wipe down refrigerator and freezer shelves and crisper drawers. Deep clean the sink using a cleanser like Bar Keepers Friend and a wet scrub brush. If your counter needs to be resealed annually, now is a good time.

  • BLINDS AND CURTAINS: Going room to room, swipe blinds with a dusting wand and vacuum drapes using the upholstery attachment.


  • BEHIND THE FURNITURE: In two hours, you can knock out many of the tasks already listed, plus deep-clean behind furniture. Move everything out of its usual spot and suck up hidden dust bunnies with your vacuum. If there’s tile or wood beneath the piece, swipe away with a microfiber mop. Don’t forget to wipe down the baseboards back there too.

  • WALLS: Most people consider dusting the surfaces of furniture but rarely the walls. To clean, run the dry head of a microfiber mop along the wall, starting at the ceiling and working your way down. You will be shocked at the amount of dust, fuzz, and pet hair you pull off. Much of the debris will fall to the floor, so do it before cleaning anything on a lower level.

  • CARPETS: After vacuuming, shampoo the carpets for a deep-down clean. You can hire out the job (the ultimate time-saver) or use a carpet-cleaning machine, which can be rented at a big-box store for about $30.

Well, I hope you found these spring cleaning tips as helpful as I did! These tips are from all the queen bloggers and authors of keeping a clean house (,, and Clean My Space book). Now let’s get out there and clean our homes! There’s no rush to do all these items in a day, but once they’re all done, we’ll be so glad we did!

  •   Real Simple magazine, April 2018

    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
    Email the author!

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