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“Spring-Clean” is a Verb

Until today, I didn’t know “spring-clean” is a verb. So the ladies in our featured image may not be sweeping the floor. They could be spring-cleaning it. If so, I’m sure they’ll remember to clean their brooms afterwards.

When used as a noun, a spring clean is a thorough cleaning of a house, often undertaken in the spring. I always thought the term referred to colder climates where people couldn’t hang out their washing or open the windows to get the cooking smell out of the house. Now we tend to use the term any time we want to thoroughly clean, deep clean, or otherwise move the furniture to play with the dust bunnies underneath.

I bet next to “de-cluttering,”

spring cleaning is the most common home improvement

we talk about doing someday.

Or not.

House_Cleaning_DaySo let’s suppose that against your better judgement, you decide this will be the year. Plenty of trusted sources will break the task down for you. One truthful resource suggested you schedule an entire month of spring cleaning, and after you look through the list, you might agree with me that a month isn’t long enough.

An obvious place to start would be the kitchen and bathroom. Scrub down those cabinets. Clean out the refrigerator. If you don’t recognize an item, don’t add it to the soup. The pot might overflow.


Polish up the stainless steel appliances — you can use a toothbrush to remove the food stains from stove burners. If it’s too thick, you might try a chisel, though this will no doubt ruin the stainless steel finish.

Moving on, you’ll want to wash the tiled surfaces in the bathroom. One source suggests you make a mixture with a half cup of baking soda and 2 gallons of water, apply it to the tile wall with a mop, and let it sit while you do something else. Hmmm. Would this be a good time to shampoo the carpets? After you rinse off your tiles, let them dry. Then you can reseal the grout lines.


Once these rooms are done, the rest of the house awaits. The windows probably need a week to be at their sparkling best. Wash the glass inside and out on a cloudy day. If you wash while the sun’s out, your cleaner will dry too quickly and uh-oh, you’ll have streaks. Use a toothbrush to loosen dirt on the window tracks and a vacuum cleaner crevice tool to remove it. Polish any metal window hardware.

Next, clean the window coverings. If you have curtains, you can take them down, remove any metal fastenings, put them in the air fluff cycle in the dryer. Take them out and hang immediately or the cleaning pixies will punish you. Or you can use the broom method shown above.

Dust everything that doesn’t move, including the light bulbs.

There’s more, including power washing the house. But I’m exhausted. Perhaps I’ll develop a dust allergy. No. Then I’d just have to wear a dust mask and carry on.

The good news is that Thursday, April 7th, is No Housework Day. Go ahead, get a manicure for your chipped nails and work worn hands. For 24 hours you’ll be off the hook.


Featured Image: Woman and Girl Sweeping. 1860 from Der Kleiner Kinderfreund. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.


House Cleaning Day. 1915 from Judge Magazine. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Soup Pot taken from The Ideal Cook Book, 1902. No known copyright. Wikimedia Commons.

Woman Cleaning Curtains. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.

“20 things You Should Deep Clean this Spring.” House Beautiful. Mar 23, 2016.

“Spring Cleaning Checklist. Martha Stewart Living. April 2007.

“Spring Cleaning Made Easy.” HGTV.

“Spring Cleaning: The Ultimate Guide.” Better Homes and Gardens. 

Author Sandra Wagner Wright

Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.

 Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.


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