Your 5-Day Spring Cleaning Plan, According to a Microbiologist
This deep-cleaning routine combats dust and indoor allergens.
In the time of COVID-19, spring cleaning has taken on a new meaning. Even those of us who formerly never cared about cleaning are likely spending a little more time disinfecting at least the high-touch surfaces in our homes. Plus, as we spend more time indoors, we're increasing our exposure to household dust mites and indoor allergens. So, how do we deal with all the dust mites and germs, without spending all of our time inside cleaning? The microbiologists at Dyson have shared their one-week spring cleaning plan with us, which breaks down a deep-cleaning routine into chunks of time. When combined with daily disinfecting of high-touch surfaces, this deep-cleaning plan will help reduce indoor allergens. One day you'll tackle your bedding and mattress, the next, the kitchen cabinets and counters. Your entire home will be less dusty and germy, just in time for the weekend.
Step 1: Choose the Right Tools
According to the experts, how you clean is just as important as what you clean. "All of our research has shown that the best way to deal with bacteria, pollen, and dust mite allergens is to remove them from your home completely," says Gem McLuckie, an advanced research scientist in microbiology at Dyson. That means, instead of just wafting dust around your home, you'll want to use powerful vacuums with advanced filtration systems that actually seal in dust, or microfiber mops or damp cloths that trap dust. Sorry, that old-school feather duster just isn't cutting it anymore.
Step 2: Clean in the Right Order
It's one of our editors' favorite cleaning tips, and the pros at Dyson agree: clean from the top of the room down. Dust upper shelves and surfaces first, then vacuum and clean the floor. This way, the dust (and icky dust mites) is actually captured and removed from your house entirely.
Step 3: Set Your Plan
Using the guide below, create a spring cleaning plan that you can accomplish in one week. Determine how much time you have to devote each day and what time of day works best, then let your family or household in on the plan and recruit help as needed.
Monday: Bedding Deep-Clean
- Wash bedding on a hot water setting (between 140°F and 195°F) to help break down and reduce allergens.
- Wash or replace duvets and pillows to reduce the amount of dust mites and skin flakes present in your bed. Follow these steps to machine-wash your pillows.
- Vacuum both sides of your mattress to remove dust mites and skin flakes.
Tuesday: Clean the Kitchen
- Remove dust from kitchen cupboard tops, using either a vacuum with an advanced filtration system or by dusting with a clean damp cloth or cleaning wipes.
- Clear kitchen counters and cupboards to deep clean. Vacuum to remove dust and debris, then wash with warm water and detergent. Follow up by drying all surfaces.
- Empty the fridge and freezer, and clean all surfaces with warm water and detergent or cleaning product. Vacuum the back and underneath the appliance—and don't forget to vacuum the coils on the back of the fridge, which will improve performance.
Wednesday: Focus on Easy-to-Forget Spots
- Vacuum the places not regularly vacuumed, such as under furniture.
- Vacuum your sofa and armchairs, which can hold large debris along with dust mites, skin flakes, and other allergens, such as pollen.
- Clean any machine-washable fabric coverings and cushions to reduce the level of dust caught within them.
Thursday: Windows & Walls
- A lot of dust can gather in curtains and blinds. Make sure you vacuum them with a soft brush tool or launder them on the hot water setting if possible.
- Dust walls with a damp cloth, cleaning wipes (test a small area first to make sure it won't affect paint), or using a vacuum with advanced filtration. Dust on certain wall types can contribute to the growth of mold.
Friday: Light Fixtures & Vents
- Dust lightbulbs and light fixtures. Dust can gather in lampshades and light fittings, which can burn on hot bulbs, producing VOCs and odor, or the warm air around the bulbs may waft dust around the room. Bonus: if your lightbulbs are super dusty to start, cleaning them may make the whole room look brighter.
- Dust behind radiators—a hidden place often missed during normal cleaning. If your home has central air, clean all of the vents using a vacuum or damp cloth to trap the dust.