After the holiday parties are over and the decorations are put away, a deep cleaning is just what your home needs.
And since you’re stuck inside anyway, there’s no better time to take on the overlooked areas of your home (like the grout in your shower!).
We’re here to help you start the new year off right with a clean home, so we’ve put together this list of 10 things you should deep clean this month. Tackle them all this weekend if you’re feeling ambitious, or bookmark this list and check them off one at a time.
- Fridge: You probably avoid using harsh cleaners on food prep surfaces, but it’s just as important to reach for these types of cleaners when wiping out your fridge, since shelves and drawers often come into contact with your family’s food. After tossing old holiday leftovers, wipe the shelves and door with a microfiber and an all-purpose cleaner made with plant-based ingredients. Pull your fridge out from the wall and unplug it. Then use your vacuum’s brush tool to gently clean the coils. (If your fridge has a removeable grille in the front, unsnap or unscrew it to get to the coils from the front of the fridge.)
- Oven: Corrosive chemicals in oven cleaners may cause breathing difficulty or skin irritation. Fortunately, you can make a surprisingly effective oven cleaner with a paste of ½ cup of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of dish soap, and water (about the consistency of toothpaste). Rub the paste into the turkey drippings and other grime on the walls and bottom of your oven. Leave it for 5 minutes, then wipe clean with a wet rag or microfiber. To reach the back of the oven, wrap the microfiber around a spatula or long-handled spoon.
- Cabinets: Dish soap isn’t just for pots and pans — it’s also an efficient (and inexpensive) degreaser for the rest of your kitchen. Clean spattered oil and gummy fingerprints on cabinets with soapy water and a microfiber cloth. Don’t forget to wipe the hardware, corners, and inside edges of the doors.
- Bathrooms: In addition to your regular cleaning, your shower and tub might need extra attention after holiday guests. However, deep cleaning shouldn’t involve breathing in harsh fumes. Saturate your tile and grout with Seventh Generation tub & tile cleaner, which is made of plant-derived cleaning agents. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then scrub buildup with a stiff brush.
- Windows: Window cleaners may contain ingredients like ammonia and isopropyl alcohol that may irritate your lungs. To remove gunk without these harsh chemicals, rub a dollop of mayonnaise into sticky spots from window decals and scrape with a plastic spatula (never use a razor blade, which can scratch the glass!). Spray Seventh Generation glass & surface natural cleaner on the frame, ledge, and hardware and wipe clean. Then spray the cleaner on a microfiber cloth and wipe the window top to bottom in a “Z” pattern. If the weather allows, wipe the outside of windows and glass doors, too.
- Vent covers: In addition to choosing cleaners with low levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), cleaning your vent covers is an easy way to help protect your home’s indoor air quality. Get rid of dust bunnies and allergens by unscrewing vent covers and placing them in a sink filled with hot water and a squirt of dish soap. Wipe the covers carefully with a microfiber, dry, and replace.
- Carpet: Carpet can trap (and hold) dust, dirt, pet dander, and allergens. To freshen and deodorize your carpet, you don’t need special cleaners — just sprinkle baking soda on the entire area and let it sit for at least an hour (the longer, the better). Vacuum it up and repeat if needed.
- Mattress: Baking soda actually neutralizes odor-causing acids to eliminate the funk — so it’s great for freshening up your mattress. Toss sheets in the wash and sprinkle the mattress with baking soda. (You can also combine 1 cup of baking soda and 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil in a jar for an aromatherapy boost.) Let the baking soda sit for an hour, then vacuum it up with your vacuum’s upholstery tool.
- Bedding: While your mattress is airing out, machine wash blankets and pillows on the delicate cycle with cold water and biobased detergent. Add an extra rinse cycle to get out any lingering detergent, and wash two pillows at a time to keep the machine balanced. For bulky comforters, a large machine at the laundromat might be your best bet. When it’s time to dry, choose the low setting and add a few tennis balls to fluff everything back up.
- Washing machine: To get rid of mineral deposits and detergent buildup without the “bleachy” smell, add 2 cups of vinegar to the drum and 1 cup of baking soda wherever you normally add your laundry detergent. Run the machine on the longest cold water cycle. Use a rag and all-purpose cleaner to wipe the rubber gasket around the door (if you have a front-loader) or under the lid and rim of the tub (if you have a top-loader).
When you’re done, finish with a winter scent on the stove top to make your home smell cozy!