Mistakes to Avoid When Spring Cleaning

updated May 5, 2022
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(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Roll up your sleeves, put on your gloves, and grab that scrub brush — it’s spring cleaning time! After a few months stuck inside, your kitchen is dirty, and the urge to throw the windows open and freshen the whole space up is strong. The kitchen is a spot that needs special attention by springtime.

Before you get started, though, take a minute to read through this list and strategize to make sure you’re cleaning as effectively and efficiently as possible.

1. Cleaning in the wrong order.

If you don’t plan out your spring cleaning project, you can accidentally make an already-clean surface dirty while tackling the next dirty one, like if you clean the countertops and then dust the shelves (because the dust will settle on lower surfaces, your countertops will need to be cleaned a second time).

Follow this tip: Most professional cleaners recommend cleaning from top to bottom (shelves, then countertops, then floors) and moving around the room in a circle. Working in order makes it easy to see what comes next.

2. Using the wrong cleansers.

Whether you’re Team Vinegar, Team Bleach, or Team Something Else, a deep-clean brings out that instinct to break out the strongest cleanser you can tolerate. Just beware that some cleansers can damage your surfaces!

Follow this tip: Your regular cleansers are most likely good enough! Read the labels on any cleaning products you use and read our tips for what you should avoid cleaning with vinegar and baking soda before you whip up your DIY mixtures.

3. Getting derailed.

Once you get the cleaning bug, it’s easy to start wanting to clean everything — including doing a deep dive into your junk drawer, getting behind the TV console, and going through your closet. That’s great! But resist.

Follow this tip: Make a list of what you need to do in order to spring-clean your kitchen, and stick to it. If other tasks pop into your head, write them down, but don’t start them until this project is done.

4. Focusing on unimportant stuff.

Just as easy as it is to get off-track with other projects, it’s easy to hyper-focus on one random spot inside the kitchen that requires a ton of work (ahem, the grout) and use up all your energy on a project that … might not really matter.

Follow this tip: Take your to-do list even further and break it into a list of must-dos (clean out the fridge, scrub the floor) and nice-to-dos (grout, burnt pot bottoms) and tackle the must list first. The other projects you can do as one-offs sometime when you have an extra hour.

5. Forgetting the windows.

Because your windows aren’t as susceptible to obvious spills and messes as your other kitchen surfaces, it’s easy to forget about them when you make your list. But sparkling panes are the finishing touch in the room!

Follow this tip: Add this task to your to-do list and make them shine. If you don’t have a preferred method, here’s a quick tutorial.