apartment spring cleaning basics

Whenever one of our tenants moves out or we go into a resident’s apartment for a maintenance request, we often see a few common threads in places needing a good clean.

With spring in full bloom and the beautiful weather outside, now is a great time to freshen up the inside of your apartment.  Taking the time to do a deep-clean of your home space will help to keep things looking and functioning their best.  Simple things like steam cleaning the carpet once a year helps to extend the life of it and of course, it helps it look it’s best for guests too.  We’ve rounded up some simple and seasonal chores to tackle over a weekend to ensure your apartment is sparkling.

clean out the fridge & freezer

organized-fridgeWe’re gonna start our list with a big one: tackling the fridge.  It’s easy to handle if you just break it down into some easy steps and the reward is definitely worth the extra elbow grease.  We like to start by taking everything out, cleaning top-to-bottom, then putting things back in an organized way.

  • Take everything out and toss anything that’s old or expired.  Make it a habit to toss out old food each time you go to the store to help keep your fridge clean throughout the year.
  • Wipe down any jars that have spills on the outside or on the bottom and set aside.
  • Wipe down the inside of the fridge walls and shelves with a solution of mild dish soap and warm water.
  • If any shelves or parts are removable, we like to give these a nice soapy wash in the sink.  (You’d be surprised what spills you find hidden under shelves and behind removable drawers.)  Be careful not to use hot water on cold glass shelves as this can cause them to crack.  Instead, let the glass shelves come to room temperature before washing.
  • Pull out the fridge and wipe down the sides, top and floor underneath.
  • Clean the sides and tops of the doors and in the rubber door seal nooks.  Clean and sanitize the door handles.
  • Look underneath each shelf and scrub any spills that ran over.
  • Group jars together as you put them back in the fridge.

Also be sure to check out these 10 Easy Steps to Organize Your Fridge from Lauren Conrad.

deep clean stove

stove topOne of the dirtiest places we find in tenant’s apartments are the sides and underneath the stove.  When you’re busy whipping up one of your culinary masterpieces, you might not notice a few splashes, but they can accumulate in these places over time.  Give your stove a good deep-clean inside and out by:

  • Scour inside oven.  Remove racks and clean.
  • Remove broiler pans from drawer underneath oven and clean thoroughly.
  • Pull out oven and wipe down the front and sides.  Scrub floor underneath stove.
  • Lift lid under burners and clean.
  • Wipe down top of oven and wash burners.

replace smoke detector batteries & wipe down remotes

ladder and smoke detectorYou should replace the batteries and test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every six months to make sure they’re in good working order.  We like to do this when we “spring forward” and “fall back” as an easy way to remember.

Take a damp rag or one of those make-up remover cloths and wipe down all of your remotes.  You can also wipe down your computer keyboard while you’re at it too.

clean windows

apartment living room windowWhen was the last time you cleaned your windows?  Ever?  Probably not, right?  We know it’s a big task and that’s why spring is the perfect time to tackle it.  Remember that first day when you moved in and they were shiny and sparkling?  Let all of that beautiful light in by cleaning the inside and outside of your windows.

Your windows can become a bit cloudy and dirty over time, so we recommend you give ’em a good wipe-down at least once a year.  To start, dip a sponge into a bucket of warm water with a few drops of mild dish soap.  We love to use a sweet smelling one like Mrs. Meyer’s basil-scented dish soap that will subtly scent each room and make it smell as fresh as a Spring daisy.  Simply wet the window and rub dirt away. To get the perfect streak-free window, you can use a squeegee to help dry or try our secret weapon: Sprayway Glass Cleaner and a rag.  This stuff is seriously amazing and will clean your windows without any streaks and is available at places like Target and Home Depot.

It’s important to clean your windows first with soap and water to take off the larger pieces of dirt and grime and then use the glass cleaner for perfect windows every time.  If you try to cut corners by just using the spray, you’ll end up cleaning each pane twice and probably end up with streaks.

TIP: Before using the soap and water solution, have a razor blade handy to help remove any dried-on gunk like paint drips, tree sap, or bird droppings.

wash screens & blinds

clean blindsWhile you’re washing the windows, take down the screens and give them a good scrub in the bathtub or shower using the same type of soap you’ll use on the windows.  Allow them to air dry fully before putting back up.

Wipe down blinds with a few drops of gentle cleaner on a nearly dry sponge.  Aluminum blinds can be washed outdoors: Place them on an old sheet or on the grass and scrub with water and a noncorrosive cleaner.  Use a hose to rinse well and then let the blinds air dry thoroughly or wipe with a towel to prevent rust.

protect wooden floors

bedroom wooden floorsGuard against scratches on wooden floors by making sure there are surface protectors on the undersides of all furniture legs and heavy items placed on the floor like chests, footstools, and side tables.  Replace any that are dirty or worn.

Clean your wooden floor by dry dust-mopping it first to pick up any loose dirt, dust or pet hair that could scratch the floor’s finish.  Then use a damp solution specifically made for wood floors to give it a deeper clean. Make sure not to get the floors too wet or let water pool as this can damage the wood.

deep-clean carpets, rugs & sofas

living room rugsTo extend the life of your carpet, most professionals recommend having it steam-cleaned once a year.  We love to use Beverly Hills Carpet Cleaners since they use organic and non-toxic solutions – which are great for babies and pets.  They do a great job and have even gotten out red wine stains from carpet we thought was going to need to be replaced. Another good thing about them? You know how stains will often come back after having your carpet shampooed?  Not with these guys.  They do such a good job that the stains are completely removed from the carpet.

Before they come over, vacuum your carpet really well and stack any smaller furniture on top of larger furniture to make the most of your cleaning area.  If you’re having them clean your rugs too, make sure to place these in the kitchen so that they can clean the carpet underneath the rug and be sure to note this on the phone when making your appointment.  If you’re having them clean your sofa, obviously don’t stack furniture on top and see if you can place on your patio, bed, or inside closets.

You can also rent or buy a home shampooer, although we recommend letting the professionals handle this one.  After your carpets, rugs, and sofas have been cleaned, open your windows for air flow to help them dry more quickly.

clean your curtains

curtainsCheck the tag on your curtains to see if they can be machine or hand-washed, follow the instructions, and iron them once dry before hanging back up.  You can also have them dry-cleaned.  Just be careful with linen curtains as these can tend to shrink and instead look to see if you can vacuum and steam clean these in place.

wipe down baseboards, doors, & door handles

bathroom door chairThese areas are big dust collectors and deserve a little TLC every now and then.  I prefer to dry dust the baseboards and nooks on the doors or you can use the brush attachment on your vacuum.  Then wipe down the front and back of doors with an all-purpose cleaner to clean off any hand prints or dirt.  Disinfect door handles throughout the apartment.  You can take this one step further and disinfect all of the cabinet hardware as well as these are all high-traffic areas that can get sticky and dirty.

Let us know in the comments below if you’ve got any great spring cleaning tips. Then be sure to check out our tips for Easy Ways for Renters to Go Green too.  

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