7 Spring Cleaning Tasks You Don’t Want To Forget

Our checklist includes all the basics, plus a few frequently forgotten spring cleaning tasks.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

Woman cleaning the houseRAWPIXEL/GETTY IMAGES

Basic Spring Cleaning Tasks

Spring cleaning is an annual rite of passage for good reason. After spending months cooped up inside, things can start to get stale. A spring cleaning refresh feels great. And with our checklist, it doesn’t have to be daunting.

We’ve taken the guesswork out of the basics and put together a list of necessary spring cleaning tasks — plus a few often forgotten — that will really make your home shine. Do these tasks now and you’ll thank yourself in the weeks ahead.

First, the basics:

  • Clean up after your pets;
  • Clean the bathrooms;
  • Clean the bedrooms;
  • Wash bedding including pillows;
  • Flip the mattress;
  • Clean the laundry room;
  • Clean out the dryer lint;
  • Clean the kitchen;
  • Clean your garbage disposal;
  • Deep clean appliances;
  • Vacuum behind and underneath appliances;
  • Clean and organize the pantry and cupboards;
  • Clean out the car;
  • Clean utility and storage spaces;
  • Clean the home office/desk area;
  • Clean electronics;
  • Edit file cabinets;
  • Get your closets in order;
  • Clean the garage;
  • Clean the lawn mower and other small engines;
  • Wash the exterior of your home;
  • Clean the deck or patio;
  • Clean the gutters;
  • Clean and prep your A/C unit.

Tasks to do in each room:

  • Declutter and organize;
  • Dust all surfaces;
  • Vacuum everything including under and behind furniture;
  • Polish furniture;
  • Wash the floors;
  • Clean the carpet;
  • Clean baseboards, doors and door frames;
  • Wash walls and touch up paint;
  • Clean light fixtures and dust lamp shades;
  • Remove all mold and mildew;
  • Wash windows;
  • Clean window treatments;
  • Clean upholstered furniture.

Now, the often forgotten ones:

1 / 7

Dog taking bath at home"n
Chalabala/Getty Images

Give Your Dog a Bath

While it’s common to wash your dog’s bed, bowls and toys, giving your four-legged friend a bath will extend the results of your other spring cleaning projects. And a clean dog makes the air feel fresher.

Before you spring-clean your bathtub, wash your dog there. First, collect the necessary supplies — treats, a dog brush, dog-safe shampoo and conditioner, a large plastic cup, a non-slip mat for him and a kneeling pad for you. Also grab lots of towels.

Start by brushing your dog to remove excess fur. Then put the non-slip mat into the tub and run the water until it reaches a consistent and comfortable temperature.

Lift small dogs into the tub, or invite large dogs to jump in on their own, using a treat as encouragement. Wet your dog with the plastic cup, then wash and condition as recommended on the bottles. Rinse your dog thoroughly, then dry him off. Lift him out of the tub, give him one more treat for being a good boy, and stand back and prepare for the zoomies!

2 / 7

Laptop Computer in Teenager's Bedroom
Justin Paget/Getty Images

Declutter Dressers and Nightstands

The closet gets all the attention. But to truly get your spring wardrobe and bedroom in order, culling through your dressers and nightstands is a must.

If your dresser contains items shorts and t-shirts you haven’t worn all winter, launder them now, so they’ll be fresh and ready to go when warm weather arrives. As you put items back into your dresser, toss anything that’s torn, faded or no longer fits. Donate items that someone else could put to good use and pitch the rest.

Remove clutter from your nightstand, pitching expired lotions and donating books you’ve finished reading. Finally, give your dresser and nightstand a thorough dusting, inside and out.

3 / 7

Fireplace cleaning
Ana-O/Getty Images

Summerize Your Fireplace

If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your chimney, add this to your spring cleaning list. Then clean your wood-burning fireplace so everything is ready to go come fall.

Before starting, put on a dust mask and make sure all ashes and unburned wood are completely cool. Scoop out wood and the cooled ashes. Next, vacuum remaining ashes and dust from inside the fireplace, the grate, screen, hearth, and fireplace tools. Remove the grate and place it in a plastic garbage bag to transport outside for power washing.

Power wash the grate, letting it dry completely before placing it back in the fireplace. While the fireplace is empty, scrub the interior and clean the glass doors and/or screen. Finally, give your fireplace tools a wipe down with an appropriate cleaning spray and cloth.

Follow these steps to clean a gas fireplace.

4 / 7

Cleaning a grill. Male hand with gloves cleans stiff brush round grill before cooking. scrubbing utensil used for cleaning a dirty grill
Imagesines/Getty Images

Spring Clean Your Grill

While not on most spring-cleaning to-do lists, cleaning your grill now is sure to get you a big “thank you” next time you host a barbecue.

Wash the outside of your grill, along with removable grates and drip pans, using the garden hose or a low speed on your power washer. Be careful not to damage the finish or soak the grill igniter. If needed, remove stubborn dirt or grime with some liquid dish soap and a cleaning brush. Then rinse thoroughly with water.

Dry the outside of the grill with a towel, and shine stainless steel parts with the appropriate spray product and a cloth. Dry off the grates and drip pans and put them back inside the grill. Check your tank’s propane level and replace your grill cover if needed.

If your grill requires a deep cleaning, follow these steps instead.

5 / 7

Woman Replaces Kitchen Trash Bag
Grace Cary/Getty Images

Wash and Sanitize Trash Cans

Since trash cans figure in the spring-cleaning process, washing and sanitizing them can be easily overlooked. Plastic and metal trash cans can be cleaned outside on a nice day with the garden hose and liquid dish soap. Scrub the insides with a cleaning brush (use a mop for tall cans).

If you can’t do this outside for any reason, the bathtub makes a great Plan B. Once the cans are clean, dry with towels, or let them air dry before returning them to their designated spots. For a final step, spritz with a sanitizing spray.

For trash cans made from natural materials like wicker or rattan, remove dust and dirt with a shop vac. For stainless steel or trash cans with electronic sensors, spray with an appropriate cleaner and dry with a soft cloth.

6 / 7

Woman Grabs Spices From Pantry
Grace Cary/Getty Images

Sanitize Spice Jars and Oil and Vinegar Bottles

If wiping down these items isn’t part of your regular kitchen clean-up routine, add this to your spring cleaning checklist pronto! These items can become breeding grounds for germs. We often grab spice jars and oil and vinegar containers while handling raw meat, and cooking juices from the stove accumulate on them. Salt and pepper shakers can get grimy, too.

While you’re spring cleaning your kitchen, treat these items with a sanitizing wipe or a cloth dampened with hydrogen peroxide. Then be sure to do this regularly going forward.

7 / 7

Caucasian woman's hand putting on small crevice tool gray vacuum cleaner on white wooden background.
Iuliia Alekseeva/Getty Images

Spring Clean Your Vacuum

The vacuum is an essential part of our spring-cleaning toolkit, but is often not listed as one of the items to actually clean. Put cleaning the vacuum cleaner on your to-do list a couple of days before you spring clean. Be sure to follow your vacuum manufacturer’s cleaning and maintenance recommendations.

In general, start by unplugging your vacuum cleaner. Then remove the filter and rinse it under cold water until the water runs clear. Remove the canister and attachments from the vacuum and wash with dish soap and warm water.

Let all parts of the vacuum air dry completely before reassembling. Now you can use the vacuum for the rest of your spring cleaning tasks.

Aby Garvey
Aby Garvey is an organizing expert who believes organizing can be creative and fun—the more you love an organizing solution, the more likely you are to use it. She offers a variety of online classes that can help you get organized at her website simplify101.com.