When Is the Ideal Time To Start Spring Cleaning?

Updated: Oct. 24, 2023

The concept of spring cleaning dates back centuries. We emerge from winter, wanting to clean and freshen. But if you get the urge sooner, go for it!

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When Is the Ideal Time To Start Spring Cleaning?

It depends on who you ask.

“Right now is the best time,” says Chris Willatt, owner of Alpine Maids in Denver, Colorado. You’re taking down holiday decorations, so why not knock out some of your spring cleaning at the same time?

Indoor Health Council (IHC) director Allen Rathey says you can start anytime. “There is nothing sacred about spring timing as opposed to other seasons,” Rathey says. A case can be made for better cleaning during fall and winter, because so many people are indoors and exposed to more pollutants.

Leanne Stapf, chief operating officer of The Cleaning Authority, says that while many people spring clean when the weather warms up, “there are no set rules for timing.”

Whenever you decide to start spring cleaning, just do it.

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Forgotten corners in most people's homes are not forgotten in mine
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When To Spring Clean the Kitchen

Kitchens should be near the top of your spring cleaning schedule. “I always love starting fresh in the kitchen,” Stapf says. “Spring cleaning is the perfect time to give your kitchen a little TLC, especially if you have been neglecting it all year.”

Spring cleaning is a great opportunity to tackle tasks generally overlooked. When’s the last time you cleaned out your spice drawer? Take an inventory, Stapf says. If you’ve had spices for a few years, it’s time to start fresh.

Stapf also says spring is a good time to clean your trash cans and drains. Wipe down your bins with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. And while you have the vinegar out, pour a cup down the kitchen drain. Follow with cold water a half hour later, then repeat every two weeks.

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Inside view of a man washing a window
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When To Spring Clean Windows

Getting a jump on spring cleaning usually means starting in March or April. But wait until the end of spring to wash windows, according to Alicia Sokolowski, president and co-CEO of AspenClean. Pollen and dust build up during the spring, so to avoid washing your windows twice, delay this task until the end of the season.

Early fall is also a great time for window washing, Sokolowski says. Dust build-up over the summer can leave you with dirty, spotty windows, especially if it rains. So give them a fresh gleam before winter sets in.

What about the time of day? Does that matter? Sokolowski says late morning or early afternoon works best. That way the windows have a chance to dry before it gets dark. Use vinegar or a natural glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth for best results. A little dish soap combined with water is also a safe bet.

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When to Spring Clean Appliances

Willatt starts spring cleaning with appliances, and you can do it whenever you want because it’s not weather dependent. “It’s best to start big so you can get some momentum going,” Willatt says. Give your dishwasher, washer and dryer, refrigerator, freezer, oven and microwave thorough cleanings. Don’t forget air and water filters, as applicable.

“Spring cleaning is a great time to empty out your fridge and give it a good scrub down,” Stapf says. Buy dollar store bins to organize your fridge shelves. Maintain a routine all year by giving your refrigerator a deep clean every three to four months.

“Another great step is to pull out the appliances and clean behind them,” says Michael Rubino, founder of HomeCleanse and author of The Mold Medic, an Expert’s Guide on Mold Removal. “Essentially, focus on anything that’s not often seen.”

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Hand in rubber protective glove cleaning baseboard on the floor from dust with rag at the wall. Early spring cleaning or regular clean up. Maid cleans house.
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When To Spring Clean Baseboards

While there’s no particular timing issue around cleaning your baseboards, they definitely should be on the spring cleaning checklist, Sokolowski says. Use natural dish soap or vinegar and water for a complete and thorough cleaning.

And don’t wait until next spring to do them again. Sokolowski recommends cleaning baseboards every three months, more often if you have small children or pets. In between deep cleanings, vacuum or dust every couple of weeks. Once a month is OK, too..

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Senior man changing a dirty air filter in a HVAC Furnace
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When To Spring Clean Your HVAC

Spring brings an abundance of allergens like pollen and mold into the home from the outdoors, lowering indoor air quality. That’s why spring is a great time to change the filter in your HVAC unit, according to mold expert Rubino.

A clogged filter allows allergens to circulate back into the home, which can stress the HVAC, Rubino says. This can lead to higher energy costs, malfunctioning parts or microbial growth inside the unit.

And it’s not just the filter that needs spring maintenance. “Don’t forget the HVAC unit itself,” Rubino says. Cleaning the evaporator and condenser coils, as well as the ductwork, improve indoor air quality in the spring, Rubino says.

Clean the HVAC coils yourself or hire a professional to perform this important yearly task.

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Vacuum cleaner cleaning a white fuzzy carpet
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When To Spring Clean Carpets and Rugs

Don’t wait until spring to give your rugs and carpeting attention. “Most people produce an invisible cloud of superfine dust when they traverse carpet,” IHC director Rathey says. Regular vacuuming — with a properly-filtered vacuum — is the most important thing you can do to reduce these airborne particles.

A clean filter is critical, Rathey says, because a vacuum with reduced airflow and suction kicks up dust instead of removing it. Abrasive grit and dirt that settles into the carpet pile scratch and cut the millions of fibers, wearing out your carpet and causing it to hold on to contamination.

So if it’s been awhile since you last vacuumed, start now. And don’t trust your eyes, because carpet hides dirt well. Instead, Rathey says, traffic patterns should guide you. High-traffic areas can get daily vacuuming, while less-trafficked areas can be vacuumed weekly or monthly.

As for rugs? If they’re portable, Stapf says, when the weather warms up take them outside into the sunshine for an airing. (This works for bedding and pillows, too.)

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organized garage wall with tools hanging
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When To Spring Clean the Garage

When temperatures start to rise in March and April, don’t forget to spring clean your garage. Tim Wells, CEO and founder of Garage Transformed, says that the garage tends to be challenging for people because “it’s not the easiest to tackle.” You’ll love the result, though. So open your garage door, let in some fresh air and get started.

Wells offers these tips for spring cleaning and decluttering your garage:

  • Sort: Decide what stays and what goes.
  • Donate, sell or discard: Take items to your local donation center, have a garage sale or rent a trash container.
  • Clean: Clear cobwebs, dust and dirt. Clean the floor of hazardous materials like antifreeze and paint. Refinish if necessary.
  • Repair: Check for cracks and other safety or structural issues. Repair as needed.
  • Organize: Decide what needs to be accessible or stored away. Use bins, hooks and shelves to get things off the floor.
  • Spruce it up: Add lighting or a fresh coat of paint.
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Car Washing. Cleaning Car Using High Pressure Water. Autowashing outdoors
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When To Spring Clean Your Car

Your car probably needs a little TLC, too. When winter is behind you, giving your car a spring cleaning will lift your spirits and keep it on the road longer.

“If you live in an area with snowy weather, it’s important to wash all the road salt off your car to prevent rust,” says Cathy Habas, family and senior safety expert at SafeWise.com. Rust can cause dangerous weak spots in the steel, according to Habas.

Pay particular attention to the parts of your car you can’t see but take the brunt of winter chemicals. “Go to a drive-thru car wash to make sure the undercarriage gets clean, too,” Habas says.