Spring is officially here, which means warmer weather, longer days, and of course…spring cleaning. While some people relish the excuse to clean their homes top to bottom, most of us regard this annual rite with a slight amount of dread. If you are short on time and want the biggest impact for your spring cleaning efforts then Smead recommends the following five critical tasks as most important for the long-term maintenance of your home. Tackle these jobs and you will be rewarded with a fresh looking home, ready to enjoy.

Clean Windows, Inside and Out

Clean, clear windows make any room feel lighter and cleaner simply by letting more light in. The biggest boost will be to your state of mind – a sunlit room is an instant mood brightener!

When cleaning your windows, wipe the inside up and down, and the outside left to right. If you end up with streaks, you’ll know which side they’re on.

Don’t forget to wash screens and sills/tracks.

This is the perfect time to revive drab window coverings. Just run them through an air-fluff cycle in the dryer with a damp towel (to attract the dust) for 15 minutes, and rehang immediately.

For a quick, complete wipe-down of your window blinds, shut the blinds and wipe with a microfiber cloth. Then close the blinds in the opposite direction and wipe other side.

Clean Out Gutters and Downspouts

Give your exterior a fast facelift by removing leaves and debris from your gutters before they start to sprout seedlings. Regular maintenance of this overlooked area helps prevent rotting and water damage to your house.

Use a leaf blower, or simply scoop out the debris and blow out the remaining dirt with a hose.

While you're clearing the gutters, check for cracks in the seams. Use an old chisel to scrape the old caulking out and dry the area thoroughly.

Use new bead silicon sealant to keep water from getting behind the gutters.

Clean Kitchen Appliances

Remember to clean inside, outside and underneath. You will be amazed by all the crumbs and debris you find!

Oven: If you have an oven with an auto-clean cycle, it’s important to wipe out any big spills first to prevent flare ups. For manual cleaning, try using a natural paste of baking soda, water and liquid dish soap instead of harsh chemicals.

Stove top: Use a toothbrush to remove softened food from around the burners, knobs and dials. If applicable, replace old, grimy burner pans with new, shiny ones!

Microwave: You can loosen up the grime beforehand by heating a cup of water inside the microwave for about three minutes. Add baking soda or lemon juice to the water to eliminate smells.

Refrigerator: Wash outside and inside; cleaning the inside with a degreaser or scouring pad. Replace that old box of baking soda with a fresh one. Don’t forget to vacuum the condenser coils on the back!

Dishwasher: Remove baskets and debris from the bottom. Spray a water and vinegar solution onto a cleaning cloth or clean sponge to wipe down the inside of the door and top and bottom racks. Run the empty machine on its highest temperature setting without detergent for a thorough rinse.

Don’t Forget to Look Up!

Spring cleaning often applies to areas at eye level or below, but take the time to look up – you may be surprised by what you see!

Did you know that dust accumulation in smoke detectors can cause them to sound even when there is no fire? Spring cleaning is a perfect time to dust in and around detectors - and if you haven’t replaced the batteries in the past six months, do that too!

Search for cobwebs in corners, around fireplaces, on top of lampshades and light fixtures, and between windows.

Dust can also collect on ceiling fans, especially if you never turn them off, so clean each blade. Simply slide each blade, one at a time, into a pillowcase and wipe off the blade with the inside of the pillowcase. All the dust, dirt, and debris will stay inside. Then simply shake out the case outside and throw it in the laundry.

Steam Clean Carpets and Rugs

Carpets accumulate a lot of dust, dirt and even fungi over time, all of which are unsightly, unhygienic and can be potential health hazards.

Up to 80% of carpet dirt is loose and on the surface, and can be removed with regular vacuuming.

Further extend the life and appearance of your carpets as well as banish those really stubborn bugs and stains with regular deep cleaning.

It's well worth renting steam-cleaning equipment or hiring a professional carpet cleaning company to do the job.

So if you’re short on time (or desire) for this year’s round of spring cleaning, these five chores will go the farthest towards maintaining your home from unnecessary wear and damage. You’ll also benefit by having a fresh looking home in a short amount of time if you can check these 5 tasks off your spring cleaning list first.

Courtesy of Smead