Simple steps for a good spring refresh
Traditional spring cleans may be out of fashion - but it's still a good time to clear any lingering winter cobwebs and clutter. By Gabrielle Fagan, Press Association
Rushing to polish windows, scour surfaces, sweep away cobwebs and generally spruce up your rooms as part of that annual big spring clean? Thought not!
It seems today's busy lives and stretched schedules are helping kill off the tradition of a seasonal deep clean, according to recent research by home appliance specialists, Beko.
The brand quizzed 2,000 people - and found that 38 per cent believed the notion of spring-cleaning was dying out. On top of that, only half of the people polled set aside time each week to clean their home, and three in ten admit they only manage to squeeze in a few chores at the weekends.
But, even if you don't quite feel the urge to go into a seasonal cleaning frenzy, there are a few easy-peasy ways to get a spring clean result without too much time and effort...
Clear that clutter
"With spring around the corner, it's the perfect time to re-evaluate your home, de-clutter and get it organised," says Nicola Lewis, aka pro sorter-outer of stuff, This Girl Can Organise (thisgirlcanorganise.com), who offers a professional home organiser service and counts celebrities including Gemma Collins among her clients.
"Your home should tell a story of who you are, and house a collection of everything you love. Your overall objective is to create a space that relaxes you and makes you smile, and one that works for you.
"Start by walking around your home with a notepad and pen, and plan the process," Lewis suggests. "Ask yourself, 'How can I improve this and manage the available space better?' Clarify in your mind what you should keep or get rid of."
Lewis' step-by-step plan: First, clear the room as much as possible. Next, sort items into four piles: Keep, donate, sell and bin. Clean away dirt and dust, then before placing furniture and items back into their places, really consider their location and position, so that it all really suits you and the people living in your home.
Clean it green
Add to that glow of satisfaction at the end of a good clean by knowing you've used planet-friendly products. There's a wide variety of eco-friendly ranges out there these days - or you could Google DIY recipes and make your own (that way you can avoid excess packaging and harsh chemicals altogether).
There's a homely, nostalgic feel to vintage-style cleaning kit - even though it might remind you that in the past you'd have been spared the annual cleaning chore, which would have been delegated to below-stairs servants!
Companies such as Re-Found Objects specialise in reclaimed, vintage and hand-made household items, meaning you can stock up in a more sustainable way too.
Whatever task you're tacking, ensure you've got all the right tools for the job at hand from the start, so your enthusiasm doesn't wane as you search for that missing dustpan or broom.
Most of us wash the bed sheets every one to two weeks, but when was the last time you actually cleaned your mattress?
"It's a little-known fact that you should actually clean some mattresses every six months to prevent dust mites, dead skin and dirt accumulating," says Neil Robinson, chief sleep officer for bed specialists, Sealy UK.
"Use a vacuum-cleaner to remove dirt, hair and crumbs. One old home-remedy suggests using baking (bicarbonate) soda to freshen a mattress," he adds. "The theory is, it draws out the dirt, moisture and odours."
If you want to try it, pour a small amount into a sieve and sprinkle over the mattress aiming for an even dusting over the surface - apply more in areas which are particularly stained. Leave it to air for a few hours, or ideally for the whole day, and then vacuum away. However, be aware that some mattresses - including Sealy's mattresses containing Purotex smart fibres, which have self-cleaning properties - are unsuitable for cleaning with baking soda.
Plant up a room
Indoor greenery can clean the air, as well as injecting life and colour into a space, which is a perfect way of welcoming spring, declares Claire Bishop, houseplant buyer for Dobbies Garden Centres.
"Houseplants are brilliant anti-pollutants and help to increase oxygen levels. For me, stepping into a room of lush and leafy greenery is a definite mood booster," she enthuses.
"My favourite is lavender, which can add a lovely calming fragrance to any room and is particularly good for aiding sleep in a bedroom. Simply ensure it has plenty of fresh air and natural light."
Bishop's top tip: Don't overlook existing houseplants in a spring clean. Wipe leaves with a damp cloth to help remove dust and promote good health. Remove yellowing foliage and trim damaged leaves of larger plants with sharp scissors. Houseplants may also need re-potting and feeding in spring, and some, such as orchids, need specialist feeds to encourage fruits and flowers rather than foliage.
Scent the air
Even if you haven't swept and polished every nook and cranny, you could simply throw open the windows, to allow rooms to air and banish any lingering, stale odours of winter.
Once that's done, prolong that fresh scent with a spring-friendly scented candle or room diffuser. Bright tangy citrus is a popular scent, which makes any home feel fresh and inviting.