Welcome to our third instalment in the Big Spring Cleaning Series. This time, it’s the turn of the living room, a functional family room that tends to get the most traffic.
Some people say the kitchen is the heart of the home, but for me it’s definitely my living room. It’s where I read, watch TV, entertain family and friends, and simply chill with my partner.
Because of this, it gets messy (and dirty) pretty quickly, and I make an effort to keep on top of it daily with a simple cleaning routine.
However, after nearly two years in my current property – it’s long overdue a deeper clean!
Your Spring Cleaning Living Room Guide: Contents
- Getting Started
- Your Cleaning Toolbox
- Homemade vs. Store-Bought Cleaners
- Living Room Cleaning Basics
- Additional Living Room Cleaning Tips
The living room is usually a fairly big room, but even if yours isn’t – it’s probably got a lot in it!
Give yourself a full day to deep clean your living room. It might not take you that long, but you want to give yourself plenty of time so you can get everything done.
I really like listening to music when I clean (and pretending I’m in the video for Queen’s “I want to break free”). Put on your favourite radio station or playlist to keep yourself entertained and to help make the cleaning more fun!
Make sure you have everything you need before you get started!
Essential oil of choice (for fragrance)
Empty spray bottle(s)
Whether you choose to use homemade or store-bought cleaners is down to personal preference. This guide will use a combination of DIY cleaning solutions as well as commercial cleaning products.
For more information about DIY ‘natural’ cleaners and store-bought cleaners, please see my previous blog post and infographic: Dishing the Dirt: Homemade vs. Store-Bought Cleaners
Give the windows a good clean using a microfiber cloth. Microfiber cloths clean glass exceptionally well without the need for any cleaning product!
Ensure you clean the window sill and tracks as well – you may want to use an all- purpose cleaning solution if these areas haven’t been cleaned in a while.
Pro Tip: Use a Q-tip to reach those small nooks and crannies
Remove your curtains and put them for a spin in the washing machine. This is by far the easiest way to clean them.
However, if they just need a bit of a refresh, you can use your hoover to remove any lingering dust, and spritz with an upholstery fragrance spray.
Homemade ‘Febreeze’ Spray:
It’s easy to make your own fabric refresher spray if you’d prefer – this recipe is from Mom 4 Real and is simple and easy to make.
- Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to an empty spray bottle.
- Add 2 cups of warm water, put the lid on and shake until the baking soda has dissolved.
- Add 10 drops of lavender essential oil (or an essential oil of your choice) for fragrance. Put the lid back on and shake well.
- Spray on curtains and other upholstery in your home for fresh fragrance without chemicals!
If you haven’t cleaned your blinds in a while, you might be surprised by how just much dust has gathered on the slats!
Slatted blinds can be a dust-magnet, but it’s easy to wipe clean with a duster or cloth (some people even use an old sock!).
If you’re blinds are REALLY bad, consider removing them entirely and cleaning them in the bath. Yes, I know it sounds strange, but if it works then who cares!
Fabric blinds can be a little more difficult – some can be removed for washing, but others remain fixed. If this is the case, you can use your vacuum to remove dust and spot-clean stains with a simple warm water and white vinegar solution.
You may regularly dust the corners of your ceiling and walls to remove cobwebs, but spring is the perfect time to wash your walls and give them a deeper clean.
How to Clean Painted Walls
Apartment Therapy has a great How to Wash Walls guide, which I’ll share with you here:
Note: Always test a small section of wall beforehand. If paint chalks off on your sponge, don’t wash that paint.
- Remove all artwork from walls and dust using either a long-handled duster or a broom covered with a towel.
- Protect your floor by laying a drop cloth to catch any water that runs off the walls.
- Using a lint-free cloth or undyed sponge, scrub your walls from top to bottom with warm soapy water.
- Repeat step 3 with a clean water rinse.
- Open a window to help your walls dry faster.
How to Clean Wallpaper
Brush away loose dirt, dust and cobwebs. You can even use your vacuum to quickly remove dust from textured wallpaper.
For light stains, mix a small amount of dish-washing soap with warm water, and gently rub the area using a soft cloth (scrubbing too hard could cause the wallpaper to tear).
Never use abrasive cleaners to clean wallpaper, as these can remove the wallpaper’s coating.
Your floor is probably one of the areas you clean most often, but it still deserves a deeper clean every once in a while.
When it comes to cleaning laminate flooring, the less water the better. If water seeps into cracks in your laminate flooring it can warp and damage your floor over time.
- Use a microfiber mop to dry-mop your laminate floor to remove dust. Sweep in the direction the floor is laid in to collect all the dirt between the grooves instead of trapping it.
- Dampen the microfiber pad with warm water and spray on a cleaning solution.
- Repeat step 1.
You can use either a store-bought laminate cleaner or a homemade version (mix 3 parts water with 1 part white vinegar, add a squirt of washing-up liquid).
As with laminate flooring, you should avoid using water when cleaning your hardwood floors. Wood just doesn’t like water, okay?
Instead, consider using a wood-cleaning product for a deeper clean.
You should also wax your hardwood floor annually.
You should already been regularly vacuuming your carpet, but you should deep-clean it every so often as well.
I’m quite lucky in the fact that I have an awesome 2-in-1 vacuum/carpet cleaner which makes deep-cleaning my carpets a breeze!
Alternatively, if you own a steam cleaner, now is the time to use! Steam cleaning your carpet is one of the most effective ways of cleaning it.
Personally, the best product I’ve used on my cream carpet (I live in a rented apartment – the cream carpet was not my choice!) is Vanish Powerfoam Carpet Cleaner.
However, there are loads of DIY methods to removing carpet stains, including these 17 Homemade Carpet Stain Removers.
For example, did you know that you can clean juice stains with shaving cream? And that WD-40 lifts ink stains from carpets?
BONUS: Natural Carpet Freshen-Up Remedy
Between deep cleans, you can prolong the freshness of your carpet with this carpet freshener remedy from Organic Authority.
Simply mix the following ingredients in a shaker:
- 1 cup of baking soda
- 10-20 drops of your favourite essential oil
- ½ cup of borax (if you have pets – helps to keep fleas at bay)
Lightly sprinkle the mix onto your carpet and allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes before vacuuming.
Rugs are often more delicate than carpets, as they are designed more for aesthetics instead of high traffic.
Some experts suggest you should deep-clean your rug(s) at least once a year.
You should always check the care label on your rug for cleaning advice. Some rugs can be placed in the washing machine; others can’t.
How to Spot Clean Rugs
Thanks, Apartment Therapy for this one!
- Treat stains straight away. It’s much more difficult to remove a stain once it’s dried. Always blot to avoid spreading.
- Start with water only. Water is the least invasive solution, and should be enough to remove water-based rug stains (alcohol, soda, pet accidents, milk etc.)
- Removing sticky spots (gum, wax etc.) from wool rugs: Put ice cubes in a plastic bag and hold against the stain. Once hardened, scape the sticky stain with a spoon. Blot with rubbing alcohol to remove any remaining residue.
- Natural fibre rugs (sisal, coir, jute etc.): Scrub the stain with a soft brush and warm, soapy water. Rinse well and blot with a towel to dry.
You can also check out this great area rug cleaning guide for more information about removing specific stains from your rugs.
Sofas come in lots of different materials, and it’s important to identify yours before you being cleaning, so you can avoid damaging/staining the material. There should be a fabric tag somewhere – look for that and check for any cleaning directions.
If your sofa/armchair has removable covers – this will make it much easier to clean (simply pop them in the washing machine!).
Start by vacuuming your sofa/armchair using the upholstery attachment.
Steam cleaning is an easy and effective way of cleaning fabric sofas with non-removable covers.
For deodorising, you can also sprinkle your fabric sofa with a layer of baking powder. Allow this to sit for 20-60 minutes before vacuuming with the upholstery attachment.
Avoid using water on your leather furniture, as this can stain the material.
- Vacuum with a soft brush.
- Wipe down with a clean, soft cloth dampened with warm water.
- Apply leather conditioner. Leather naturally produces oils which can dry over time, causing the leather to age and crack. Use a leather conditioner to protect your leather.
Faux leather is imitation leather. Despite looking and feeling similar to the real thing, it isn’t – but that means it’s easier to clean!
PVC (or vinyl) leather can be cleaned with water because it is not porous and is very water resistant.
You should avoid using water on wooden furniture, as it can warp and discolour wood over a period of time.
Using a damp cloth to clean spills/stains every now and then is fine, but you should stick to wood treatments and polish (polish helps avoid wood from drying out).
Over time, your wooden furniture may get scratched and dull. Here’s how to give your wooden furniture a facelift:
- Mix 3 tablespoons boiled linseed oil, 2 tablespoons turpentine and 1 quart hot water in a sauce pan and heat gently.
- Dip a soft, clean cloth in the solution.
- Rub over your wooden furniture, followed immediately with a clean, dry, absorbent cloth until the oil is removed.
Homemade Wood Furniture Polish
I’ve never made my own furniture polish before, but this recipe from Healthy Blender Recipes looks so easy, I might have to give it a try!
Simply mix 1 cup of cold pressed olive oil with ½ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice to create your own eco furniture polish.
LCD and LED TVs are much more sensitive than older TVs, and are easy to scratch/damage during cleaning.
- For safety, always make sure you unplug your TV before cleaning it.
- Use a soft, dry microfiber cloth to remove dust from your screen, without applying too much pressure.
- If the dry cloth did not completely remove the dirt, do not press harder. Instead, dampen the cloth with distilled water or an equal mix of distilled water and white vinegar.
Pro Tip: Never spray liquid directly onto the screen. You should dampen the cloth instead.
If you’re anything like me, with strong sentimental values, it can be difficult to part with a lot of the ‘stuff’ in your home.
Everything has a story; a memory; a purpose.
But does it?
I find that I keep a lot of stuff that seems to have sentimental value, but when I think about it, it really doesn’t.
According to this ridiculously thorough guide to decluttering your home, clutter is:
Clutter is anything you’re keeping around your house that doesn’t add value to your life. Decluttering is all about making room in your home for the things that matter.
Decluttering your living room will not only create more space, but will make your home more personal. Decluttering can also help to reduce stress.
Start by having four boxes; “Keep”, “Donate/Sell”, “Storage” and “Bin”. As you sort through your clutter, put items in the appropriate boxes – and be ruthless. If you haven’t used something in a year, get rid of it.
Cleaning your fireplace can be a messy job. It’s a good idea to use gloves, an apron and a facemask and/or protective eyewear.
To begin, remove all ashes and debris with a dustpan, followed up with your vacuum (this goes without saying, but you should make sure you wait a long time after use to ensure the fire is out and the fireplace has cooled).
Marble is a porous material, which means it absorbs any liquids used on its surface. This is why you should avoid using harsh chemical cleaning products, which could damage the marble.
According to Cleanipedia, you should start by using a microfiber cloth to remove any surface dust and dirt from your marble fireplace, before using distilled water on stains.
If this doesn’t work, you should consider using a specialist cleaning product designed for marble.
You can use a solution of table salt and detergent to clean your stone fireplace.
- Dissolve one cup of detergent and 3 tablespoons of table salt in 3 quarts of warm water.
- Apply the cleaner to your fireplace and leave to the solution to set for 10 minutes.
- After it has set, use a plastic wire scrub to remove the cleaning solution.
- Rinse with a soft sponge dipped in water.
- Allow the hearth to dry before using the fireplace again.
- In a bowl, combine two tablespoons of Cream of Tartar and water to make a thin paste.
- Apply a layer of paste to any sooty areas and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Rinse with water and repeat step 2 if necessary.
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If you have any cleaning tips of your own you'd like to share, please comment below.