Shake out the winter, open the windows up, and relieve the corners of their accumulated dust bunnies. Some might call it spring cleaning, but to me, it seems like a lot of chores that I have been putting off all year!

The term ‘spring cleaning’ is said to date back to the days when homes were heated by wood and lit by lanterns that left layers of soot on every surface. When spring arrived, it was time to open up the windows and doors, pull out the rugs and bedding to beat away the dust, and give the floors and windows a good clean.

Another possibility has been suggested that the origins of spring cleaning date back to the ancient Jewish practice of thoroughly cleansing the home in anticipation of the springtime festival of Passover (Pesach).

Check List

It always seems a bit daunting when facing it all, so a good idea is to first set yourself the task of making a list, then check off each chore as it is accomplished. The overall job doesn’t look so disheartening if you can see how it breaks up into manageable lumps, and you get the satisfaction of crossing off items as you achieve them, even marking a day on the calendar to freshen up one room (or one corner of a room) at a time.

The first item on the list should be to eliminate any clutter from each room before starting, maybe sorting unwanted items into piles for donations to charity, selling, recycling, and the bins.

Wash windows on a cloudy day to avoid streaks, and maybe clean the windows in each room as you go, as opposed to facing them all at once. Clean overlooked surfaces such as baseboards if you have them, door frames, and move heavier items to clean beneath them if they haven’t been done for a while.

Scrub sliding door tracks with a toothbrush if necessary, and vacuum any debris out. A little squirt of spray lubricant afterwards will help them run smoothly too.


If you have ceramic tiles, porcelain, and other similar surfaces, these should be cleaned thoroughly, and now would be a good time to clean the grout between tiles if necessary. For a natural cleaner, you could sodium bicarbonate powder and hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, and citric acid, or stick with a brand specifically for the job.


The kitchen is the heart of your home, and it’s one of the hardest to spring clean. Pull out your step ladder, and using disinfecting wipes, make your way down, from the top of your kitchen cabinets, extractor fan, and door frames. You’re going for an overall deeper clean, not a deep cleaning of individual items, so don’t get bogged down with cleaning out the oven interior or deep-cleaning the dishwasher – skip these time-consuming jobs for the moment, but make a plan to do it soon by putting them on your checklist for another time.

Credits: PA;

Get the Spray Polish Out

Nothing beats the smell of spray wood polish to make the room smell clean! Many spray brands can tackle plastics, glass and mirrors, granite, laminate, marble, stainless steel, wood, etc., and could be one product for all, helping you spend less on cleaning products since you won't need a whole arsenal. For sticky wood surfaces, mix equal parts vinegar and water; use a soft cloth in the mixture and wring it out really well. Wipe the wood in the direction of the grain, rewetting and wringing your cloth often. After several passes to remove the build-up, dry the wood thoroughly with a soft cloth.

Reduce Stress

Don’t put pressure on yourself by taking in the whole idea of spring cleaning as an impossible task. Divide it up - it will help reduce the enormity of it all! Reduce your stress just by doing one part of a room at a time if necessary – maybe starting with the area behind the TV, which shamefully tends to collect an almighty amount of dust and cobwebs, then tick it off the list.


Marilyn writes regularly for The Portugal News, and has lived in the Algarve for some years. A dog-lover, she has lived in Ireland, UK, Bermuda and the Isle of Man. 

Marilyn Sheridan