“The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.”
Are you enjoying the environment you’re living in? For the past two weeks we’ve been spring cleaning our homes and transforming our environment. Last week we finished spring cleaning your bathroom (check out the post here!), and I don’t know about you, but I find it very satisfying to stand back and smell the freshness of a room when I’ve finished cleaning in there. That is “feeling happiness” in my environment. That is why this week we are cleaning the living room.
The living room is a place where you go to relax, unwind, and have fun. It’s meant to be a place of sanctuary, but if you’re distracted by dust and cobwebs, or stains and smells or clutter, you can’t truly enjoy the environment. So let’s change that, shall we? We are going to create that haven of rest for your family one room at a time.
Living room, here we come.
First things first, we need to make sure you have all the tools you’ll need to spring clean your living room. Here’s what you need:
- Wash cloths/rags/sponge – You will need something to wipe and scrub with, so use whatever works for you.
- Microfiber cloth
- Broom/Mop (the flat pad type)
- Clean Bristle Brush – Have a clean soft and medium bristle
- Sponge with Scrubbing Pad
- Empty spray bottle – to be filled later
- Duster/dusting cloth
- Butter Knife
- Baking Soda – This is one of my all time favourite cleaning products! Go here for more baking soda uses
- White Vinegar – Also an excellent, multi-purpose cleaning product.
- Dish Soap – I recommend Dawn
- Olive Oil – For leather cleaning, if you have leather.
- Peppermint/Lemon Essential Oil – *optional* this is used for a DIY natural cleaning product we’ll be using.
Spring Cleaning Your Living Room
The living room is a room for living. It is where the birthday parties happen, the daddy wrestling matches, the late night chats, the family movies, quiet reading times and much, much more. It’s a high traffic area, and with lots of activity comes a lot of potential for messes. Spilled juice? Yup. Muddy footprints? Yup. Sticky fingers all over everything? Oh yes.
But never fear! Super Cleaning Woman is here! A.K.A. the Woman of the House (that’s us!).
The task may look daunting and we’ll probably turn your living room upside down, but then we will make it oh-so-right again! You will defeat the dust one wipe at a time.
Lets get to it.
Walls and Ceiling
Alright, you are about to get an arm workout! I know, working hard is hard… but hey, you’re burning calories, and that’s good right? We are starting with the ceiling so that any dirt or grime that could come off will be cleaned up as we move along with everything else.
So anyway, if you have a smooth ceiling, you’ll need a flat pad-type mop for this. I personally use a Norwex mop (I love them!) but any flat mop should work. If you have a textured ceiling you’ll want to use a clean paint roller.
Using a bucket of warm water, again with a splash of vinegar and a squirt of dish soap, wet your mop pad a wring it out, then place it on the handle (or however your mop works). The next step? Scrub. Just scrub. Scrub all over the walls from top to bottom, rinsing often. If you’re using the paint roller use more of a dabbing motion than a wiping motion.
Wall cleaning is very similar to ceiling cleaning. Starting at the doorway of the living room, wash all the way around the room till you’re back at the doorway. Use the flat-pad mop to wash the walls and rinse after one meter (3 feet). Let the walls dry for 30 minutes before spot treating marks and scuffs.
For spot treatment:
Pencil – use an eraser! Then use a little baking soda on a wet cloth if the mark persists.
Crayon – Use baking soda on a scrubbing pad or cloth to rub off the crayon. If some colour remains on the wall wipe it with rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball.
Permanent Marker – Again, use rubbing alcohol. Switch the cotton ball often so you don’t end up accidentally spreading the marker instead of removing it.
*Most other marks will come off with baking soda or rubbing alcohol.
After that strenuous scrubbing, lets have an easy job. We will dust EVERYTHING!! Pretty much.
Take your duster — whether it be a dusting wand or a damp cloth, it doesn’t matter — start at the doorway and make your way around the room until you are back at the doorway, dusting everything you can.
Dust the baseboards, tables, wood accents on couches, any glass, bookshelves, nick nacks, picture frames, light switches and wall outlets, curtain rods, window sills, TV, etc.
If you see any smooth surface, dust it.
Evaluate your couches and see: are they dirty? do they smell? Then look below to find what you need to do for your couch.
If you have a genuine leather sofa set, cleaning is pretty easy. Mix together 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup vinegar and wipe down the entire leather surface. Make sure to test for discolouration on a small inconspicuous area before cleaning the whole couch.
If your couch is very cracked and dry, take straight olive oil and wipe over the worst of the spots and allow the leather to soak up the oil. For this, use the “less is more” approach and only use a light coating of oil then wipe it off with a clean cloth.
Leather should be routinely polished every 6 months to keep it in good condition, so refer back to this recipe often.
First – To remove odours and freshen up your fabric covered couches mix together 1 cup baking soda and 20 drops essential oil (I recommend lavender, mint, or orange), then sprinkle it all over the couch. Rub in the baking soda using a clean brush or your hand and let it sit for 4 hours. Vacuum really thoroughly, and enjoy your fresh couch.
Second – After freshening up the couch, to clean any stains mix together 2 cups warm water, 3 Tbsp dish soap and 3 Tbsp vinegar in a big bowl. Why the big bowl? Because we are going to make some bubbles! Using a whisk, stir the water, soap, and vinegar until you have some nice foam. LOTS of foam!
Take the foam, and only the foam, and rub it over the entire cushion that you’re working on. Spread it from corner to corner, even if there’s only a small stain. We do this so that you don’t get a water spot later on. Yes, even though we’re only using foam, it can still make a slight watermark if we’re not careful. If your stain is a little stubborn, use a medium to soft, clean, bristle brush to gently rub out the mess.
When the entire cushion is covered with foam, take a clean, dampened, absorbent towel, and wipe the surface of the cushion. You may be surprised at how much dirt you clean off! If you’re cleaning multiple cushions rinse out your towel after each, or even get a clean one if it’s really dirty.
Once you’re done wiping, get a big fan to blow over the area you’ve just cleaned. We want the coach to dry as best as it can to keep it from getting any ugly water spots. That’s what we’re trying to clean out of the couch in the first place, right? Right! Your couch should be really fresh and clean when you’re done with that!
I’ve never cleaned microfiber before but I didn’t want to leave anyone hanging who has microfiber furniture, so here is a great, simple, natural way to clean your microfiber from someone who’s already done the research and tested it out! Go here to get an simple cleaning strategy for your microfiber furniture.
Carpets and Rugs
Assuming your living room has a carpet floor or rug, it’s time to vacuum. Be really thorough, and get into all the corners. Move your furniture and get under every table. Yes, this is even the day where you actually use the little hose attachment nozzles to get into all the corners and right against the floorboards to pick up all those nasty dust bunnies! We are spring cleaning your living room after all.
To freshen up the rug, use the same recipe as for cleaning fabric couches. Mix together 1 cup baking soda (you’ll probably need to make more to cover your entire carpet) and 20 drops essential oil (I recommend lavender, mint, or orange). As with the couch, sprinkle the baking soda mixture all over the floor and rub it in a little bit, then leave it for 4 hours. Vacuum up the baking soda and you’re done! And you’ll have a super fresh smelling carpet.
If your carpet has some stains then just take out my two favourite cleaning products again (baking soda and vinegar) and we’ll see what we can do about that!
Sprinkle the baking soda all over the stain and rub it into the fibers of the carpet/rug. Using a spray bottle, generously spray vinegar all over the baking soda. Wait for a couple hours, until the baking soda/vinegar paste dries, then rub it loose with a clean brush. When loose, vacuum up the baking soda and BOOM. No more stains.
Your carpet may be rough after this, which means there’s still some baking soda in the carpet. Spray with vinegar again, to fizz out the baking soda, then blot with a wet towel. If it’s still rough when it dries, rub again with the brush and vacuum it out.
Linoleum and Panel Floor
If you don’t have carpet, sweep and mop your floor like normal. For grimy spots, mix some baking soda and water into a paste, then rub the spot out with a cloth.
For tile floor, mix 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup baking soda, 4 Tbsp vinegar, 4 Tbsp lemon juice in a spray bottle. Spray the tile and let it sit for two minutes, then brush it out with a bristle brush.
Shelves and Storage
Fill a bucket with warm water with a splash of vinegar and a squirt of dish soap, then using a cloth, wipe down all your shelves and cabinets. Take out whatever is in the shelf, then wipe it down thoroughly with the cloth. Do this with every surface of your shelves, storage units, entertainment units, or whatever furniture you have. Follow up the wet wiping with dry wiping for a really nice finish.
Windows and Glass
Take a microfiber or polishing cloth and wet one corner of it. With the wet corner, wipe the entire portion of glass you’re working on, then wipe it in long strokes with the dry part of the cloth.
For the window sills, I know you’ve already dusted here, but chances are there is more than dust on those sills needing to be cleaned. Again, take your soapy water bucket and cloth and wipe down the sills, followed by a dry wipe. Take special care to clean the corners of the sill and trimmings. Use a butter knife to scrape out the dirt from the corners that you can’t reach with the cloth.
If you have fabric curtains then you can just throw them in the washing machine. If you have blinds there are many ways to clean them.
You can clean mini/aluminum blinds using a simple DIY cleaning tool made out of tongs, two microfiber cloths, and 4 rubber bands. Simply wrap the cloths around both ends of the tongs and secure them with the rubber bands. Then spray your blinds with a 50:50 mix of water and vinegar and wipe the blinds between your tongs! If your blinds are very sticky and dirty, take them off the wall and soak them in a tub of warm water with a bit of dish soap, then use a sponge or soft brush to wipe between the slats. Lay them out on a towel to dry and turn them to dry the other side.
For cleaning other types of blinds (which I don’t have) check out this very thorough post on cleaning all sorts of types of blinds. You should find yours in there. Go here for cleaning other types of blinds.
After all the scrubbing and sweating it’s time to take a look at your living room, take a deep breath, and feel the joy and satisfaction of creating a clean environment for your family. A deep cleaning like this gets rid of allergy triggering dust, micro mold, funky smells, and other unwanted microorganisms.
As Marie Kondo so nicely said it, “The objective of cleaning is not just to clean, but to feel happiness living within that environment.”
So go on Superwoman, take your magic cleaning cloth and tackle this bad boy, because the environment you’ll make will be for the whole family to enjoy. Make your living room a place to enjoy living in.
Happy spring cleaning your living room!
For more posts on spring cleaning your home, check these out!
For more homemaking inspiration check out the Homemaking Party.