The weather is warming up and spring has sprung – making it the perfect time to give your home a good spring clean. Mercia de Jager from Miele SA offers some tips to help you clean and declutter your home, as well as some very useful advice on how to clean your appliances.

The coming of the warmer weather is a great indicator that it is time to bust open your home’s windows, and to give it a thorough spring clean. After spending so many months at home, and largely indoors, during lockdown, it is probably in dire need of one. But where to start – here are some tips from Miele’s Mercia de Jager to help make your spring clean a synch:

Map out a plan of attack

A thorough spring clean is not going to happen in a day, so it is a wise idea to map out a plan of attack and put your organisation ideas down on paper, with a designated date so that you can consciously put that time aside for the tasks ahead. Says Mercia: “The best way to handle a good spring clean is to organise the task at hand room by room. Then break down the cleaning into manageable tasks by making a bulleted list of what needs to be done. The kitchen is by far the biggest task to declutter, as there are lots of cupboards, a pantry, laundry room, and appliances to clean – so be sure to put aside a few days for this task.”

Declutter and tidy

One thing that spending so much time at home has taught most people is just how much stuff they actually have, notes Mercia: “Before you can start deep cleaning any space, it is imperative that you sort all the items that you want to keep, from the things that you don’t want to keep, and then put everything in its rightful place.” She strongly recommends decluttering: “It is really surprising how much stuff you can collect in 12 months, which most often just sits around gathering dust. Remember that if it doesn’t serve you, then you have to question why you are holding on to it – you should rather sell it or give it away to charity.” Once all the shelves, countertops, floor areas, and surfaces have been decluttered, organised and cleared, you can start cleaning.

Vacuums to the rescue

Vacuums are an incredibly useful appliance when it comes to general cleaning – and this is especially true for when you are spring cleaning, says Mercia: “For a truly thorough cleaning, it is essential that you clean in all those hard to reach places that will usually be left out during a general clean. This is where all the vacuum tools and nozzles really come in handy – take your time to select the correct nozzle for reaching into crevices, to dust or for cleaning soft furnishings, upholstery or window dressings. These nozzles are also ideal for cleaning out drawers and inside cupboards and cabinets. Miele for example, offers a number of specialised nozzles for their vacuum cleaners, including a Dusting Brush with gentle bristles and a flexible swivel joint to take care of all your dusting needs; a universal brush that boasts premium synthetic bristles for cleaning heavy duty surfaces; an extra wide Mattress Nozzle for mattresses and sofas; and a Long Crevice Nozzle for cleaning in hard-to-reach places, like behind pieces of furniture for example.”

She advises to select a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filtration system, which will not only clean your home, but will also purify the air you breathe: “There is nothing worse than vacuuming your home, only to see that the vacuum you are using is releasing the majority of dust back into the air to resettle in a few minutes. As such, it is essential to select one with a high-end filtration system such as those from Miele, which boast a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration system. These systems offer an advanced level of cleanliness, as they are able to trap particles that are as small a 0,1 of a micron, ensuring that they capture allergens and bacteria, as well as all the usual household dirt and dust – leaving your home and the air you breathe cleaner after use.”

Unpacking the problem

When it comes to your cupboards, you need to take everything out, so that you can clean them inside and out. This is especially true in the kitchen, notes Mercia: “It is best to completely empty each cupboard in order to get a clear idea of all the things you have and the things you really shouldn’t be holding on to. So often, you forget about tins, spices and dried herbs that are stored out of sight at the back of cupboards. Rather throw out anything that is past its ‘best before’ date. Then use a dusting brush attachment to vacuum out any crumbs and dust, before you spray the surfaces down with an anti-bacterial cleaner and wipe them down. Once this is completed, then can you repack your shelves with edible food and useful items.”

Soft on soft furnishings

It is essential to clean soft furnishings such as curtains, duvets, pillows and cushion covers every now and again. If your washing machine does not have a special programme designed for curtains, pillows and duvets, then always be on the side of caution and wash them with the most delicate programme possible. Miele has a special programme designed for this task that will take all the hassle out of this task. It has also developed a special Pillows programme for washing pillows hygienically. The high temperature and extra water used in this programme are effective in the battle against dust mites and dust mite faeces. For perfect results we recommend Miele’s Down items special detergent.

Clean your appliances

Your home’s appliances – from the fridge, to the freezer, oven, hob, microwaves, dishwasher and washing machine – all work hard year-round to make your life easier. But they also need a spring clean every so often to keep them looking as good as new. Mercia offers some tips on how to best achieve this:

Ovens: Ideally, you want an oven with a Pyrolytic Cleaning function, such as those from Miele, as this allows you to quickly and effortlessly clean the oven. This special programme heats the inside of the oven to over 400°C, turning any grease and food residue to ash, which can then simply be wiped away. If you don’t have an oven with this programme, then stubborn stains and grease can be removed with a specialist cleaning product, such as Miele’s Oven Cleaner for example, which can be sprayed on and left for a few minutes to reduce baked-on food residue to a jelly-like substance that can be wiped away.

Microwaves: Your microwave can end up looking extremely grimy due to the mixture of splatters and smells that are left inside after use. It is pretty simple to clean a microwave. Simply combine 1 cup of water, with the lemon of 1 lemon / orange / lime into a microwave-safe bowl. Add 2 tablespoon of white or apple cider vinegar to the mix. Place it inside the microwave and turn it on high for several minutes until the mixture boils and the window steams up. Let it cool for 5 minutes before removing the bowl. Take out the turntable plate and put it in the dishwasher, and wipe down the inner cabinet of your microwave with a sponge.

Hobs: Hobs take a battering as they are used daily for cooking meals. Miele’s Ceramic and Stainless Steel Cleaner is incredibly effective for cleaning both ceran and stainless steel hob surfaces. It works quickly to remove grease and baked-on food residue, leaving the hob surface gleaming and good as new.

Fridges: Before you can clean your fridge, you will need to remove all the food stored inside and place them in a cooler box while you are cleaning. Now you can remove all the shelves, door racks and vegetable drawers, and wash them thoroughly using warm water and antibacterial soap and leave to dry. Some fridges, such as those from Miele for example, boast dishwasher-proof shelves and door racks, which allows them to be easily and hygienically cleaned in the dishwasher. You may find a little build-up in the drain hole at the back of your fridge, and this ought to be cleaned with a bottle brush and some warm, soapy water. Wipe down the fridge’s inner cabinet, and then it is time to replace all the shelves, rack and drawers inside.

Freezers: Remove all the food from the freezer and store it in the fridge while cleaning. Then remove all the drawers and wash them with warm, soapy water, removing any crumbs or food residue. Make sure they are completely dry before returning them to the freezer. While they are dying, you can wipe down the inner cavity of the freezer, ensuring that you dry it thoroughly and leave no moisture or residue. If you do not want to empty the entire freezer, then you can always clean one freezer drawer at a time, as all the food can then remain in the freezer.

Washing machines & dishwashers: Remember, that even appliances that help you clean, such as your washing machine and dishwasher, need cleaning once in a while. Running low temperature wash cycles will save you money on your utility bills, but it will also lead to grease and dirt build-up over time, so it is essential that you run regular maintenance programmes in order to keep everything working as it should. Miele also sells IntenseClean formula, which has been purposefully designed to give washing machines and dishwashers a really good deep clean. If you use it together with a hot water wash, it will get rid of any unwanted build-up.