Quarantine Spring Cleaning: Tips To Keep Your Home Healthy And Sanitized

Now that many people are socially isolated, they have plenty of downtime at home. It’s the perfect time for spring cleaning. “Folks are already at home and have time … two of the biggest excuses for not organizing have just been removed,” says professional organizer Andrew Mellen.

Some people have been focusing on cleaning to remove germs during the pandemic. During quarantine, consider which areas are the most affected and what to do if you run out of disinfectants. If you need any help, keep reading these spring cleaning tips.

Take Advantage Of The Extra Time

If there’s one silver lining to quarantine, it’s extra time. “This really is kind of a rare and unique opportunity to really take your time with things and spread it out,” says Melissa Maker, the founder of Clean My Space. So, grasp at the opportunity!

A man looks out the window.

If you’re working from home, your schedule is more flexible. You can take a break in the middle of the day to clean the bathroom, sweep the porch, or wipe down the microwave. It could even clear your mind enough to return to work.

Start With A To-Do List

Before diving into house cleaning, create a list of what you want to accomplish. Otherwise, you may feel overwhelmed and scrub the bathtub twice! Write down every area you want to disinfect, every filter that needs changing, and each shelf that you can reorganize. After finishing one task and crossing it off the list, you’ll feel successful.

A man writes a shopping list.

You may want to clean some hard-to-reach areas that would otherwise consume too much of your time. Ideas include scrubbing baseboards, wiping smudges off the walls, vacuuming doormats, and donating old clothes. Afterward, you won’t have to touch those for a while!

Clear The Clutter First

Dusting is so much easier when there are few objects on the shelves. That’s why you should clear out the clutter first. Pick clothes off the floor, donate forgotten books, and throw out spoiled food. It’ll make cleaning ten times easier.

A YouTuber picks up clutter on her dresser.
Clean My Space/YouTube
Clean My Space/YouTube

When sorting through your things, divide them into three piles: trash, donate, or put away. If you still want the belonging but need it out of the way, place it in a box that you can store. Donate, sell, or throw out the rest.

For Your Health, Disinfect Your Phone Every Day

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Amy Edwards recommends cleaning your phone daily to prevent coronavirus. While it’s important to wash your hands, many people touch their phones multiple times a day–which spreads bacteria. Fortunately, it’s easy to disinfect your phone.

A person wipes down their smartphone.

Don’t rub a sanitizing wipe on your phone since it may strip the protective layer. Instead, mix equal parts of water and rubbing alcohol. Dip a microfiber cloth into the mixture and lightly wash your phone. Dry it quickly, and you’re done! If you want to save time, you can buy disinfectant wipes that are designed for phones and computers.

Say Goodbye

Quarantine is the perfect time to sort through your old belongings. When’s the last time you threw out towels with holes in them? Or donated old knick-knacks? Although many charities have temporarily closed, you can save your old clothes to give away in the future.

Wardrobe organizers sort through a client's clothes.
Visual China Group via Getty Images
Visual China Group via Getty Images

Removing old supplies can help you, too. “During these uncertain times, cleaning and organizing your home can provide a sense of order and control over your environment,” says Samantha Blumenthal, spokesperson for thredUP. Store your old stuff in bags and boxes to donate later.

Divide And Conquer

Don’t tackle the entire house at once. Since you’ll stay home for a while, you can divide tasks by weekday. This will also help you keep track of the weekdays (because let’s be real; the days blur together after a while!). To divide and conquer, assign one task per weekday.

A man mops a wooden kitchen floor.
Olly Curtis/T3 Magazine/Future via Getty Images
Olly Curtis/T3 Magazine/Future via Getty Images

For instance, on Monday you can dust, on Tuesday you can clean the fridge, on Wednesday you can wash the sheets, etc. It keeps your workload light and gives you something to do during this stressful time.

Make DIY Disinfectants

Disinfectants and cleaning supplies have rapidly sold out of stores. If you find yourself low on supplies, you can make your own. For instance, the best alternative to sanitizing wipes is heavily diluted bleach, says internal medicine resident Dr. Koushik Kasanagottu. Stir five tablespoons of bleach into one gallon of water, dip a towel in, and wipe.

DIY disinfect bottles of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide sit on a table.

Hydrogen peroxide can also make an effective sanitizer. The Environmental Protection Agency claims that the disinfectant is effective against SARS-CoV-2. If you dilute it, though, it may have to sit for six to eight minutes to work.

If You Want To, Disinfect Your Packages

Since most stores are closed during quarantine, many people order online. Recently, USPS has announced that packages do not carry the virus more than any other public surface, even deliveries from China. But if it makes you feel better, you may want to disinfect your package lightly.

Postal worker disinfects packages.
Yuttachai Kongprasert/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images

All the package needs is a once-over with a sanitizing wipe. If you want to, wait 24 hours before opening the box. According to a study from Yale, COVID-19 can only survive on surfaces for 24 hours.

Clean Room By Room

If you clean the kitchen counter, then the toilet, then the bedroom curtains, that’s a solid way to lose track of what you’ve done. The most practical way to sweep through your house is by tackling one room at a time. It’s easier, and you’ll see the results more quickly.

A man vacuums his carpet.
Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

While creating your to-do list, create a different section for each room. This will further split up your tasks to make housecleaning seem much more manageable. If you live with roommates, you can decide who tackles which room.

Do A Computer Cleanse

Quarantine is also the perfect time for technological cleaning. If your desktop is covered in files, or if unnecessary documents are consuming your computer storage, you may want to clear it out. Delete old files from your computer and take out the trash.

A woman takes a break from working on her laptop to pet her dog.
Nicolas Armer/picture alliance via Getty Images
Aditya Irawan/NurPhoto via Getty Images

While you’re at it, you may want to update your LinkedIn profile and resume. Download your photos off of Facebook to create a digital backup. Technological spring cleaning takes time, but there’s no better time than social isolation, right?

Defrost Your Freezer

While stocking up for quarantine, many people stock up on frozen foods that will last a long time. But if your freezer is covered in frost, you may want to clean it before filling it. If the frost contains any meat juice, the bacteria could spread to your other foods.

A redditor shows the frost that has accumulated in their freezer.

To defrost a freezer, unplug it. Keep your frozen meals in a sealed bag with an ice pack while the frost melts. To speed up the process, place a bowl of hot water inside. After it all melts, wipe it down.

Clean Your Other Laundry Items, Too

For the most part, washing your clothes is enough to kill off any bacteria or viruses that stick to them. But make sure that your laundry accessories are clean, too. For instance, if you use a laundry hamper or basket, disinfect those–especially if you touch them frequently.

A graphic shows a laundry basket filled with clothes next to detergent.

Sanitize your hampers and baskets, and wash the liners. The CDC recommends lining your laundry basket for cleaner clothes. Also, wash your hands after handling dirty laundry. You can never be too careful during this pandemic.

Spot Clean Your Cabinets

Long-lasting shelf foods, such as pasta noodles and canned beans, are selling out during the pandemic. Since these foods sit on your shelves, you may want to spot clean your cabinets. Over time, cabinets accumulate crumbs, dust, and possibly leaks.

An open cupboard in a kitchen is full of food.
Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images
Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

To clean cabinets, mix a paste of 1/2 tablespoon of water, 1/2 tablespoon of dish soap, and one tablespoon of baking soda. Lightly rub the paste into the cabinets with a clean, disposable cloth. Rinse thoroughly before drying your cabinets fully and refilling them.

Wash Your Cleaning Tools

When’s the last time you cleaned your vacuum? When people clean, they often forget that their cleaning supplies get dirty, too. Sanitizing your mop, vacuum, and broom will result in a cleaner home.

A person replaces the dust filter in his vacuum.
Joko/Bildagentur-online/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Joko/Bildagentur-online/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

While in quarantine, take care of your cleaning supplies. Soak your mop in two gallons of water and one cup of vinegar for 15 minutes. Disinfect your vacuum by taking it apart and scrubbing it in soap and warm water. Bang out your broom. If your tools look new, your spring cleaning will feel more satisfying.

Repurpose T-Shirts

After you sort through old clothes, you may have old t-shirts, pajamas, and sweats that you have no use for. Consider using them as cleaning cloths. Cut the cloth up into smaller sections and use them to wipe down mirrors, cabinets, window blinds, and shelves.

Two scissors are laid out to cut an old grey t-shirt and a white pillow case.

During quarantine, most charities aren’t open. You’ll have to wait a while to donate your old clothes, so if you want to lighten the load, repurpose them as soft cleaning cloths. You can wash them to reuse for dusting later.

How Clean Is Your Dishwasher?

If your pipes have hard water, calcium may build up in your dishwasher. This causes spots to form on your dishes after washing. Plus, food grease can gather and spread in dirty dishwashers–which is the last thing you want while trying to stay healthy.

A woman loads the dishwasher.
marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

To clean your dishwasher, remove the bottom rack and declog the drain. Afterward, pour a cup of white vinegar into an empty dishwasher. Run the hot water cycle. For a fresh-smelling dishwasher, sprinkle one cup of baking soda into the machine and run it on a short cycle.

When In Doubt, Wipe Down Frequently-Touched Surfaces

As a general rule, the more you touch a space, the dirtier it’ll be. Since COVID-19 spreads on hands, any high-touch place will be at risk, too. These include doorknobs, keyboards, counters, sink handles, remote controllers, and light switches.

A person cleans a doorknob.

While cleaning these surfaces, wash first and disinfect afterward. Wipe off the dust with light soap and water (you may need a different mixture for electronics). Dry it, and then sanitize it with a disinfecting wipe. That should be enough to keep you safe and healthy.

Sanitize Your Knife Block

Are you cooking more while you’re at home all the time? If yes, you’re not alone. Many people are picking up new recipes during social isolation. If you’re chopping a lot, it may be time to disinfect your knife block. Those are breeding grounds for bacteria!

A single knife handle sticks out of a wooden knife block.

To start, shake out the crumbs. Scrub the block with a baby bottle brush and hot, soapy water. After you rinse the block, disinfect it with a milk bleach solution. Combine one tablespoon of bleach with one gallon of water, and soak the block for one minute. Let it dry entirely before re-inserting your knives.

Post Before And After Pictures

You deserve to feel proud of your work. Since everyone’s on social media anyway, why not post about your successful quarantine project? Telling a friend or family member about your spring cleaning may also keep you accountable. If you promise to clean your space, you’ll want to deliver.

A man takes a photo of himself in a mirror.

Tik Tok and Instagram users have hopped on this spring cleaning trend. Showing off your work may help you feel productive and connected to others during social isolation. Plus, you can scroll through the tags for inspiration.

Purify The Indoor Air

When people stay inside their homes all day, the air can get stuffy. You can clean the indoor air without using chemicals. The best method is to open your windows. As long as you’re staying six feet apart from others, there’s nothing wrong with getting some fresh air!

A woman smells the air after opening a window.

Next, clean your air filters. Dust with the windows open and run a fan if you want the sanitizing spray smell to go away. For a fresh new smell, light a scented candle or run an essential oil diffuser.