The Ultimate All-Natural Cleaning Guide: 21 Ways to Spring Clean Your Whole House Naturally
Love it or ignore it, spring-cleaning season is upon us again.
While it’s refreshing to throw open the windows and sweep up the crumbs behind the fridge every now and then, there’s plenty of things you can do around the house today that can increase the value of your home tomorrow. You don't have to wait for the polar vortex subsides.
“Start with a good, deep clean,” says Airdrie, Alberta, realtor Michelle Carre. “Think about things like scuff marks on baseboards, cleaning the window sills and blinds. Really get in there and get it to a point where maintaining it is going to be a lot easier because all the hard stuff’s done.”
If the thought of spending a sunny spring day inside with dust bunnies and cob webs is as unappealing as it sounds, Carre says it’s there’s value in hiring someone else to do it.
“Investing in a professional cleaner to do a deep clean is probably well worth it,” she says.
“They come in as a team of two or three or four and have it done in a couple of hours.”
Be sure to dust ceiling fans — to avoid a “dust rain” when you turn the thing on after so much neglect — as well as light fixtures.
Other cleaning jobs and small fixes can do a world of good for your home’s value.
“Whether you paint your house or fix up the yard, your efforts don’t need to be costly; even inexpensive improvements and minor repairs go far toward attracting buyers,” says Anne Wolf, sales representative with Sutton Wolf Realty Brokerage in Strathroy, Ont.
“It’s best to avoid making major renovations just to sell the house since you’re unlikely to recoup those costs from your selling price. Make minor repairs to items such as leaky faucets, slow drains, torn screens, gutters, loose doorknobs, and broken windows.”
Priorities in the home when it comes to resale value include the kitchen, bathrooms, and front entrance. That last one is often overlooked, Carre says. Make sure the doorbell functions and that the lock works well. Consider replacing dated or worn handles and giving the door a fresh coat of paint.
“The front porch is where you [potential buyers] spend the most amount of time: if I have to struggle with the key, they’re standing there,” Carre says. “They’ll look around and if it’s not presentable they’re already doing price reductions in their mind. They start liking the house less and less.”
If you’re thinking resale, you don’t necessarily have to overhaul the kitchen and bathroom, renos that can get pricey, swiftly.
“I don’t suggest people go and spend a bunch of money,” Carre says. “But sometimes it’s worth looking at smaller jobs. If you’ve updated the back splash and countertops in your kitchen but still have 1995 emerald green carpet on the stairs, it’s probably worth it to go get a quote and maybe spend money on getting the stairs redone.
“If it’s just a staircase or one room where there are tears in the linoleum or original carpet, spending a little bit of money can make a huge difference,” she adds.
If you really want to take it up a notch, consider getting rid of the “popcorn” ceilings that were so popular in the 1970s — just remember to get the stuff tested for asbestos before handling it yourself or hiring someone to remove it.
In other cases, cosmetic touches aren’t enough.
“Water stains on ceilings or in the basement alert buyers to potential problems,” Wolf says. “Don’t try to cosmetically cover up stains caused by leaks. If you’ve fixed the water problem, repair the damage.”
Wolf points to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation Maintenance Schedule as a useful guide to small jobs now that can also save you on bigger repairs down the road.
Among its tips:
- Check eaves troughs and downspouts for obstruction and loose joints.
- Seek out any damaged caulking and weather stripping around windows, doorways, and electrical outlets.
- Keep an eye on exterior siding and trim for signs of deterioration and clean, repaint or replace if necessary.
- Check the stability of guardrails and handrails.
- Look for and seal off any holes in the exterior that could mean an entryway for small pests.
- Patch cracks in walkways, replace loose bricks, and repair broken steps.
- Ensure that that bathroom exhaust fans and kitchen range hoods are operating properly.