AT HOME MAGAZINE

Spring cleaning checklist: Hire it out or DIY?

You can freshen up your mattress with a thorough vacuuming and a bit of baking soda, but your carpets and upholstery would benefit most from professional services. (Dreamstime)
You can freshen up your mattress with a thorough vacuuming and a bit of baking soda, but your carpets and upholstery would benefit most from professional services. (Dreamstime)

If you’re like most homeowners, your home maintenance to-do list is longest during the spring. Over the course of a few short weeks, you need to clean house, get organized and tend to any essential maintenance issues that resulted from winter’s harsh weather.

Chances are, you can’t get to everything on the list yourself, which is where the pros come in. But which projects should you hire out and which should you tackle yourself? HomeAdvisor’s Spring Cleaning Checklist provides guidance by dividing the projects into those that are complex or time-consuming enough to require a professional, versus those that are truly DIY-friendly. Plus, we’ve included the average cost to hire a pro as reported by real homeowners in HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide.

HIRE IT OUT

DEEP CLEAN CARPETS AND UPHOLSTERY

Regular vacuuming is important, but once a year it’s worth hiring a professional cleaning surface to come in with the heavy-duty equipment. Most companies use hot water extraction to remove deep-seeded dust, dirt and allergens, and their spot cleaning treatments will take up stubborn stains, maybe left over from the holidays.

Furniture cleaning average cost: $162

Carpet cleaning average cost: $176

RESEAL BATHROOM GROUT

Grimy grout not only looks gnarly, it can harbor microbes and mold, which can quickly spread to other parts of the bathroom. The longer you let it go, the worse it gets. Over-the-counter cleaners aren’t nearly as effective as pros, who will come armed with steam equipment and specialized cleaning solutions.

Grout sealing average cost: $449

TREAT THE DECK

All decks benefit from a spring power washing to blast away grime and mildew. The equipment can be dangerous, so it’s best left to the pros. Wooden decks must also be sealed every few years — or more often if you choose a transparent stain, which shows the wood grain but doesn’t provide as much protection as solid or semi-transparent stains.

Power washing average cost: $250

Deck sealing average cost: $840

CLEAN GUTTERS

Clogged gutters can lead to a litany of problems, including leaky roofs and cracked foundation walls. Given the hazards of climbing ladders, especially on two and three-story homes, this is another project that you should probably let the pros handle.

Gutter cleaning average cost: $152

SERVICE COOLING EQUIPMENT

An annual tune-up, ideally ahead of the cooling season, will keep your central air system running at optimal efficiency and minimize the risk of a mid-summer conk out. Heating and cooling contractors get busy once the weather warms, so schedule your appointment as early as possible.

AC service average cost: $80-$100

DIY-FRIENDLY

CLEAR YARD DEBRIS

Start by raking up fallen leaves and dead foliage from foundation beds; left unchecked, this debris can choke off plants and foster disease. If you don’t have a compost pile or bin, consider starting one with the collected leaves and foliage.

ORGANIZE CLOSETS

First separate items into “keep,” “toss” and “donate” piles. If you haven’t worn a garment in the last year, it’s ready to go. Remember to vacuum the empty closet. When restocking, group like items together and store them by frequency of use, for example keeping clothing and shoes at eye level and seasonal accessories on an upper shelf.

CLEAN MATTRESSES

Remove sheets and covers and machine wash in hot water. Vacuum mattresses using your vacuum’s upholstery attachment. Then deodorize the mattress by sprinkling baking soda over the entire surface and leaving it on for several hours, or overnight if possible. Vacuum again before remaking the bed with fresh sheets.

WASH WINDOWS

It’s worth investing in a good-quality rubber squeegee, which our pros say delivers the best lint- and streak-free cleaning. Note that most double-hung windows have tilting sashes that allow you to tilt them in for easy cleaning of the window exteriors.

WIPE DOWN HARD-TO-REACH SURFACES

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Counters and floors get cleaned throughout the year. Spring is the time to wipe down out-of-the-way surfaces. Try this homemade cleaning solution: one part ammonia to eight parts water, plus a few drops of dish detergent. Walls and baseboards in high-traffic areas collect dirt and grime, as do kitchen cabinets and the areas behind the refrigerator, range and laundry appliances.

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.