Spring cleaning tasks you can do in under 20 minutes – for a fresh space without the stress

Spring cleaning doesn't have to suck up all your energy – these six tasks take less than 20 minutes

A glass jar filled with natural bamboo cleaning tools
(Image credit: victoriya89 via Getty Images)

As the weather warms up it is easy to get excited for days spent out in the sun and springtime growth. But it is also easy to get bogged down worrying about spring cleaning. 

Fear not, however, cleaning experts reassure us. While spring cleaning checklists can seem never-ending, there are plenty of spring cleaning tasks you can do in under 20 minutes to take some of the pressure off your house overhaul. 

These are the six rapid-fire cleaning tasks you can tackle in under 20 minutes to nail a spring cleaning blitz and enjoy springtime without feeling overwhelmed.  

Spring cleaning tasks you can do in under 20 minutes 

One of the best ways to spring clean without getting overwhelmed is to plan your tasks out and prioritize areas you usually don't clean – this stops you from wasting time and energy on areas you cleaned just last week, or are likely to clean again in a week. 

1. Clean out your HVAC system

HVAC

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Unless you are a fastidious cleaner, you are likely guilty of forgetting to clean an air conditioner or HVAC system, even though it takes less than 20 minutes. If you are looking for a quick spring cleaning task to feel productive and benefit your home, this is the best place to start, suggests Ken Doty, cleaning expert at The Maids. 

Focusing on the HVAC filter is a must, cleaning them or replacing them entirely before summer can help to prolong its lifespan and better improve air filtering for allergy sufferers. With those dealt with, it is also a good idea to give the unit a wipe down too to remove dust and grime build-up, Ken adds. You might also want to consider scheduling a service, too. 

2. Clean behind appliances

Fridge

(Image credit: Future)

One of the most forgotten spring cleaning dirt spots is behind your appliances and large furniture pieces. While you might assume that these spots don't get dirty as they are largely blocked off, large amounts of dust, hair, and grease can collect out of sight, often contributing to musty smells and bacteria growth. 

While pulling your appliances out of their places can be a physically demanding job, it is often a quick one as you only need to pull the appliance out just enough that you can access the floor behind it with a vacuum cleaner to remove dust, and a mop or steam cleaner if needed to break down grease (especially in the kitchen). 

You can make this task easier and often even quicker by working in a pair, having one person move appliances while the other cleans. 

3. Scrub your oven – especially the window

A double gas stove with a broiler drawer

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Although we should be cleaning an oven at least once per month to prevent dangerous grease build-up, committing to a deep clean where you remove the door and scrub the oven racks can be a quick but satisfying spring cleaning trick to feel productive, suggests cleaning expert Ken Doty:

‘Cleaning an oven door can sometimes take longer if you haven't cleaned it in a while, but this task shouldn't take longer than 20 minutes,’ he assures. ‘I recommend using The Pink Stuff to help clean the oven window and get it back to looking new during your deep clean.’

4. Spruce up your shower

Marble shower with glass frameless doors

(Image credit: Future)

As with ovens, you should be cleaning a shower weekly, but you can take some time in spring to do a deep clean to restore shower glass to nearly new, suggests Angela Rubin, cleaning expert and owner of Hellamaid

To get the most out of this task and avoid falling into your regular cleaning routine, focus on removing limescale from the shower glass, Angela suggests. One way to do this is to clean with vinegar, spraying the area and letting it sit to help dissolve soap scum and break down mineral deposits before scrubbing them away, but you might want to consider a mild abrasive, such as cleaning with The Pink Stuff, to help quickly scrub away tough watermarks without introducing more water to the surface that could smear or hide existing stains.

Be sure to check this on a small area of glass first to ensure it doesn't cause scratching or dulling.

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5. Dust baseboards and vacuum the edges of your room

cleaning baseboards with microfiber cloth

(Image credit: Alamy)

If your spring cleaning goal is to remove dust in your home, the edges of your rooms should be a key focus. Dusting baseboards and vacuuming around the edges of your floors with a nozzle attachment where dust and hair accumulate out of the reach of your standard vacuum head will help to instantly make a room look cleaner and more polished in less than 20 minutes, says Ken Doty, cleaning expert.  

6. Wipe down windows

cozy bedroom with built in window seat for reading and a vintage four poster bed

(Image credit: Plaster & Patina / Photography Amy Partlam)

Cleaning windows without streaks is one of the quickest and most effective spring cleaning tasks that you can often do in less than 20 minutes if you work efficiently, suggests Gabriella Dyson, Head of Solved at Homes & Gardens

‘To get this task done quickly, use the one-tool cleaning method. Start by polishing the inside of all of your windows first, using a glass cleaner, such as Method from Walmart, and a microfiber cloth to remove smears and dust. Make sure to also clean the frames and any handles or latches. When you have done this to every window then move on to the next tool and clean window tracks, using either a fresh cloth or duster (sometimes even a vacuum cleaner nozzle) to remove dust and grease from the tracks to ensure your windows close and open smoothly in spring and summer and to keep the seals in good condition.’ 

Cleaning the outside of your windows may take you longer, and may even require professional help for higher floors if you are not confident on a ladder. You can take the time to schedule this now, or you can leave the task for summer when there is less chance of spring rain mucking up the glass again, Gabriella adds. 

FAQs

What is the 10-minute rule for cleaning?

The 10-minute cleaning rule is a great way to ensure your home is always presentable and not overwhelming. It involves spending 10 minutes twice a day (usually before bed and when you first wake up) going around your home and putting things away. This can help start your day on a productive note and end it by ensuring your most commonly used areas are tidy to avoid stress when you first wake up. More often than not, these short bursts of productivity are perfect for keeping your home under control.  

How long should spring cleaning take?

How long spring cleaning will take will generally depend on the size of space you have to clean and the tasks you want to get done. Usually, spring cleaning involves tackling areas you usually forget, such as behind furniture, baseboards, and windows. This can take a single day if you start early, or could take up to a week if you work slowly.  


If rapidly cleaning your home isn't for you, there are plenty of other ways to approach spring cleaning to avoid stress or burnout. Trying something akin to slow cleaning this spring can offer a more mindful approach to preparing your home for the warmer months instead.  

Chiana Dickson
Writer

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.