Families enjoy Chinese New Year with brilliant colors, nonstop festivity, and intense cheerfulness. It is without a doubt the most important event on the Chinese calendar, and some families spend months preparing for it.

Aside from red envelopes and parades, one of the most important Chinese New Year traditions is the house-cleaning routine, known as dà sǎo chú. It begins between the 23rd and 29th of the lunar month, just before the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Whether you’re entertaining family at home or visiting relatives overseas, getting the house ready for the New Year is crucial. Entering the New Year with dirt in the house is considered bad luck in Chinese New Year tradition.

“Wash away the dirt on Ninyabaat,” as the Cantonese proverb goes. (The 28th day of the 12th month is Ninyabaat.) It’s said that cleaning your house thoroughly removes the bad luck from the previous year and prepares it for the good fortune that will surely follow in the coming year. Every nook and cranny should be cleaned, and any broken furniture, crockery, or appliances should be thrown away.

Are you preparing for the Chinese New Year? Begin with a clean slate.

Cleaning your house in readiness for the New Year

Make a list of what has to be done in the weeks leading up to the Chinese New Year to keep organized. This will ensure that you don’t overlook anything — according to tradition, everything must be cleaned. Making a list is especially useful if you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party for the family, as you’ll have a million other things on your mind.

Rooms should be swept from the entrance to the center, with trash exiting through the back door. (The good fortune enters through the front door.) Consider using eco-friendly cleaning products that won’t hurt the environment or your family when cleaning your home. 

Also, try repurposing items around your house to make cleaning easier and more efficient. The easier the job, the more time you’ll have to enjoy the festivities of Chinese New Year, such as a reunion meal, exchanging Ang Baos, and visiting relatives and friends’ homes.

Dust bunnies: Make your cleaning wand by wrapping a stocking around a broomstick or hanger. The static attraction of nylon attracts dust particles, and this easy-to-make device will help you reach even the tightest nooks and crannies, as well as the ceiling.

Lacquered surfaces:  It’s safe to use on any hard surfaces, including cabinets, tiles, furniture, window frames, and appliances. Cleaning doesn’t get much simpler than a quick spray and wipe.

Microwave: Orange peel is a fantastic natural tool for cutting through grease and food odors, and your microwave may need a burst of orange oils after a year of use. Peel a couple of oranges and heat the rinds in the microwave for 60 seconds with some water. Clean the rinds with a clean cloth after removing them.

Stubborn grease stains: If you can’t get rid of a grease stain with scrubbing, use a hairdryer to heat it. The heat will oxidize and break down the stain if you blow-dry it on high for two minutes. Remove the plastic, wipe it down, and you’re done!

Washing machine: A washing machine’s primary function is to clean, but that does not mean it is immune to dirt. It’s the ideal time to clean your washing machine with a modest bit of white, distilled vinegar. To get rid of mold and germs, run the cycle for 10-20 minutes.

Leather furniture: Add a small amount of olive oil to a cup. Dip a hand towel and wipe down your leather furniture. This can help add wonderful shine to the leather and helps to protect it. Wipe any excess oil away with a paper towel.

Keeping the good fortune going

All of the hard work has been completed in time for the Chinese New Year! Keep the good fortunes rolling in on Dà nián chū yī (1st day of CNY).

Cleaning is an important part of preparing for Chinese New Year, but it should not be done in the days afterward. According to Chinese tradition, you should not sweep again for a few days following New Year’s Day to avoid sweeping away the good luck.

So get busy now, knowing that you’ll be able to relax afterward. New Year’s greetings!