“Spring cleaning” history
General cleaning (originally called as “spring cleaning”) – is usually done in a spring period of time, when people do cleaning after winter.
It is more common to use “general cleaning” term for talking about comprehensive office cleaning, which is usually done in first few warm days of spring. That is why general cleaning is usually called spring cleaning. Moreover, it has also become a synonym of any other cleaning services or work organizing.
Person, who is organizing his or her work and creates audit reports and does checking, can also say that he or she does kind of a “spring cleaning”.
Perhaps a background of such a name for cleaning is connected with Noruz (the New Year festival often associated with Zoroastrianism and Parsiism) which starts on the first day of spring. Iran nation continues «khooneh tekouni», which means “house jogging” before the New Year. Everything from curtains to furniture in the house is getting cleaned while this period.
There is a same tradition in Scotland on 31st of December called “New Year cleaning”. Such practice in present times is widely spread in Ireland, New Zealand, and in some parts of North America.
It is possible to find another «spring cleaning» background in ancient Jewish practice of radical cleaning of the house before spring-memorial Easter period. Jewish have some limits in eating food or they just don`t eat some food products at all, which means the general (spring) cleaning the house from food.
This way, religious Jewish have done general house cleaning.
In North America and North Europe it is possible to find one more explanation for “spring cleaning”. In 19th century, before the vacuum cleaner was invented, in America in first days of spring when it was warm enough to open the doors and windows but not enough for insects to come into the house, there was a tradition to open all the doors and windows for the wind to take away all the dust which had collected during the year.
For the same reason in the beginning of spring modern rural household do works connected with using some chemical detergents which generate steam.
For cleaning, in Greece or some other orthodox nations, people spend a lot of time before or right during Lent (Easter fast) which is also called as “Clean week”. It also often coincides with 1st of April.