Contrary to the spring cleaning tradition, you don’t have to save all your heavy household cleaning for the spring months. In fact, there are many seasonal cleaning routines you can perform so that your home is in tip-top shape year-round.
Along with the season’s heat comes humidity. Mold and bacteria live on countertops, table surfaces, showers, carpet, and pillows. You name it and there’s probably some sort of bacteria lurking. Excessive humidity and warm temps spur mold and dust mite population growth, causing some people to run for the tissue box or even the doctor.
One way to reduce humidity is to ensure your home is properly ventilated. Keep the bathroom exhaust fan running for at least 30 minutes after you shower. You can also open up your windows to allow fresh air through and turn on some small fans around your home. Water leaks can also lead to humidity. Check for water rings in your ceiling or walls, and also look for leaks in your pipes or plumbing. Baking soda is an inexpensive way to reduce excess moisture and reduce any odors. You can leave an open container or pour some into a bowl, cover it with a non-woven cloth and place it in your fridge, pantry, cupboard space or underneath your bathroom and kitchen sinks.
Garbage arguably smells worse in the summer heat. To prevent the stench from becoming overwhelming when your home is warmer inside, store extra liners on the bottom of your trash can to protect it from spills and leaks. In the summer, you have an advantage of being able to go outside and spray trash cans out with a hose.
For outdoor cleaning, scrub the deck and any sidewalks you may have while taking advantage of the beautiful weather. Your grill probably doesn’t get used as much in the colder months, so summer is the best time to clean it since there’s probably a larger collection of leftovers from food.
Since you can keep doors and windows open in the summer months, clean the sliding patio doors and grease them. Buy or rent a power washer from a home-supply store and power wash your fences, deck and gates. Also, make sure to wipe down any patio furniture to reduce pollen and dirt. Check your home’s gutters, too, for any debris.
The summer eventually has to come to an end, and there are a few things you should take care of in the fall, before hunkering down for winter. Although it may seem far off, the winter holidays will quickly creep up on you, so you’ll want to have a clean space for entertaining guests.
It’s time to put away summer items and bring out household items that will prepare you for the cold months. Definitely see what you can donate or discard, and bring your winter linens and clothing out of storage and give them a fresh wash.
Wash all of your screens before storing them for the winter. In turn, wipe down your storm windows before putting them back in for the winter.
If you have a chimney, ensure it’s free of soot and creosote, which is a residue that can cause fires and build up on the chimney’s inner walls.
Before stocking your fridge and cabinets with holiday cooking supplies, wipe down all of the shelves and store away any appliances you use less than once a week.
Vacuum or professionally clean your upholstered furniture. Clean baseboards and window sills with a vacuum attachment or wipe them down with a moist rag, as well as your lighting fixtures.
One of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll want to keep in check during the winter is your furnace. If you have a fireplace as well as a furnace, there’s more debris in the air. Changing your furnace filter once a month helps make your home more efficient and keeps your air cleaner. Also, make sure to check if your furnace has accumulated a coat of dust and grime around it and to keep it clean.
One downside to coming inside during the winter months is all the salt you may track in. Salt easily collects in carpet and makes an unpleasant white coat on hardwood floors. To keep a clean house, steam clean your carpet and scrub the floors often. Using cookie sheets with raised edges in your entryways helps prevent a puddly mess in your entrance.
Since winter strips the air of most of its moisture, dust accumulates easily. Dust your home’s surfaces from top to bottom weekly to help keep the dust down and germ levels low. Places that are easy to overlook include ceiling fan blades, lighting fixtures and the tops of window moldings and books. This will help brighten up the inside of your home as the daylight hours get short. You could also consider hiring a professional to clean your air ducts. Not only will this reduce dust, germs and allergens floating around, but it can also help your furnace run more efficiently.
Although it’s smart to regularly clean your windows. Winter months can bring about a different kind of filth on them if you have a fireplace or burn candles. Give all your windows a good wipe down!
Finally, there may be some things that are used everyday, but rarely cleaned. Moisture, fumes and smoke from cooking has probably created a thick film on your kitchen’s ceiling fan. Using a mix of a small amount of mild dish soap in a bucket of warm water and gently scrubbing it with a sponge is the cure.
Winter is also a good time to clean your computer. Did you know that the average computer keyboard is dirtier than a toilet seat? For computer cleaning tips, check out our “How to Clean Your Computer Without Damaging It” article.
If you’ve had a good track record of cleaning throughout the seasons, so spring cleaning shouldn’t be a daunting task.
For your kitchen, clean out your oven with a mixture of baking soda, dish liquid, and vinegar. You could also wash out, clean and organize any medicine cabinets or other storage areas.
Check out your closet. Can you see the floor? Look for any clothes you can put away or a new system of organization that will make things easier for you.
In checklist form, here’s a list of great ways to clean your home!