It’s time to clean the grime and make your home sparkle and shine for holiday get-togethers. All rhymes aside, it’s the season for hayrides, hay fever, cobwebs and falling leaves — all of which can make their way inside your home. If your allergies permit, open the windows and give your furnace some well-deserved time off. Also pick a few of these tasks to prepare for winter.
Clean exterior window sills. Remove the screens and scrub out the sills where dirt, bugs, leaves and even mold and moss can accumulate. At this point, it’s natural to wonder why you wanted a house with so many windows, but at least you’ll feel good about keeping your windows open.
Clean your front door and porch. If you have a garage, few people use the front door. Nevertheless, make a great impression on your visitors by wiping down the entry door and sweeping up the leaves and grass that have accumulated in the corners of the porch. Wipe down your porch lights also.
Dust or wipe down all light fixtures, ceiling fans and air duct returns. Your lights will be on more in the winter, so make sure they’re clean and bright. Look up in every room and wipe down everything above your waist, including picture frames and door jams. Use your vacuum tools and low suction setting to clean valences and the tops of your curtains. Finally, vacuum last to pick up any dust that falls down. Also reverse your ceiling fan to clockwise rotation, which will force heat downward during the winter.
Clean the kitchen cooking vents. Remove the filters and soak or wipe them down with hot, soapy water and allow to dry before replacing.
Clean up that one room. Whether it’s a basement that collects cobwebs or a storage room, closet or junk drawer, clean it out. If something doesn’t have a place, pitch, recycle or gift it.
Winter Cleaning (December/January)
It’s prime couch potato time! Whether binging on shows or watching sports, this season’s cleaning focus should be on the areas where you spend the most time and on what your holiday visitors see.
Vacuum furniture and couch pillows to remove dust, hair and maybe even food morsels. Clean all sides of the cushions and pillows. Also vacuum the platform under the cushions. We feel strongly that couch coins are strictly “finder’s keepers.”
Clean out your refrigerator while it’s cool enough to leave the doors open a little longer than normal. Hand wash the drawers, bins and shelves as well as the inside walls. With help, pull out your refrigerator and clean behind it. Use a crevice tool to vacuum the condenser coils to extend the life of this expensive appliance. While you’re at it, rearrange and throw out any condiments that haven’t been touched in a year. We promise the cocktail sauce from last Christmas is no good. Don’t forget to wipe down the top of the refrigerator. If you’re short in stature, this is an area frequently missed when cleaning, so says the tall people.
Clean shelves, mirrors, wine glasses and everything else in curios, hutches and display cabinets. A curious film coats your displayed items, including the wine and beer glasses that will be in high demand soon. So wash or wipe them down once a year, even if the cabinets are closed all year. The shine will be noticeable to your holiday guests.
Spring Cleaning (March/April)
There’s a reason the big cleaning season is called Spring Cleaning. With more daylight, it’s a great time to pull on the rubber gloves, see what’s dirty, and get it done so you can go have fun.
Clean your oven. Just in case your self-cleaning oven smokes or emits some undesirable odors, do it on a day when someone is at home and you can open your windows to vent any odors.
Clean/vacuum your dryer vent and floor ducts. The dust that collects on your floors is also piling up in your vents, where the forced air ends up blowing it into your breathing air. If you don’t regularly clean these ducts, lots of other things can collect too – bugs, pet food, toddler snacks and hairballs. Vacuum the vents and if needed, wipe them out with a wet cloth. While you’re at it, check and replace your furnace filter(s). Then go outside and clean as much of the dryer vent as you can. A vacuum wand may help.
Vacuum and rotate your mattress. There’s a reason why older mattresses weigh so much: dead skin and dust mites. Use the vacuum to clean all sides of the mattress, the baseboard behind the bed and all the way under the bed.
Clean your windows – inside and out. Use a foaming window cleaner and turn the cleaning cloth frequently to eliminate streaks. A microfiber cloth made for cleaning glass and mirrors may eliminate the need for window cleaning chemicals.
Clean your garage. If you live in a climate where there’s snow and potholes, sweep up the salt and asphalt that fell off your car during the winter. And shake out the mat outside your garage door so you’re not constantly bringing the outdoors inside.
Summer Cleaning (May - August)
It’s hot outside, so why not stay inside and beautify your home? Turn on the baseball game, or queue up some tunes and sing out loud. We won’t judge. This season’s cleaning checklist is a little shorter because it’s vacation season, and everyone needs downtime.
Clean grout on floors and showers and scrub the tubs. With the bright light you might be able to see stains that aren’t as obvious during the winter. Clean the tub and shower surrounds. Wash the shower curtains if you have them.
Wipe down all cabinets top to bottom in the kitchen, bathrooms and living areas. In the right light, you’ll see smears, particles of food and dust. If you keep trash inside a cabinet, wipe down the inside of that cabinet plus the frame and slide tracks. Don’t forget to clean above the cabinets also. Use your vacuum’s crevice tool to clean the corners inside the cabinets.
Clean knick-knacks and silk plants. There’s nothing that says “fake” more than a plant covered in dust. Make it look real by wiping it down or using your vacuum’s dusting brush tool. Remember you can reduce suction on most vacuums right on the wand.
If the year is over and you’ve done everything on this list, congratulations! We salute you. In fact, we bet you do even more deep cleaning that we left off this list. Share your additional cleaning tips or techniques with us on Facebook.com/Riccar. Happy cleaning!