By Steph Coelho
Couch Covers and Pillows
People with pets might tackle this cleaning task multiple times a year. But even pet-less individuals should consider a heavy-duty couch cleaning job once in a while. You probably spend a significant chunk of time on your couch doing all manner of things, including eating and drinking. Over time, those pillows get real grimy. Call a professional or rent an upholstery cleaning machine to get all that dirt out of your couch cushions. If you have a couch with zippered covers, toss those in the washing machine—just make sure to thoroughly read the care instructions.
Clean Your Oven
Speaking of baking, now is the time to clean inside your oven. There will no doubt be many spills ahead, but why not start off with a clean slate? Fall is a great time to use the self-clean setting on your oven: You can open windows to ventilate the kitchen without letting in frigid outdoor air, yet the high oven temps won’t leave you sweating bullets. Avoid running the self-cleaning function if you have any avian pets in your home, though, as they’re susceptible to fumes of all kinds. Before starting the self-clean mode, remove oven racks, open your windows, and make sure that your kitchen fan is on.
Windows and Window Treatments
Your window treatments have likely been ignored since the spring—and maybe longer. Now is the time to carefully remove and wash your curtains and draperies. Dust curtain rods and read labels before shoving anything into your washing machine or dryer. Most curtains should be air-dried, which is why fall is the ideal time for washing these oft-ignored accents. Unlike spring, fall is a relatively dry time of year, so you shouldn’t have to battle the elements when leaving your draperies out to dry on the clothesline.
Refresh Your Interior
When you think of a home reset, you probably think of spring as the perfect time to air out the house in expectation of the hot summer ahead. But don’t discount fall as the ideal cleaning season just yet. There are a host of essential cleaning tasks to tackle before cold weather encourages indoor hibernation. People tend to spend more time indoors during the winter, so it makes sense to wash, clean, and refresh interior spaces before settling in for the long haul. Here are the things you should get to first.
Inside Your Cupboards
Take stock of what’s inside your cupboards and get rid of anything you haven’t used in a while. Check whether you need to replace any missing plates or wine glasses in anticipation of the holiday season. Over time, a thick layer of dust can build up inside your kitchen cabinets and it can require considerable effort to remove. Using a hose attachment, vacuum what you can and then spray and scrub with your preferred cleaning solution. If you’re making a day of it, clean your pantry, too. Throw away anything that’s expired while you’re at it.
Swap out dirty, grimy air filters and remove vent covers for a thorough cleaning. If it’s still warm enough outside, spray them down with your garden hose and let them dry in the sun. Fall is also an excellent time to clean your air ducts. Air filters don’t catch every single speck of dust and debris, which is why your HVAC system needs a helping hand once in a while. Cleaner ducts also mean your system will run more efficiently, eating up less energy and saving money on your energy bill.
Bust the Dust
Sure, you vacuum regularly, but when was the last time you cleaned behind and under large pieces of furniture, like that living room sectional? Do a deep whole-house vacuum job at least once before the winter. Sucking up all that built-up debris will feel incredibly satisfying, and you’ll breathe easier once the task is complete.
Disinfect Trash Cans
Get as much use out of your hose as you can before it’s time to shut off the water supply for the winter. Bring your trash bins outside and hose them down. Fill with diluted bleach and leave to soak for a few hours. Rinse off and scrub away any remaining nasty bits. If your kitchen trash cans are kept inside a sliding cabinet, be sure to wash in there, too.
Summertime means a lot of foot traffic in and out of the home. People with pets especially will notice that this buzz of activity tends to significantly impact baseboards. The muck gravitates there and is hard to remove without a thorough scrubbing. Use a dusting cloth to wipe away surface dust and then get on your hands and knees to scrub away stubborn grime. If your baseboards are particularly stained, it may be worthwhile to spend a day painting them. Paint solves almost everything, after all!
Clean Behind Appliances
‘Tis the season of comfort food and family meals. Start your cooking stretch fresh by giving your kitchen a deep clean. Wipe everything down, and don’t forget to get behind all your appliances. It won’t be pretty—who knows what kinds of crumbs and lost bits of food are hiding behind your microwave—but it will be worth it. You can settle into your baking routine without worrying about what’s lurking behind your oven.