We talked about the outside of your home and yard last month,
this month we’ll look at what cleaning and fixing up needs to be done inside your home. While there are many things to cover, know that you extend the life of your home and its contents by maintaining them well – fixing as needed and keeping them clean. Use this month’s article as a checklist for your own spring cleaning.
When did you last clean your clothes dryer vent hose? If it’s been a long time (or never!), do that now. Built up dust and lint pose very real fire hazards, and in most cases, it’s just a matter of pulling your machine out a bit to disconnect the hose. Using a brush designed to do just this – or creating your own by covering any long brush with a rag and securing with rubber bands – clean out and reconnect. The smaller filter in your dryer, which should be cleaned after every dryer load, also needs a quick scrub with a brush under some running water to remove the invisible film that accumulates from the use of dryer sheets. Without a quick scrub throughout the year, this quickly becomes a fire hazard and also makes your machine work harder than necessary.
Your washing machine may have a self-cleaning cycle on it; if so, run this on a regular basis, especially if you have a front loader. Refer to your washing machine manual for the best way to clean your model.
How about batteries for your smoke and radon detector alarms? These need to be changed on some sort of regular schedule unless you don’t mind climbing ladders each time one warns of low power. It’s easier to devote an hour to changing these all at once every year and also gives you the peace of mind knowing that they are all in good working order. While you’re at it, there are many wall and alarm clocks that use batteries, as well as flashlights. Putting in fresh batteries yearly in the spring will ensure their performance throughout the coming 12 months.
Like most people, you might only change out light bulbs throughout your house when they go out, which is fine. But make sure you have a supply of the ones you most commonly use and be sure to use the most energy-efficient ones available. If you have access to the newer, much longer lasting ones, consider these in hard-to-reach places such as a ceiling light over a staircase. Wherever you’ve had lights out in your house, now is the time to replace them. Even your refrigerator or oven light may have burned out so take a look now and replace if needed.
Air filters, range hood filters, and even the water filter at your sink or on the refrigerator door all need to be replaced. This is a great time to do that. Mark it in your calendar (or next year’s if you use an electronic one) to know when to do that again unless needed sooner. Air filters are generally replaced every few months, so while you’re at it, make notations in your calendar for those replacement dates, too.
If you’ve noticed that faucets or showerheads aren’t spraying water as designed – maybe all over the place – it’s likely because of a mineral buildup. Using a 50/50 solution of white distilled vinegar and water, unscrew and soak those faucets or shower heads for several hours while you move on to do other things. If you have an old kitchen sink brush, give a light scrub before rinsing, drying and replacing. You can also attach a baggie filled with that solution with rubber bands if you prefer to clean them that way – and allow it to soak the faucet or showerhead overnight.
Deep clean your appliances – After all, your household appliances work hard for you every day. Starting in the kitchen, clean your oven, which many of us don’t do as often as we probably need to. Before the hot summer weather sets in, run the high-heat cleaning function on your oven or clean it manually. If cleaning manually, be sure to wear gloves and a mask to avoid chemical burns and inhalation. Be sure to open nearby windows or consider the use of a safer alternative cleanser.
It’s quite easy to clean out your dishwasher using baking soda or vinegar. Do a quick Google search for best ways to deep clean your brand of dishwasher. You may need to remove the filter inside your dishwasher also or at least remove any larger food pieces it caught. Your microwave may just need a good wipe. If you have food stuck to inside walls, just put some water in a measuring cup and microwave it to just barely boiling. Let it sit inside without opening the door for 15 minutes to loosen up any stuck-on food before removing. A quick wipe is usually all that’s needed at this point. However, a trick to keeping it clean is to always do a quick wipe after you’ve heated up any type of liquid. You can also use a vinegar-water solution but plain water actually works great.
Lastly as far as your appliances go, pull them out and clean behind and beneath them. It may shock you how much food/grime/stuff can fall out of reach and take up residence under them. I’ve personally done this twice in the last year and both times found lots to be swept up.
Televisions and other electronic equipment often don’t get cleaned regularly. Be careful with these but at the least, wipe with a static-free cloth, being careful not to displace wires or press buttons while doing so. If you have wall-mounted TVs or speakers, a swipe with a dry cloth may be all that’s needed.
Check the caulking around your sinks, tubs and showers. Over years of daily use, it cracks and may now need repair. Perhaps it’s stained from constant use. Either clean, fix or replace caulking to ensure a seamless transition from sink to wall. If you’d rather have someone else do that for you, give Mike at D4 Construction a call. He’s ready, willing and able to handle any or all of your springtime fixups. You can reach Mike today at 250-572-4812 and tell him you read about it here.
Take a look in your attic or basement. Although you should do this more than yearly, do so now, checking for leaks or anything that seems amiss. You might even discover some pest or rodent activity that needs to be addressed professionally.
Windows and window sills need to be washed this time of year after the pollen has settled in your area, as well as the inside of your window sills. Clean the inside of your windows and then do the sills. Remember that most cleaners work best when first allowed to sit for 30 seconds to a couple of minutes. With a mild soap water solution (a few drops of dish detergent in 16 oz of water in a spray bottle works well here), spray the inside window sills and let it sit as you spray the others. Then come back and wipe with a rag or cleaning sponge. This will need to be done again at the start of the cold weather season.
Most homes have some type of window coverings, so this is the time to wipe down blinds and shades, as well as wash or dry clean sheers or curtains. If you have a smoker in the house, curtains will need to be washed more often but if not, spring cleaning them may keep them fresh for the year.
Out of sight, out of mind – as the old adage goes. This can be applied to our ceiling fans and baseboards. Unless you do these regularly, you’ll definitely need to clean them now. Once again using a soapy water solution, spray down and then wipe them with a damp rag, rinsing regularly. If you dust these throughout the year, they will clean up in spring very quickly. Same goes for the tops of your kitchen cabinets. We don’t think about them, but they accumulate dust. Clean well and then line the tops with old newspaper or waxed paper that can be gathered up carefully in the future and tossed.
Furniture – If you have leather furniture, invest in some leather cleaner/conditioner. Follow the directions to deep clean these larger pieces. Solid wood furniture such as your dining room table might benefit from a good wood conditioner, as well. I find that it will need several days to a week to completely soak in, so if possible, plan to do this before leaving on vacation or when you know you won’t be needing the table. Similarly, do a thorough cleaning of your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Unless they get terribly dirty throughout the year, they probably only need a quick wipe as needed.
You may need to seal your countertops, depending on the type you have. Some need this treatment on a regular basis. The good news is that it’s a fairly easy process and will only take a couple of hours for an average sized home. And many surfaces only need this done every few years.
Many people wash their walls annually. If you’re one who does this, spring is a great time to do so after the house has been closed up all winter. Wipe down walls or wallpaper – or just paint anew – if you choose to do so. Take a look at your walls with a critical eye and determine if it’s time to spruce them up.
Indoor plants can get very dusty, especially ornamental trees and plants with large or long leaves. Dust them, trim ends if brown and dead, and otherwise refresh them. In fact, an easy way to clean and water them all at once – take them into the shower with you when you’re done showering. Switch the water to tepid and leave them under the running water for a minute or two. Then turn off the water and allow them to drain in the shower for an hour to avoid a drippy mess. They’ll benefit from the good soak and leaves will all be cleaned off without effort.
It’s possible your indoor plants or herbs may have outgrown their current pot. If that’s the case, carefully transplant into the appropriate-sized pot, even separating the roots to make more than one plant from it if desired. It’s also a great time to fertilize them; follow instructions specific to your plant or herb in all cases. Also remember that plants can be toxic to pets, so be responsible and move them up higher if your plants are accessible to them. Toss plants that were neglected and died over the winter and clean and repaint pots to freshen them up for the summer season.
Take a good hard look at your home décor. Determine if it needs to be well cleaned, tossed out or donated. A bowl of previously fabulous, autumn potpourri from two years ago may still be sitting on an entranceway table. Chances are it lost its scent a long time ago and is now just a dusty mess of faded colors.
Check your sofa pillows, throw blankets and bed linens and change out the wintery ones for lighter and brighter spring and summer ones. There are a lot of items to do to get your home spring- and summer-ready. By making a list and scheduling the time, you can get them done with the help of your family. Enlist your kids to do the easier items and your spouse to help with the larger projects. And if you still feel you could use some professional help, don’t forget to call Mike.
Mike at D4 Construction in Kamloops can help you with your home’s spring fixup. Call him at 250-572-4812 today to make an appointment. Partner with D4 Construction to make quick work of your home’s needed fixups.
Author: Tiiu Garrett