Spring cleaning is a must for homeowners and renters; everyone knows that, right? The thing is, we don’t necessarily know why it’s a must. Why isn’t deep cleaning of equal importance every season? As someone who is always looking at homes, we think it is. So as your real estate and property manager, here are our fall cleaning tips for people who want a clean house before Christmas. Here we go!
Wash your Windows
Yes, wash them; deep cleaning means more than spraying some blue-tinted ammonia solution on the glass and smearing it up with a paper towel. Washing your windows should entail using actual soap and water – a teaspoon or so of dishwashing liquid diluted with plenty of water, to be exact. You can still spray it on; just fill your spray bottle with it and coat the entire window several times before rubbing the wash off with a microfiber cloth or other lint-free towel until all streaks have disappeared. The glass will be crystal clear and cloud-free. See the difference between wiping your windows and washing them?
Clean Shades and Shutters
Shades and shutters: No matter which ones you have, they need to be cleaned at least twice per year. If you cleaned them in the spring, then fall is the most logical time to follow up. Those slats have had plenty of time to accumulate dust and dirt, so this just makes good sense. Vinyl or high-quality plastic shades or shutters can be cleaned with a microfiber cloth and the cleaning solution of your choice; wooden shutters can be dusted with a dusting cloth before getting cleaned with your favorite citrus-scented wood polish treatment.
Clean Ceiling Fans
Speaking of dust, ceiling fans are magnets for it. Don’t make the mistake of getting on a ladder and swishing a feather duster over your ceiling fan blades; you’ll end up with a face full of dust, and nobody wants that. Instead, use a microfiber cloth (do you see a trend happening here?) to wipe each blade from end to end. Now, remember: A microfiber cloth can be substituted with your favorite scented disinfectant wipes. Don’t forget to protect your hands with gloves, though!
Spot Clean Everything
Well, not literally – but spot clean your furniture, drapes and carpets so they can be stain-free for all the entertaining you’ll do during the holidays. Spot cleaning products made from sanitizing foam are available on nearly every cleaning aisle, and they’ve become considerably more affordable in recent years too. There’s no need to pay for a professional cleaning service to spot clean when you can invest a few dollars and an hour of your time to do it yourself during your fall cleaning spree.
Clean your Oven and Stove Top
Speaking of cleaning products that save your life, oven cleaner should probably top the list. Spray-on oven cleaner is one of the most versatile (yet perhaps underutilized) cleaning supplies in today’s households. Now, we’re not saying you should spray your countertops with it (definitely not! Don’t do that!) but we are saying it can be used not only to clean the inside of your oven – but if done carefully, the top of your stove as well. Yes, even near the burners; just be cautious, and never, ever spray directly on the burner or in the crevices under it. The safest way to clean your stove top with oven cleaner is to spray a light coating around the parameters (just carefully make a square), and then use your cleaning rag to rub the solution around the rest of the stove top. When we say “rag,” there’s no microfiber this time; you need a thicker towel material to protect your hands while standing up to the stuck-on grease from the stove top. Now, your oven is ready for company on Thanksgiving.
Wipe the Outside of Kitchen Cupboards
Nobody likes doing this, but it has to be done a few times per year and one of those times may as well be during your fall cleaning. What type of cleaner you use should depend on what your cabinets are made of; a high quality wood deserves a wood polish cleaner, while a laminate will be fine if you wipe it down with a soap/water solution or disinfectant wipe. If you’re one of the lucky homeowners who has glass incorporated into your kitchen cupboards, then the glass should get a glass cleaner wipe-down as well. It’s amazing what cleaning your kitchen cabinets does for the appearance of the entire kitchen.
Clean the Outside of the Refrigerator
We know you’re already planning on cleaning the inside of the fridge (aren’t you?), but let’s be honest: The outside of the refrigerator needs a semi-annual facelift. Step one: Take down all magnets, kids’ drawings, report cards and pizza coupons. Step two: Clean the outside of the refrigerator with something (almost anything will do: your favorite cleaner can be paired with a microfiber cloth, terrycloth rags, or a ripped-up cotton t-shirt. Your choice! When that’s done, it’s time to get six months of greasy dust out of the refrigerator condenser coil under the door. There are plenty of online tutorials for doing this properly, some involving an unplugging of the entire appliance and some not. In any case, it seems a stiff brush is an essential supply – so invest in one before you start your fall cleaning binge.
Test Smoke Detectors
No, it isn’t technically cleaning but it’s important nonetheless. In fact, testing your smoke detectors is the only fall cleaning task that may actually save your life. Each smoke detector should be tested according to the instructions by its manufacturer, but often the method involves pressing and holding the test button until the shrieking siren emits from it. If the sound is weak or there is no sound at all, it’s most likely time to replace the batteries – and if it’s been more than six months since the last time you changed the batteries anyways, replace them no matter what.
Clean Window Coverings
We’re back to where it all started: the windows. If they are adorned with curtains or drapes, those need a good cleaning every fall. If they are heavy with dust, that can be bad for everyone’s breathing – so whether you decide to machine wash on delicate, vacuum or take everything down and haul it all to the dry cleaner, you’re making a good choice by incorporating window coverings into your fall cleaning regimen.
Winterize the Back Yard
Or if you prefer, “autumnize” it. Now is the time to make sure the pool is cleaned (and covered, if you’re in a part of the country where that may be necessary). It’s the time to clean off patio furniture, drain garden hoses and do the last of your summer harvesting. Empty the lawn irrigation pipes to prevent damage from water freezing. If you live in a rental property, contact your property manager for this service. The backyard won’t be used as often for the next several months, so plan accordingly – and then, consider your fall cleaning day finished.