Spring isn't the only time to deep clean your house! After a fabulous summer of open windows and living outdoors, we all begin to close our homes for the colder, shorter days of winter. To get ready for a long winters night, it's a good idea to clean out what summer winds brought in. Like me, after active summer months, there are probably a few spots in your house that get ignored. My fall cleaning list will keep my home and yours healthier and cleaner through the cold season. I don't use store bought cleaning products...except for one...and make mixtures with 50% water, 40% vinegar, and 10% cheap vodka. I add different essential oils for disinfecting (clove, lavender, lemongrass & tea tree), antibacterial (cinnamon, thyme, tea tree and oregano) properties, natural fragrance and much more. Making cleaners is on the blog too.
1. After a warm summer with windows and doors open, your ceiling fan blades are going to be dusty. Dust sticks, especially in humid conditions Get it off now so when you turn the fan on to clear out a smoky fireplace, dust won't come flying off. The same goes for the crystal, shades, and arms of your chandeliers. Get that dust off before your holiday entertaining.
2. I always thought that my washer and dryer were clean. According to consumer groups, they're not. They both need periodic cleaning to remove the gunk around gaskets, grime and sticky things that adhere to the inside of your washer tub, and dust that gathers in the lint trap and the dryer vent. I run vinegar through the washer on a hot water cycle. I use a 50-50 mix of water and vinegar with 10 drops each of Thyme and Lavender essential oils, and wipe every other area of the washer. For the dryer, wet some towels and add a few drops of tea tree or other disinfecting essential oils. Run them through the dryer to clean the tub. Vacuum your lint screen, the dryer vent, and any area you can.
3. How many times have you thought of cleaning the coils of your refrigerator? Now is a great time. Vacuum the main dust, then tackle the sticky stuff with a paint brush. You can also wipe the coils with the same water/vinegar/essential oil cleaner I used above.
4. You might have cooked outdoors a lot in summer, but fall is a good time to clean out your kitchen ventilation hood so odd smells won't permeate your house when you turn it on.
5.It's smart to run a vinegar and water mixture through your coffee maker every few months. It cleans out the old coffee and give you a sparkling clean reservoir for the water.
6.Windows left open all summer likely brought dust inside. Vacuum the tops of your window coverings, shutters and blinds. When you turn the heat on, they won't smell dusty. Light bulbs collect dust too. When it gets dark outside you'll turn them on more. When they heat up, you'll smell the dust burning. A quick wipe will take care of that. I dust my bookshelves, but sometimes I skip the books, so remember to dust the tops.
7. I don't use plastic bags in my bath garbage or recycling cans since it's a waste to throw away plastic bags every week. To keep them clean, I use Seventh Generation wipes; they're not toxic and they do a great job of disinfecting. In the kitchen, fall is a good time to remember to wipe the interior of your bins clean.
8. This is the perfect time to vacuum your heating vents. Don't forget the intake grate. If you have baseboard heating, vacuum the coils and interior to prevent a burning dust smell when you first turn the heat on. Have a radiator? Try to get all of the nooks and crannies clean with a microfiber duster.
9. I recommend cleaning pillows as each season changes since oils from your head seep into the pillows even if you have cotton pillow covers. I wash my down pillows at home, although I am now changing to down alternative every time a pillow gets old. I can't stand the thought of having birds feathers plucked so I can sleep on something soft. Laundromats have machines to fit the down alternative pillows which don't fit into some washers.
10. If you forgot to clean your down comforter or blankets before you tucked them away, do it in the fall before using them all winter. Fortunately I have a big front loading machine that fits everything. I can't get them to fit, i'll go to the laundromat or drop them off at my drycleaner who can launder them.