It's Autumn. Pumpkins glow in golden fields. Shorter days, crisp mornings signal winter's approach. Can the holidays be far behind?
Use Autumn's brisk and breezy days to conquer deep-cleaning chores for a clean and comfortable winter home, and to wrap up summer's outdoor lifestyle.
Our Fall Cleaning Chore Checklist will help you prepare home and hearth for the coming of winter:
Outside The House
Summer's come and gone--and left its mark on outside the house.
Time to come inside for winter! Outside the house tend to these autumn chores:
- Clean and store patio furniture, umbrellas, children's summer toys.
- Touch up paint on trim, railings, and decks. Use a wire brush to remove flaking paint; prime bare wood first.
- Check caulk around windows and doors. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations to re-caulk if needed.
- Inspect external doors and garage doors. Do they close tightly? Install weather-stripping, door thresholds if needed.
- Wash exterior windows.
- Drain and store garden hoses. Install insulating covers on exterior spigots. In hard-freeze areas, have sprinkler systems blown free of water.
- Check gutters and downspouts. Clear of debris if necessary. In cold-weather areas, consider installing heating cables to prevent ice dams.
- Have chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned if necessary.
The Inside Story:
Autumn's the time for "spring cleaning"! With winter coming, it makes sense to tuck the family into a freshly-cleaned home via fall cleaning.
Deep clean now to take advantage of good weather and to welcome approaching holidays with a clean and comfortable home.
To learn how to clean efficiently, check out the Clean House Guide for more information on cleaning fast and furious.
- Focus on public rooms: living room, family room, entryway, guest bath.
- Clean from top to bottom. Vacuum drapes and window treatments. Clean window sills and window wells. Vacuum baseboards and corners.
- Vacuum upholstered furniture, or have professionally cleaned if needed. Move furniture and vacuum beneath and behind it.
- Wash interior windows.
- Turn mattresses front-to-back and end-to-end to equalize wear.
- Launder or clean all bedding: mattress pads, pillows, duvets, blankets, comforters. Tuck the family into a warm and cozy winter bed.
- Schedule professional carpet cleaning early this month! Warm October afternoons speed carpet drying. Carpet cleaning firms get busy by the end of October, so schedule now for the best service.
- Prepare the kitchen for holiday cooking. Clean and organized kitchen cabinets, paying particular attention to baking supplies, pans, and equipment.
- Clear kitchen counters of all appliances not used within the last week. Clear counters look cleaner--and provide more room for holiday cooking.
- Pull refrigerator away from the wall, and vacuum the condenser coils. For bottom-mounted coils, use a long, narrow brush to clean coils of dust and debris.
- Wash light-diffusing bowls from light fixtures.
- Inspect each appliance. Does it need supplies? Stock up on softener salt now, and avoid staggering over icy sidewalks with heavy bags.
- Check and empty the central vacuum's collection area.
- Clean electronic air cleaner elements monthly for most efficient operation. Wash them in an empty dishwasher (consult the manual for specific product recommendations).
- Clean or replace humidifier elements before the heating season begins.
- Inspect washer hoses for bulges, cracks or splits. Replace them every other year.
- Check dryer exhaust tube and vent for built-up lint, debris or birds' nests! Make sure the exterior vent door closes tightly when not in use.
- Schedule fall furnace inspections now. Don't wait for the first cold night!
- Buy a winter's supply of furnace filters. Change filters monthly for maximum energy savings and indoor comfort. When the right filter is on hand, it's an easy job!
- Drain sediment from hot water heaters.