News flash, it’s November. If you’re anything like me you love this season, but are frighteningly aware of the amount of work you have on deck to clean and Winterize your home. Fall… it’s a love hate relationship. Fear not, I’m here to help and share checklists for both standard cleaning practices and Fall home care items to get you ready for the coldest part of the calendar! Good maintenance protects your investment, enhances comfort, extends life expectancies and reduces your costs. It makes great sense.

Deep Cleaning Checklist:

As temperatures begin to descend, the chances of catching a cold rises. Fight cold and flu germs this season by cleaning and sanitizing your home thoroughly.  Concentrate on cleaning these areas of your home, which can often be neglected, the next time you pick up your rubber gloves and a rag:

  • Remote Control – a University of Virginia study showed “the remote control’s surface is among the germiest” in a modern home. Half of the remote controls tested were positive for cold viruses.
  • Light Switches – No matter how clean you think your hands are, each time you touch the light switch, you’re spreading germs. Wipe them down with a damp cloth and the cleaner of your choosing regularly.
  • Laundry Area – after the kitchen, this area of the house is most likely to be the source of a fire if it isn’t maintained and kept clean. Lint escapes through tiny gaps around the edges of the dryer drum and falls into the cabinet, especially when the exhaust vent or vent cap is clogged, and airflow is restricted. The lint can get ignited by electric heating elements, gas burners or even a spark from the motor, and the flames then travel through the lint-lined exhaust vent.
  • Trash Can – it’s easy to forget an area we rarely see, even though it’s a part of the house we might frequent often. Each time you take out the trash, spray the inside of the trash can with a disinfectant. Once a month, wash it out with bleach and clean with hot water.
  • Pillows – about every four months or so. Throw them in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with hot water to remove dead skin cells and sweat. When drying, add a couple of clean tennis balls to help speed up drying and keep the pillow guts from clumping.
  • Doorknobs and Locks – If you are using an alcohol-based cleaner, be careful not to get any on wood doors or trim, it could damage the finish.
  • Toothbrush Holder – The public health organization NSF International found that 64% of toothbrush holders contained mold and yeast, compared to 27% of toilet seats. They’re also far more likely to contain coliforms or staph, according to the study. It isn’t pretty to think about, but it’s easily avoided if cleaned regularly. If the in-store products give you headaches, or you’re just not sure how you feel about using unnatural products to clean your home, you can always try making your own. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, and they’re guaranteed safe.
  • All-Purpose Cleaner – Mix white vinegar, water, a lemon rind, and some rosemary sprigs into a spray bottle, shake and let sit for one week. Vinegar is the cleaning secret your grandma used on her home, and with the added power of the lemon rind, you can be rest assured your home is well taken care of as far as freshness and cleanliness go. Kitchen Cleaner – 4 tablespoons baking soda and 1 quart of warm water is great for cleaning your appliances around your kitchen. Baking Soda is also great for shining up your stainless-steel appliances.
  • Glass Cleaner – Mix 2 cups of water,  ½ a cup of white or cider vinegar, ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol (70% concentration), and an optional 1 to 2 drops of orange essential oil for smell into a spray bottle. Avoid cleaning windows when they’re in direct sunlight so the solution doesn’t dry as fast. For mirrors, avoid spraying directly onto the mirror and spray into a paper towel before use.

Selling your house shouldn’t be the only time you deep clean your house. A clean home leaves fewer places for germs and bacteria to hide, leaving your family healthier, and your home smelling cleaner. 

Winterization Checklist:

Now, besides cleaning, you will also want to Winterize and prep for the colder seasons. Follow the checklist below to do just that!

  • Gutters – Clean to extend the life of the gutters and keep the basement and, or, crawlspace dry.
  • Heating System – Service before turning on to protect the equipment!
  • Gas Fireplace – Service with other gas appliances; include fireplace in service plan.
  • Outdoor Hose Bibs – Shut off and bleed unless they are frost free to prevent freezing damage to pipes.
  • Hot Water Heating Systems – Bleed radiators to remove air so the radiators will keep the house warm & lubricate the circulating pump as needed to extend its life.
  • Humidifier Connected to Furnace – Turn on and open the water supply so that the humidifier
    will work in the heating season.
  • Humidifiers and Central Air Conditioners – Open the damper on the humidifier bypass to allow
    the humidifier to work in the heating season.
  • Electric Baseboard Heaters – Vacuum to remove dust to increase the efficiency and reduce the
    risk of fire.
  • Well Water – Have tested by laboratory to ensure the water is safe to drink (More frequent
    testing may be appropriate.)
  • Sump Pump – Test to make sure it will operate when needed, to avoid flooding.
  • Catch Basins – Test and clean out debris if needed – to make sure they will carry water away.
  • Exterior Vents – Ensure vent flaps close properly to reduce heat loss and prevent pest entry.