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Many people get the deep-cleaning bug each spring, but is spring really the most important time to give your home a complete scrub-down? While you may track plenty of dust into the home in the spring and summer, you spend the most time indoors in the winter months. Trying to keep heat from escaping also means the same stagnate, dirty air recycles through your home all winter long.
Follow these 10 pro deep-cleaning tips to remove dirt from hard-to-reach places, make sure your home is well-maintained and improve indoor air quality this winter.
1. Replace Air Filters & Clean the Furnace
According to the EPA, you should change your HVAC filters at least every three months to ensure your air stays clean. After replacing the filters, soak dusty ventilation covers in a hot water and soap solution. Filters work to pull dust particles out of the air and create cleaner, healthier air for you to breathe. They also keep your floors and furniture from gathering dust, helping keep your home looking its best.
If your gas and electric bills have started to rise, your home is not a consistent temperature in all rooms, or the burner flame on your furnace is yellow instead of blue, it may be time to replace your furnace.
2. Clean Refrigerator Coils
Dirty refrigerator coils can raise your electric bill by $5–$10 a month. To clean your fridge coils, first unplug your fridge, then, locate your fridge coils either on the back or bottom of the unit. You may need to gently pull the refrigerator out to reach the coils, so make sure to vacuum behind the fridge while you have access. Use a condenser coil brush or special vacuum attachment to scrub away unwanted dirt and dust, and then use a damp rag to remove any stubborn debris.
3. Get Rid of the Clutter
The more junk you have lying around, the more places dust has to settle. Go through your home room-by-room and assess if you need to declutter certain spaces for the winter. If you haven’t used an item within the past three months, you probably don’t need it. Put it in an out-of-the-way storage space or donate it to your local thrift store.
4. Empty the Dryer Vents
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Lint buildup in dryer vents can be a major fire hazard, especially in the dry winter months. Remove any lint that has accumulated during the year by pulling the dryer out from the wall, disconnecting the back pipe and cleaning the outlet hole and pipe thoroughly. Use a vacuum or invest in a dryer vent snake to remove lint from the dryer vents. Once you have gotten most of the dust out, run the dryer to flush any loose lint.
5. Deep Clean the Kitchen
You probably wipe down your kitchen counters fairly often, but what about the cabinets and drawers? Winter is the perfect time to take everything out and wipe them down before using that special occasion cutlery for your seasonal parties. Take some extra time to sort out any unwanted clutter that is taking up your kitchen space, replace drawer liners and thoroughly de-grime your backsplash and kickboards.
6. Steam Carpets & Couches
Vacuuming your carpets regularly can keep visible dirt from building up, but this quick cleaning method doesn’t always cut it. Rent or buy a steam cleaner to refresh your carpets, couches and chair cushions. For older carpets that are in need of a serious deep-cleaning because of stains or pet odors, try hiring a professional for a more intensive carpet shampooing treatment.
7. Clean Windows
Grimy windows block light and make it gloomier inside your home during months you may already be feeling the winter blues. Scrub both the insides and outsides of your windows to let in more light and brighten up your home. Nix the chemical-heavy store-bought cleaners and mix up a batch of an all-natural window washing solution instead.
Also, take the opportunity to clean window treatments like curtains and valences, which can hold an unhealthy amount of dust and allergens. Window treatments are often made of delicate, expensive materials, so avoid taking the chance that you’ll ruin them in the washer by dry cleaning them or having them professionally cleaned.
8. Clean the Chimney
Maintaining your chimney is the easiest way to avoid fire hazards, and make sure the air in your home stays smoke-free and healthy. While it’s best to have a professional clean your chimney, you can do it yourself with the appropriate tools. Make sure you cover all surfaces in the room with a drop cloth before you begin, as the dust and debris released during cleaning can ruin textiles and leave a coat of ash on furniture.
9. Flush Out Sink Drains
Clogged pipes can become a problem during winter months. Improperly draining pipes can freeze and burst, leading to costly water damage and repairs. White vinegar or baking soda is a safe, nontoxic way of flushing out drains. Add a pleasant scent to the drains by mixing in lemon juice, then use hot water to wash it down.
10. Degrease the Oven
Use the self-cleaning function on the oven (or create a homemade, nontoxic mixture) to remove grease and burnt food from your oven. Although the self-cleaning method requires less effort, plan on staying home during the entire cycle. Self-cleaning oven cycles use high heat to burn leftover food and can produce a significant amount of smoke, causing fire alarms to go off.
With the cooler weather keeping you and your family indoors this winter, making sure your home is clean, decluttered and maintained is more important than ever. Start the year off right by checking these basic deep-cleaning items off of your to-do list and spend more time doing what really matters: enjoying time with family and friends in your guest-worthy home.