A Summer Cleaning Checklist to Keep Any Home in Shape
A Summer Cleaning Checklist to Keep Any Home in ShapeJuly 10, 2017
Even post-spring cleaning, there is still plenty to scrub, clean and organize
We should probably just admit it: no matter how much we dream of lazy months by the pool, summer is always a crazy busy time! Between family trips, holiday celebrations and the sweet chaos of everyday life with kids on summer vacation, it is hard to keep up with your regular cleaning checklist. And summer—in all its glory—comes with its own set of preparations and tasks to maintain the quality of your home.
But no worries! We have put together a summer cleaning checklist guaranteed to help you stay on top of tasks and optimize your home for the season—inside and out!
Clean your outdoor living space
Despite the heat, humidity and mosquitos, most of us spend our summer months outdoors. At the center of our outdoor living space is our deck or patio. No doubt you did your due diligence by covering or storing patio furniture in the winter, but keeping your outdoor space comfortable—and safe—to lounge in requires routine care.
Before the summer is in full swing, deep clean your entire patio or deck, floor up. Start by sweeping the floor of leaves, dirt and other debris—and get used to this task, because it is best to sweep your outdoor living space every couple days for the rest of the summer. Next, rinse off or power wash the floor.
Here’s a tip: hold the hose at the same distance for an even clean throughout. Use a stiff brush and appropriate products for the material of your flooring to remove caked-on grime or stains. For patio furniture, use a soft brush and a soap and water mixture to scrub the bases and follow basic laundering instructions for cushions, tablecloths and other outdoor linens.
Organize and optimize outdoor storage
Summer is not just for outdoor relaxation, either. Lots of active people make their backyard their weekend work space in the summer months. Between gardening, landscaping and other home maintenance and improvement tasks, there is plenty of work to keep yourself busy outdoors if lounging on the patio or by the pool is not for you. And any diligent worker needs a well-organized office—for you, that is your garage or shed!
Whether you install shelving for optimal storage space, invest in storage containers and organizers, or use pegboard to keep tools easily at hand and orderly, summer is the perfect time to optimize your outdoor storage space. Better Homes and Gardens has some excellent garage storage ideas.
An office, of course, is only as good as its supplies, and after a long winter of disuse and exposure to the elements, your tools are probably looking a little worse for the wear. Combat rust and preserve your tools with these instructions for using natural ingredients like vinegar to clean your metal tools.
Cleaning grill grates
Keeping the ultimate summertime cooking surface in perfect condition is a must, especially if you are grilling a variety of food. The most crucial parts are the grill grates. In addition to being harder to clean, letting food accumulate can lead to chicken that tastes like beef or steak with a fishy aroma.
So your first step is burning off any excess food by turning the burners as high as they safely can go for no more than 15 minutes and let them cool. Problem is that not all grills are the same, as well as the way you should clean them.
- For porcelain grates, avoid using metal or wire brushes, as they can chip away at the surface and reveal the metal underneath. Instead use a nylon brush. Make sure you let the grates cool prior to brushing.
- For cast iron grates, use a soft bristle brush. Just like a cast iron pan, lather the grates in vegetable oil to help protect your grill from rust. In general, you should always avoid using water with cast iron unless you can dry it immediately.
- For stainless steel grates, wrap high-quality aluminum foil around the grates and heat for 10 to 15 minutes. This will create a heat pocket and assist with removing stuck on food. After letting it cool, scrub with a nylon or soft bristle brush.
If that food is really stubborn, you may need to soak them overnight. Whatever you do, do not use water. Rather, let them sit in a combination of vinegar and baking soda. In the morning, scrape away any remaining food, rinse with cold water and dry.
If your grill is in need of a deeper cleaning, check out Real Simple’s instructions.
Be proactive about mold and mildew
Humidity can create particular issues inside your home, as well, and one of the biggest concerns is mold and mildew. Humid temperatures, enclosed spaces and wet surfaces and materials create breeding grounds in your home for this stuff, but keeping these spaces clean and dry will go a long way towards preventing mold and mildew from growing in your home.
The most at-risk space for mold to grow is your bathroom, so make sure your family is being proactive:
- Always use a vent or open a window during showers to prevent excess humidity
- Wipe down the shower and door after every use or use a daily shower spray
- Clean out dark, damp spaces like under the sink and shelves—throw out expired products and check for signs of mold growth
- Wipe down surfaces that accumulate moisture easily, such as countertops
- Air dry damp bathroom rugs outdoors and wash towels often—adding a ½ cup of baking soda to the wash and drying towels on the highest setting possible for the material will prevent that stale, mildew scent
Speaking of the laundry, summer means that the frequency and intensity of your loads are going to increase. Sometimes it can feel like we are up to our knees in grass and dirt, sunscreen, sweat and all the summer foods stains, not to mention the bathing suits and towels that must be washed weekly.
With all that extra work and grime, your washing machine can also suffer. Every month or so, run a cycle with just water and soap—no clothes!—and leave the door open to air dry. This will prevent mold and mildew from growing in your washer. For help with summer stain nemeses, check out these tips.
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A Summer Cleaning Checklist to Keep Any Home in Shape