Winter Cleaning Check List
Winter is the time of year when many people spend the most time in their homes.
It’s colder outside and we naturally stay indoors for the warmth and coziness. And if you're like me, you also have more time for the many gatherings of friends and family.
Winter cleaning is mostly cold weather or holiday specific, with a few extras to do while you’re home on a “snow day.”
So come on, let's get ready and start preparing our homes for the coming winter.
1. Clean the Chimney
Before your first cold weather fire, have a professional chimney sweep company come out and clean the chimney. The job is too difficult to do on your own, and the risks are great.
A fire in your chimney can destroy your entire house. Don’t rely on “cleaning logs” in place of a chimney sweep. They cannot do the same job, and they do not eliminate the risk of a chimney fire.
If you have a wood stove, you should also have it professionally checked. This is the most important cleaning job you will do all winter.
2. Have your Furnaces Checked
Have your furnace checked by a professional as well.
They can tell you specific cleaning or maintenance steps you need to take for your kind of furnace. Change or clean the filters monthly throughout the season. Vacuum your vents and registers with an attachment every time you vacuum the floor.
3. Tune up the Snow Blowers & Snowmobiles
If you live in an area that gets regular snowfall, you should clean snow blowers and snowmobiles before it turns into a last minute thing.
If they have a lot of salt and “ick” (a very technical term) build-up on them, you can take them to a do-it-yourself car wash and use the power wash wand to get them clean.
If you have rust, you can clean it off with fine steel wool. Make sure the carburetor is in working order, air filters are clean, engine oil has been changed and the belts and brakes are in working order.
If in doubt about your cleaning skills in this area you can always seek professional help.
4. Clean and Sort out Food in the Pantry
It’s time to sort through your pantry (summer and winter), throwing away whatever has gone bad or won’t be used. This doesn't have to be a big job. Just drag over a fairly large trash can and get started.
Pay attention to “Use By” dates. If the date hasn't passed but is coming up and you’re not going to use the item, toss it. You should throw away any cans that are dented or are missing labels.
5. Clean out the Junk Drawer
Since you’re probably spending more time indoors during the winter season, it’s also an excellent time to tackle your junk drawer.
You’re absolutely allowed to have a junk drawer (or two), but the rule is that you have to clean it periodically so you’re able to shut it!
All you’ll need is a chair, a trash can, and a basket or other container.
- The chair is to sit in while you de-clutter.
- The trash can is to throw away odd things like card decks with only 23 cards in them, keys that you've had for 20 years and have no idea what they open, lint, and unidentifiable things.
- The basket is for “I've been looking for that.” things that you want to put in their rightful place somewhere else in the house.
6. Clean your Computer
Since it’s so cold, the time you spend online could be getting out of hand. It’s fine to spend time on the computer, but take this opportunity to clean yours.
If you don’t know anything about computers, don’t touch anything inside and risk damaging the computer.
- Power down, unplug, and start with the dirtiest parts – your keyboard and mouse. Turn your keyboard upside down and dump out any crumbs or dirt particles. Then use compressed air to get between the keys.
- Follow by wiping your keyboard and mouse with a damp cloth. There are also special electronic cleaners you can purchase if you are more comfortable with that but they're not usually necessary.
- Now open the actual computer unit. Most units have a screw or two that have to be removed to open the side panel.
- If you see a large collection of dust at the bottom of the case use one of your electronic cleaner wipes (Endust or something similar) or a slightly dampened cloth to remove the dust. This way when you use the compressed air - you're not blowing the dust balls everywhere.
- Now you can lightly and carefully use the compressed air to spray away all the dirt and dust from the inside of the case. I tend to spray at an angle and hold the can at least four inches away (you don't want to get any liquid drips from the compressed air on parts) from cards, chips, motherboard, and cords.
- When you've finished, put covers back on and boot 'er up.
Isn't it nice to know that your computer is clean? It seems like it makes typing so much easier.
7. Clean and Flip your Mattresses
Twice a year (summer and winter), you should clean all of the mattresses in the house to keep dust mites under control.
Vacuum the top of the mattress, move the mattress and vacuum the box springs, then flip the mattress and vacuum the new top of the mattress.
For further protection from dust mites, add an allergenic mattress pad and when you wash your sheets, use hot water.
8. Send Items to the Cleaners
This is also the time to send any fancy lace table cloths or holiday outfits to the cleaners.
If you attend a holiday party every year and will not wear an outfit again, sell it on eBay or donate it. Don’t create unnecessary cleaning jobs for the future.
When looking over this check list it can be daunting at first. Remember, these things don't need to be done in a day, take some time to make a plan. Then get ready to start checking chores off the list.