A chill wind is blowing, the clouds are moving in and the trees have lost their leaves. Before the winter storms hit, take some time to deep clean your yard, house and car, because soon it will be too cold to comfortably work outside. Here are seven things you should clean this winter.
Winter Cleaning Checklist
You’re going to need a little elbow grease, but you can do most of these jobs in a few hours or less. Ready to get started? Here are some ideas for things to clean.
First, use a brush or dry cloth to remove any dust that’s gathered on your outdoor chairs, benches and tables. Most outdoor furniture can withstand getting wet, so you can often use a hose to spray it down. Use a spray nozzle to target the stream of water for the easy dirt removal. Next, dry the furniture with a towel, and bring it in the garage or house for the winter to protect it.
This is one job you want to do while the weather is still nice. To clean outdoor windows, all you need is a microfiber cloth and some glass cleaning solution. Remove any window screens first.
If the windows are very dirty — for example, covered in bugs or a thick film of dirt — you might want to start by hosing them down or wiping them with an old towel. Otherwise, simply spray the windows with a streak-free cleaning solution and wipe them with the microfiber cloth in a circular motion. Then, do the same for the inside.
Once the windows are squeaky clean, you can take a little extra time to properly seal any cracks to insulate them for the winter.
You probably don’t think about your gutters unless they clog up and start overflowing. It’s OK to admit it! But now is the perfect time to get outdoors, set up a ladder, and give those gutters a deep clean. It’s more pleasant to clean them when it hasn’t rained in a while, but you can scoop out soggy leaves just as easily.
You’re going to need thick gloves and something to scoop out the debris with. Consider using a spatula, trowel, stick or even your hands. As you remove the sticks and leaves, you can put them in a bucket, drop them on a tarp for easy cleaning, or simply let them go free. Afterward, you can use a hose or leafblower to get them off the porch, or let them naturally decompose and blow away.
If the weather is still mild enough, you can wash your car before it gets too chilly outside. A good first step is to lather on a thick layer of soapy foam, then power wash your vehicle, which removes any stubborn debris that might be stuck to the exterior. This loosens up any dirt and trapped particles without damaging the paint. A pressure washer can also scrub away engine grease and other hard-to-remove grime from your car’s suspension and undercarriage components.
Finally, you can dry your car gently with a microfiber cloth to prevent streaks. You can also use the microfiber cloth, along with some glass cleaner, on the windows and mirrors.
5. HVAC System
The condenser is the noisy, outdoor component of your air conditioner. Because of its location, it’s prone to getting clogged with dust and pollen. The good news is that you can clean it yourself. First, switch it off, then use a vacuum to suck out any loose debris. Next, you can remove the top with a screwdriver and take out the fan to clean the sticks and leaves out of the blades.
You should also change your indoor air filters. This helps your heating and cooling systems work properly. After replacing the old filters, give the vents a thorough cleaning before putting them back in place. For further cleaning, you’ll probably need to hire a professional.
6. Patio and Walkways
Start by sweeping all the dirt and fallen leaves off your porches, sidewalks and patios. Or, use an electric leaf blower, which produces no carbon emissions and is a lot quieter than a gas-powered blower, to clear the area. Finally, you can use a garden hose or power washer to rinse away any remaining debris.
It’s a good idea to clean out the garage so you can park your car inside over the winter. However, for many people, the garage is where household items go to die. Bike helmets, camping gear, clothes that no longer fit and Christmas decorations all seem to multiply in the dark corners of the garage, piling up until they’re too intimidating to tackle.
Here’s how to organize the chaos:
- Take everything out and put it into piles.
- Decide what to keep, donate, sell or throw away.
- Clean the garage while it’s empty. Now’s your chance!
- Put your items back in the garage inside storage boxes.
Run through this process whenever the garage starts getting out of hand.
Getting your outdoor cleaning chores out of the way before it gets too cold takes a weight off your shoulders. Once everything is tidy and properly maintained, you’ll be fully prepared for anything the winter might bring — and you can spend more time inside by the fireplace.
Photo by Artūras Kokorevas – pexels.com