Do you use a cleaning schedule? Having a set schedule of what gets cleaned each day, each week, and each month (like those in our free cleaning binder) can make keeping up on seasonal cleaning tasks so much more doable, and, in fact, make it feel like there is less cleaning to do when spring cleaning and fall cleaning times roll around. But… there are still a few tasks that often get forgotten among the baseboards and drain cleaning and daily clean-up tasks.
1: Clean Your Vacuum
Your vacuum certainly *does* plenty of cleaning, but when was the last time you cleaned your vacuum, like really cleaned it?
Clean your vacuum and while you are at it, make sure you have the best filters in it possible. Did you know that a full vacuum bag OR a clogged filter can inhibit your vacuums’s power, reduce suction and leave allergens and dust behind? Also, if you notice that your vacuum seems to be losing suction, you may not need to go buy a new one, simply replacing the bag and filters may restore the suction you have lost.
2: Clean Your Dishwasher
Every dishwasher has different specific parts but in general you’ll want to follow these steps to rid your machine of grease, food debris, and soap scum:
Step 1: Clean the drain and seal. Remove the bottom rack and clear the drain and filter at bottom of the dishwasher interior. (If your dishwasher has a removable filter, remove and clean it as well.) Inspect the dishwasher seal and clean any build-up.
Step 2: Clean with vinegar. Run an empty dishwasher cycle with a cup of vinegar, using hot water. You can dump the vinegar right into the dishwasher, but we suggest placing the cup of vinegar in a dishwasher safe cup or bowl on the top rack. As the water runs through the dishwasher cycle, the vinegar is dispersed and cleans the dishwasher interior.
We keep up this cleaning every cycle by adding vinegar to each load of dishes we wash. In addition to keeping the dishwasher clean, it keeps our dishes sparkling even with the hard water in our area.
Step 3: Deodorize. Sprinkle a cup of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher and run a short hot-water cycle. (Our dishwasher has a sanitize cycle that is perfect for this.) Baking soda will also help remove any stains from the dishwasher interior.
If you have stubborn dishwasher stains and grime, you might also try a cleaning additive like LemiShine.
Step 4: Clean the dishwasher exterior. Now that the interior is sparkling clean, shine up the outside as well!
3: Clean Your Washing Machine
A recommendation from a service tech said that we should be cleaning our front-load washer once a month! Spring and fall cleaning is a great time to rectify those tasks that don’t get done often enough, at least at our house.
Our front loader has a specific sanitize setting, so that makes it easy. You should also be washing the gasket regularly to avoid that musty smell that a lot of front-loading washers get.
If your washing machine doesn’t have a sanitize cycle, the process is still pretty easy. Vinegar comes to the rescue, again! Run a hot water batch, with the water to the highest fill level. While the washer is filling, add 1 quart of vinegar and let the vinegar run through the wash and rinse cycle. For top-loading machines, you can open the lid and allow the vinegar water to soak if you’d like.
Be sure to also wash the soap dispenser and any other high-gunk places on the washer. This is also a good time to check the connections to the hoses at the back of the machine to make sure they are tight with no leaks or drips.
4: Clean Your Dryer
The lint filter in the dryer vent can pose a major fire hazard, so fall and spring cleaning is a great time to clean around the dryer and clean out the vent and ducts, too. Disconnect the dryer vent hose and remove any visible lint from both the hose and the machine. A long flexible brush or a vacuum cleaning attachment are helpful.
5: Check and Replace Batteries
Try to remember to do this every time Daylight Saving Time starts and ends, which also conveniently coincides with fall and spring cleaning, but anytime you remember to check, do it! Check the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace as needed. They save Lives!
6: Check the Fire Extinguisher
Most home fire extinguishers last 10-12 years, but check the expiration date on yours because you want it ready when you need it! If it is expired, missing an inspection tag, or shows signs of excessive wear (such as a cracked seal, broken nozzle, or missing pin) contact your local fire department to learn about your options for recharging or replacing it. Remember, a fire extinguisher needs inspected and recharged after each use