When thinking about doing a deep clean, spring-cleaning always seems to come to mind; yet, as the fall holidays roll upon us, it is important to make sure that our house is equally as clean. This makes it easier to entertain guests with a warm and welcoming heart.
Here are some tips to help us all get cleaning out of the way to enjoy each other in the crisp, cool air.
Amazing Cleaning Tips for Fall
1. Gather One and All
The holidays are all about togetherness so start out your cleaning efforts by preparing your family to help. First, walk around your house and see what needs to be done. Keep a written record, such as “Hallway Flower Pot needs to go”.
Once that is finished, gather up your family, sit them down and tell them what needs to be finished. Divide and conquer, while you are at it, play some fun music and make it as enjoyable as possible. Keep the holiday spirit going or get it started!
2. Clean Your Entry Way
One of the first things people see when they come to your house is your entryway. Having a pretty wreath and some spooky or, later on, cute pumpkins is a great way to get their attention but making sure to have a freshly swept front walkway, a shaken rug, a cobweb free doorway, and a smear/smudge free glass will help everyone to feel welcome and give a great first impression.
3. Handle the Paper Trail
Paper is such a big thing. As a teacher, I am trying to go paperless, using Google classroom but I still am sitting next to a pile of papers.
Don't be afraid to take some time on this part. Sort through your mail. Purchase a box to put important papers in or even use a brown box you picked up somewhere or got from a package that was delivered to you. Either way, just sort out the mess of papers and put the needed ones in a place that is out of sight but not so out of mind that you forgot where you put it.
4. Dishes, Dishes, Dishes
For the person in your group that is washing the dishes, here is how I work it out.
If we have a dishwasher, they load the dinner dishes at night, start the dishwasher, and unload it first thing in the morning. This way everyone else can put their dirty dishes in throughout the day and there is not much to worry about.
If you are hand washing dishes, then do them as soon as the white bucket fills up with dirties. I make my girls wash, rinse, dry, and put away all in one sweep because then they don't have to come back later to a chore they felt like they have accomplished.
4. Another Important Room
Dust the light fixtures, clean out the disposal and make your kitchen smell good. Many times at holiday gatherings, or any gatherings, people tend to head towards the kitchen. So make sure the kitchen sparkles and shines.
5. Focus on the Forgotten
There are many minor things that I think get overlooked when we are cleaning our house and those little things can make all the difference.
For example, I worked at a restaurant where on a monthly basis we got down on hands and knees and scrubbed the baseboards. While I know that we don't all plan to do this, at least taking a mop to them every so often might really brighten the place up.
6. Take Care of the Oven and Stove Top
If you are anything like me, your stove top and oven are going to be getting a lot of attention over the holidays, in part because of the holiday gathering and in part because, well, fall into Christmas food feeds the soul and not just the tummy.
I have found that a paste of baking soda and peroxide and a scrubby do really well at getting the grime off my glass cooktop. I make the paste, scrub it on, let it sit for about five minutes and then wipe off all the black goo I hadn't seen before!
For the oven, I still use the chemically laden oven cleaners that sit for a while and then wipe out.
7. Clean the Sheets
When guests come over to stay it is important to have fresh, crisp sheets for them to snuggle into at the end of the day.
While you're at it, wash your own sheets too. It is amazing how much dirt and grime we get on our sheets in our sleep.
Knowing that they are not going to get sick is something that leaves us all feeling comforted.
8. Make Sure to Put Chemicals and Medicine Higher Up
Many people who have company over don't think about the fact that little ones with curiosity come with them and that curiosity could be harmful.
Make sure that medicine and cleaning supplies are put up high. Also, if you have a pool that still has water in it, keep it off limits. It is the small things that make a big difference when it comes to safety around the house during the holidays.
9. Consider Your Closets
Find a place to put your seasonal gear that you are not using, clean out the coats that you have not worn in two seasons. Make room for your guests, either local or long distance, to put up their coats.
It is important to have enough sturdy hangers. Another thing to consider is adding hooks for hats and scarves if you live in an area where they are worn.
10. Biodegradable Toilet Brush
This is a new one to me but one that I am very excited about. Purchasing a biodegradable toilet brush so you can clean it out easier and then flush it without the guilty feeling.
Your restroom will be used more throughout this season, so having an easy, worry-free way of cleaning the toilet when needed is good.
11. Think about the Towels
So I have learned there is a trick to cleaning your towels in a manner that really gets the funky smell out well. The first thing you do is wash them with hot water and vinegar. It is important here not to use detergent or fabric softener.
Next, use hot water and 1/2 cup baking soda. Again, do not use detergent or fabric softener.
After that, either dry them on the hottest setting or hang them out to dry.
If this is an issue in your home, part of the problem might be that you need to do this bi-weekly or every so often, depending on how often you are using your towels. The oils from the detergent and fabric softeners are sticking to the towels and that is what's causing the off smell.
12. Air Vents
It never ceases to amaze me, I walk down my hallway fairly often and yet I am always shocked when we go to change the air vent how dirty the outside of it has really gotten. If you are like me, then this is an area that needs to be looked over before the holiday season begins.
Part of the reason it needs to be looked at so closely is not just cosmetics but also for health. This is the air we are breathing a lot more in the winter than we do in the warmer months when we are outside, or in fall and spring when we can have our windows open, breathing fresh outside air.
In order to deep clean your air vents:
- Turn your furnace off
- Unscrew the air vents
- Add them to a bathtub filled with hot water and dish soap
- Scrub them down. I recommend using a brush because otherwise you might get caught. *I know this from firsthand experience.
- Place back where it belongs
- Turn heat/air back on
13. Clean the Couch
The couch is a dirt magnet in our house. It doesn't help that our couch is made of microfiber.
So in order to keep it looking sparkly clean, I use one ingredient and three tools. The first tool is a vacuum cleaner. I simply pull the pillow pieces off the couch and vacuum underneath. It never fails, my kids almost always find something they have been “missing” for a few weeks when I do this.
Next, I take alcohol, a white sponge, and a spray bottle for the stain and yuck removal. It's really simple, just pour the alcohol into the spray bottle and spray on the area that needs to be cleaned. Once you have sprayed it, rub the spot with the sponge. You will see the dirt coming out onto your sponge!
Let it sit for a little while before you place it back on the couch, now clean and dry.
Wa-la! No more dirt.
If you are worried about your microfiber not being fluffy enough after the process, simply take a bristle brush and rub it in circles.
14. Have You Forgotten the Microwave?
The microwave is an often forgotten one in our household which is sad because it is super easy to clean and I always feel better when I do it.
The trick to cleaning your microwave oven is to fill a cup with 3/4 water and 1/4 vinegar. Obviously, using a microwave-safe cup is the best way to go because this mixture is going to be warming up for five minutes!
Once the five minutes is up, grab a pot holder and take it out of the microwave, then wipe it down.
Yes, it's that easy. Now you understand why I kick myself for not doing it more often.
If you have some stubborn stains on, say, the spinner, then let it soak in a sink filled with hot water and soap for a while and then wash it. It will be almost as easy to clean off as the rest of the microwave was.
15. Southerners: Clean that Grill
Living in the south, we grill our turkey at Thanksgiving and ham at Christmas. Given that information, cleaning the grill is very important to us so that way we don't get any unwanted tastes or germs!
My husband typically does the cleaning but I have done it a few times and the process is easy enough. Simply scrub the grates down with a wire brush (they make some specifically for the grill) while it is still hot. Once it is cleaned and cooled down, spray it with cooking spray.
In order to make sure that the fuel lines are still working well, turn the gas on and rub soapy water on the line at the connection. If air bubbles appear, you need to tighten or replace the connection.
To clean the venturi tubes, simply do the same steps you did with the air vents, just use the bristle brush.
16. Clean the Fireplace
Keeping with the fire theme, if you haven't cleaned out your wood fireplace in a while, just a head's up that you are probably going to get dirty as is the area around your fireplace so be sure to wear getting dirty clothes and cover the ground nearby your fireplace.
If it's been a while, it might be a good idea to go on top and stick a broom down your flu to make sure that no birds have nested in there.
Once you have done that, you can come back inside and clean the fire box. This should be repeated weekly if you use it a lot in the winter time. Use a shovel to get most of it and then sweep up the rest.
Soak the glass to get the fire residue off of it, using the same method for the air vents.
Put it all back together.
If you have been eagerly anticipating the holiday season then this is one way to help you get into the holiday spirit! Separate it all out, turn on some great music, conquer and divide.
Here's to a happy, healthy, and clean holiday season!