Winter Cleaning Checklist

Winter Cleaning Checklist.

Areas Around the House to Clean for Winter.

Winterizing Around the House

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.

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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 as this will greatly improve indoor air quality. Vacuum your vents and registers with an attachment every time you vacuum the floor.

3. Tune up the Snow Blowers and 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. When cleaning these items yourself, be sure to disconnect the spark plug to prevent any accidental starts and refer to the owners manual for maintenance information.

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.

Inspecting the Snow Blower

Make sure the carburetor is in working order, air filters are clean, replace spark plugs if necessary, engine oil has been changed, make sure it is properly lubricated, change gas if necessary, check all nuts, bolts, screws, cords, skid shoes, scraper bar, and the belts and brakes are in working order.

Inspecting the Snowmobile

Check throttle, brake lever, stop switch, be sure the battery is charged and holds a charge (if not, it may be time to replace the battery), check the drive belt, check all areas that use oil, inspect suspension, track tension, skis, be sure exhaust outlet is clean, make sure headlights and taillights are in good working order, and make sure there are no leaks.

If in doubt about cleaning either of these, seek out 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 trash can, and a basket or other container.

  • 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 the Computer

Since it’s so cold, take this opportunity to clean your computer.

If you don’t know anything about computers, don’t touch anything inside and risk damaging the computer.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Now open the actual computer unit. Most units have a screw or two that have to be removed to open the side panel.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 (if it actually is two sided) 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.

9. Cleaning Curtains and Blinds

I usually do a thorough cleaning of curtains and blinds in spring; after the house has pretty much been closed up for the winter, to remove excess dirt and musty smells.

But in the winter, I like to take the time to clean them to remove dust that has accumulated from the windows being open in the spring and summer season. This being said, you may still want to wash the easy to take down and wash curtains.

Washing Washable Curtains

Always check the care label for instructions prior to washing.

  1. Pre-treat stains if necessary.
  2. Wash on a gentle cycle using cold water and use a mild detergent.
  3. Hang the curtains out to dry. Be sure to spread it out to avoid wrinkles.

Vacuuming Curtains

For the curtains that you will not be taking down to wash but do need to have dust removed, use a vacuum cleaner with the brush attachment, paying attention to pleats and folds.

Cleaning Blinds

Close the blinds and use a duster (like a Swiffer duster), microfiber cloth or an clean old pair of socks (put it over your hand) to remove dust. You can also use the brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner.

For washing slatted blinds, I find a clean old sock works great. Place a towel under the area you are working so water doesn’t pool on the windowsill.

  • Fill a large bowl with warm water and add a small amount of detergent (like Dawn) then swish around to mix.
  • Open the blinds.
  • Place the sock on your hand and then dip it in the cleaning solution, squeeze some of the water out as best you can.
  • Clean each slat starting at the top and working down. I clean a few slats at a time. Be careful to not damage the slats.
  • Using another clean old sock, dry the slats.

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10. Additional Areas to Clean

  • Clean gutters and downspouts.
  • Check for drafts.
  • Clean outdoor furniture prior to covering for the winter months.
  • Check weather stripping.
  • Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.