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winter house cleaning

Winter is Coming! Top Cleaning Tips

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Many of us think of Spring as a time to freshen things up for the season – dusting off the winter grime and airing the home for life on the outside. We believe the same should hold true for Winter – that before you head into to a cocoon state of winter living, just as much effort should be spent cleaning. Here are our top 10 spaces to focus on for a lighter less stuffy winter:

  1. Ducts & Furnaces

Most homeowners are aware of the importance of filter changes once a month as well as maintaining a dust-free area around your furnace? Today so many people suffer from some form of respiratory ailment such as asthma, awareness of this is even more critical to get rid of dust mites, dander and other air pollutants that can add to your discomfort.

Bonus Tip: Be good to your lungs and clean your ducts at least every 2 years. Change your filters at least every 60 days and make sure you put it in the right way.  Furnace filters come in variety of ratings and you may want to consult your local Home Hardware, Home Depot and other places you may shop for more details.  In short, the higher numbers means more efficiency; however tradeoff is some filters with high efficiency ratings are harder on your HVAC.


  1. Mattresses, Bedding & Pillow

So you wash your bedding and mattress pads, but what about the pillows and mattress? Mattresses, and other non-washable surfaces are home to a number of organic waste such as dead skin cells and body oils and even pet dander, if you have pets in the home! Consider washing your bedding, including pillows in washer designed for such a load. As a rule you want to clean your pillows as often as you change your duvet covers, as makeup and other skin shedding residue accumulates over time. There are also a number of anti-bed mites’ sprays that can be used for cleaning mattresses, pillows and even your couches.

Bonus Tip: If you use your dryers, make sure you do so when rates are low in your specific area. Typically after 7:30 in the evening and on weekends.

Bonus Tip: Go eco by using dryer balls over dryer sheets that often contain Alpha-Terpineol which cause central nervous system disorders; Pentane that is known to cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, as well as loss consciousness in extreme cases, among other chemicals

Bonus Tip: Use a product that is paraben free, biodegradable, nontoxic, with a neutral PH, as well as free of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). For those with allergies to scents consider odor free.


  1. Windows

While this is a common sense one, many of us simply don’t remember to clean our windows before the onslaught of the winter months. Make sure to give your windows a good cleaning as this will be your only portal to the outside world for cold days. Go eco on this task by using a mixture of water, eco-friendly dishwasher and vinegar. Clean windows inside and out with a homemade mixture of

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dish detergent
  • 2 cups water

Bonus Tip: Clean using a micro-fibre reusable cloth for optimal absorption.


  1. Deep Toilet & Bathroom Cleaning

Everyone these days seem to love a good DIY cleaning option of water and vinegar. Take it a step further, with an addition of baking soda for general cleaning. Use baking soda as a paste with water. The toilet is a perfect room to experiment with baking soda paste with vinegar and water to get rid of that grimy look of a used bathroom. It is also the perfect place where a strong antibacterial / cleaners of your choice is a must. A good spray bottle applicator can help you spread your cleaning solution to all the places you need to reach. After a good scrub of toilets tub and floors consider a final shine using microfiber cloth and your handy mixture of water and vinegar.

Bonus Tip: Consider a plumber’s trick of using a mixture of water, vinegar and Dawn detergent to ward off the buildup of calcium that can often clutter the shower bath control handle – this control may get stuck in one position depending on if you take showers or baths more often. 


  1. Deep Oven 

Another one for the “urggh” cleaning category is the dreaded oven. Over time and many a great meals prepared in your oven a thorough cleaning is a must, especially as you settle in for winter. Baking soda is highly effective and makes this formidable task of oven-cleaning easier. Use your water bottle and spray the entire oven till damp. Follow with a thick paste-like application of baking soda on the bottom of the of the oven. Ensure it’s nice and damp. Wait a few hours and begin a wipe-down like no other. For baked on grime, this may take a couple applications. Another natural solution!

Bonus Tip: Consider adding an essential oil in your mixture (lemon, orange, or grapefruit) for a nice clean scent.


  1. Refrigerator Cleaning

Like your oven, the refrigerator is another one of those daunting task. It is a place where stale and expired foods hang out till Spring cleaning time. Spray the inside of the emptied out fridge with a solution of water and vinegar; paying special attention to more soiled area soiled areas and let it soak in (see ratio of water and vinegar used above). Wash the shelves and drawers (rake sure you remove) with warm soapy water and set them aside to dry. Head back to the fridge and wipe everything down with a microfiber cloth. Dry shelves and drawers and return them to the fridge.

Bonus Tip: Consider adding an essential oil in your mixture (lemon, orange, or grapefruit) for a nice clean scent.


  1. Carpets & Upholstery

In the long winter months, your cozy couch is the perfect place to cocoon, which sometimes involves for stinky feet, along with snacks falling through the cracks. Couches come in different material equire different cleaning methods. First, identify the Fabric. Most couches have a tag tells you what cleaning treatment is require: water only, solvent-based cleaner on fabric, a combination of water / solvent based cleanser or vacuumed only. Prepare your couch by using a clean and dry white hand towel or washcloth to brush the entire piece of furniture, breaking up any dried-on spots and removing any crumbs that may have taken up residence in your couch cracks. You can also use a stiff brush if you wish. Do a once over and find any remaining stains; use appropriate cleaning solution (above). Mix together this easy cleaning solution and gently dab away at the stain. Don’t forget to test a hidden spot for discoloration. It may appear darker in color until it’s completely dry. Allow couch to dry.

Bonus Tip: Avoid using any colored towels or sponges, as the dye may change the colour of your couch.

Bonus Tip: For deep cleaning – Sprinkle the couch with baking soda. Baking soda helps release lurking smells and break up stains in the fabric. Vacuum with a powerful vacuum.


  1. Fan Blades

Fan blades of your ceiling fan are great at moving air and by extension, dust through your living space. Make sure your fan is shut off before you take on this task. Check to see if you have a fan cleaner attachment for your vacuum.  If you do, connect it to the vacuum hose. Turn your vacuum on. Slide it onto one of the ceiling fan’s blades and move the fan cleaner slowly across each blade, one at a time. If you don’t have a fan cleaner extension use a long handled magnetic duster or Swiffer and reach up and dust each blade both on top and bottom. Do this for all the blades to completely remove the dust.

Bonus Tip: Consider covering your furniture to avoid dust getting everywhere. Ideally you want to clean top down so this task is ideally done first if you plan to do a full house cleaning in one day.  


  1. Baseboards & Trims

Wood baseboards protect the wall from daily abrasions whether from kids or other daily life activities, Accumulated dirt from sweeping, mopping dust and everyday grime eventually make baseboards look dull over time. Weekly dusting usually keeps the baseboards looking their best, but eventually they may need a deeper cleaning to remove heavier dirt buildup. Removing the dirt without damaging the wood prevents later. Here are the quick steps

  1. Sweep the floor along the baseboards, removing all dust and dirt in the area you are cleaning.
  2. Attachment the dusting vacuum cleaner and vacuum corners and along the baseboards to remove any dirt.
  • Wipe down the baseboard with a damp cleaning cloth. Wipe dry immediately.
  1. Fill a bucket with 1 gallon of warm water for cleaning painted baseboards. Add 2 tablespoons of mild detergent to the water.
  2. Wash the painted baseboards with the soapy water to remove dirt and grime. Rinse with clear water then wipe the baseboards dry.

Bonus Tip: This is a task I reserve for the kids to get them involved in the cleaning process.

Bonus Tip: [For unfinished baseboards] Buff unfinished and stained baseboards with a wood wax or polish if they appear dull after the mineral spirits application.  Polishing brings back the shine and provides a protective coat to the wood.

Bonus Tip: Water left on wood baseboards and trim can soak in and cause the wood grain to swell and raise.


  1. Carpets

Vacuuming on a regular basis keeps high-traffic carpeted areas clean. But for deep winter cleaning consider a hot water cleaning or dirt extraction method. Hot-water cleaning is very important regimen of a well-designed winter carpet care plan. This thorough carpet cleaning method is widely recommended by carpet manufacturers. Deeply penetrated salt and dirt are pushed up by high pressure hot water and water-based cleaning solution, then immediately vacuumed away. Cleaning should happen often throughout the winter, as it helps carpets continue to perform effectively, and guard against rapid re-soiling.

Bonus Tip: Aside from regular vacuuming, the best way to keep your carpet clean and reduce wear is to place welcome mats outside every exterior door, and smaller rugs on the inside to catch any leftover dirt. This will ensure less mess getting trapped in your carpet.

Bonus Tip: Don’t be shy to ask guest to remove their shoes when they come into the house.

Bonus Tip: At least once a day, busy areas should be vacuumed. Not only will this ensure they stay clean, but it will stop the winter mess from migrating to other, less traveled, areas.


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