COMPLETE Guide to Keeping Your Home Fresh
If you’re anything like us, we’ve been soaking in this last 2017-2018 winter season, weather and festivities included. So far, it’s felt like one cozy yet entertaining season.
Of course, we all know what that means for the state of our homes: the house not getting as much fresh air as it needs, not as much day light—or light in general—plus so much post-holiday clutter that, in the end, you consider needed insulation.
So, how do you tackle that growing to-do list without waiting until “spring cleaning” strikes two months from now? You take action without making excuses! Action, in our humble opinion, is usually facilitated by creating lists. And a timeline is the best way to organize a big task like spring cleaning into smaller goals.
Here at Dr. Ku’s office, we think a calendar provides a wonderful structure for the small but meaningful tasks at hand. So we went ahead and broke down a 28-day How-To Guide by using the calendar of February!
FEBRUARY 1 – Dust Ceiling Fans and Light Fixtures
Start from the top of the room, as everything will fall to the floor and you will have to clean floors again if you dust ceiling fans out of order. Our quick and handy tip: use a pillowcase to wipe off all the dust on fan blades, then spray to clean up residual left. For most of us, there’s usually a LOT of dust!
FEBRUARY 2 – Wash the Blinds
Best bet is to wash these in the tub. If you don’t have that kind of time, use a vacuum with a soft bristle brush hose and then wipe them down with a Clorox wipe.
FEBRUARY 3 – Clean the Curtains
Depending on your budget and the quality of your curtains, you could either take them to the cleaners, have someone come to your house and steam clean them, or just throw them in the wash on a gentle cycle and immediately hang after washing.
FEBRUARY 4 – Clean Windows
This means inside and out. We know, we know…yes, it is probably going to rain right after you clean the outside of the windows (Murphy’s Law), but it must be done.
FEBRUARY 5 – Clean Windowsills
Yes, this also includes those little nooks and crannies that window frames come with. Use a cotton swab to clear out the gunk that a cloth or wipe doesn’t manage.
FEBRUARY 6 – Clean Refrigerator/Freezer
You’ll want to take everything out at appropriate times (no spoilage) and use something with as little chemical vapors as possible for scrubbing, like baking soda.
FEBRUARY 7 – Clean the Outside of Appliances
Just clean the outside of your appliances for now. Don’t put too much on your plate! This means cleaning the outside of the refrigerator, the oven, the microwave, the toaster, coffee pot, etc. And if you have a special cleaner for any appliances like those with stainless steel, be sure to use that.
FEBRUARY 8 – Clean the Inside of Appliances, and the Kitchen Sink
Dependent on how many appliances you have you’ll want to be sure to clean the inside of them. And we highly suggest not using the self-cleaning mode, as this can reduce the lifespan of the appliance. Hot tip: for the sink you’ll want to use the classic mixture of baking soda and vinegar to disinfect and rinse, that’s it!
FEBRUARY 9 – Clean the Stovetop
If you are one of the lucky folks with an electric glass top stovetop, then you most likely won’t have as much back-breaking work as those of us with a gas stove. Either way, be sure to remove all nobs and burners and clear away all debris, then sanitize with the appropriate cleaner.
FEBRUARY 10 – Wash and Sanitize Doorknobs
Did anybody get sick this winter? Have you even ever done this in your home? It’s scary to think there are people that don’t practice this. Sanitize all things you touch with your hands or use in shared spaces with others! That includes remote controls, phones, door knobs/handles/pulls, and even the door itself if pushed to open or close.
FEBRUARY 11 – Wash Textiles
After cozying up all winter in those comfy blankets and squishy pillows, you’ll want to get rid of any lingering smells by tossing them in the appropriate wash cycle. We’re talking sofa linens, bath and bedroom linens.
FEBRUARY 12 – Clean the Dishwasher
Yep, we said it. Even that machine that is supposed to clean things needs to be cleaned. Start by removing all racks and trays. Check the water-spinning holes to see if they’re clogged. Check the bottom of the door, the floor of the dishwasher, the drain, the gate and grill for debris that could be clogging up the process. Use a toothbrush with baking soda or warm soapy water, and set it on a rinse cycle when done.
FEBRUARY 13 – Clean the Washing Machine
Like the dishwasher, this machine also has to be cleaned…even though it is constantly cleaning! It still absorbs dirt, so wash this sucker down from top to bottom.
FEBRUARY 14 – Dryer
This one’s simple, and we sure hope you do it on the regular, but clear the lint trap from the dryer! This is a huge fire hazard. Every time a load is done drying, this should be cleared out. And be sure to keep the area around and behind the dryer tidy as well!
FEBRUARY 15 – Sanitize Bathroom Fixtures
You might have already accomplished this when wiping doorknobs and shared touched fixtures, but spend one day sanitizing bathroom fixtures specifically. We don’t need mention what particles could be flying in this vicinity…you get it. So keep every inch of it clean!
FEBRUARY 16 – Bathroom Mats and Toys
If you’re like some of us here in the office, you might have little kids or even grandkids. Surely, they have toys they like to play with in the tub. Grab those items, plus all the mats you and the kids use, and toss them in the washing machine with some vinegar. Keep they toys in a loose washer-safe baggy to avoid parts falling off.
FEBRUARY 17 – Scrub the bathtub, shower, toilet and bathroom sink
We’re talking about all that porcelain and ceramic. Grab your favorite cleaner, a two-sided sponge, some rubber gloves, and maybe even a toothbrush, and give these babies a good scrub down. We highly recommend using a bleach spray on any grout. Which leads us to our next task…
FEBRUARY 18 – Cleaning the Grout
Sprinkle baking soda on every bit of grout you find in your bathroom or kitchen, using a spray bottle filled with vinegar to apply over baking soda. Let it sit and bubble for a few minutes and then scrub—but not for too long, or the will settle back into the grout.
FEBRUARY 19 – Wash Shower Curtains
Your best bet might to be to just throw out the curtain and get a new one, but that will always depend. We recommend using an inexpensive curtain liner along with a fabric curtain that stays outside of the wash area. If it’s salvageable, washing with 1 cup of vinegar, your normal detergent and some old towels will do the trick. Hang to dry immediately after washing. As for the washing shower doors and getting that calcium depository to lift, we recommend a diluted mixture of vinegar, water, lemon juice and a baking soda paste.
FEBRUARY 20 – Baseboards
This is one of the chores we feel particularly passionate about! The baseboard actually has an architectural purpose: to catch the dirt that falls from the top of the room, down the wall and onto the floor. It’s also there to make it easier for you to clean, so let it see its purpose! Take a warm soap-wet cloth and run along the expanse of the baseboard, and then rinse the rag and wipe once more for any residual soap. Or, you can use a wet wipe. Your preference – just make sure to clean it!
FEBRUARY 21 – Rugs and Carpet
We know some rugs might be too massive to throw in the wash, but for the ones that are machine-washable at home, be sure to wash these regularly. When it comes to the larger rugs, try to prioritize having someone come clean them at your house, or renting a carpet cleaner from your local Home Depot or home improvement store. Rugs and carpets can be one of the biggest culprits of keeping your family sick, and the air in your home un-breathable.
FEBRUARY 22 – Clean the Inside of Cabinets and Drawers
This might actually be a task that takes a few days, but try tackling the cabinets and storage places that are messing with your daily grind the most. In places like the dish cupboards, just pull items out, wipe them down and put them back in place. Don’t take on too much by feeling the need to reorganize. The sheer act of wiping out may inspire you to mull over how better to organize the space at a later date.
FEBRUARY 23 – 28
We left a little wiggle room of 5 days because we know, just like us, you’re not perfect—and life happens. The hope is that you can accomplish at least one of these tasks a day, if not two (if you have the time)! And that by the end of the month your place will be feeling ready for a new season—it can be a clean spring instead of a spring of cleaning.
Enjoy your February, and don’t forget between all this cleaning to schedule some down-time to cater to your personal care needs—one of those being your teeth! Making the time is how true self-improvement begins. Good luck, busy bee!
Also published on Medium.