Fall is here and the leaves are just beginning to change colors here in West Virginia. I'm pulling my jeans and sweatshirts back out and putting up all the canning supplies for the year. As I look around and know that we are going to be spending more time inside as the weather cools down, I started noticing some things on my cleaning to do list that may have fallen by the wayside for a little too long.
Maybe that's you too, so I'm going to share my fall cleaning checklist with you in case it helps you remember to tackle a few of these sometimes forgotten cleaning tasks. I'm going to break it down by area so that I can break it into manageable chunks of time.
Laundry room - I do laundry everyday and I wipe out the lint filter on the dryer almost every load but it's time to really get the vacuum down in there and go outside and clean out the vent as well. Lint build up can be a fire hazard, so it's really important to really clean it out at least once a year. The use of fabric softener and dryer sheets will cause more lint build up as they leave a coating on the dryer vent pipes which attracts more lint to stick to it. Try using distilled vinegar in the rinse cycle of your wash and wool dryer balls in the dryer as natural fabric softeners instead. It's also a good time to vacuum and wipe down the walls and floors behind the washer and dryer while you're in there.
If you don't run a clean cycle on your washer regularly, this would be a good time to do that and put a note in your calendar to do it once a month. You can do this easily with 2-3 cups of vinegar in the drum or detergent dispenser on the hottest cycle on your machine. Then you can run it again with 1/3- 1/2 cup baking soda in another cycle. Don't use vinegar and baking soda in the same cycle as they will neutralize each other and you won't get the cleaning benefits of each of them.
Kitchen - I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and feel like I clean it everyday, but one thing I don't get to that often is under the refrigerator. We have pets that are inside a lot so I really need to make this more regular than once a year! The dust and dirt build up under the fridge on the coils prevents the appliance from operating at it's optimal levels. It's recommended to clean underneath at least once a quarter. Just use your vacuum and a coil brush you can get at most big box stores fairly inexpensively. We actually got one for free when we had the APCO come out and do a free energy assessment where they recommended different things we could do to save on our electric bill. Cleaning under the fridge was one of those things!
I might wipe down the counters every day but I honestly don't wipe down the cabinets very often at all. So that's going on my list as well. A bucket of warm water with a few capfuls of Thieves Household Cleaner and a good microfiber cloth (like the Envirocloth from Norwex) will make this job quick and easy.
Clean the dishwasher too! Remove the drain screen if you have one and wash that by hand in the sink and return it. Put a cup of vinegar in the top rack of the empty dishwasher and run it on a normal cycle. Then put a cup of baking soda in the bottom rack of the dishwasher and run it on a short cycle. Wipe down the seals/gasket with vinegar. You should do this once per month to keep everything running well.
Clean the oven - this is one thing I do not do often at all because I tried that cleaning cycle on the oven itself and just about died. Ok not really but the stink was terrible because it was burning every bit of gunk in the oven and I still had to clean it out afterwards. So this time, I'm going to mix together a tablespoon of Thieves Dish Soap, 1 1/2 cups baking soda, 1/4 cup vinegar, 20 drops of Lemon Essential Oil and enough water to make it a paste that I can paint on the inside of the oven. Let it sit overnight and wipe it down with warm water in the morning. That sounds like a better plan than choking out everyone in the house from the cleaning cycle.
Bathrooms - The regular wipe downs occur but those drains.... ugh, I HATE clogged up drains. If you get into a routine of regular maintenance with this simple concoction, it will help keep them clear and eliminate the clogs form happening in the first place. So I'm going to add this to my weekly bathroom cleaning routine. Pour a pot of boiling water down the drain first. Then pour in a cup of baking soda. Then pour in a 2 cup solution of equal parts water and vinegar (in other words a cup of each already mixed together). Let that sit for 5-10 mins (while you clean the rest of the bathroom) and then pour another pot of boiling water down the drain.
Another thing we are plagued with is mold forming on the faucets. So I'm going to instill a regular routine of soaking them in vinegar by placing vinegar in a sandwich bag and putting a rubber band around it to hold it in place for 20-30 minutes. Then use an old toothbrush to scrub away any remaining gunk after the bag is removed. I have read that manganese and iron in the water is what the main culprit for causing the mold on the faucets.... reverse osmosis water filtration may cure that, but that's for another days research... until then, I'll use vinegar.
So here are 8 things to clean this fall that you might have been forgetting about:
- Clean dryer vent
- Clean cycle on the washing machine
- Clean under the fridge
- Wipe down cabinets
- Clean cycle on the dishwasher
- Clean the oven
- Drains in the bathrooms and kitchen
- Soak faucets
I hope these are great reminders for you this fall. It might also be a great time to check the batteries in your smoke detectors if you haven't done that in a while! Be sure to grab a copy of my Click here to get a copy of the Cleaning Tips for Sports moms Guide!
If you think of something that's missing from my list, please drop me a comment with your suggestions!