Now that the kids are back in school, it’s time to start cleaning up after summer vacation. Without kids tracking dirt all day or spilling snacks everywhere, you finally have a chance to deal with some of those summer messes and get a jump-start on fall cleaning.
What To Clean After Summer Ends
Most household cleaners are too harsh for outdoor furniture and can cause them to discolor. Clean yours with a solution of 2 quarts warm water, 1/2 cup baking soda, and 3-4 drops liquid dish detergent. Use a soft-bristled brush to dislodge grime and spray it all down with a hose then let it air dry.
Here’s more on how to clean patio furniture.
Don’t put off treating stains just because you plan to have the carpets shampooed before the holidays. The longer you leave stains untreated, the more permanent they become.
Most fresh messes on carpeting come up quickly with water and a little liquid dish soap. If the stains have been there for a while, don’t fret: you can still remove dried paint and other old stains from carpeting.
Windows and Their Screens
Sunny days and chilly nights cause the window glass to expand and contract. Over time, grime can work its way into window glass and leave it permanently etched.
Scrub lightly soiled windows with a microfiber cloth dipped into a bucket of warm water and a drop of liquid dish detergent. Dry them with a high-quality squeegee for best results. On grimy or greasy windows, try a homemade window cleaner that cuts through the mess without leaving streaks.
Fireplace and Chimney
Many of us look forward to spending Autumn nights in front of a crackling fire. If you haven’t had your chimney cleaned in a while, you should schedule a fireplace checkup at the end of summer.
The chimney sweep will look for signs of creosote buildup, cracks, and birds nests or other things that could block the chimney and cause carbon monoxide to enter your home.
Before you put away the pool toys for the season, make sure they’re clean and free of grime that could lead to mold and mildew. Combine 2 cups of white vinegar and 1 gallon of warm water. Let toys soak for 5 minutes and rinse. Allow them to air dry thoroughly before putting them away for the year.
Sleeping Bags and Tents
Turn sleeping bags and tents inside out and shake them vigorously to get rid of sand and dirt. Use a broom to brush away and stubborn grime. Check your bag’s care label to see if it’s machine washable then clean it according to directions. For tents, turn them right side out again and spread them over a clothesline to air for a day before storing.
Wash coolers inside and out with warm, soapy water. Use a soft-bristled brush on particularly soiled areas. Rinse well with water and dry with a towel, then leave the cooler sitting open in the sun for a day to ensure it’s fully dry.
Before storing, stuff the inside of your cooler with several sheets of wadded newspaper to absorb odor and prevent moisture buildup.
With kids running in and out of the house, garage floors can get filthy. Back your car out and give the floor a thorough sweep. Treat oil spots by sprinkling them with clay cat litter or cornstarch to absorb the grime, then sweep it away and wash the spot with hot, soapy water. Wait until the floor is dry before moving your car back inside.
While you’re at it, this is also a good time to organize your garage, too.
Chances are your coat closet hasn’t been used much over the summer, but it still needs a little TLC before cooler days arrive. If it’s particularly cluttered, here’s how to organize a coat closet.
Otherwise, give the walls a good dusting and sweep the floor. Go through the contents and donate any items which no longer fit. Make sure gloves have mates, that everyone has a winter hat and coat which fit. Also, be sure you’ve got an umbrella or two on hand for rainy autumn days.
Lawns go dormant in autumn, so the mowing season is almost over. Don’t put away a mower with gas still in the tank, or it may damage the carburetor or solidify in the tank. Once the tank is empty, you should also take it in to have the blades sharpened, or DIY it following the steps in this video.