Summer is a crazy season of coming and going, with different activities and visitors, tons of sunlight, and plenty of energy to make the most of every day. In all that fun, housecleaning chores may be neglected, and fall can be a great time for a deep, thorough cleaning to restore your home and be ready for the coming winter.
Why Deep Cleaning Makes Sense in Fall
Summer is always chaotic, but as vacations end, school schedules resume, and life gets back into a familiar and stable daily routine in fall, it’s easier to plan deep cleaning chores. Furthermore, since temperatures are falling, it’s cooler to work on outdoor fall home cleaning tasks. Studies have even shown that home office workers can be more productive in clean, uncluttered spaces, and the same goes for students and homework. Once the days have shortened and the weather has worsened into winter, you’ll be glad you’ve taken the time to do a thorough fall cleaning, as you can be more comfortable and at ease without unfinished cleaning tasks on the to-do list.
Tips for Fall Home Cleaning
When planning fall housecleaning, consider what tasks need to be done and how long each one may take. You may prefer to dedicate one solid weekend to all the cleaning, or break up different chores on different weekends. Adjust the cleaning schedule for your needs, taking into account how the weather may change as well as other commitments that impact how much cleaning you can accomplish at one time. Enlist the entire family to contribute to the effort and everyone will feel productive and part of the cleaning process, helping all family members feel invested in how nice the home looks and what it takes to keep it clean.
Top 25 Fall Home Cleaning Chores
Start your fall home cleaning with all the typical tasks – vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing the bathrooms, etc. But to really deep clean your home and make it ready for fall and winter, add these chores to the housecleaning to-do:
- Clean Windows
Wash every window inside and out to make the most of limited fall and winter sunshine. If the windows have screens, be sure they are in good repair and dusted, or remove them completely until spring.
- Clear Rain Gutters
Unclog and clean out gutters and downspouts to ensure water can flow properly away from the roof and the home’s foundation. This will minimize the risk of winter ice dams that can cause leaking and damage.
- Drain and Store Hoses
Disconnect and thoroughly drain garden hoses so they won’t freeze in winter. Use covers over outdoor spigots to minimize the risk of frozen pipes, and winterize any irrigation system at the same time.
- Put Away Summer Yard Items
Clean and put away summer outdoor items, such as patio furniture, toys, or garden décor that won’t be used when winter sets in. This will keep these items from getting damaged by snow and ice.
- Dust or Vacuum Window Treatments
Whether you have drapes, blinds, shades, or shutters, they will gather dust, fingerprints, and other debris. Clean them well, or consider washing and ironing draperies or curtains if necessary.
- Clean Inside, Under, and Behind Appliances
Thoroughly clean inside and around all appliances, including the washer and dryer as well as the stove and refrigerator. This will not only keep the appliances looking their best, but will eliminate odors and improve operating efficiency.
- Scrub Trash Cans
Every trash can catches the occasional crumbs, drips, or dribbles. Instead of just changing the bags, scrub out trash cans to eliminate any sticky residue. This will also lessen odors, particularly for outdoor trash cans.
- Wash Decorative Bedding
While sheets and pillowcases are washed throughout the year, fall housecleaning is an opportunity to wash throw blankets, comforters, pillows, shams, and other decorative bedding items to remove dust and keep them fresh.
- Vacuum and Flip Mattresses
While the bedding is off the bed, it’s a great time to vacuum mattress tops using a crevice tool to get into every nook and cranny. At the same time, flip and rotate the mattresses (if possible) so they will wear evenly.
- Move and Clean Behind and Under Furniture
Dust, crumbs, loose change, and plenty of other debris quickly accumulates under furniture. Move all furniture away from the walls and clean underneath it. If possible, angle the furniture so its undercarriage can also be dusted.
- Dust and Prune Houseplants
Get indoor greenery looking its best by gently dusting houseplant foliage. Prune any shriveled leaves, or consider repotting the plants entirely if they have become root bound. Don’t forget to dust artificial plants as well.
- Polish Wood Furniture
Polish wood furniture with appropriate finishes to remove minor scratches, watermarks, fingerprints, and other smudges. If the furniture is severely scratched or nicked, consider sanding and refinishing it completely.
- Dust Doorways and Doorframes
Dust can accumulate even on small surfaces, including doorframes. Carefully dust the tops of doors and doorframes, and check how each door closes in case any adjustments to the hinges or knobs may be necessary. Oil hinges to prevent squeaking.
- Dust Ceiling Fans
Dust the blades of every ceiling fan, but take care not to unbalance the fan with too much pressure. After each fan is cleaned, change the rotation direction so it will push down warmer air for more efficient winter airflow and heating.
- Dust or Wash Light Fixtures
Thoroughly dust light fixtures, including the bulbs (do this carefully when the lights are off!) to maximize lighting. If needed, change bulbs to brighter options for winter, or opt for more energy-efficient bulbs.
- Clean Baseboards
Run a rag along all baseboards to remove dust and dirt, and use a damp rag if necessary to remove sticky stains. Attaching a rag to a broom head can make this chore easier without as much bending.
- Clean and Dust Walls
Use a dry mop or long-handled duster to clean off walls, particularly in corners where cobwebs might normally go unnoticed. If necessary, consider touch up paint to cover small nicks, scratches, or holes.
- Change Air Filters
With so much dusting going on, fall is definitely the time to change air filters on the furnace or air conditioner. This will not only help keep the home’s air fresher, but will also improve appliance efficiency for better savings.
- Check and Improve Weather Stripping
Check around each window and exterior door for any air leaks or drafts, and install extra weather stripping as needed. If the existing weather stripping is already worn, replace it to keep the cold out and the warmth in.
- Spot Clean Carpets and Rugs
Use stain removers and scrub brushes to spot clean where needed on carpets and rugs. In high traffic areas or if the carpets are exceptionally dirty, consider renting a carpet shampooer or hiring professional carpet cleaning.
- Change Smoke Detector Batteries
Change all smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries, and check each alarm to be sure it isn’t dusty or damaged. Test alarms to be sure they work, or consider installing newer, upgraded designs for improved safety.
- Clean the Fireplace
If you have a fireplace, fall is the perfect time to get it in shape with a thorough cleaning, including the front screen and sweeping the chimney. Have it inspected for safety and be sure you have the proper tools on hand for cozy fall and winter fires.
- Clean the Pantry
Clean out the pantry and kitchen cupboards, removing any crumbs and accumulated dust. At the same time, check foods’ expiration dates and rotate older items to the front so they can be used more quickly. Take note of what needs to be stocked up for winter.
- Declutter Closets
Clean out closets, donating, selling, or tossing out clothes that no longer fit or won’t be worn. If you change your wardrobe seasonally, now is the time to get out those sweatshirts, sweaters, gloves, and boots that haven’t been seen for months.
- Clean Out the Car
While you’re doing your fall home cleaning, don’t forget to clean your car. Toss out trash, vacuum thoroughly, wash off the dashboard, and consider adding new floor mats that can stand up to fall and winter moisture.
There can be a lot to do with a thorough fall home cleaning, but by taking it one chore at a time and working through each room, you can easily brighten and refresh your home as the season changes. This will help your home look and feel its best just when you’re spending more time indoors, and you’ll be ready to welcome the holiday season with a clean and cozy home.