5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Fall

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Home Improvement

Investing a little time in cleaning now can save you a lot of time later.
©iStockphoto.com/JackJelly

As the days get shorter and the nights get cooler, it’s time to start thinking about preparing your home for the fall season. While spring cleaning is a common practice, it’s important to remember that autumn is also a great time to clean, organize, and declutter your home. By spending a weekend on fall cleaning, you can stash away your summer gear and get ready for the colder months ahead.

Since you’ll be spending more time indoors during the fall and winter, it’s important to make sure your living space is clean and organized. Not only will this make your home more comfortable, but it can also make it safer and more secure. Plus, getting a head start on your fall cleaning can help make Christmas entertaining easier and less stressful.

Here are five important chores you should tackle this fall to get your home ready for winter:

5: Clean Your Roof Gutters


Be careful! This task can be dangerous.
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Roof gutters are designed to route water off your roof and away from your home’s foundation. While gutter maintenance may not be the most fun homeowner task, it’s essential for protecting your home. Clogged gutters can cause water to pool on your roof, which can lead to leaks and attract termites. Poor gutter maintenance can also cause problems with your siding, windows, doors, and foundation.

Some new gutters have leaf-catching systems, but these still need to be checked and maintained regularly. The best approach is to plan a day to clean your gutters, read up on ladder safety, and wear heavy-duty work gloves. Here’s what you’ll need:

The equipment you will need to manually clean your gutters includes a narrow trowel, a plastic garbage bag, a stiff brush, safety goggles, a hose with a pressure attachment, and heavy-duty work gloves. The simplest way to clean your gutters by hand is the day after a light rain, as the damp debris will come up more easily. If you have a low sloping roof, you may be able to use a leaf blower to do most of the work, but wait for everything in the gutters to dry out completely first.

The drain outlets will have the highest concentration of leaves and debris, so begin cleaning there. Use a narrow trowel, such as a bulb trowel, to scoop up the muck and dispose of it in the garbage bag. You can also use your gloved hands, but be cautious of exposed screws and sharp edges. Use a brush to free any silt accumulation that you couldn’t remove. After you finish a section, use the hose to remove any remaining debris and check the downspout’s drainage and the slope of the gutters. If there’s an obstruction in the downspout, use a plumber’s snake to remove it from the bottom up. Repeat this process until you’ve cleaned the entire gutter.

It is recommended to have a helper who can spot you on the ladder and give you the hose when you need it. Eye protection and old clothing should be worn by anyone working with you on the ground, as gutter cleaning can be dirty work.

While cleaning your gutters, inspect how water drains from your roofline. If you notice large drips along the joints where segmented gutter sections are connected or rivulets running down the walls, your gutters may need repairing. Invest in a sloped splash box to reroute water away from your home’s foundation if there is water pooling under the downspout.

Before using a ladder, read about ladder safety and follow safe ladder practices as falls from ladders are among the top causes of work-related injuries and fatalities. Winterizing your kitchen is also important for keeping germs and grease buildup under control. It involves washing curtains, replacing shelf liners, cleaning ceiling fixtures, and reviewing all the bottles and cans under the sink. Additionally, major appliances should be given attention during this time.

The refrigerator needs to be thoroughly cleaned, including the shelves, racks, bins and trays. Use an antibacterial cleaner to wash everything, including the door gasket. The condenser coils on the back or bottom of the refrigerator should also be vacuumed to help it run more efficiently. Check for freshness dates on condiments and use activated charcoal or baking soda to keep everything smelling fresh. Cleaning the stove is inevitable, but self-cleaning models can make the job easier. For the outside, consult the owner’s manual for cleaning recommendations and don’t forget to clean the range hood’s charcoal insert. The dishwasher can also get dirty, so use baking soda and a plastic scrubber to clean the interior liner. Moving on, the car’s interior should also be cleaned and vacuumed, especially before winter sets in. Stock up on winter tools and essentials like an ice scraper, umbrella, blanket and warm gloves.

To clean the interior of your car, you can use specialty products or a little laundry soap on a cloth. Make sure to use a vacuum with good suction and special attachments for detail work. Don’t forget to clean the trunk and organize your glove compartment. In the garage, start by taking an inventory of what you have and making three lists: things to pitch, things to give away, and things to keep. Keep the most useful items in front and position anything you won’t use for six months or more toward the back. Consider creative storage alternatives like wall shelves or overhead bins. Once you have a plan, pull everything out and install any shelving or bins. This chore could take a weekend, but after that, maintaining a clear and useful garage space will be easy.

1: Keep Your Home Clean in Fall and Winter

During fall and winter, we tend to spend more time indoors and keep our homes closed to keep the cold out. However, this can lead to the buildup of dust, mold, and dander, which can cause health problems. To prepare your home for winter:

  • Wash all bedding in hot water with a temperature of at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 Celsius) to kill dust mites and bacteria, and wash bedding weekly throughout the winter.
  • Shampoo carpets and vacuum multiple times to remove as much dust as possible.
  • Launder drapes and vacuum window blinds, and clean non-wood blinds outdoors with a mild soap. Use a mild wood cleaning solution to clean wood blinds.
  • Change or clean your HVAC filter and repeat every month during winter.
  • Bathe pets regularly to minimize dander, and train them to tolerate weekly vacuuming.
  • Clean moist surfaces, such as shower enclosures, sinks, and floor drains, with mold-busting cleansers or a solution of weak bleach and dishwashing liquid.

If you experience problems with pests such as fleas, bedbugs, mice, cockroaches, or other vermin, call a professional or deal with them promptly to prevent health risks to your family and pets.

Additional Information

Related Articles from HowStuffWorks

  • Learn How to Spring Clean
  • Discover the Best Ways to Organize Your Garage
  • Explore 14 Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tips for Your Kitchen
  • Find Out How to Clean Your Large Kitchen Appliances

Sources of Information

  • Aslett, Don. “Tips for Cleaning Blinds.” HGTV. Accessed 8/23/09. http://www.hgtv.com/organizing/cleaning-blinds/index.html
  • Consumer Guide. “How to Clean Large Kitchen Appliances.” Accessed 8/23/09. https://home.howstuffworks.com/how-to-clean-large-appliances.htm
  • DIY Network. “HVAC Home Tips.” Accessed 8/23/09. http://www.diynetwork.com/electrical/hvac-home-tips/index.html
  • Duggan, Sara. “Fall Cleaning: A Lesson In Simplicity.” Creative Homemaking. Accessed 8/24/09. http://www.creativehomemaking.com/articles/100603d.shtml
  • Evans, Seomul. “How to Clean Air Conditioning Ducts and Vents.” South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce. Accessed 8/23/09. http://guides.bestchamber.com/How_to_Clean_Air_Conditioning_Ducts_and_Vents-a1041832.html
  • Ewer, Cynthia. “Fall Cleaning Chore Checklist.” Organized Home. Accessed 8/24/09. http://organizedhome.com/seasonal-spin/fall-cleaning-chore-checklist
  • Fueleconomy.gov. “Driving More Efficiently.” Accessed 8/25/09. http://fueleconomy.gov/feg/driveHabits.shtml
  • Heloise. “Heloise’s Kitchen Hints.” Prentice-Hall. 1963.
  • Home Improvement. “How to Clean Air Conditioning Filters.” Accessed 8/23/09. http://homeimprovement.superpages.com/heating+and+air/how-to-clean-air-conditioning-filters.html
  • Home Tips. “How to Clean Rain Gutters.” Accessed 8/25/09. http://www.hometips.com/articles/gutters/gutters.html
  • Lowe’s. “Maintaining Your Gutters.” Accessed 8/23/09. http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=howTo&p=LawnGarden/gutters.html
  • Lukken, Miriam. “Refrigerator Cleaning Tricks.” HGTV. Accessed 8/25/09. http://www.hgtv.com/organizing/refrigerator-cleaning-tricks/index.html
  • Melchior, Debra K. “How to Organize a Garage.” How Stuff Works. Accessed 8/24/09. https://home.howstuffworks.com/how-to-organize-a-garage.htm/printable
  • Minkin, Tracey. “Allergy-Proof Your Home.” Health.com. Accessed 8/23/09. http://living.health.com/2008/02/25/allergy-proof-your-house/
  • Mrs. Clean. “Fall House Cleaning Tips.” Accessed 8/25/09. http://www.mrscleannw.com/tips/fall-cleaning-checklist.html
  • OSHA.gov. “Portable Ladder Safety Tips.” 2005. Accessed 8/25/09. http://www.osha.gov/Publications/portable_ladder_qc.html
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  • Scripps Howard News Service. “Guide to Organizing and Cleaning Your Home.” HGTV. Accessed 8/25/09. http://www.hgtv.com/organizing/the-big-sweep/index.html

FAQ

1. What are some areas of the home that people often neglect when cleaning for fall?

When cleaning for fall, it’s important not to forget about areas of the home that are often overlooked. For example, people often neglect to clean their gutters, which can become clogged with leaves and debris. It’s also important to clean out the fireplace and chimney, as these can become a fire hazard if they are not properly maintained. Additionally, make sure to clean behind and under furniture, as dust and dirt tend to accumulate in these areas over time.

2. What cleaning products are best for tackling fall cleaning tasks?

When it comes to fall cleaning, it’s important to have the right cleaning products on hand. Some good options include all-purpose cleaners, vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. These products can be used to clean everything from countertops and floors to windows and carpets. Additionally, it’s a good idea to have some microfiber cloths and a vacuum cleaner with attachments to help with the cleaning process.

3. How often should people clean their carpets in the fall?

It’s a good idea to have your carpets professionally cleaned at least once a year, and fall is a great time to do it. This is because carpets tend to accumulate a lot of dirt and debris during the summer months, and fall is the perfect time to give them a deep clean. Additionally, if you have pets or children, you may need to clean your carpets more frequently to keep them looking and smelling fresh.

4. What are some tips for cleaning outdoor spaces in the fall?

When it comes to cleaning outdoor spaces in the fall, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure to rake up any leaves or debris in the yard, as this can help prevent damage to your lawn and plants. Additionally, clean off any outdoor furniture and store it indoors for the winter. Finally, make sure to clean and cover your grill to protect it from the elements.

5. How can people make fall cleaning more enjoyable?

Cleaning is never the most enjoyable task, but there are a few things you can do to make it more bearable. First, create a cleaning playlist with your favorite upbeat songs to help keep you motivated. You can also try setting a timer for each task to help you stay focused and avoid getting overwhelmed. Additionally, try to involve your family or roommates in the cleaning process to make it more of a group effort.

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