With heat waves plaguing many parts of North America, we’ve assembled a list of cleaning ideas to make summer’s dog days more bearable:
1. Put ‘random stuff’ into storage. The more things you have in a room – knickknacks, pillows, excess linens, throw blankets and so forth – the hotter the room is going to feel. Take a few minutes in each room to scan and stow unneeded extras for a lighter, airier feeling home.
2. Demildew-fy. Summer humidity makes molds, mildews and their odors grow much faster. Prevent mildew growth by: cleaning and remembering to run your bathroom’s exhaust fan; leaving lights on for 15-30 minutes after showers (mildew likes it dark); and strategically placing small spray bottles filled with light cleaning solutions to spritz daily in mildew-prone areas such as showers and tubs. Specially formulated moisture absorbers (such as DampRid) are another line of defense against mildew and even an open paper bag full of fresh coffee beans or grounds will absorb mildew odors
3. Deep clean your refrigerator and freezer (especially ice trays and makers). Getting rid of mucky old jars, bottles, leftovers and freezer-burned foods makes more room to fill your fridge with cooling and hydrating drinks and bulkier fruits, vegetables, ice, frozen confections and so forth. It’s Clean or replace old ice trays and built-in ice/water filters to ensure crisp, clean-tasting chilled water and ice.
4. Remove dust from electric fans, ceiling fans and A/C filters. Fans in constant use quickly accumulate dust, dander and grime on blades while air conditioners accumulate dirt in vents and filtration systems, leading to foul odors and less efficient operations. Where it is safe to do so, take five or ten minutes to dismantle, clean removable parts and reassemble for fresher-feeling air flows on hot days.
5. Clean screens and light fixtures. Window screens, sashes and light fixtures are other great accumulators of dirt, dust and pollens not to mention dead bugs. While the accumulation may not be obvious, it contributes to an overall feeling of oppressiveness. Quickly wipe down screens with a damp cloth or sponge and vaccum up bits of debris, cobwebs and dead bugs from window sashes and light fixtures to create an airier, cooler feel throughout your home.
6. Groom pets more often. Hot weather causes furry pets to increase shedding while normal pet odors become more noticeable. Adding an additional outdoor grooming session or two will do wonders for keeping your house smelling cleaner and fresher in the heat.
7. Deep clean your clothes dryer’s exhaust/venting system. Dryer vents full of lint are not only a fire hazard but cause your dryer to work less efficiently. The longer it takes to dry clothes, the more unneeded heat you introduce into your home.
8. Clean your outdoor grill. If you haven’t done it in a while, you may feel less inclined to cook outside. But, even if you have central air, cooking indoors undermines cooling efficiency, so do what it takes to make outdoor cooking as easy and attractive as possible.