There are cultural and historic reasons why “spring cleaning” is something many of us do in our homes every year. But when you really think about it, perform deep and detailed cleaning shouldn’t be restricted to a specific time of year. In fact, some might say that doing these bigger cleaning jobs during the early days of winter is a much better idea.
Here are seven winter cleaning jobs that will prepare your home for the long winter ahead.
1. Freshen things up
When winter truly gets underway, temperatures take a dive, and people hunker down in their homes. While this is only natural, it can create a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses, mould and pests. This is why colds and other airborne diseases tend to take hold in a big way at this time of year.
To alleviate this issue, open windows as much as you can. Also, look for any way you can improve ventilation in your property, including the use of extraction fans and vents. But when temperatures really fall away, opening your home to the cold world outside will be the last thing you want to do. This is a good time to invest in a dehumidifier. With extra heat in your home, and much less ventilation, the moisture levels in the air will gradually increase — and that can lead to mould and an increase in bacteria and viruses.
2. Go on the attack
A combination of artificial heat and a lack of ventilation means bacteria and viruses increase exponentially at this time of year. As a result, everyday surfaces tend to be more prone to dangerous accumulations of disease-causing bugs. Keep antibacterial wipes or spray close at hand, and wipe things down a little more often than usual.
3. Vacuum more regularly
If you have carpets and upholstered furniture in your home, you should be wary of a sudden increase in bacteria, mould spores and mites during the winter. A sudden change in environmental conditions can leave your fabric susceptible to accumulations of all these things. Use a powerful, bagless vacuum cleaner to give all of your carpets and furniture a deep clean at the beginning of winter, then vacuum regularly throughout the season.
4. Change your bedding more regularly
Again, you need to be aware of the sudden increase in bacteria, viruses and mould spores that occurs when the indoor temperature rises and the ventilation in your home falls. And nowhere is this more important than in your bed. So-called bed bugs love a warm, humid home too, which means they tend to increase quickly as winter approaches. Change your bedding completely once a week, and give your mattress a thorough airing and vacuuming once a fortnight. It’s also a good idea to wash your pillows regularly.
5. Stay vigilant for cobwebs and creepy crawlies
Spiders and certain insects (including crane flies and moths) come out in force during the winter months. These aren’t just a nuisance, they’re often a health hazard. For example, a hidden cobweb can attract dust gradually over time, and cause problems for allergy sufferers.
Open your blinds and curtains fully every day to inspect them and your window ledges for dead insects. It’s also a good idea to use the crevice tool that came with your vacuum cleaner to detail clean floor edging and corners — where dead insects are often missed.
6. Clean your windows more regularly
The sun is lower in the sky during the winter, and this makes streaks and dirt on your windows more prominent. Clean all your windows at least once a week, using a solution of vinegar and water. Use a dry paper towel to rub the solution in, and polish the glass dry with microfibre cloths.
7. Clear and clean gutters and external drains
There’s never more dead, loose vegetation around than there is during winter. Leaves, twigs and general debris can block gutters and drains if it’s not removed regularly. This can lead to structural issues if it’s not addressed quickly, and it may even lead to mould growth INSIDE your home — and all the health issues that can cause.
You don’t need to drastically change your cleaning habits at this time of year. But a few tweaks here and there should keep your home happy and healthy throughout the winter.