With the weather colder and unpredictable, now is a great time to do some serious cleaning around your house. While things like wiping down walls and baseboards are obvious, there are several maintenance and cleaning items that are often overlooked, including the following 10.
Maintenance on your disposal isn’t just important for keeping the disposal running properly but is also to keeping pipes in good shape and unclogged. There are many ways to clean your disposal, but one of the best is vinegar ice cubes. Simply put some vinegar in an ice tray and let it freeze. Then, run the ice cubes through the disposal. The vinegar will clean the disposal, while the ice sharpens the blades.
Wait, isn’t a dishwasher’s job to clean? Yes, but in doing so, the dishwasher itself can get dirty and be in need of cleaning. From bits of food to grease to undissolved detergent to water minerals build up, a dishwasher can get quite dirty. In addition to looking and smelling gross, it can also impact how clean your dishes get when washed. While you should regularly be wiping out the interior to remove bits of food and other buildup, now would be a great time to do a serious deep cleaning. Start by removing and rinsing the filter. You can also scrub it with a soft toothbrush for maximum cleaning. Not sure where the filter is located? Check your owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website. Next, wipe out the interior thoroughly, then run a cleaning cycle. You can buy cleaning tablets at the store and follow the instructions. Or you can use your own homemade cleaning solution: place a glass measuring cup with two cups of distilled white vinegar on the top rack and run a normal cycle without detergent or dishes.
Over time, the coils on the back of your refrigerator collect dust, cobwebs, hair, and more. This makes it harder for your fridge to expel hot air and cool its interior. The result is your compressor has to work harder and longer than it was designed to, using more energy and causing the compressor to fail. Cleaning the coils regularly will save you money in energy costs and the cost to replace a compressor or the fridge entirely. To clean the coils, unplug the refrigerator and use your vacuum’s hose attachment to suck up the dust. Then use a coil-cleaning brush to dislodge any remaining grime
Range Hood Filters
A lot of grease goes up the range hood above your stove, and that grease can seriously build up over time. The longer you go between cleanings the tougher it is to get the grease off. Save yourself time and aggravation by regularly cleaning the range hood, including the filter. To clean the filter, pull it down and soak it in a degreaser from an auto parts store and hot water. Let it soak for a few minutes, rinse it off, then place it back in the range hood. This will also help quell odors in the kitchen.
Plugged dryer vents don’t just cause a dryer to run inefficiently. They can also cause a house fire. Regularly clean vents to avoid a potential disaster. First, locate your exterior vent and remove the cover. Then use a brush to remove excess lint. Then, inside your home, remove the vent from the back of the dryer and use a vacuum and/or cleaning kit to remove debris from the ducts and the vent hose. Before reconnecting the dryer, clean out the lint trap on the dryer itself, using a cleaning kit and/or vacuum. Finally, scrub and rinse the dryer lint screen
Did you know you should be draining water out of your water heater at least once a year? Sediment will build up on the bottom of the tank and can cause the water heater to fail. Occasionally draining a water heater can not only extend its life but also can lower energy bills. To drain water, turn off the cold water supply, then turn off the water heater. Next, attach a hose to the drain valve. Open a hot water tap nearest to the water heater – this will help alleviate pressure in the system. Open the drain valve and let water drain from the tank. Once the water has drained, briefly turn on the cold water supply on the tank. This will stir up any remaining sentiment. Repeat this until the water runs clear, then close the drain valve. Remove the hose and turn on the cold water supply. Go to the hot water tap you turned on earlier and when cold water begins to flow again, turn it off. Turn the water heater back on. If you are unsure of how to do any of these steps, contact a licensed plumber.
Minerals and small particles in the water supply will cause shower heads to clog up. To keep the shower head properly functioning, remove it and clean the sediment out. Use a toothbrush to dislodge any deposits, then use vinegar to remove any remaining sediment. The acidity in vinegar helps dissolve deposits without heavy scrubbing that can cause damage. Finally, don’t forget to remove the filter and run it under a faucet while gently scrubbing it with a toothbrush.
Mineral deposits can also affect how well your faucets run. If your faucet is running slow or not providing a steady, smooth flow, chances are your aerators are clogged. To clean it, remove the aerator by wrapping a towel around it and using pliers to unscrew it. Remove the washer and other parts inside the aerator. Scrub the outside with an old toothbrush to get rid of buildup. Then, if buildup remains, soak the aerator in white vinegar overnight and scrub again.
As much as we would all love for caulking to last forever, that isn’t the case. It can get damaged and go bad over time with exposure to water. Now is a great time to check and see if anything in your house needs to be recaulked. Common spots to check are the caulking around bathtubs, sinks, showers, and anywhere else water comes in contact with it. If you find a spot where caulk is missing or water is seeping through it, recaulk as soon as possible to avoid mold problems.
Ceiling fan blades are a magnet for dust, but because we don’t see the tops easily, it’s easy to forget about cleaning them. Letting dust build up there can worsen air quality in your home and cause allergies to act up. There are special tools designed to help clean ceiling fan blades, but a low-cost easier solution is an old pillowcase. Wrap the pillowcase around the blade and pull it off. The dust will come off the blades and stay in the pillowcase, preventing it from falling on furniture below.
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