While cleaning freaks hail summer for extra daylight to be spent tidying up, we, the always busy New Yorkers, are not into wasting precious summer days on never-ending cleaning. That is why the main idea behind summer house cleaning is to organize it in a way that lets you clean less and make your home a safe place during the hot and humid season. Keep things as simple as possible, taking hard-to-clean household items away and paying special attention to the places that can potentially become an epicenter of germs and foul odors build-up. In this summertime cleaning guide, we have collected some best practices to help you make your summer cleanups a breeze.
Step zero: Declutter
Do you know the old cleaning axiom? You cannot clean through the clutter. You need to clear it first, taking away things you don’t use during summer and tossing (giving away) things you no longer need. During summer, your home is better off without all those knickknacks on the shelves and fluffy rugs on the floor. The more minimalistic your interior is, the less effort it takes to clean. So boxes and plastic containers are your best helpers in summer cleaning.
Step one: Beat the heat healthily
Whether you have an AC or air fans, it is crucial to sanitize these devices, making sure they don’t spread pathogens, pollen, and dust as they rotate the air. Vacuum your AC filter to remove the dust clogs and wipe it with a damp microfiber cloth. If you have air fans, wipe the blades down with a damp cloth and make sure you switch the blades’ direction counterclockwise. This helps the fan to make the air cooler.
Step two: Have mercy on your floors
If you are a happy owner of a patio or a backyard, you must already know this pain. All the dust, soil, and dirt from outside eventually settle on your floors. As a result, you have to mop more often in summer. Consider putting door mats at the entrances to trap the dirt and encourage your family members and visitors to take off their shoes when coming in.
Summer heat also takes a heavy toll on the carpets because we walk on them barefooted. To keep your carpeting fresh during the hot summer, use this simple homemade carpet refresher every time before you are going to vacuum. Shake ½ cup of baking soda and ½ teaspoon of your favorite essential oil (lemon or lavender oils are the best) in an airtight container until the soda dissolves. Sprinkle this refresher over your carpets and rugs and leave to work for 15 minutes. Then vacuum it all together with dust and debris as you would usually do.
Step three: Tackle those bad smells
Let’s face reality. A trash can gets stinky much faster in summer because high temperature accelerates rotting and bacterial growth. So anything that has to do with organic waste (be it a garbage disposal, trash can, or the drain) must be sanitized more often if you don’t want your kitchen to be filled with fetid odors. Take the trash bag out daily and disinfect the can every other week (or every time you notice leakage) using a heavy-duty disinfectant. A sprinkle of baking soda onto the bottom of the trash can helps keep it fresh longer.
There are lots of effective off-the-shelf chemical cleaners for drain or garbage disposal. However, if you want it cheap and natural, you can rely on the good old combo of baking soda and vinegar:
- First, run very hot water for a minute.
- Pour in a cup of baking soda. (For garbage disposal, turn it on for 10 seconds.)
- Add a cup of white vinegar, cover, and let it work for 10 minutes.
- Finalize with very hot (boiling) water.
Step four: Clean messy counters right away
Germs aren’t the only reason why you should keep your countertops clean and sterile throughout summer. Dirty dishes, greasy-sticky spills, and crumbs attract ants and other unwanted visitors who love partying on food messes. Don’t leave bugs a chance by washing dishes and cleaning food messes right away. Mix water and white vinegar in even proportions in a handy spray bottle, and wash your counters with it every evening before you go to bed. This natural homemade cleaner works in two ways, mildly disinfecting and repelling gross crawling creatures at the same time. It is also great for washing windows and removing sticky spills from the floors. Every modern cleaning agency that cares about eco cleaning uses similar way of disinfecting or they could use a special eco-friendly cleaners.
Step five: Do away with mold and soap scum
Your bathroom is another place that requires special attention during the hot and humid summer months. Here are some smart tips that will help you fight off mold and hideous soap scum and enjoy some really invigorating moments in your bathroom this summer:
- Ensure your bathroom is properly ventilated. Turn on a bath exhaust fan every time you take a shower and leave the bathroom doors open when you are done.
- To get mold out of your bathroom walls, spray a bleach-water solution (1:2 ratio) OR (not and) undiluted vinegar over them. Leave for an hour and rub with a (tooth)brush if needed.
- Keep your shower walls scum-free by spraying them from time to time with a safe homemade cleaner (mix 1 part vodka, 3 parts distilled water, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil).