Winter cleaning checklist and tips for homeowners

Your guide to keeping your home clean and cosy this winter

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Winter may bring the joy of snow and holiday festivities, but it can also mean dry and dusty air inside your home. But don’t let the harsh winter weather get you down. A clean and well-maintained home can keep you and your family comfortable all season long. 

This winter cleaning checklist takes you through some pre-winter tasks, as well as tips on maintaining a clean house during and after the cold season. 

Pre-winter cleaning

Cleaning leaves and debris out of gutters before winter

Here’s what should be on your pre-winter home cleaning checklist:

1. Clean ceiling fan blades

Ceiling fans gather a lot of dust, so they should be cleaned regularly. This dustiness worsens in the winter since cold air draws out more moisture and causes us to shed more dead skin (aka one of the components of dust). Get rid of that layer of dust by using a pillowcase to “sweep” it off each blade. 

While you’re at it, you can change ceiling fans to run clockwise and push warm air down during the cold season.

2. Clean the furnace 

Cleaning the front cover of a gas furnace with a brush

This is an essential part of any pre-winter home checklist. As mentioned, the air gets very dry in winter, and this causes more dust to float around, causing possible blockages to your furnace. To keep your furnace efficient, make sure you clean it at least once a month, especially in winter.

3. Clean your fireplace

Cleaning the fireplace, holding a brass shovel with ash

You’ll be using the fireplace a lot more come winter, so it’s time to clean out all the soot and dust bunnies. This improves your home’s air quality, especially when you and your family spend more time indoors. You can check out our guide on how to clean a fireplace.

4. Clean air ducts and vents 

Doing this reduces dust and germs not just during winter but all year round. Since this chore can get quite tricky, you can get a duct cleaning service to do this for you.

5. Deep clean your floors 

Haven’t had time to do this all year? It’s never too late! Deep cleaning floors includes vacuuming, scrubbing, brushing tile grout, and shampooing your carpet. These tasks help protect your flooring and minimise the clean-up needed after a winter season full of mud, snow, and deposits.

6. Add a shoe-cleaning zone at every entrance

Shoe-cleaning zone, dirty winter boots on door mat at house entrance

Maintaining clean floors during winter can be challenging, but it helps to have an outdoor rug and/ or boot scraper to remove all the snow, soil, and other dirt from your shoes before you head indoors. Also, keep an absorbent rug at the indoor side of the entrance to absorb melting snow since this salt water can ruin your floors.

7. Clean up your shelves, cabinets, and closets

Winter means more bugs and rodents looking for food and shelter, and they might find it in your dirty nooks and crannies. This is why it’s so important to deep clean your pantry, linen closets, and all the other drawers and shelves in your home.

8. Clean your gutters 

Cleaning gutters in winter can be tricky and dangerous, so experts recommend doing this in the fall instead. 

To clean your gutters properly, use a scoop to get the gunk out of your gutters. Place the debris in a bucket or on a tarp laid out on your lawn. Then, flush the gutters out with a hose. 

Regular gutter cleaning prevents roof damage due to the weight of snow and ice. 

Cleaning during winter 

Cleaning during winter, wiping dust on table

How do you keep your house clean during winter? Just make these tasks a part of your winter cleaning checklist:

1. Dust everything 

The warm, dry air means more dust in the winter. Regular dusting can help keep cleaning more manageable, especially during long cold seasons. Don’t forget the tops of window mouldings, knick-knacks on shelves, cabinets, picture frames, and underneath furniture and appliances.

 Also read: How to keep your home dust-free

2. Clean the windows

Another reason your house gets so dirty during winter is the soot from candles or the fireplace. No need to use fancy cleaning solutions; a simple vinegar and water solution typically works great! Don’t forget your window sills and your drapes or blinds.

3. Clean the ceiling

Woman cleaning ceiling with a mop during winter

Like the windows, your ceiling absorbs a lot of dirt during winter, especially around stoves and fireplaces. To clean your ceiling, use a simple mixture of soapy water. Make sure to test clean a small portion of the ceiling before you go all out! It also helps to use a telescoping duster or mop, especially for hard-to-reach ceilings.

 Also read: How to clean light fixtures

4. Deep clean fabrics and upholstery

Can you spring-clean in winter? You sure can! Since you’re spending more time indoors, it’s the perfect opportunity to look into the areas of your home that could do with some sprucing up.

One of the tasks you can do is deep clean your couch, cushions, and other upholstered furniture. Since dust, crumbs, and other types of dirt have accumulated over the year, it’s high time you got these out of the nooks and crannies of your furniture. 

Besides regular vacuuming and wiping down, you can schedule a professional deep cleaning for these items.

5. Deep clean rugs and carpets

Deep cleaning, vacuuming carpet as part of winter cleaning

Don’t forget to add carpet cleaning to your winter cleaning checklist! Besides regular vacuuming, your carpets and rugs need deep cleaning too. Depending on your rug material and size, you can opt to wash them yourself or book a carpet cleaning service to do it for you.

6. Clean your car 

Girl in warm clothes power washing her car during winter time

Yes, you still need to clean your car during winter since it can pick up a lot of deposits and salt mixtures that can corrode your vehicle. As long as the temperature is 10-32 °C (50-89 °F), you can safely wash your car without worrying about freezing it. You can go to touchless car washes, heat up your garage before washing, or simply use hot (not boiling!) water to wash your car. 

Getting help with winter cleaning

With this winter cleaning guide, making your house spotless can be easier and more efficient. If you don’t have the time or energy to do the floor-to-ceiling cleaning yourself, that’s alright, too. You can find experienced house cleaners near you who are ready to help. Post a task now for all your winter cleaning needs. 

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FAQs on winter cleaning

First, the air gets very dry and warm, so you’ll feel the dust a lot more. Next, winter means using the fireplace and candles a bit more. This results in soot and film on windows and ceilings. Lastly, mud and salt water from the snow gets into your flooring, rugs, and furniture. This adds to that icky feeling and the need to clean up more often! 

Cleaning a deck during winter seems counter-intuitive when you’re spending time indoors. Still, you need to take precautions to ensure this spot of your house endures the cold months. 

  1. Start by clearing out your deck furniture to prevent rust and mould. Make sure you don’t drag the furniture across the deck. Otherwise, you could leave some nasty marks on the wood.

  2. Use a hard-bristled brush to take the snow off. Don’t use a shovel, as this will damage the wood. 

  3. Wash the deck down with a hose. 

  4. Afterwards, apply some deck cleaner specific to the kind of wood your deck is made of. Or, you can apply a repellant seal to keep the wood weatherproof. Never use salt to melt the ice, as this can damage your deck.

Follow these steps to clean a grill after winter: 

  1. Scrape off the carbon deposits. 

  2. Soak the cooking grids in soapy water and clean up any heat distribution components. 

  3. Clean out any burners and tubes carefully and inspect them for blockage. 

  4. Wash the drip pan or grease trap, then vacuum up your grill. 

  5. Then, shine the grill and reassemble it as you go.

  6. Finally, season the grill with vegetable oil to prevent sauce and fat from clinging to the parts.

Cleaning a grill after winter is essential since even a perfectly-stored grill can be affected by the winter months and year-long use. This results in unsanitary cooking conditions and a funky flavour in the food.

You can opt to buy carpet shampoo and some soap. Or, you can try this rug cleaning hack: First, roll up the rug or carpet while indoors. This prevents dirt from scattering around the house. Then, unroll the carpet outdoors and lay it upside down on some thick, clean snow. Beat the rug with a paddle or mop to get the dirt out. Do the same on the other side. Finally, bring your now-clean mat indoors. 

If picking up a rug and cleaning it yourself isn’t an option, you can get a local carpet cleaning service to do it for you instead.

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