Autumn is a time of frenzy and excitement—between everyday work and the going-back-to-school vibe, your home will see a lot of action. As the seasons change, it’s nice to take some time to get things in order before the coming months when you’re likely to spend more time indoors.
Keeping things clean around your home is sometimes easier said than done. There’s a lot to keep track of—but knowing how often to clean certain hotspots in your home will help you stay on top of things. Here are some tips on when to clean various household items so you can stay on schedule and keep your home as fresh as the autumn air.
For many the kitchen is the hub of the home. From prepping school lunches, to sitting down to a meal at the end of the day, your kitchen probably gets a lot of traffic. And just like your kitchen, the dish towels there receive a lot of use. Even if you simply use your kitchen towel to dry off clean hands and dishes, they can harbor a lot of bacteria. Make sure you change out your towels daily, and toss them in the wash.
Sponges are also a minefield for bacteria and mold. Make sure you wring out sponges completely after every use and set them in an open dish where they can dry completely between uses. You can also pop your sponge in the dishwasher with the heated dry setting to freshen it up. Replace sponges every two weeks.
Wash kitchen rugs and mats once a week to get rid of dirt and grimy build-up. For general upkeep, you should vacuum and clean machine-washable rugs and mats with the rest of your laundry. Your rugs and mats may have specific cleaning instructions depending on their materials, so make sure you check the care label before cleaning. Let dry completely before placing them back on the floor.
No one wants to look out of a smudged window! It’s a good idea to clean your windows and curtains once a month. Give your windows a good wipe-down so that there are no smears left. Use a vacuum on curtains, screens, and even on windowsills. If you have blinds, you can take them down and lay them on a drop cloth outside and then scrub them clean with warm soapy water. Rinse and hang them outside to dry before putting them back in place.
Not surprisingly, couches and chairs can carry a lot of dirt, food particles and pet hair, so it’s a good idea to vacuum them weekly to keep them clean. Start by doing a little surface cleaning, brushing off any dust or crumbs. Remove cushions and vacuum the base of the couch, then fluff cushions and pillows.
The best way to keep rugs and carpeting in good shape is frequent vacuuming. Vacuum in a slow, back-and-forth motion twice a week. And to extend the life of your carpet, have it professionally cleaned once a year, or more as needed.
They may look clean and dry, but bath towels should be washed after about three uses (trusting that you and your family members are good about hanging them to air dry in between bathing to prevent a musty smell).
Throw your shower curtain liner in the wash once a month to prevent mildew stains. Hang to air dry. And depending on how much traffic your bathroom sees, wash your bath mat once a week on a warm setting.
The bedroom is where rest and rejuvenation occur, so it makes sense that you would want to keep things clean and fresh. Wash your sheets every week, using hot water to kill bacteria and dust mites.
Pillows should be washed two to three times a year to wash away bacteria and mildew. Most pillows are machine washable, but check the care label before throwing them in the wash. Pillow cases should be washed once a week with your sheets.
Down comforters can be sent to the dry cleaners with the changing seasons. Toss your duvet covers in the wash along with your bedsheets as needed—you can probably get away with doing this monthly or even seasonally, depending on whether you use a top sheet, and the wear it receives (think children, pets).
Other Fall Items
Household items aren’t the only things that could use a little cleaning. With the changing season comes a switch in your wardrobe, so why not show some of your favorite fall pieces a little TLC?
Cold weather clothing like sweaters and jackets can sometimes be neglected when it comes time to do the laundry. While these items may not need to be washed after every use, it is important to clean them regularly.
Thick sweaters that are layered over tops should be washed every 3 to 4 wears. Even though you may not produce as much sweat during the cooler months, your body still sheds skin and produces oils that will be absorbed in the fabric of the sweater.
Since jackets are outerwear with layers underneath, you may not think about washing them often. But they can act as bacteria magnets, brushing up against doors, public seating, and other people. Do yourself a favor and wash your jacket every few weeks to keep it fresh and clean.
This fall set aside some time to give your home a nice deep clean. After all, you will likely be spending more time indoors, so why not set the tone for many clean, cozy days inside.