House-cleaning requires some vertical effort. Work your way from the top down. Start with the attic, end in the basement. Vacuum, dust and clean from ceiling to floor. Here are 10 basic tasks to ready your home for warm weather:
1. Wash windows and window screens. Don’t forget to wipe frames and sills, too.
2. Refresh furnishings. Vacuum curtains or have them dry-cleaned. Rotate mattresses and pillows. Air out chair and sofa cushions, wash or dry-clean slipcovers, and vacuum all furniture. Clean wood finishes.
3. Shampoo or deep-clean rugs and carpets. Vacuum and machine wash area rugs.
4. Wash and wax floors. Always vacuum first. Then depending on the type of floor and the finish, mop and wax or reseal. Vacuum frequently — dirt can scratch floors.
5. Clean kitchen. Empty refrigerator and freezer; wash interior with baking soda and water.
6. Renew bathrooms. Do routine tub, tile and sink cleaning. Throw away expired medicines and cosmetics and sunscreen. Restock first-aid kit.
7. Perform appliance and safety check. Wash or change air-conditioner and furnace filters. Replace batteries in smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors.
8. Call a chimney sweep. Clean soot and debris from the fireplace and have the chimney and firebox professionally cleaned.
9. Straighten closets and drawers. Bring out warm weather garments; store winter gear, donate old clothing to charity.
10. Organize the linen closet. Wash and thoroughly dry (or dry clean) wool and down bedding; store for the season, in drawers or breathable canvas blanket bags. The slightest moisture in down bedding will encourage mildew growth and ruin the down.
Susan Woody has been a home and garden writer for more than 20 years and is a master gardener.