As many of us know from experience, if you don’t want to be faced with big inconvenience and even bigger bills, you need to stay on top of your home maintenance all year round. And if you’re wondering what should be a priority at the end of summer, you’ll find our fall deep cleaning checklist invaluable.
Properly cleaning your home isn’t just about looks. It can lower your energy bills, keep allergies from kicking in, prevent damage to walls and furniture, and even protect against fires.
So tackle these tasks now and you can sit back and relax this winter, knowing that you’ve done everything you can to protect your property.
Your fall checklist for deep cleaning…and why these jobs are essential
1. Wash and caulk windows to cut bills
Before the weather turns, it’s a good time to shine your windows inside and out. You may want to hire someone to do the exteriors for you, especially the upper floors.
Before cleaning windows, inspect your window frames for any damage or deterioration of your window sealant. If you notice damage:
- Remove any loose caulk or sealant. You can use caulk remover to dissolve troublesome patches – NEVER caulk over old caulk as this can make cracks worse. Cracks often appear between window sills and frames, so pay special attention to this area.
- Thoroughly clean the area with soapy water. Do not use harsh chemicals or detergents.
- For a clean line, mask off the area first using Frog Tape, £6.99, Amazon (opens in a new tab).
- Apply new sealant using a sealant gun. Start at the furthest edge and run a bead of putty along the crack.
- Then you will need to smooth it out to cover the crack, either using a wet finger or a putty applicator tool.
- Allow to dry for at least a few hours, according to the instructions on the caulk tube.
There are different methods of cleaning windows indoors that can be effective. Many prefer a window vacuum because they promise minimal mess and a streak-free finish. Simply apply glass cleaner to the glass using a microfiber cloth, then vacuum up the moisture – a squeegee-like silicone strip will ensure that all the liquid is collected and there is no of tracks.
2. Deep clean curtains and blinds to improve air quality
In a 2021 survey of 2,000 UK adults by laundry experts Surcare (opens in a new tab), 34% of respondents had never cleaned their curtains. And only 18% have taken them into account in their annual cleaning. And while you might be thinking ‘who cares?’ about those kinda shabby curtains, the bad guys inside could do some real damage.
“Fabric strips can create the perfect conditions to capture dust and the growth of mold and mildew,” says Surcare’s Claire Lancaster. “They can also absorb odors and discolor if left on too long.”
This buildup of dust, mold, and mildew can trigger allergies and respiratory problems, including asthma. It is therefore essential to keep your curtains clean so that your family can breathe easily.
“You should vacuum the curtains with a soft brush attachment once a week to avoid dust,” Claire says. “Then, once a year, take them apart to wash them properly, either in your machine or by a professional. Always read the care label and follow instructions carefully to keep them looking their best.
3. Pressure washing paths to make them safer
In the fall, sidewalks and driveways can become hazardous to health. Piles of fallen leaves and wet weather combine, and if nothing is done before winter arrives, you could literally be setting yourself up for a fall.
All that rain and moisture, under a cozy blanket of leaves, creates an ideal breeding ground for algae and moss, as well as pollen, germs and dust. Let them fester, and your path will turn into slippery horror and an allergy sufferer’s worst nightmare.
So, throughout the fall, keep paths and driveways clear with a leaf blower and clean them well with a pressure washer. This will eliminate any risk of slipping and may even lift microscopic bacteria from surfaces.
As you clean, check for cracks or loose bricks that could cause someone to trip. Have them repaired before winter, when a layer of snow could make them invisible and therefore dangerous.
4. Clean gutters and drain pipes to prevent water damage
Blocked gutters and downspouts are one of the leading causes of water damage in a home. If water is allowed to pool, it can wreak havoc on interior and exterior walls, and even your roof. So don’t wait for there to be a problem. With falling leaves and the onset of wet weather, fall is the best time to clean gutters.
Start by removing leaves and debris with a trowel. Don’t forget the hopper heads (the brackets at the top of the downspouts). If the downspout is blocked, cover the drain, stick your garden hose into the pipe, and turn the water on. Failing that, use drain rods to push the blockage down from above.
Rather stay on the ground? Specialized tools – such as telescopic lances or gutter and pipe cleaning kits – are available for pressure washers so you can get the job done safely on dry land.
5. Sweep the chimney and protect yourself against chimney fires
As much as we enjoy the summer sun, there’s something magical about lighting a fire and relaxing with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book when the temperature drops. But the dream can be instantly shattered by clouds of soot from an unswept chimney. So whether you have an open fireplace or a wood-burning stove, now is the time to have it cleaned.
Your first port of call is to book a professional to service and clean your chimney. Visit the National Association of Chimney Sweeps (opens in a new tab) to find a fully qualified chimney sweep in your area. Don’t be tempted to do the job yourself or hire an unqualified person, as you could cause thousands of pounds in damage.
Annual sweeping of the chimney or flue is essential as if soot is allowed to build up it could cause a fire. In addition, a chimney sweep will check if there is any damage and that no wild animals are nesting in your chimney.
Once swept up, you can tackle the rest of the cleaning yourself. Use stove glass cleaner so you always have a clear view of flickering flames, and invest in an ash vacuum to keep open fires free of embers. You can recycle wood ash in a compost pile.
6. Put outdoor furniture to bed
We’re still waiting as long as possible on this one, but our latest fall deep clean is tackling outdoor furniture. When you do the final mowing or trimming of the hedge, be sure to put your garden furniture ‘to bed’ in the shed or in a suitable dry storage area.
Wondering how to clean garden furniture? Wooden tables and chairs will need a good soapy water scrub to remove any fungus or algae. Then let them dry completely – this is vital or your furniture could rot. Store it in a dry shed or garage until the worst spring showers have died down.
Synthetic rattan furniture – many egg chairs and trendy outdoor sofas are made of it – can be cleaned with soapy water. Or you can use a powerful jet of water to remove stubborn dirt and cobwebs. You can leave these pieces outside if you don’t have space to store them, but we recommend using covers to protect them from fading.
Finally, natural fiber furniture, such as wicker, should be brought indoors, as well as outdoor textiles such as rugs and cushions.