Creating a spring cleaning list may be a tradition, but winter cleaning offers unique advantages for your health, home, and well-being. “It’s common for people to spend more time indoors during the winter season, which can increase indoor air pollutants," shares Kelsey Hei, 3M Filtration and Indoor Air Quality Specialist. "Many use the springtime to do major home cleanouts, but it’s important to use the colder months as an opportunity to deep clean your space, especially if you use your home heating system to have a more comfortable season."
Focus on Improving Your Indoor Air Quality
During winter, we tend to keep windows shut and rely more on indoor heating, trapping dust, allergens, and pollutants. A winter cleaning checklist can tackle these buildups:
Dust surfaces. Cleaner air reduces the risk of allergies, asthma flare-ups, and cold and flu transmission during the winter months. Remember to dust blinds, dust ceiling fans, and clean light fixtures and their light bulbs.
Get in a vacuuming routine. Whether you preset your Roomba to a daily house cleaning schedule to vacuum floors and carpets, or just commit to using an upholstery brush attachment to dust furniture more often, every bit helps.
Clean baseboards. Dust accumulation on baseboards around your home can be intense. Your HVAC system can circulate it around and affect the indoor air.
Wash all your bedding. Sure, this might be a routine chore on your list, but duvet covers, quilts, mattress covers, and bed skirts are laundered less frequently. Over time, these accessories harbor a lot of dust which can affect how well you sleep. Throw it all in the washing machine, and vacuum the mattress while the bed is naked.
Dust buildup on electronics. It helps protect the technology and prevents systems from overheating.
Change your air filters, too. "We recommend changing your 1” HVAC filter every three months, but check your filter monthly, especially if you have pets, doing home improvement projects, or burn candles," says Hei. "Those factors can affect the amount of particulates in your air, as that could require you to change it more frequently.”
"Household dust is one of the allergens that can negatively affect indoor air quality, so it’s important to change your HVAC air filter and replace it with a filter like the Filtrete™ MPR 1900 (CDC recommends MERV 13 filters) that attract and capture microscopic particles such as smoke, bacteria, viruses, and larger particles, including lint and dust," recommends Hei.
Complete Routine Home Maintenance Tasks
With less outdoor activity, colder weather is a prime time to make a winter cleaning list for all your home maintenance needs:
Inspect and clean gutters. Pick a warm winter day and prioritize gutter cleaning. Maintaining them will help prevent ice dams and water damage.
Clean windows. Take some window cleaner to the inside of every window—it's the perfect time to clean off every pet nose boop and fingerprint, and dust window sills. Remove and clean the window screens if necessary. Take advantage of clear winter skies for the best results.
Clean and store outdoor furniture. Extend the lifespan of your patio furniture by properly cleaning and storing it before harsh weather arrives.
Touch up paint on walls and trim. Dedicate a full day to touch-ups in your living spaces (that way, you only have to wash the paint brushes once).
Clean grout. It's hard to find time to deep clean the grout on kitchen and bathroom tile floors, but dedicating a Saturday afternoon to the chore is well worthwhile. While you're at it, clean your tile backsplash, too.
Deep clean the glass on your shower doors. Remove hard water buildup and mineral deposits.
Replace batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. We like to do this twice a year–with each time change–but if you've forgotten, add this necessary task to your list. Remember: some carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms recommend that you use a lithium-ion battery, not an alkaline battery. Lithium-ion batteries last longer and need to be replaced less frequently.
Winter cleaning sets the stage for spring by addressing clutter and organizing storage spaces. Take care of your seasonal cleaning checklist now, so you can resume your regular outdoor routine as soon as the cold weather wraps.
Declutter shelves. Get rid of the excess. It's just collecting dust.
Optimize how you use the space in your kitchen. Are you using your upper kitchen cabinets to the best of your ability?
Create a brighter atmosphere. Deep cleaning can bring more natural light into your home, boosting your mood and energy levels.
Clean the refrigerator. Like, deep clean it. Get rid of old leftovers and wash out the drawers.
Optimize space. Decluttering unused areas can free up space for cozy winter activities like movie nights or game nights.
Prepare for gatherings. By getting ahead of the cleaning, you can relax and enjoy spontaneous springtime visits without added stress.