Summer Cleaning Check List
Every summer, you should clean your outside windows, screens, and shutters. It is necessary to remove the screens before cleaning the screens and windows, but it is not necessary to remove the shutters. Always use a broom to remove spider webs and dirt before using water. Be careful of possible bee, wasp, or hornet nests.
If you have a large number of windows or a two-story house, you should buy a window washing mixture that hooks onto your garden hose and makes the job much easier.
Decks & Driveways
The beginning of summer is a great time to do these once-a-year cleaning jobs. Don't use a heavy duty power washer. They can be dangerous, and they can destroy your deck and driveway. For outdoor decks, use a diluted mixture of TSP or deck cleaner (available at home improvement stores), then use a push broom or stiff brush to scrub the deck clean. Be sure to rinse the deck well. For asphalt driveways, use 1 scoop of laundry detergent in one gallon of water. For concrete driveways, use 1/4 cup dishwashing detergent to 1 gallon of water. Scrub with a push broom, then rinse thoroughly.
Grease stains can be treated with kitty litter or dry cement left to absorb the stain and then swept away. You can also use a commercial grease remover.
At the end of summer, you should completely clean your lawn mower and prepare it for storage. Never turn a lawn mower completely over. Use a block to prop it on its side. Somewhere on the lawnmower, it should tell you in which direction to lean the mower.
Drain any remaining gas and oil from the machine. Some machines have drains, and others have to be tipped to be drained from where you fill the oil or gas. Drain into an approved container for oil or gas, and then take to an oil-change place and ask them to properly dispose of the old oil and/or gas. Spray the underside of the lawn mower with a hose. Let it dry before storage to prevent rust.
Air Conditioning Units
Window units should be thoroughly cleaned at the end of the season. Unplug the unit and take off the front cover (on the inside). You can gently vacuum the coils with a brush vacuum attachment. Clean the filter for the last time of the season.
If you have a central air-conditioning unit, you should turn off the power to the unit, check the outside for any debris, spray it down with a hose, and then cover the unit. Purchase and attach an outside cover to protect the unit from the elements during fall and winter.
It's time to sort through your pantry (summer and winter), throwing away whatever has gone bad or won't be used. This doesn't have to be a big job. Just drag over a big trash can and get started.
Pay attention to "Use By" dates. If the date hasn't passed but is coming up and you're not going to use the item, toss it. You should throw away any cans that are dented or are missing labels.
Twice a year (summer and winter), you should clean all of the mattresses in the house to keep dust mites under control.
Vacuum the top of the mattress, move the mattress and vacuum the box springs, then flip the mattress and vacuum the new top of the mattress. For further protection from dust mites, add a hypo-allergenic mattress pad and wash your sheets in hot water.
Once a year, you should drain and flush your water heater. This cleans out all the sediment from the bottom of your water heater. It makes your unit run more efficiently and last longer. This can be a big job, depending on the size of your tank and where it is located in your home.
Because you are dealing with electricity (or gas) and potential flooding, it is worth calling in a professional. If you're an ambitious do-it-yourselfer, it's not a difficult job. Remember to turn off the electricity and then turn off the water before you begin. Turn the water back on first when you're done. The tank should not have electrical current if it is empty.
Vents and Registers
If you have a central air-conditioning unit, you should clean the vents and registers at the end of the season. This means actually removing the registers. You should be able to vacuum both sides. If there's caked on dirt from condensation mixing with dust, you can use a damp cloth to clean it.
If anyone in your home suffers from allergies, you might also consider using a register filter to further clean the air during heating and cooling.