Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, November 25, 2016

Breathe a little easier this winter

As the temperatures drop, you’ll be spending more time indoors. So why not get a jump start on spring cleaning? This will help you get you ahead of the game and rid your home of dust and dirt.

Below is a checklist from the National Association of Realtors, to help you breathe easy all winter long.

Wash and disinfect garbage cans, wastebaskets and toilet brush holders. You’re going to be shut in all winter with these germ havens, so now’s a good time to clean them thoroughly.

Turn over furniture and vacuum the bottoms. You might shift furniture around so you can vacuum the floor, but there’s another side to the story – the underside. Tilt upholstered chairs and couches all the way back to expose the bottoms. The dustcovers tacked underneath furniture can catch dreck and dust bunnies, so vacuum them, being careful not to press too hard on the fabric.

Clean the tops of doors, trim and artwork. Tables and countertops aren’t the only household items with horizontal surfaces. In fact, just about everything in your house except Rover’s tennis ball has a horizontal surface where dust and dirt will nestle.

You’ll want to clean the top horizontal edges of interior doors; trim, baseboards and chair rails; artwork and mirrors; electrical wall plates; wall-mounted smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and thermostats; upper kitchen cabinets; light bulbs and light fixtures; computer monitors and books on shelves.

Vacuum behind the fridge. Your fridge needs to be cleaned periodically so that it operates at peak efficiency. Tackling this chore can avoid an increase in monthly utility costs. Or worse – a necessary visit from an appliance repair professional. For starters, unplug the fridge while you work on it. Put down a piece of cardboard so grit under the wheels doesn’t scratch your flooring.

If the condenser coils are on the back of the refrigerator, pull the unit out completely. Brush or vacuum the coils to clean them, and clean up any dirt and dust on the floor. Also, check to make sure your freezer vents are clear. Freezers circulate air to reduce frost, but piling up too much stuff in front of the little grill-like vents inside your freezer blocks their business.

If the condenser coils are on the bottom of the fridge, you’ll need to clean them from the front of the unit. Take off the bottom faceplate to expose the coils. Clean dust using a condenser-cleaning brush or a long, thin vacuum attachment made for this purpose.

You should still pull your refrigerator all the way out and vacuum up dirt and dust that accumulates behind the unit.

Winterize your entry. Keep winter’s slush and gunk at bay by making your entryway a dirt guardian. Get a boot scraper. Add a chair or bench for taking off boots, and have a boot rack for wet footwear. Put down a tough coir outdoor doormat for cleaning footwear.

Clean windows. By some estimates, dirty window glass cuts daylight by 20 percent. That’s a lot less light coming in at a time of year when you really need it to help chase away winter blues.

Clean ceiling fan blades. Those big blades on your ceiling fan are great at moving air, but when they’re idle they’re big dust magnets. Dust settles on the top surfaces where you can’t see it. Out of sight maybe, but not out of mind.

Change furnace filters. Yeah, this is a no-brainer, which is why it’s last on this list. But everything else you do could be moot if you’re not changing your filters at least once every 60 days (more if you’re sensitive to allergies).

Happy cleaning (and breathing!) this winter.

The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors is The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga. The Association is a regional organization with more than 1,700 members, and is one of more than 1,400 local boards and associations of Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. The Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net.