Our Top 8 End-of-Summer Cleaning Tips
Fall has never looked so clean.
Some fall-loving folks start celebrating the season a bit early — much to summer fans’ dismay — but it’s no longer up for debate. The first day of fall is this Friday, Sept. 22, which means summer is truly, officially ending, my friends. No matter which side you’re on, it’s time to accept the change of seasons. It’s also time to shut down and stow away your summer things, which entails a bit of cleaning. Sigh. It’s not as bad as spring cleaning, though — I promise! Plus, properly caring for seasonal items ensures a longer lifespan, which saves you money in the long run. Score.
Scrub Outdoor Furniture
Give your outdoor furniture a thorough cleaning to remove built-up debris. Different types of outdoor furniture require different cleaning techniques. Check out our cleaning guide to see how to clean yours.
Clean Outdoor Cushions
Spring-Inspired Decor With Outdoor Floor Cushions
Maximize your seating capacity outside with stacks of oversized pillows laid out near sofas and loveseats. As your soiree grows, this will allow plenty of cushy surfaces for guests to gather around one another.
Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions
Spot-clean cotton, polyester and acrylic fabrics with a mixture of liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Rinse with clean water, and allow time to air-dry.
Wash Beach Towels
Swimming season has come to an end, so give those beach towels a much-needed bath. Use the hottest water the fabric will allow, and add a small amount of fabric softener to the load.
Scrub The Grill
Thanks to summer’s barbecues, your grill is probably sporting some cooked-on grit and grime. Try our seven-step, deep-clean process to return it to its former glory.
Don’t Forget the Grill Utensils
Give your grill’s accessories a deep clean, too. Though you probably wash them after each barbecue, they could use one, final scrub-down before being stowed away. We’ll show you how.
Clean + Drain Lawn Mower
Show your trusty lawn mower some love, and clean out all that caked-on grass. Not sure how? We’ve got you covered. Also, be sure to empty your gas tank, and run the mower dry for the winter months. This will keep your mower’s carburetor from getting clogged while sitting in storage — which will save you a major headache in the spring.
Clean Gardening Tools
To prevent rusting, scrub off those hard-worked garden tools. Get helpful tips here.
Sweep Out the Garage
Rid your garage of all the grass and debris that get tracked in during the warm-weather months. Have oil stains or garage door issues that need attention? Check out our guide to garage maintenance.
Do you have a pet that likes to mark her territory indoors? Try this. First, you'll want to blot the soiled area and treat it with an enzyme-based cleaner to get to the root of the smell. Then, lightly mist with an all-natural spritz to deter repeat performances. We love this homemade eucalyptus mix. Simply combine one cup of warm water with 20 drops of eucalyptus essential oil and shake before using.
Wash Those Toys
Let's face it — dog breath is gross. Now imagine all the germs those slobbery chew toys are carrying. OK, now that you're properly skeeved out — relax. Just toss soft toys into the washer with one tablespoon of baking soda, and toss the plastic or rubber toys into the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning. Just be sure to check for loose parts before returning them to the toy box. (If you have a sanitize setting on your washer and dishwasher, use it!)
Here's the Scoop
When it's feeding time, keep it neat and healthy with this DIY upcycled food scoop. Simply cut the scoop shape from the handle side of a clean milk jug. Wrap the handle with a colorful cord and secure with hot glue. You can even mark on the scoop the proper portion your kitty requires.
DIY All-Natural Room Deodorizer
Create your own natural deodorizing spritz for use on rugs and soft furnishings. Use it where pets love to laze around (hello, sofa!) or have accidents frequently. To make a 16-ounce bottle, mix 1/2 cup of warm water, 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1/2 cup of vinegar into a bowl (it will get fizzy). Pour the mixture into a spray bottle, then add 12 drops of peppermint essential oil. Once the vinegar dissipates, you will only smell the fresh peppermint. Lightly spray the offending areas, then let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming.
Easy-to-Wash Pet Beds
When you're picking out that perfect bed for your fur baby, keep in mind that you really want one that can be tossed in the washing machine. For larger beds, make sure you can remove the cover for a quick and easy refresh. Your house will smell better, and the bed will likely last longer, too.
Not unlike kids' toys, if left unchecked your pet’s toys can quickly take over the entire house. Avoid the chaos with lidded storage. It's easier to wrangle all those plush hedgehogs and squeaky bones when YOU are in control. Leave two toys out at a time, and rotate through the stash to keep your furry friend from getting bored with too many choices.