There are so many little things to take care of in our houses every day, but these always go to the back of our to-do lists. To all those cleaning stresses, we have prepared 55 checklists that will keep your house clean and safe. It also includes aspects that are easily left out of home maintenance task both inside and outside of your home!
1. Clean your rain gutters
Rain gutters should be cleaned a few times every year in order to keep problems like drain clogging from developing. No matter where you live, rain gutters regularly accumulate debris. This tip is especially relevant though for those who live in wooded areas where autumn weather causes gutters to fill up with leaves.
2. Test the sump pump
If you live in an area where occasional flooding is possible, it’s likely that your basement has a sump pump in it. It is important that you regularly dump a bucket of water into the basin of the pump to make sure it is working properly. If not, you may come home to a terrible surprise one rainy day when you find out that it failed to function properly.
3. Aerate the soil in your yard
Maintenance tasks outside of the home are important as well. If you are someone who likes to keep a nice green yard surrounding your property, it helps to aerate the soil two or three times per year. Over time, soil gets compacted from foot traffic. Occasionally making holes in the ground allows vital nutrients and water to enter more easily.
4. Inspect or Change HVAC Filters
While many professionals recommend changing the HVAC filters monthly, for smaller families, every few months is probably okay. You should still check them regularly, however, just to make sure they aren’t too dirty. It’s important to stay on top of this task, especially if your family has pets or problems with allergies.
5. Drain hot water heater sediment
Hot water heaters are one of those things that people don’t really think about until it is too late. The best practice is to drain some of the water out once a year to help prevent sediment from accumulating. Otherwise, it may eventually just stop working and you will be out of luck.
6. Check the water pressure
Elevated water pressure in pipes is a problem that sneaks up on you over time and causes you to waste loads of water. If the pressure gets too high, it can cause pipes to leak, or even rupture your water softener. The most common cause is a pressure-reducing valve gone bad. The good news is that high pressure is easy to test for, as well as fix. Pressure gages that attach to the water faucets in your house can be found in any hardware store.
7. Clean window weep holes
Weep holes are tiny holes at the bottom of vinyl replacement windows and sliding windows that are designed to allow accumulated water to drain out. If they are completely clogged, any water trying to drain outside may actually find its way into your house instead. Luckily, a high-pressure stream of water from a garden hose can easily remove all the dirt and debris that builds up.
8. Clean sink garbage disposal unit
The garbage disposal in your sink is crucial to keeping your pipes in good shape and unclogged. However, the unit itself needs regular monthly maintenance in order to work properly. The best method is to freeze some vinegar in an ice cube tray, then run a few vinegar ice cubes through it. The vinegar cleans the garbage disposal while the ice sharpens the blades.
9. Deep cleaning brooms and dustpans
After sweeping, most people just toss their broom and dustpan back in the closet. They never really think about how much bacteria and grime builds up on them over time. If you want to avoid spreading germs around your house, try occasionally soaking your broom in a solution of water and dish soap for an hour. Make sure to set it out to dry for a while afterward before putting it away.
10. Clean refrigerator coils
It’s common for refrigerator condenser coils to get covered in cobwebs, dust, and pet hair. This prevents them from properly releasing heat and will ultimately shorten the life of your refrigerator. Use a coil cleaning wire brush and vacuum to clean them up and keep them functioning.
11. Check weatherstripping and exterior caulking
Exterior caulking is crucial to preventing water from entering your house. It also helps keep your house insulated and energy efficient. A good time to go over your weatherstripping is in the fall before winter hits. If you see any spots that are damaged or worn, use a caulking gun to reseal the area.
12. Clean range hood filters
The range hood above your stove gets a lot of grease traveling through it. The more you cook, the worse it gets, and the grease can seriously build up over time if you don’t clean the range hood monthly. Regularly pulling down the filters and soaking them in a degreaser will save you a world of pain, as well as keep your kitchen smelling much fresher.
13. Dryer vents
After doing laundry, most people know you are supposed to clean the lint trap. However, the dryer vents also clog up with lint and need to be cleaned too. Use a large brush first to loosen up the lint. Then, send a flat vacuum hose up in there to suck it all out. If you don’t do this regularly, your dryer could end up overheating and potentially start a fire.
14. Window wells
Window wells are something you don’t have to really worry about, that is, until a big rain hits. At that point, it may be too late. If water can’t drain out of the window wells properly, it can actually build up so much that it causes your basement windows to break. Cleaning the debris out regularly will give you peace of mind and prevent you from having issues.
15. Check your roof for issues
A few times a year, it is a good idea to check your roof to see if there are any missing shingles or obvious issues. Any discoloration could be a sign that you may have a potential problem on your hands. It’s best to repair roof problems as they arise. Once a small leak starts, it can quickly snowball into a huge disaster.
16. Inspect your fire extinguishers
Fires are extremely rare, but when they do happen, the results can be devastating. It is important to regularly check your fire extinguisher to make sure the pressure gauge on the side shows that there is still sufficient pressure. The last thing you want is your fire extinguisher to malfunction when you actually need to use it.
17. Yellowed pillows
It’s very common to wash your pillowcases, but how frequently do you wash the actual pillow itself? For most people, the answer is rarely or never. If your pillow has any yellowing showing, it’s time to give it a wash. Add a little hydrogen peroxide and vinegar into the washer along with the normal amount of detergent and the pillow should come out as good as new.
18. Lube garage door springs
Eventually, all garage door springs will break. However, lubing them up a few times a year can significantly extend the lifespan of the springs and keep them from corroding. An additional benefit is that your garage door will open and close more smoothly and make less noise.
19. Fix driveway and sidewalk cracks
At least once per year before the winter comes, it is a good idea to give your driveway and sidewalk a once over and look for cracks. Fixing cracks as soon as you see them will make your life easier. Freezing and thawing cycles during the winter months are well known for causing cracks to expand, making them much harder to repair.
20. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Every couple of months, it is important to test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home and replace batteries as necessary. These detectors save lives, and the consequences for not regularly checking on them could be dire.
21. Air conditioning maintenance
Air conditioners also have filters inside that need to be cleaned or replaced occasionally. If your air conditioning unit is outside you also need to make sure weeds or grass haven’t grown up around it as they can block the air intake. In the summertime when the AC is getting a lot of use you should check it monthly.
22. Check for mice nests
Mice love to sneak into garages and basements and set up shop. Boats or other vehicles that are sitting around unused are especially vulnerable to the little rodents. You should check regularly to make sure you don’t have any unwanted visitors building nests. Left unchecked, mice can cause wiring damage and a host of other problems.
23. Drain garden hoses
If you are expecting cold weather in the forecast, one thing to be aware of is water trapped inside your garden hose. If you don’t drain the hose before the cold front hits, you risk having the water freeze and expand inside. This can cause the hose to develop cracks and leaks.
24. Unused pipes
If you have guest rooms or other areas of your house where the pipes aren’t used regularly (sinks, bathrooms, etc), it is a good idea to run water through the pipes occasionally. This also goes for toilets that haven’t been flushed for a while. Doing so once a month or more will help prevent grime buildup inside.
25. Clean toilet siphons
Toilet bowl siphons often get overlooked during the toilet cleaning process and can get really gross after a while. To clean them, first, cover the holes with duct tape. Add some vinegar to the toilet tank. Then flush a few times.
26. Make sure the garage door is balanced
To check the garage door balance, first disengage the opener. Manually pull the door down to about the halfway position and let go. If it stays in place, it is good to go. However, if the door falls to the ground then it is probably off balance. This means the spring tension probably needs to be adjusted. If the garage door is not balanced correctly it can overwork the opener and shorter its lifespan.
27. Furnace Filters
Furnace filters need to be checked several times a year. If you haven’t used your furnace in a while, its best to have a look at the filter first before turning it on. Accumulated dust and dirt can cause problems. When in doubt, replace the filter with a fresh one.
28. Water Softeners
If you have a water softener in your house, you should check it once a month to see if it needs more salt. The truth is that it normally will be good for a few months at a time, but it doesn’t hurt to check. It only takes a few seconds.
29. Scrub porcelain sinks
Porcelain sinks build up grime and become off-colored rather easily. Give them a regular deep cleaning with baking soda to keep them germ-free and looking new. Really, all types of sinks should be cleaned regularly, even if they don’t show the dirt very much.
30. Inspect your chimney
After every 70 uses (50 if you burn wet wood), it is important to check your chimney for obstructions or ash buildup. 70 uses is normally around the time when it will need a cleaning. If you don’t clean it regularly, you could risk a fire or your house filling up with smoke.
31. Repair window screens
Window screens can occasionally get damaged. It’s important to keep an eye on them and make sure no small holes or tears are developing. You don’t want to accidentally let any insects in.
Regularly cleaning your bathtub is crucial to keeping unsanitary conditions from developing. It’s very common for mold to develop if you don’t stay on top of this task. You don’t have to go out and buy any expensive products for the job either. Using nail polish remover works just as good as any high-end product.
33. Rugs and carpets
Cleaning rugs and carpets is something that most people try and avoid for as long as possible. However, every once and a while you should definitely give them a deep clean. Take your rugs outside on a nice sunny day, hang them up on a clothesline and beat all the dust off them. Then run a vacuum over them. Use a carpet cleaner machine on interior carpeting.
34. Maintain shrubs and trees
Giving trees and shrubs around your house a trim a few times a year is definitely a good idea. Out of control trees can often cause problems with electric lines, as well as drop leaves into your gutter. Also, shrubs around the base of your house can find their way into random cracks and holes.
35. Check the grout in between tiles
The grout in between tiles in bathrooms and kitchens often starts to wear and crack with time. Performing regular maintenance on the grout and repairing damaged spots will help prolong the life of the tiled surface area. It looks much better too when it’s nice and clean.
36. Reseal stone surfaces
Stone is very popular in homes these days. However, part of the responsibility of having stone countertops is maintaining them. You should reseal stone surfaces once a year to protect them.
37. Mow your lawn
Mowing with more frequency before the grass gets too deep can make the job a lot easier. Lawnmowers just work better when they don’t have to plow through 6 inches of thick grass. The cleanup will be simpler as well.
38. Remove icicles in the winter
If you live in a snowy region, it is important to regularly clear icicles that form around the edges of your roof. Not only can icicles be heavy and dangerous to people if they fall, but they can also damage the side of your house. When they melt, water can puddle up around your house’s foundation and cause a whole host of other issues too.
39. Fertilize your lawn
Another important lawn maintenance task is applying fertilizer. It is good to fertilize your lawn a few times a year, but if you are only going to once, the best time of year to do it is in the fall. After a summer of intensive grass growth, your lawn will be hungry for nutrients.
40. Test your electricity
Things go wrong with wiring occasionally. In order to keep your house safe, you should go through several times per year and check all your power outlets to make sure they are functioning properly. Unless you have experience working with electricity, you should always call a professional electrician to do the repairs.
41. Bring paint and liquids inside when its cold
Keep an eye on the weather. If you see that temperatures are going to drop below freezing, make sure to bring all paints and liquids inside that are sitting outside or in your garage. Going through a freeze and thaw cycle once or twice will likely ruin most types of paints and glues.
42. Tighten screws
Screws on door handles, racks, and other things can all loosen over time. The last thing you want is for a shelf to fall off the wall because the screws got too loose. At least once a year you should tighten up everything in your house that relies on screws to stay in place.
43. Bleed hot water radiators
If you live in an older home, it is likely you have a few hot water radiators around. Every once and a while you will need to open up the valve and bleed them a little to let trapped air out. Have a small bucket ready to catch any water that starts dripping. If there is too much air trapped in a radiator, the fins won’t heat properly.
44. Check indoor caulking
Caulking can get damaged and slowly go bad over time with exposure to water. Common spots you should check include the caulking around bathtubs, sinks, showers, etc. If water is seeping through damaged caulking into your floor or wall it can eventually lead to major mold problems.
45. Empty planters and pots before the winter
Soil retains moisture. If it is left in your pots and planters over the winter there is a decent chance it will expand and crack them. Emptying all the soil out in fall can help prevent this from happening.
46. Shower heads
Due to minerals and small particles in the water supply, shower heads tend to clog up eventually. Removing them and cleaning the sediment out helps to keep them functioning properly. Not only will it prolong the life of the shower heads, but it will also help keep the water pressure normal.
47. Deep clean the basement
Yes, we know, it is a pain to move around everything you have stored in your basement to deep clean. However, doing so will help prevent mold from forming, as well as various insects and critters from settling in. Any problems that arise in the basement can quickly spread to other areas of your home.
48. Fix furniture
Check your furniture to make sure all screws are fastened properly and no legs are wobbling on chairs. Avoiding furniture maintenance can be a dangerous gamble. If a chair breaks while you are sitting on it, it can easily lead to injury.
49. Seal exterior outlets
Sealing the exterior power outlets outside your home will keep cold air from entering, as well as keep heat from escaping. Going around the perimeter of your home once a year and resealing any gaps you find can help reduce your energy costs. In addition, it will prevent water from entering and damaging wiring.
50. Prevent vermin from entering
Check your house for any gaps where rodents and other unwanted vermin could potentially enter. This is especially important in the fall. As the weather starts to get colder outside, all kinds of pests will be looking for a way to get into your home where it is much warmer and more comfortable.
51. Insulate pipes
Many homes have pipes that are exposed to air and uninsulated. Insulating them can help reduce your energy costs and keep them from freezing. This is something that only needs to be done a few times throughout the lifetime of a house, however, it is very to make sure to get it done.
52. Test for radon
Have you ever tested your house for radon gas? Many families are unknowingly living in dangerous environments. Long term radon exposure is a well-known cause of cancer. If you find that your house has high levels, there are a number of things you can do that will help reduce the risk, but it is best to consult an expert.
53. Check handrails
Handrails outside your house along walkways can become loose with repeated use. Loose handrails can be a big hazard in the winter when people commonly slip on ice and grab onto them to catch themselves. If a handrail fails to hold and someone gets injured, you can be held liable.
54. Clean outside of your house
It is a good idea to give the exterior of your house a bath at least once per year. A good time to clean the dirt off windows and the facade of the house is in the spring after the winter months end. Masonry and paint can become damaged over time if you let too much grime buildup.
55. Ceiling fans
Dust can quickly build up on the top of ceiling fan blades. However, because the tops of the blades are not easily visible, many people often forget to clean up there. Forgetting to clean ceiling fans can worsen air quality in your home and cause allergies to act up.