Home maintenance is the last thing you want to worry...

Home maintenance is the last thing you want to worry about in the summertime. Credit: TNS/Getty Images/YinYang

Home maintenance is the last thing you want to worry about in the summertime. To prevent heat, humidity, dust, grime and pests from taking a toll on your home, employ these summer cleaning tips indoors and out.

Dust and reverse ceiling fans

Before you turn on the fan this summer, remove dust and debris using an old pillowcase.

Spray the interior of the pillowcase with an all-purpose cleaner and slip it over one of the blades.

As you wipe, grime gets trapped inside the pillowcase instead of falling.

After cleaning, reverse the direction of the blades, so the fan brings cold air downward instead of pushing warm air around the room.

Scrub outdoor cushions and pillows

Cushions and pillows endure a lot when exposed to the elements. Keep them fresh with these tips:

  • Using the upholstery attachment, vacuum over the surfaceto remove loose dirt, dust and debris.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of dish detergent with ¼ cup of Borax in a bucket of water. Dip a brush in the solution and scrub the surface.
  • Use a hose on medium-high pressure to rinse them.
  • Squeeze excess water out, then blot the fabric with a clean towel to soak up as much moisture as possible. Prop them vertically and allow them to air-dry completely.

Wicker furniture

Purchase covers for any pieces that stay outdoors.

For wicker made of bamboo, rattan, or willow, brush off or vacuum as much of the surface as you can. Then wash the wicker with a soft brush and soapy water mixed with 1 or 2 teaspoons of ammonia. Rinse well and let the piece dry in the sun.

For wicker made of twisted paper or grasses, wipe them down with a damp cloth.

For synthetic wicker, clean with soap and water.

Get ready to grill

Follow home-keeping expert Leslie Reichert's summer cleaning tips for scrubbing a gas grill:

Turn it on and let the grates get hot.

Place a cut lemon on a long-handled fork, dip it into a bowl of salt, and rub it across the grates. The lemon's acid will cut grease, and the salt acts as a scrubbing agent.

Scrub especially dirty grates with a block of pumice, then wash grates well to remove pumice dust.

Avoid using metal brushes, Reichert says, because the bristles can break off and can get into your food.

Freshen window treatments

Cleaning expert and author Mary Findley says summer is the perfect time for taking drapes and curtains outside for airing. Give window treatments a good shake to remove dust, and let them bask in the sun to expel stale odors. Alternatively, throw draperies and curtains into the dryer for 10 minutes to remove dust and kill mites; avoid having to iron them by promptly removing and rehanging them.

Tackle gutter cleaning

To clean gutters efficiently and safely, equip your lawn blower or hose with a gutter-cleaning attachment so you can blow out debris while your feet are firmly planted on the ground.

When on a ladder, use a four-prong garden tool in a plowing motion to push leaves out of gutters and use a hose with a spray nozzle to flush all remaining dirt from the gutters and clear downspouts of debris.

Ensure cool air flows freely

Have a heating-and-cooling expert check and clean your air-conditioning system before temps rise to peak summer levels.

Use your vacuum cleaner and a blower attachment to blow out hard-to-reach dirt.

Try using a dusting brush and a vacuum to remove caked-on grime. Use your vacuum to clean all interior heating vents of dust and dirt.

Wash removable filters with hydrogen peroxide and let them dry before putting them back, or replace an old filter with a new one.

Tidy the garage

With patio and deck furniture, summertime playthings, and grilling gear moved outside for summer, your garage might need a refresh.

Throw out or donate unwanted tools, building materials, and other no-longer-used items.

Wash windows and give the floor, walls, and ceiling a good sweep.

Put up racks and shelves to stow practical and recreational trappings.

Perk up patio furniture

If your patio furniture doesn't require a total deep clean, simply refresh lawn chairs and tables with these summer cleaning tips.

Rinse furniture with a garden hose fitted with a spray nozzle.

Gently scrub using a soft cloth and a cleaning product designed for the material or a solution of mild dishwashing liquid and water. (Avoid using bleach, which can damage patio furniture and nearby plantings).

Rinse and let air dry.

Clean concrete patios

Use a push broom or a leaf blower to remove all debris from your patio. Donna Smallin Kuper, a certified cleaning technician, recommends renting or borrowing a pressure washer to give concrete a thorough cleaning. For hard-to-remove stains, pour straight white vinegar on stains and scrub with a stiff brush. An alternative stain remover? Reichert suggests using a stiff push broom and lemon juice; the acid in the lemon juice partners with sunshine to bleach out stains.

Latest Videos


FOR OUR BEST OFFER ONLY 25¢ for 5 months

Unlimited Digital Access.

cancel anytime.