How to Clean Your House for Each Season

Summer Cleaning Your House

Summer implies vacations, lazy days at the beach, bumper crops of veggies from the garden -- cleaning the house is probably the last thing on your mind. However, your home still needs some tender loving care.

Indoors, start with your medicine cabinet. Toss out any expired medicines or cosmetics. Check your local health regulations for instructions on disposing of medication -- don't just flush them or toss them -- they'll seep into the groundwater. After the cabinet is clean, make sure you're stocked up on summertime remedies -- calamine lotion, insect repellent, allergy pills and the like.

During the summer, many home maintenance companies experience slow business, so you may want to take advantage of discounted prices on home improvements or carpet cleaning. Have your furnace inspected and maintained now, before you need it.

Check out all the doors and windows in your house. Because summer means open windows and doors, you should make sure everything is working smoothly. Clean the tracks on sliding patio doors and spray them with WD-40 to get out all the accumulated gunk. You can scrape out the yucky stuff with a screwdriver.

If you or someone in your family suffers from allergies, keep the windows closed and the air conditioning on. A cool house keeps humidity low, which in turn slows down the growth of mold and mildew. Another way to cut down on airborne allergens is to vacuum and wipe out vents and registers around the house.

If you're going away for vacation during the summer, make an emergency list to put by the phone for house sitters or babysitters. List numbers for the fire department, police, ambulance, poison control and veterinarian. Also include emergency contact numbers, both at home and where you'll be on vacation.

Summer means being outside. So don't forget these chores, either: Scrub the deck and driveway. Clean the grill and make sure you have enough propane or charcoal for impromptu barbeques. Wipe down your patio furniture regularly to keep pollen at a minimum. Disinfect and hose out your garbage cans. If you have kids, hose down their outdoor play sets -- inspecting and adjusting them for safety, too.

Take a walk around the house and garden, keeping an eye out for any bug infestations, bee and wasp nests or -- yikes -- termites and carpenter ants. Catching a problem early will save you money and headaches. Check the gutters, too, for any debris.

As summer comes to a close, give your lawnmower a thorough cleaning. Prop it on its side and drain any remaining gas and oil into an approved receptacle. Hose down the undercarriage to remove stuck-on clippings. Let the mower dry completely before putting it away for storage.

Next up is autumn cleaning.