Home Interior Maintenance Tips


Tim Lucas
Military VA Loan editor
Home interior maintenance tips

Home interior maintenance tips to keep your home safe and looking great. Photo: Thinkstock.

by Ed Kunkel, Jr., 11-year U.S. Military Veteran

Spring is upon us, and there is usually plenty to do around our homes to keep us safe, healthy, and happy.  Keeping our homes clean and safe add to the enjoyment, contribute to less sick days being spent, and prolong our homes’ useful life. To help you get started on your spring update to-do list, here are some great tips for getting the inside of your home up to par for the change of the season.

Test Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors.  You should have both in your home.  In Washington State, it’s the law for a home to have both types when it is being sold.  And, why would you not want them in your home to begin with?  If your detector is battery operated, change the battery – even if the battery is still good.  If the used battery is still good, let your kids use it in one of their video games or put it in your TV remote.  You would rather have your detectors working their best to save your life.

Do you have a basement with a sump pump?  Test your sump pump to make sure it functions correctly.  Are there any stops in where the water is diverted, does the pump respond when it should?  One 5 gallon bucket full of water being poured out around the pump will help you test it, and that’s easier to clean up than a flooded basement.

It’s time to battle the dust and pollen in your home with some spring cleaning.  If you struggle with allergies and are sensitive to dust, it may help you to wear a mask while you’re cleaning.  Get a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, and vacuum and dust your ceilings, ceiling fans, blinds, curtains, walls, and flooring.  Pull out your furniture and clean out the areas that rarely get touched.  Vacuum and dust your furniture, floor or ceiling vents, and clean out your chimney if applicable.  Anywhere you see dust collecting in your home, clean it!  Change or clean your furnace filter afterwards, as your system type requires.

Wash windows and screens inside and out.  If you clean your windows, they will last longer.  Neglected windows often end up with failed seals, causing condensation and ‘fogging up’ in between the panes.  Take the windows out of the tracks, and clean the tracks as deeply as possible.  Screens can be sprayed with water from the hose and left out to dry in the sun.  The best formula I have found for cleaning windows is warm water mixed with dishwashing soap, a sponge and a squeegee.  Replace missing and damaged screens in all your windows and doors.  You want to keep the flies, bees, and spiders out of your home as much as possible, and be able to freely open the windows and exterior doors for ventilation.

Rid your home of unwanted germs.  Start with the bathrooms – mix a solution of oil soap, warm water and a sponge, and clean all the bathroom cabinets, inside and out.  Next, clean the sinks, countertops, showers, bathtubs and toilets with what is recommended for care of your surfaces.  Use a rag, soap and water to clean all the door knobs, drawer pulls and high traffic areas where fingerprints seem to collect.   Next is the kitchen.  Use the same solution of oil soap, warm water and a sponge to clean the kitchen cabinets, inside and out.  Go through your pantry and cupboards to find spoiled or outdated food, and throw it away. Also dispose of outdated cosmetics and medicine.  Depending upon the type of medicine that needs to be disposed, you may want to dispose it at a collection point so it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

Clean your garbage disposal by mixing vinegar and water and freezing the mix in an ice tray.  Run the garbage disposal and dump the vinegar ice cubes in as it runs.  Clean your range hood and screen filter with warm soap and water.  Clean out your refrigerator(s), and freezer(s) of spoiled or freezer burnt food, and defrost your freezer if needed.  Use warm soap and water to clean the refrigerator inside and out, and use a vacuum to clean out around the coils in back.  Next, round up all of your indoor garbage cans and baskets and take them outside to scrub with soap and warm water.  Lastly, clean and disinfect your floors and carpet.

Why do you want to do your floors last?  It’s time to keep traffic off your floors while they dry, and if everything you needed to do is done, that also means it’s time to go have some fun!

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Ed Kunkel, Jr. is a Managing Broker/Realtor® at Keller Williams Realty in Olympia, Washington. Visit Ed here. Ed’s Military History: Veteran – U.S. Army and Air Force Reserve; Highest rank, E5; 11 years combined military service.