20 Summer Cleaning Tips for a Sparkling Home

Knock these cleaning tips out of the way at the beginning of the season for a fresh start to your summer.

Porch chairs plants
Photo: David Land

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. Tackle these cleaning tasks at the start of the season so you can enjoy the warm weather and sunshine the rest of summer.

01 of 20

Dust and Reverse Ceiling Fans

living room refinished hardwood floor gray walls
Nathan Schroder

Ceiling fans can stir up dust and pollen unless the blades are cleaned regularly.

  • 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 on furniture or floors.
  • After cleaning, reverse the direction of the blades, so the fan brings cold air downward instead of pushing warm air around the room.
02 of 20

Clean Out the Fridge

kitchen organization pull-out refrigerator drawers
Emily Followill 

Make room in your refrigerator for fresh produce and barbecue leftovers.

  • Working one section at a time, do a summer clean out, transfer items you want to keep to a cooler.
  • Check expiration dates. Toss anything past its prime.
  • Wipe down fridge surfaces with a damp cloth.
  • Was removable shelves and drawers at the sink with warm water and dish soap.
03 of 20

Do a Clean Sweep

Porch chairs plants
David Land

A helpful summer cleaning tip is to stock front porches, decks, and patios with inexpensive brooms that you can use for all sorts of cleaning chores.

  • Use them to brush spider webs from windows, screens, railings, porch ceilings, mailboxes, window boxes, and foundation plantings.
  • Sweep porch and deck floors daily to remove debris deposited by wind, rain, incoming traffic, and critters.
04 of 20

Scrub Outdoor Cushions and Pillows

outdoor furniture sitting area of deck tree privacy
Keller and Keller Photography Inc

Cushions and pillows bring comfort and style to your outdoor furniture, but they endure a lot of wear and tear when exposed to the elements. Keep these plush accents fresh and ready for the next season with these helpful tips:

  • Using the upholstery attachment, vacuum over the surface of the cushion to remove loose dirt, dust, and debris.
  • Mix 1 Tbsp. dish detergent with 1/4 cup Borax in a bucket of water. Use a brush dipped in the cleaning solution to scrub the entire surface.
  • Use a garden hose on medium-high pressure to rinse off the cushions.
  • Squeeze out any excess water with your hands, then blot the fabric with a clean towel to soak up as much moisture as possible. Prop the cushions up vertically and allow them to air-dry completely.
05 of 20

Clean Kitchen Cabinets

Wood kitchen stove oven
Laurie Black

Kitchen cabinets, which are opened and closed frequently by messy hands, can get sticky if not properly cared for. Donna Smallin Kuper, a certified cleaning technician, shares her strategy for how to clean kitchen cabinets:

  • Dip a cloth into a solution of 1/4 cup of Murphy Oil Soap ($5, Target) and a gallon of warm water.
  • Wring the cloth and wipe cabinet fronts, paying special attention to areas around the knobs.
  • Dry with a clean cloth.

Kuper recommends doing this monthly. Otherwise, grime adheres, and when you try to remove it, the cabinet finish could come off with the greasy residue.

06 of 20

Clean Wicker Furniture

wicker furniture around stone fire pit
Christina Schmidhofer

Wicker is a popular material for outdoor furniture, and rightfully so, as it adds a charming cottage style to any outdoor space. But with the tight weave of wicker, cleaning can be a challenge. Read on for tips and tricks for cleaning wicker.

  • Purchase covers for any pieces that stay outdoors, since shielding wicker furniture from the elements when it's not being used will prevent fading.
  • For wicker made of bamboo, rattan, or willow, brush off or vacuum as much of the surface dirt as you can. Then wash the wicker with a soft brush and soapy water mixed with 1 or 2 tsp. ammonia. Rinse well and let the piece dry outside in the sun.
  • For wicker made of twisted paper or grasses, simply wipe them down with a damp cloth.
  • For synthetic wicker, clean with soap and water. Furniture made with synthetics wicker materials can also withstand being hosed down.
07 of 20

Prevent Mold in the Bathroom

dark gray bathroom walnut vanity
Edmund Barr

To ward off mold and mildew in your bathroom, home-keeping expert Leslie Reichert suggests using a few speed-cleaning tips:

  • Clean the shower while you're showering using a Mr. Clean Eraser sponge ($4, Walmart) and a squeegee.
  • Swish a brush around the toilet bowl daily; use a pumice stone to remove rings and stains.
  • Wipe mirrors with a finely woven microfiber cloth, which won't leave streaks or lint, and use one sprayed with vinegar to wipe down countertops.
  • Clean sinks with an eraser sponge; shine sinks and faucets with a microfiber cloth.
  • Wipe floors with a damp towel or mop.
  • Since it's summer, hang wet bath mats and damp towels outside to quick-dry in the sun.
08 of 20

Get Ready to Grill

outdoor kitchen patio flowers
Ed Gohlich

Clean grill grates so remnants of previous meals don't transfer to foods being grilled.

Follow Reichert's summer cleaning tips for how 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.
09 of 20

Prepare for Grass Stains

laundry room
Brie Williams

Kneeling to garden, sliding into first base, and simply relaxing on your lawn are likely to result in grass-stained clothing. Because of the chlorophyll in grass and plants, these stains can be difficult to remove if left to set.

Here's the best way to clean them:

  • As soon as possible, brush away debris and treat grass stains with a prewash spray or a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 2 parts water.
  • Let the solution sit for 5 minutes.
  • Machine-wash the stained clothing in an enzyme detergent and the hottest water safe for the fabric.
10 of 20

Freshen Window Treatments

bedroom window treatments
Edmund Barr

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.

11 of 20

Tackle Gutter Cleaning

outdoor gutters white home
Robert Brinson

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. If you're hosing, wear rain gear because you are going to get wet, Reichert says.

When on a ladder, use a four-prong garden tool in a plowing motion to push leaves out of gutters. Wear latex gloves under work gloves to keep hands dry and protected from odors. Finally, use a hose with a spray nozzle to flush all remaining dirt from the gutters and clear downspouts of debris.

12 of 20

Ensure Cool Air Flows Freely

cozy living room white walls brick
Stacey Brandford

Have a heating-and-cooling expert check and clean your air-conditioning system before temps rise to peak summer levels. A professional will ensure your system is in good enough shape to keep your family cool through the summer.

  • 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.
13 of 20

Tidy the Garage

garage organized storage
Laurie Black

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.
14 of 20

Keep Floors Spick-and-Span

white kitchen wood floor
Kritsada Panichgul

When determining how to clean floors, it's important to remember that different floor surfaces require different cleaners, Findley says.

  • Mop all types of floors with cotton terry cloth or recycled hand towels, which can be tossed in the washer and reused.
  • Clean linoleum and vinyl floors with a solution of 1 tablespoon baby shampoo or 1/2 teaspoon eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner and 1 gallon of water. You can also add 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar for extra cleaning power.
  • For wood and laminate floors, spritz a towel with a solution of 1 part distilled vinegar to 30 parts water until the cloth is just damp enough for mopping.
  • Stone and tile floors can be mopped with cotton towels moistened with very hot water. Beware that cleaners and vinegar will pit and damage stone and tile finishes.

Place mats at every entrance for wiping feet. Keep floors cleaner longer by asking guests to remove their shoes as they come in the door.

15 of 20

Perk Up Patio Furniture

patio furinture plants brick
Robert Cardillo

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 (such as a glass cleaner or oil soap for wood) 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.
16 of 20

Clean Concrete Patios

outdoor entertainment purgula grill
Mark Lohman

Use a push broom or a leaf blower to remove all debris from your patio. Kuper 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. "If that doesn't budge the stain, you may need to use a commercial rust cleaner like Whink," advises Kuper. 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.

17 of 20

Banish Kitchen Odors

kitchen red chairs cheveron rug
Brie Williams

Along with hot, humid weather comes unpleasant smells at the sink and in trash cans and recycling bins.

18 of 20

Refresh Towels

bathroom vanity sink mirror
Werner Straube

Towels stored in a closet or left to dry in the bathroom can take on a musty smell during the hot, humid days of summer. For an easy summer cleaning tip, wash towels in hot water and toss 1/2 cup of baking soda into the rinse cycle to eradicate stale scents. Dry the towels at the highest heat recommended for the fabric.

19 of 20

Clear Mold from Outdoor Surfaces

green outdoor furniture
Peter Krumhardt

Keep outdoor surfaces mold-free. Findley recommends using a scraper to loosen mold in sidewalk, patio, and driveway cracks and sweep away the debris. Then, directly apply vinegar via a garden sprayer to the cracks to kill remaining mold spores. Repeat a few times a year to prevent new mold from growing.

20 of 20

Properly Wash Produce

vegetable relish tray

Kelsey Hansen

Vegetables and fruits are fresh, flavorful, and plentiful during the summer. Ensure garden-picked and store-bought produce is as healthy as it should be by using these cleaning tips from the FDA:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
  • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas; throw away outer leaves of lettuce and cabbage heads.
  • Gently rub veggies while holding them under plain running water until dirt is gone.
  • Always wash produce before peeling, as dirt can be transferred from knives and peelers.
  • Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers. Dry all produce with a clean cloth to further reduce bacteria.
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