Interior Projects You Should Do Every August
Ah, August, the hottest summer month, and not even a holiday to make it better. However, while it might be 99 degrees outside, we’re quickly approaching the end of summer. And just like any other month, there are several home keeping chores that will keep your home lovely and lasting. Since, in some areas, it’s hot enough to cook an egg on the sidewalk, we’ll focus on indoor tasks. Just because you’re working on your house doesn’t mean you have to bake uncomfortably in the sun! So—let’s begin!
Deep Clean Your Floors
Vacuuming, mopping, sweeping, and even rug cleaning will do a decent job keeping your floors clean, but eventually, you’ll need to go a bit deeper. There is a lot more foot traffic from outside to inside during the summer, meaning more dirt, more allergens, more dust mites, and more unfriendly little particles.
Now, we know some homeowners’ vacuums have sentimental value, but sentiment is a good way to keep sediment in your carpets. If you don’t have a vacuum with a HEPA filter, make sure you get one. Also, make sure you change the filter if it needs it.
It’s also a good time to have your carpets professionally shampooed. The average carpet cleaning, nationwide, is about $170—but the price varies depending on the size of your home and how many rooms have carpeting.
For tile floors, you’ll need bleach, grout cleaner, cleaning rags, dish soap, and a few more materials. Check out Home Depot’s guide to deep cleaning tile floors to restore that brand new look.
And for hardwood, you’ll need to dust, mop, and buff your floors—don’t use wax or oils! They might give your floors a nice shine, but they also cause residue buildups that will do more harm than good. Make sure that when you do buff the floors, you use a non-abrasive material.
Maintain Your Appliances
When it comes to appliances, many people forget to care for them—until the unit breaks down. But by just doing a little bit of maintenance, your essential appliances will last even longer without complications.
Let’s start with the refrigerator. First, move it out from the wall and clean the floor underneath it—and marvel at all the lost little things that ended up down there. While you’re at it, clean the baseboards, walls, and everything else the fridge covers up. Now, here’s the fun part. Unplug the unit and remove the grate covering at the bottom of the fridge, exposing the coils. It gets dusty and dirty down there. Now—get your vacuum! Using the hand extension, carefully clean out the coils. Use a toothbrush, pipe cleaner, or paintbrush to get between the coils and the any pieces that are stuck. Then vacuum one more time for the grime you knocked loose.
Next, let’s take a look at your furnace. Yes, it’s scorching outside, but depending on where you live, that’s going to end soon. The last thing you want is to have your furnace fail on you in mid-February. This is not something you can do on your own, however, so book a Zaarly specialist to come out and inspect the unit—repairing a broken furnace will be much more costly than finding and fixing a problem before it breaks down.
Warning: the next piece to clean is far grosser than you’d ever realize. The dishwasher. How can something that leaves your dishes so sparkly clean get so grimy? Well, that’s the very reason why. All that food and dried up soap particles get lodged in the nooks and crannies of the unit—and especially the trap and filter. Yes, the dishwasher has a removable trap on the bottom under the blades. Before cleaning anything else, remove the filter and clean it. Let it soak in water and a little bit of dish soap as you clean the spickets and water jets in the dishwasher itself. Be sure that the trap is securely reinstalled when you finish.
Now the Oven. Don’t use the self-cleaner option, unless you want your kitchen to feel like the surface of the sun. As we did with the refrigerator, pull your oven away from the wall and clean all around it. Unplug your oven before you start cleaning the unit itself! Inspect and clean any coils or gas lines. If you use a cleaner such as Easy-Off, carefully follow directions. Some cleaners require you to heat your oven to 200 degrees and then let it cool down. Clean the inside thoroughly and leave no cleaner inside…you cook food here!
Another machine that gets stuff clean but itself gets dirty is your washer. Once a month, run an empty load with a washing machine cleaner in it. For August, we’re going to check all the gaskets and hoses and make sure there’s no moisture or mildew—especially after a wash cycle. If you notice moisture where there shouldn’t be any, you might have a broken seal somewhere. Finally, make sure you regularly wipe down the unit, the drum lid, and crevices. A lot of lint builds up inside the machine.
Of course, you can’t maintain the washer and not the dryer. If you aren’t already cleaning your dryer’s venting
While you’re working on appliances, have your air conditioning unit inspected. It’s been working hard—it deserves a little bit of love.
Start organizing for the Fall—And Marie-Kondo your summer
This is something you should do at the end of every season: preparing for the next one. As you start storing your summer items, consider how much you used them over the summer and if you still need them. At the beginning of the season, did you pull out your summer stuff and not even recognize some of the stuff? Donate or get rid of it. Plus, you probably purchased new summer items too and will need room for those new items.
The other part of Fall prep? SCHOOL! Depending on your county, school might start back up at the end of August, or just after labor day. It’s time to transform the home from summer vacation mode to school year mode. Clean up the desks, purchase the pens and notebooks, designate spaces for backpacks. And do this several weeks before school begins—that way, the kids will start adjusting to study mode instead of having the summer abruptly end.
At the end of the month, or right before the school year starts up, hire a service provider to deep clean your home and help you organize, if you are still looking at the mess of boxes on your garage floor. Go into the fall with a nice, clean home. And then get everyone to keep it that way.
Get a home-orgaizing package.
Create a Fall Family Chore Plan for Your Home
A messy bedroom: one of the hardest-fought battles between parent and child. Struggling to get your kids to clean their rooms is something all parents deal with—you aren’t alone in that. But here’s a secret…kids, especially teens, like having a service provider come every so often to help clean the house, and once you mention that they need to get their room ready for a house cleaner, instead of “you just need to do it,” many kids will clean thinking they are doing the bare minimum to prep for the cleaner. Another word for the bare minimum? Done. We even have service providers who specialize in helping kids clean and organize their room, making it easier for you each time they come and hang out with your kids.
How many different chore strategies have you tried? Who tried the wheel of destiny, which generally ends in disaster instead. One way to get them to do chores is to let them choose the chores they’d be responsible for. If they say they want to vacuum and take out trash, those are their chores. But it’s important to think about how you set chores—and if that hasn’t been working, try more creative approaches.
Make chores a family bonding experience, especially with younger kids. Do them together, put on music—make it fun, and do something fun afterward. For your older kids, ask them, but also give them autonomy and incentive. Above all—never use chores as punishment, and do your best not to argue over chores. If your older teen isn’t doing something they selected, tell them you need their help on it and do it together. There are a lot of fun ways to motivate kids to get their chores done—it’s just choosing what works best for your family.
Or....get some expert help with one of our house-cleaners!
Odds and Ends
Here’s a checklist of tasks you’ll want to complete before the weather starts turning. Some of these items you might have completed before the summer started. Unfortunately, houses are like living organisms—they change.
• Clean the Faucets. Unscrew them if you can and clear them out. As well, fill a plastic bag with half warm water and half white vinegar, submerge the faucet, and rubber band the bag so it stays. Let it soak for 30 minutes, then run the faucet and clean the outside.
• While you’re at it, add copper sulfate to the basement floor drain and downspout drains. Copper sulfate can kill bacteria, algae, roots, plants, snails, and fungi that can wreak havoc on your pipes and sewer system.
• Get Caulking. No matter how hard you try, the mix of heat and air conditioning, dry days, and humid days, and a dozen other factors will loosen sealant around your home. Check every window and door (outside and in) and plug the leaks before you start feeling those cold drafts in the winter.
• Get into the attic, if you have one, and check the rafters, all those wooden beams and posts. We’re checking for sagging and/or splitting. If you notice any significant issues, contact a service provider ASAP.
• Change the filters. Make sure you change all HVAC filters, smoke detector batteries, and check ventilation for dents and/or obstructions.• Most importantly, when your kids are busy, set up your chair, a tall glass of iced coffee, a few cookies, and read a book in peace for ten minutes. Sure, this doesn’t technically help your house, but if you’re happy, your house is happy too
Need a hand with the honey-do list? We've got you covered.
As you wrap up the last full month of summer, let us know how we can make your home more comfortable!