7 winter cleaning tips to spruce up your living space
Safe to say, we’ve lavished a lot of love and attention on our homes this year. Indeed, some might argue that overall, their sanctuaries have never been so spic and span.
But come winter, keeping everything well kept can be a bit hit-and-miss. Be it the murky weather and shortage of natural daylight to see the stains and grime, or just general fatigue.
However, in the countdown to Christmas with our homes a showcase for decos galore, we need to polish up our act – and put as much energy into refreshing our furnishings as we have our festive flair.
To help you make the most of the holiday season, we’ve put together a Chrimbo checklist….
1. Freshen up the front door
Ding-dong! The bells may be ringing merrily on high, but what about your front door? Taking into account the heavy downpours we endured in October, and all those festive deliveries leaving their mark, it could be looking a little lacklustre.
“The outside of our homes is often the poor relation to interior decorating and can make everything else look tired, says Helen Shaw, marketing director at Benjamin Moore Paint. “Maintaining and refreshing your exterior masonry and woodwork not only protects the surfaces, but it’s a fantastic way of creating an impression, particularly if you embrace colour.”
Although the go-to paint is often white or off white, Shaw says choosing a bolder colour is a great way of creating a feature. And something most of us can accomplish in a few hours, to make everything feel smarter and tidier.
“Having a standout front door not only looks fantastic, but offers an easy way for visiting friends and family to find your house in seconds,” she says. Something to take into account after so many months of social distancing.
“Consider taking the lead from nature when deciding on the colour. Shades of green in varying tones – from rich forest greens, to fern hues or soft sages – look striking, while also at one in a suburban environment,” adds Shaw.
2. Clean the windows
You’re about to festoon fairy lights across your window boxes and place your prized Christmas tree in the window, so it’s well worth making the effort to clean the glass before you window dress (or even afterwards, if they’re already up!).
For best results without any streaks, mix one part distilled vinegar to 10 parts warm water in a bucket or spray bottle. Clean from the top down, rinse and dry with a microfibre cloth or paper towel.
3. Clear the clutter
The devil is in the detail and bearing in mind you’re in the midst of Christmas shopping and looking for space to store gifts, you need to have a good sort out. Think about going through the kids toys, books and clothes, as well as your own stuff, and donate anything to charity you don’t need anymore, or make yourself some money on eBay.
Consider moving furniture around to space-save, utilise empty shelves and tidy things away in storage baskets, and store anything you’re not going to use until the New Year.
4. Clean the carpets
Once you’ve cleared the decks, it’s time to turn your attention to the carpet. “Vacuuming frequently, especially in areas which see a lot of footfall, will help prolong the life of the carpet and reduce build-up of dirt and dust,” says Anna Del-Molino, carpet and rugs buyer at Carpetright.
“These high-traffic areas, such as entrances, doorways and floor around a favourite chair, will collect bacteria much faster than spaces not used as often,” says Del-Molino. “Cleaning regularly will stop dirt from spreading to the rest of the house, and can extend the time between any professional cleans.”
Consider the type of carpet you have and which type of vacuum most suits your flooring needs. Del-Molino says an upright cleaner with an active beater bar, which will help loosen and lift soil, works well for cut pile carpets; whereas loop piles are best maintained using a suction cleaner.
5. Refresh the sofa or consider investing in a Smart one
Chances are, at some point over the past few months, you’ve become a couch potato through no fault of your own. All those Netflix nights in and Deliveroos have most likely taken their toll on your sofa, so have a hunt around for the cleaning directions on the label. The same applies to washing couch throws and cushion covers.
Alternatively, think about investing in a new sofa in the New Year, and opting for a Smart fabric with anti-spill, stain repellent properties, to put your mind at ease when you crack open a bottle of red wine.
Patricia Gibbons from the design team at Sofa.com says sales of their ‘Smart’ fabrics have grown by 29% this year, and this includes their Smart Velvets and Smart Cottons, which have crept into their list of bestselling fabrics.”
Each season, they expand their Smart fabric offering to give customers a more varied range to choose from. “We now have around 25 different options to cater for the renewed demand for easy clean, easily maintainable forever sofas,” says Gibbons.
6. Hygiene your home office
If you’re working from home, keyboards are notorious for being a hotspot for bacteria and spreading germs – so it’s important to get into the habit of wiping your laptop down regularly. Make sure you use a disinfectant wipe that kills at least 99.9% of germs and bacteria (such as Ocean Free’s disinfectant sprays and wipes) and remember to wash your hands regularly to avoid cross-contamination.
7. Clean the table lamps
We all love ambient lighting, but it’s easy to overlook the dust gathering on lampshades and at the top of the base. Roll a sticky lint roller across the shade to lift the dust (these are also great for removing any pet hair from soft furnishings) and polish the base with a soft cloth… you’ll be all set to tie a little tinsel at the neck.