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Ahhh, Fall.  It’s the season of back to school, pumpkin spice lattes and football games.  But for many, it’s also a season of clean-up.  Sure “Spring Cleaning” gets all the glory, but make no mistake about it – there are just as many fall clean-up tasks that need to be accomplished to keep a home and yard looking its best.

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1.  Clean Window Screens: Unfortunately, there’s no quick-and-easy way to clean a window screen, but it’s worth doing because the amount of dirt and grime that screens collect is often astounding. Once you’ve removed the screen, vacuum away dust and debris using the brush attachment of your vacuum. Then, using a soft-bristled scrub brush and soapy water (or an S.O.S® Non-Scratch Scrubber), scrub away the dirt and grime.  Rinse using a damp sponge or a gentle garden hose, taking care to remove all soap as leftover soapy residue will attract even more dirt.  Allow to dry completely.

2.  Clean the Grill: For many grill masters, fall is when the days of sizzling steaks and char-grilling burgers come to an end for the year.  But even if you grill all year round, it’s a good idea to give your grill a good cleaning on a regular basis. The first thing to do is remove all debris and grease from the cold grill grates.  S.O.S® Steel Wool Soap Pads are the perfect tool for this job – simply wet the pad and scrub away the residue, and then rinse grates with warm water.  From there follow the cleaning recommendations for your particular grill – but typically you would remove and empty (or replace) all drip pans, clean the inside of the grill with hot soapy water then rinse with water.  If you are covering and storing the grill for the winter, be sure to let everything dry completely before you put the grill away.

3.  Clean and Put Away Flower Pots: For many, fall is the time to say goodbye to annual flowers in flower pots. Scrubbing plastic and clay flower pots with soap and water now will not only keep them looking nice in the spring, but also protect future plants from the diseases and chemicals often left behind by previous plants and fertilizers. Be sure to rinse off all the soap, let dry, then store for the winter

4.  Prepare the Yard for a Healthy Lawn come Spring: Rake and clear away all leaves so they aren’t left to decompose over the winter. Mow the lawn using a very short setting on your lawnmower, and fertilize the grass for a healthy, green lawn come springtime.

5.  Drain and Put Away Garden Hoses: If you live where winter temperatures fall into the deep freeze, be sure to disconnect all outside hoses from the faucet, and walk the length of the hose holding up each section to drain out as much water as possible. This prevents trapped water from freezing, expanding and potentially splitting your hose. Roll up the hose and store away from the elements.

6.  Clean Patio Furniture: Try to stay ahead of the game on this one. If you live where it snows, waiting until there’s snow on the ground makes this task a lot harder.  S.O.S® Pads are a great tool for scrubbing metal and plastic lawn furniture, whereas more delicate furniture such as wood and aluminum can be gently washed with a solution of water and dish soap then rinsed with water.  Don’t forget to spot clean and store any fabric cushions.

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7.  Trim Back Tree Branches Hanging Over Your Roof: Tree branches overhanging a home’s roof can provide a thoroughfare for rodents and other critters looking to create a cozy home in your attic for the winter. In cold climates, icy winter storms can mean falling branches – yet another reason to keep your tree branches at a safe distance from your roof.

8.  Do Some Weeding: Some people find it relaxing; others find it boring and back-breaking. Whichever category you fall into, keep your outdoor space looking great by continuing with any necessary weeding. Live in a colder climate? Don’t wait too long – weeds will need to be taken care of before the ground freezes.

9.  Winterize Your Lawn Mower: Typically, winterizing a mower is relatively easy and doesn’t take much time. More importantly, proper winterization could extend the life of your mower so be sure it’s on your to-do list.  Check your Lawn Mower manufacturer’s website for recommended winterizing steps.

10.  Clean Outside Toys: If you have young children, there’s a good chance your backyard is adorned with at least one outdoor playset. Plastic slides and clubhouses gather dirt and grime throughout the summer, but can typically be easily cleaned with soap, water and a little scrubbing.  Fun Idea:  Consider leaving these playsets outside for the winter.  If you live where it snows, a snowy slide or ice-covered clubhouse can make an outdoor snow day even more fun!

Regardless of the season, clean-up chores are typically not on the list of favorite things to do.  But the tasks above can help keep your home clean, safe and organized for the winter, plus make your Spring Cleaning to-do list that much shorter.  Try to accomplish a couple tasks each week, then sit back and enjoy your pumpkin spice latte knowing you are ready for whatever winter might bring.

Do you have fall cleaning tips or tricks you’d like to share?  Use the comments section of this blog or post your thoughts on our Facebook page!