The nights are drawing in, the jumpers are out, and it’s soup for dinner - autumn has well and truly arrived!
But, before you hunker down with a blanket and Fair Trade hot chocolate, now is the time to do a deep clean before winter really sets in. Think of it as the autumnal version of a spring clean, helping you prepare for a healthier and happier winter.
As temperatures drop, we'll spend more time inside with our windows shut, drying clothes indoors and with the heating on. The reduced ventilation and moist air can make our homes the ideal breeding ground for germs and bacteria that may have snuck in over the summer months.
Giving your home a good clean before winter (using environmentally-friendly products, of course) can help prevent you from getting sick by keeping bugs at bay. An autumn deep clean is also great for allergy sufferers since removing excess dust can help minimise flare-ups.
We’re sharing the top cleaning tasks you can tackle this side of Christmas with some of our favourite products from the shop to help you get the jobs done!
Garden Furniture and BBQ
After a busy summer hosting BBQs and lounging in the sun, your outdoor space may look worse for wear. Prolong the life of your garden furniture by giving it a good clean and storing it away properly. When next summer rolls around, you can bring it out again as good as new.
Clean your furniture pieces with equal parts white vinegar and warm water. Use one of our bamboo or coconut scrubbing brushes for tough grime, then a cotton cloth for a final wipe. Store them away in your garage or cover them with waterproof covers to protect them from the winter weather.
You can use the same white vinegar solution for your BBQ. Let it sit for a while on the grills to lift any grease, then scrub it away. If your BBQ is particularly grimy, you can make a paste by mixing bicarbonate soda with water in a small bowl. Cover the grill with the paste, leave for a few minutes, then, once again, scrub away. Make sure to store these away properly, too, to avoid any rusting.
Windowsills and Curtains
Summer is great for keeping windows open all day long, letting the fresh air in. What you’re also letting in, however, is dust. If you’ve not cleaned your windowsills, frames and panes for a while, now is as good a time as any.
Create your own window cleaning solution by mixing one part white vinegar with nine parts water into an old spray bottle. Give it a good shake before spraying it directly onto your windows and wiping them with a dry cotton cloth. Struggling with streaks? Avoid cleaning your windows on a sunny day, it makes them dry too quickly.
For windowsills, you can again use the same white vinegar spray solution. But, if you fancy something with a natural fragrance, try our lovely lavender and rosemary-scented all-purpose cleaner from Miniml. It’s available as a refill and free from nasty chemicals, making it the perfect eco-friendly option for your autumn deep clean.
Now, curtains. Dust collects in curtain fabric fibres. Especially during summer when we all have our windows wide open. However, each time you pull your curtains open or draw them closed, you’ll swirl up a load of dust, potentially leading to a sneezing fit!
Choose from our refillable detergents and fabric softeners from SESI to give them a good wash. They’re made from vegan, cruelty-free and biodegradable ingredients, and smell great, too.
You can learn more about SESI and Miniml in our blog on cleaning products, here.
Defrost The Freezer
To keep your freezer working as energy efficiently as possible, you need to maintain it. Plus, if you don’t defrost it regularly, the ice build-up can reduce the space you have to store your leftovers.
Autumn is also the perfect time to root through the back of the freezer and take stock of what you have. Sort through the forgotten ice lollies and remind yourself of which stored foods you can now enjoy in the colder months.
Here’s how to defrost your freezer:
Take everything out and remove any freezer drawers. Place some towels down on the floor.
Switch it off at the wall, then place a bowl of boiling water on each shelf to speed up the thawing process.
Do not try to prise the ice away with a knife! You could end up damaging the shelves or risk puncturing a freezer pipe. Patience is key here.
Once the ice has melted, clean up any puddles and wipe each shelf with a white vinegar or all-purpose cleaner spray.
Reorganise your food and store accordingly!
During the colder months, we’re not the only creatures that like to retreat indoors. Little furry friends like mice and rats will be on the hunt for a cosy, warm space to spend the winter. And, what better place than your kitchen cupboards or pantry?
If you’d rather not share your muesli with the rodents, it's worth checking you've stored your Filling Good refills correctly. As tempting as it is to leave things in paper or cotton bags, they’re not rodent-proof!
Instead, store your refilled dried goods, such as rice and pasta, in dry, airtight containers. You can reuse all sorts of jars and tubs. Check out our previous blog for tips and tricks on how to reuse plastic packaging. This will help keep out bugs and rodents while helping to prevent food from absorbing odours and moisture. Thus preventing food waste.
Once you’ve got everything stored correctly, it’s time to remove any crumbs that could tempt the rodents back. Brush any big bits of food out with a dustpan (we have a great option in-store), then wipe up any sticky spillages. Adding a bit of washing-up liquid, like our SESI Spiced Ginger one, into a bucket of warm water makes an easy cleaner to use on cupboard shelves and doors.
Want some more fabulously eco-friendly autumn cleaning tips? Pop into our shop on Maidenhead High Street to chat with our volunteers and browse our range of refillable and sustainable products.