Prepping and cleaning your home before the onset of winter not only helps to mentally signal the change of seasons, but it can also be extremely beneficial to your family’s health and well-being. According to medical experts at the Intercoastal Medical Group, you are more likely to catch a cold inside a heated building than outside in the winter weather. The reason being that it is the spreading germs and viruses that are causing you to get sick in the winter, not the weather itself. House dust mites, animal dander, and insect or rodent droppings are worse in winter when there is less ventilation. It is also a great time to go through your seasonal maintenance, break out your interior design skills and creativity to match your home to the softer tones of winter. Start with these unique ideas to enhance your home into a comfortable winter wonderland.
Clean & Protect Your Indoor Environment
It’s essential to perform a deep pre-winter cleaning to rid your home of dust and dirt that infiltrated through open windows and summer breezes. To ensure the air inside your home remains healthy and smoke-free, replace old dirty air filters in your heating system and have your home furnace properly serviced. Forced-air furnaces can circulate airborne dust containing lint, fabric fiber, bacteria, food material, and animal dander. Also, get your chimney professionally inspected and cleaned to prevent fire hazards. Thoroughly clean under and above all appliances with a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. Empty the dryer vents and clear out pipes of any debris. Scrub and disinfect all bathroom and kitchen counters and fixtures, and wash and sanitize all wastepaper baskets and garbage cans. This is also the perfect time to deep-clean your rugs and upholstery using a powerful, high-grade steam-cleaning extractor. Carpets and rugs are yet another breeding ground for dust mites.
Once you have done that, protect your carpet and upholstered furnishings with a qualified, safe protector spray to keep the winter dirt and dust from penetrating the fabric. An efficient way of keeping the sand and rock salt from entering the home is to place waterproof doormats at the base of all doors leading outside along with elevated racks, or large, edged baking pans for storing boots and shoes.
Time To Get Cozy
There are several ways to transition your interior into a softer, cozier winter abode. Start by weeding out bright colors and opt for deeper, richer tones with a variation of one or two colors, creating a soft, quieter effect. It’s also time to break out the soft furnishings. Think in terms of rich textures by using soft cushy accents such as sheepskin, fur throws, textured accent pillows, and thick plush or textured area rugs. Replace your bed covers with solid plush quilts and goose-down pillows. Suede or velvet sofa and chair covers are recommended and will further help to protect your furniture against holiday spills and mishaps. Try to avoid any upholstery that looks shiny or cold, like polyester or silk and opt for wool, microfiber, or heavy-weave cotton. Warm, rich woods like walnut, cherry and oak are also effective. Even switching to low-watt bulbs or using lamps with 3-way switches to add variations can help create a softer ambiance.
Pull all your cold-weather gear like sleds, skis, snow shovels, and scrapers out of storage. Make sure everything is in working order and replace anything loose or broken. Launder all coats, hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves and place them in a convenient spot close to the doors leading outside. If you live in an area where you often get snowed in, create a survival kit and include an ample supply of energy bars, flashlights and batteries, blankets, non-perishable food items, and powdered milk. Don’t forget to include plenty of drinking water that will last at least 3 days.
Keep in mind, the winter months are when we spend the most time indoors, so take the time to cozy up your environment to ensure it’s a safe, healthy, comfortable, and germ-free hibernating spot.