Home Tips: Fall Chore Shortcuts
1. Clean painted woodwork with a solution of 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1 cup ammonia, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 gallon of lukewarm water. No rinsing is necessary with this solution.
2. Clean vinyl shower curtains without taking them down by wiping them with a sponge dampened with white vinegar.
3. Clean windows with a mixture of 1 part white vinegar and 10 parts warm water.
4. Plow or till the garden in the fall to expose both hibernating insects and weed seeds, which will then perish.
5. Dead leaves and needles on a shingled roof hold water and hasten the deterioration of the shingles. Sweep or hose them off in both spring and fall.
6. To maintain the wooden handles on your garden tools, occasionally apply boiled linseed oil with a cloth. Use just enough so the wood absorbs the oil.
7. Transfer boxed fertilizers or garden chemicals in your garden shed to plastic containers now, as their original cardboard packaging may deteriorate over the winter. Don’t forget to label the new containers.
8. For easy spring cleanup, try placing a sheet of nylon netting under the bird feeder in the fall, and anchor it with a few rocks. In northern areas snow will cover the netting most of the winter. In the spring just gather it up to clean up the husks.
9. In some areas, it’s illegal to burn brush. If you’re not going to dispose of brush once it’s cut, leave it where it falls. If you gather it into a pile, it won’t rot as quickly.
10. Make time in the fall to sow new grass where there has been excessive wear or damage. There’s less danger of disease and weed competition in autumn than in spring, and with adequate water the new lawn will establish itself before winter.
11. Place a small stake or other marker where you plant new bulbs in the fall. This will be helpful in the spring, when your cleanup activities might otherwise disturb the area.
12. Give your washing machine an annual cleaning by filling it with hot water, adding a quart of white vinegar, and running the machine through the wash and rinse cycles.
13. To clean a dishwasher, place a bowl containing 2 cups of vinegar on the bottom rack, leaving all the racks in place (but emptied of dishes!). Run the dishwasher through the wash and rinse cycles only. The vinegar will splash about inside, cleaning the whole thing.
14. To get a quick shine on countertops, wipe them down with vinegar.
15. Get rid of musty odors in drawers, closets, or rooms by placing a small container of scented cat litter in the affected area. Refresh the litter every few days until the odor is gone.
16. When closing up a summer cottage, place shallow pans of cider vinegar under beds and in closets. This will keep rooms from smelling stale come spring.