Maintaining a clean house at the lake can present its own challenges. Between hosting family members or guests, taking part in lake activities, or simply dealing with day-to-day living, things can get dirty fast. But with simple upkeep and the occasional deep cleaning, you can spend less time doing those dreaded chores and more time enjoying your peaceful lake life.
Dirt: Do Not Enter
Keep your lake home cleaner by stopping dirt from ever coming inside. Place a doormat at each entrance. This will encourage people to wipe their feet when coming in the house. Also, discourage family and guests from going barefoot outside; dirty feet will soil carpets and floors quickly. It’s a good idea to have extra flip flops by the door for quick trips down to the dock or out to the car. Your carpets may get a lot of traffic, but vacuuming them on a regular basis will keep them clean. Plan on once a week, or after each visit from guests. Be sure to take care of spots, spills and accidents right away. Fresh stains are easier to clean and prompt attention helps prevent them from setting. Easy-to-use sweepers with disposable wet cloths are a great choice for your tile, linoleum or wood floors. If you can mop them once a week, the life of your floors will be extended and they will always have that fresh, just-cleaned appearance.
Maintain the heart of the home
The most popular room in the house, the kitchen, needs special attention to remain neat and tidy. Your refrigerator deserves a deep cleaning every six months. Remove all contents and wipe down surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner. Vacuum out the drawers to remove crumbs or bits of food that are stuck. Don’t forget to vacuum the coils; they will run more effectively when they are dust free.
Keeping your fridge clean also means keeping it organized. Use baskets to store similar items, then simply remove the baskets when cleaning. Wipe off bottles and jars that are sticky before you put them away. This means less mess and build up on your shelves. To keep the shelves extra clean, line them with sticky plastic wrap or plastic placemats. Then remove and clean or toss for easy clean up. Place a box of baking soda in your refrigerator to help control odors.
Baking soda will also freshen up your garbage disposal. Pour it in and let it sit for 30 minutes. Citrus fruit is also a good deodorizer for the disposal. Running it with half a lemon or orange will do wonders for the smell.
Even though it seems to clean itself with each use, your dishwasher needs to be cleaned. A packet of lemonade mix (no sugar added) in place of soap will make your dishwasher sparkle like new. You can remove the filter and rinse with soap and water to remove any food left behind. Use a soft cloth to wipe the inside of the door, the controls and the handle.
Finally, even though you may not be able to see it, your kitchen cabinets may be dirty. Dust, dirt, grease from cooking and fingerprints can build up on their surfaces and make them look dull. They can easily be wiped clean with warm water and a degreasing dish detergent.
Fight bathroom grime
Lake living is particularly hard on your bathrooms due to humid weather, abundant guests and lack of attention if this your second home. Remind family and visitors to use the bathroom fan or open the window when taking a shower. Place a squeegee in the bathroom and request the last person to shower to use it on the tub, walls and shower doors. Be sure to pull the shower curtain closed so it can properly dry. Installing a mildew-resistant shower curtain will cut down on cleanings. You can use a commercial water repellant on the shower walls and doors to help water, soap scum and minerals slide off.
Keeping disinfecting wipes handy also allows for quick and easy tidying up. Having enough space to hang your towels in the bathroom is important so they get completely dry, and stay free of mold or mildew. If you don’t have enough towel bars, install hooks or use an over-the-door towel holder. Mold and mildew will grow on the underside of bathroom rugs too; be sure to hang them to dry after each use and wash them often.
The key to being ready for guests is preparation, and that means clean towels and guest bedding. Towels that have been used at the lake tend to gain a musty or mildew smell over time, but that can be fixed easily by washing them with vinegar. Add one cup of white vinegar per load of towels and wash in hot water to eliminate any lingering odors. Run the cycle again using detergent and dry them on high heat. If your guest bedding is in need of freshening up, add scented paper to your linen closet shelving, or place dryer sheets or sachets between your sets of sheets. You can purchase linen spray for your guest room, or make your own using essential oils and water. Lavender oil is always a nice touch to put your guests at ease before bedtime.
Eliminate the need for hard work when it comes to cleaning your lake house with regular maintenance and upkeep. You will have that fresh and clean appearance year-round with minimal effort and stress, and you will be ready when guests come knocking at your door. ✦