Summer vacation is over and the kids are back in school, leaving behind them dirt from long days playing outdoors. Now that the air is getting cooler and the house is empty, it’s time to start cleaning up those messes that might have gone unnoticed during the chaos of summer vacation.

Getting back into a cleaning routine after a break can be difficult, so here are 5 quick tips for cleaning that summer dirt:

1. Make a Plan

The first thing to do with any big cleaning project is to survey the mess and make a cleaning plan. To avoid burnout, don’t attempt to tackle everything in one day. Breaking everything down into smaller tasks can make the work much more tolerable. For example, you might clean floors on Monday, tackle the kitchen and bathrooms on Tuesday, and organize bedrooms on Wednesday.

2. Carpet Stains

With kids running in and out of the house, spilling drinks and snacks, and doing art projects, carpets can look pretty bad by the end of the summer. Luckily, it’s usually easy to tackle those stains. Treat stains quickly when possible because the longer they are there, the harder they are to remove. For a simple stain remover, mix 1/4 cup of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of dish detergent, and 4 cups of water in a spray bottle. Spray on stains and let soak for 10 minutes, then blot gently with a towel. For tough stains that you aren’t able to remove, you might consider renting a carpet cleaner or having your carpets professionally shampooed for a fresh start. Contact a reputable carpet cleaning company, such as Carpet MD, serving Hillsboro, OR

3. Beach and Pool Gear

It’s time to clean up the beach and pool gear and pack it away until next summer. First, however, it needs to be cleaned. Clean pool toys such as inflatable floats and noodles by spraying them with a mixture of water and vinegar. Rinse well and allow them to dry completely before folding and packing away. Coolers can be cleaned with warm, soapy water and scrubbed with a soft bristle brush. Allow them to sit in the sun to dry thoroughly. Before putting into storage, stuff your cooler with a few crumpled up newspapers to absorb moisture.

4. Garage

The garage is often forgotten while cleaning, but there is nothing better than a clean and organized garage. Start by packing away all summer gear and toys and organizing them neatly. Then dust the walls and corners, knocking down any dust or cobwebs that may have accumulated. Move your cars out of the garage and give the floor a thorough sweeping, then mop with hot, soapy water and let dry. 

5. Bathrooms

Bathrooms are another area of the house that take a hit during summer vacation because of constant use. Luckily, it’s easy to get bathrooms back into shape quickly. First, remove everything from countertops and clean out the shower. Then dust light fixtures, vents, and windows, and sweep floors. Clean toilet, shower, tub, and sink with bathroom cleaners, then clean mirrors and countertops. Finally, mop the floor and empty the trash can.