While focusing on Valentine’s Day and the doldrums of winter, don’t forget to do something special for your home this month—check it for safety! If you only have time for one or two safety tips, go with the option that has the most SafeWise owls. We ranked each task by priority, one owl signifying the lowest and five the highest, to help you get the best benefits for your time.
Clean out your medicine cabinet. Leaving excess medication around could lead to substance abuse if it falls into the wrong hands. See if your local police department has a medication drop-off box for safe disposal.
Deep clean your fridge and garbage disposal. Nasty germs creep up in the kitchen, so empty your fridge and wipe it down with a disinfectant. You may also use white vinegar and baking soda to clean both your refrigerator and garbage disposal.
Clean out your spice cupboard. Expired spices and herbs won’t add much flavor to your food and might actually harbor mold or other bacteria. Clean out your spice cabinet twice a year to ensure freshness.
Organize the junk drawer, dishes, and tupperware. Decreasing clutter cuts down on stress, so give your mental state a break by organizing drawers and tupperware storage.
Sanitize hand-held devices. Wipe down your phone, remote controls, tablets, garage door openers, and other small electronics to remove germs, dust, and general ickiness.
Dry clean or heavy duty wash your bedspread and shams. Dust mites that cause allergies, mold, and more can accumulate on your bedding and drapery. Wash everything this February so it’s spick and span.
Upgrade your locks (smart locks). Smart locks provide better security and peace of mind by connecting you to your home wherever you are.
Deep clean floors, blinds, ceiling fans, and fixtures. Take a duster or damp cloth to clean off the surprising amount of dust that builds up on floors, blinds, and light fixtures so you don’t breathe it in.
Change indoor lights (smart bulbs). Save on energy this winter by upgrading to smart lights you can control from an app.
Fill holes in your drywall. Holes may turn into bigger cracks and cost you a ton for repairs.
Clean out your kid’s rooms and toys. Wipe down toys to remove germs and grit and organize games, clothes, etc..
Tighten and lube door hinges. Cut down on squeaky doors and protect against accidents.
Clean lint from the dryer exhaust duct. Driers are one of the main causes of household fires because of built-up lint. Clean your lint trap every time you do a load of laundry and your exhaust duct once every two months.
Familiarize yourself electric and water shut-off valves. If water starts leaking or there’s an electrical problem, you’ll want to shut these off quick!
Vacuum and dust your HVAC system. This will help with efficiency, cut down on overheating dangers, and allow your heating and cooling system to blow cleaner air.
Check foundation for damage. Stopping foundation issues before they snowball saves you thousands, so check your foundation often.
Test and reset all ground fault circuit interrupter receptacles and check all extension cords. If any cords have damage or exposed wires, throw them out and buy news ones. **
Sanitize faucets. Use bathroom spray with bleach or a homemade vinegar-based cleaner to get rid of germs and restore shine.
Check for leaks in your plumbing on supply lines to sinks and toilets. Look at the piping behind toilets and under sinks to ensure water isn’t getting out.
Check caulking in bathrooms. If there’s mold, scrub it away. If there’s a leak, call a repairman or recaulk it yourself.
Test CO and smoke detectors and replace the batteries. These save lives, so check batteries once every two to three months. Or, upgrade to smart smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors so you’ll always know when something isn’t right.
Check for ice dams and icicles. These could damage your roof, cause leaks, and cost you a ton. Learn more about how to detect signs of ice dams and remove them safely.
Ensure street numbers are visible on your home. Emergency responders need to see your house numbers to reach you, so make sure they’re not covered by snow or obstructed in other ways.
Clean windows. Let more sunshine in to naturally heat your home this winter and keep utility bills down.
Complete more safety maintenance tasks this February by scheduling one per day in your calendar. That way, it won’t take more than 30 minutes each day and at the end of the month, you’ll have a cleaner, safer, and healthier home.
You have the whole month of February to get these safety and maintenance tasks done, but the sooner you do the safer you’ll be!