Get warm weather-ready with 12 tips that will make your house shine.

1 Clean lampshades Disconnect the lamp and remove the shade. If your shades are simple -- no decorations -- just use a damp cloth to gently wipe the inside and outside. If there are embellishments that need extra attention, use an old toothbrush to get them clean. Wipe down the lamp base and give the cord a once-over, too.

2 Wash draperies For fabric panels: Some can go into the washer; others (like silks and fine fabrics) can be gently vacuumed, brought to the dry cleaner or washed by hand in the sink or tub. For mini-blinds: Cover your hands in a pair of cotton socks. Dip them in warm soapy water and wipe each of the slats clean.


3 Clean ceiling fan blades Climb a ladder and dust ceiling fan blades with a feather duster.

4 Dust the baseboards If a simple dusting doesn't suffice to remove gathered dust on your baseboards, use a toothbrush to gently scrub them clean. Be careful not to damage the painted walls above.

5 Wipe and disinfect all your doorknobs light-switch plates and telephones with a damp cloth. Use a damp paintbrush on stereo knobs and to dust its crevices. You can do the same for your remote control.

6 Wash all inside and outside doors with soapy water, remembering to wipe the top edge of the frame.

7 Clean window screens by removing them and laying them on the ground in the yard. Spray with the garden hose, wipe with a soapy cloth and rinse with the hose.


8 Clean shower curtains Cloth curtains: Take them down and wash them in the washing machine, then hang them outside to dry. Before hanging them back up in the shower, soak them in salt water to prevent mildew. Plastic curtains: Leave them hanging in the shower and spray the top with your favourite cleaner, letting it run down to cover the entire curtain. Allow cleaner to sit for a few minutes, then rinse with the showerhead or wipe with a sponge.

9 Clean drains Nothing says summer like a fresh-smelling home, and stale drains can sometimes give off a subtle odour. In the kitchen and bathroom drains, pour about half a box of baking soda down the drain, followed by half a cup of white vinegar. Cover the drain with a small plate or bowl for a few minutes. Complete the process by running the cold-water tap for a few minutes.

10 Clean all filters Your dehumidifier may be getting a workout this season, as will your central air conditioner and air-purifier unit. Remove each of those filters and screens, submerge them in water and gently brush with a cloth. Let stand outside to dry before reattaching.

11 Disinfect all your garbage cans and recycling bins. Take them outside and douse them with cleaner. Grab a tall, cool drink and call your best friend. When you get off the phone, attack garbage cans with the garden hose. Leave them upside down on the deck and put your feet up until they drip-dry.

12 Clean out the kitty litter box Those plastic buckets, domes, houses and other containers are indestructible, it's true -- but that doesn't mean they don't get filthy. Take the litter box out to the backyard and hose it down. Soap and water will work wonders.

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