Winters are near, and we have seen that a great way to tackle the chilly weather is to be well prepared before the temperatures dip. Our experience has taught us that whether it's our clothes, furniture or appliances, we must ensure they are in top shape for the cold season. This simple measure will help shrink our energy bills, prevent unnecessary damage caused due to accidents and also help us be more comfortable and cosy indoors.
Check out the three things you must do before winter sets in!
We have had to deal with instances when we took out our stored woollen clothes from the previous season only to find them looking dull, faded and filled with a musty odour. To restore their lost shine and appearance and get our woollens ready in time, we tried various home remedies like using vinegar and baking soda along with regular detergent to wash them, airing out our woollens and so on.
But, nothing seemed to work and we only ended up with a heap of sour smelling, rough clothes. We realized that our woollen clothes needed something better suited for them. After some research we learnt that wool is a protein and is extremely delicate which is why they need detergents specially formulated for woollens.
It was during a regular visit to the grocery store that we came across Love & Care Soft Woollens Expert Care Wash Liquid Detergent. Its label mentioned that it has a unique formulation that helps maintain fit and form and gives dry clean like softness to old woollens- which was exactly what we were looking for in our detergent.
We read that it has a pH balanced formula, which gave us the assurance that our clothes would be cleaned gently while keeping its softness intact. Another added benefit was that it has no enzymes and bleach. We’ve learnt that detergents with enzymes could weaken the wool fibres, whereas bleach could end up impacting the colour of the woollen garments.
When we used this product on our woollen clothes, we loved how soft our clothes felt against our skin after a single wash. They smelled terrific and looked as good as new!
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As the temperatures drop, the chances of using the lawn/ balcony furniture also decrease. Hence, we recommend packing up all your outdoor furniture instead of leaving it outside and exposing it to the external environmental elements. But, before you pack up the furniture, it's always a good idea to clean it well.
We generally use a solution of dish soap and water to clean our outdoor furniture and have found it to be safe on materials like wicker, wrought iron, mesh and plastic. We also recommend doing a spot test on an inconspicuous area of the furniture and following the manufacturer's cleaning instructions to be sure that the particular piece can withstand the cleaning agent.
However, when it comes to our wooden outdoor furniture, we always use a specially formulated cleaner to prevent any damage to the finish of the wood. Removing any dirt and debris that settles on the furniture quickly prevents the formation of mould and mildew that could permanently damage the furniture.
When you are facing freezing temperatures, the last thing you want is the malfunctioning of your appliances. Fret not! A simple step of checking your devices before the chill sets in will ensure that the chances of your appliances crashing are kept to a minimum.
We know that hot water baths become mandatory during winters, so we flush out our water heater to remove any sediments before the winters arrive. We do this by attaching a pipe to the drain valve and turning on the hot water tap. You can also get a professional to come over and check it. They can also check whether it's in good working condition to prevent any nasty surprises.
The next winter essential is a room heater. While we clean the outer part of the room heater with a microfiber cloth, the inner part we vacuum with a hose that has a brush attachment. This helps to remove any dust and debris present in the interior compartment of the heater. Narrow spaces and crevices can be targeted with a nozzle attachment.
Drying clothes outside may not be fruitful in winters, so our reliance on our dryers increases. However, for it to function smoothly throughout the cold season, we always check the vents and lint filter and if found clogged, get it cleaned by a professional.
Another indispensable gadget is the electric kettle. But, we have struggled with limescale build up in our kettle when taken out of storage after a long break. Thankfully, we have found there are chemical descalers available to take care of this issue. We follow a routine of descaling our kettle every 4 to 8 weeks to keep it clean.
In our experience, proper storage of woollen clothes is as important as cleaning them the right way. We have made the mistake of hanging our woollens on hangers and found them stretched and out of shape. Thus, we suggest never hanging your woollens on hangers and instead folding them neatly before placing them in the cupboard.
Woollens are incredibly vulnerable to moth attacks. Hence we make sure we place mothballs on the shelves where we store them.
Whether you store them in the cupboard or storage bins, always ensure the buttons and zippers are fastened to help prevent any snagging.
Ideally, to make your outdoor furniture last long, it's best to store everything in a shed or a dry storage space or indoors. If space is a concern, you can use a tarp as we did, but make sure it's tied down securely and leave a slight gap at the bottom to promote circulation. Place all the cushions in a storage box and keep them in a dry area.
We also ensure that all the pieces of furniture are cleaned and dried thoroughly before storage. We have learned that outdoor furniture made of wood needs a protective sealant applied to safeguard it from any moisture. We have seen during very cold winters, moisture can freeze inside the wood and cause it to crack. Thus after drying, we oil the wooden furniture before storing it.
While storing your favourite summer season electric appliances like the juicer and ice cream maker, table fans and coolers, avoid setting them on the ground. Since the ground loses heat quickly, it becomes colder than the rest of the room during the cold months and can damage the appliance extensively.
Hence, we suggest storing appliances in an elevated position- either on furniture, in shelves or in boxes. Also, if you own an air conditioner, you can consider covering it’s outdoor unit with mesh air conditioner covers or any breathable fabric during the winters. We have seen that it protects it from harsh weather conditions like snow and prevents any dirt or debris build-up.
3. Prevention & Maintenance
While woollens do a great job of keeping us warm and comfortable, along with proper cleaning and storage certain preventive measures and steps need to be taken to ensure they are maintained well and last long.
We have seen that woollens need not be washed as frequently as other fabrics as they remain fresh for longer intervals. Hence, between the washes, we mainly use a soft garment brush and brush our clothes lengthwise to prevent the accumulation of any dirt or debris that could, in turn, dull their appearance.
We have observed that using a fabric conditioner after washing our woollens gives them an additional layer of protection and protects any sort of damage caused by repeated washing. For this purpose we tried out Comfort Fabric Conditioner and found them great for our clothes. Our clothes smelled unbelievably fresh and looked great.
Unlike other materials, woollens cannot be hung on a line to dry. Wool tends to absorb a lot of water, and weight causes the fabric to stretch and lose shape. We first place our woollens on a flat surface away from direct sunlight. Exposure to heat can weaken the wool fibres and damage them. We then tug at the edges to smoothen any creases. Always ensure the clothes are thoroughly dried before storing them to prevent any mould or mildew formation.
The weather is cold and dry during winters, affecting the wood due to a lack of moisture in the air. Also, the heat can cause the wood to dry and warp with the heaters and blowers working overtime. Hence, we always keep our wooden furniture away from any direct heat source and as far as possible away from heating vents.
If you have a fireplace, this measure becomes imperative as it could damage your furniture and be a potential fire hazard. We always rub down our wooden furniture with lemon oil as we have seen that it is a great way to prevent the loss of natural moisture from the wood. This step nourishes and revives the wood and even provides UV protection if you choose to place the furniture under direct sunlight.
We have always seen that upgrading old appliances and using more efficient appliances has multiple benefits in the long run. They consume less energy and allow more control that you can tweak according to your requirements.
By taking care of these three important aspects you will be all set to tackle the winter season.
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