Stay warm and toasty inside even when it’s frosty outside — Canadian Tire has what you need to Take On Winter, so you can be ready for anything. From helpful home heating tips to simple baking recipes that are sure to wow, we’re here to help you embrace cozy season.
Winter’s arrival – and the dropping temperatures and unpredictable weather it brings – means more time spent indoors. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, either. After a hectic fall, there are few things more satisfying than curling up on your living room couch in front of a warm fire as the winter weather outside rages on. But it’s difficult to lean into those warm and cozy winter vibes if your home isn’t as clean as it could be.
Ensuring your house is clean and germ-free is important year-round, to be sure, but it’s important to pay extra attention during winter, when there’s less fresh air circulating, resulting in decreased indoor air quality, increased allergens, and uncomfortably dry skin. Luckily, there are a few easy ways to combat stale winter air while also getting rid of household germs in the process.
Follow these helpful tips to enjoy a healthier, cozier home all winter long.
1. Replace the filter in your air purifier
Cleaner air starts with a quality air purifier, and the most important component of your air purifier is the filter. If the filter isn’t clean and functioning properly, your purifier won’t work as intended.
First order of business? Check your filter to see if it needs replacing. Signs that it’s time for a new filter vary, but if you notice stale or musty air coming from your machine, visible dust in the air around the vents, or the filter looks excessively dirty, you’re likely due for a replacement.
If your purifier uses a disposable HEPA filter, simply replace it with a new one at manufacturer-recommended intervals. The Honeywell HPA5350BC True HEPA Allergen Remover comes with a pre-filter that uses activated carbon to capture household odours and harmful smoke particles, and helps extend the life of its True HEPA filter, which should be replaced once a year, and captures up to 99.97% of microscopic allergens.
For smaller spaces, such as bedrooms, the Blueair Blue 411 Auto Air Purifier features a dual filtration system to deliver more clean air, faster, capable of cleaning a 190-square-foot room in under 13 minutes. If you plan to use the purifier round the clock, expect to replace the filter once every six months to maintain peak performance.
2. Rinse your humidifier regularly
With your furnace on much of the day to combat the cold winter air outside, it’s easy for your indoor air to get dried out. That’s where having a humidifier comes in—but only if it’s clean! A dirty humidifier could be releasing bacteria and mold into your home without you even knowing it. That’s not good news for anyone, and it’s even worse for those with asthma or allergies.
To prevent mold and mildew, rinse and wipe your humidifier out daily (an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!). Also, be sure to use only purified or distilled water when you refill it. Tap water can leave mineral and hard water deposits behind, which can build up and clog your machine.
Don’t already own a humidifier? Look for one that’s easy to fill (and clean), like this Honeywell top-fill humidifier, which works well for larger rooms and comes with a cleaning brush included. For an added dose of spa relaxation, try the Honeywell Soothing Comfort Warm Mist Humidifier, which features a built-in essential oil cup as well as a special cleaning cartridge to help keep it cleaner, longer.
3. Deep clean your humidifier once a week
Whichever model of humidifier you opt for, plan on giving it a deeper clean once a week. A one-to-one solution of water and white vinegar will help remove limescale buildup, while a solution that’s four parts water to one part hydrogen peroxide will kill any bacteria or mold. (Important! Never mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. The combination can be toxic.)
If your humidifier comes with a filter, replacing it on a regular basis will go a long way towards keeping your air nice and fresh. For Honeywell models that use a wicking filter, the company recommends installing a certified replacement filter every one to two months. Always be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific model to see what type of replacement filter you’ll need, along with how often it should be replaced.
4. Check-in with your furnace or HVAC
During cold winter months, your furnace or HVAC system will be working overtime to keep your house warm. While you should always contact a professional if your system is having serious problems – and plan to have it inspected annually to help ward off more costly repairs – there are also preventative steps you can take to ensure it keeps chugging along.
First, keep the area around your furnace or HVAC system clear of debris. Two feet of cleared space is ideal. Then, regularly check and replace your air filter. A dirty air filter will cause your system to work harder to push air through, and an overworked system is a recipe for a hefty repair bill. If it’s been more than 90 days since you last replaced your filter, it’s a wise idea to replace it with a new high-efficiency filter (and maybe stock up on a few extra so you have them on hand for next time).
Pro tip: It’s wise to check your carbon monoxide detectors at the same time, and replace the batteries if needed.
5. A cleaner house = cleaner air
Focusing on the air in your home is one good way to help you and your family breathe easier this winter, but regular cleaning – especially of your high-touch surfaces, floors, rugs, kitchen, and bathroom – will also go a long way in getting rid of household germs.
If you’re starting with the bathroom, grab some Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner Clinging Bleach Gel, and a powerful all-around kitchen and bathroom cleaner like CLR Bathroom & Kitchen Cleaner for cleaning everything from ceramic tile to sinks, bathtubs and countertops. This fast-acting foam spray is built to cut through calcium, lime, and hard water deposits, as well as soap scum and dirt.
For glass surfaces, try FRANK Ammonia-Free Glass Cleaner for a streak-free (and ammonia-free!) shine for your windows, mirrors, glass table tops, and more. All-purpose wipes are ideal for killing germs on countertops, as well as high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs and light switches. And pet owners will want to keep Bissell +Oxy Pet Spot & Stain Remover on hand to help remove tough pet stains and odours.
Meanwhile, dusting and vacuuming regularly will help keep dust mites, pet dander and other allergens at bay—meaning your air purifier and furnace or HVAC filters won’t have to work quite so hard. The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Corded Stick Vacuum is an excellent, versatile option for pet owners, thanks to the built-in extension wand and removable hand vac. Another great choice for homes with pets? The powerful, intelligent Dyson V15 Detect Total Clean, which features a special laser designed to help make microscopic dust particles more visible, so you don’t miss a single spec.
A clean, germ-free home starts with cleaner indoor air, and with a little regular maintenance, you’ll be better equipped to kick back and enjoy a warm, cozy, and healthy home all winter long.