Before You Go, Prep Your Home

February 08, 2019

Planning a long trip away? Do any of your rooms go unused for long periods of time?

Unoccupied homes can be more susceptible to mildew and pests, particularly in a warm and humid climate. Before you head out, or if you have a rarely used room or two, it’s a good idea to give your place some love and preventative care. Here are a few things you can do, courtesy of the University of Florida IFAS Extension.

  • Clean thoroughly. Bits of food and body oils left on towels, clothing or other fabrics can absorb water from the air and lead to mildew and pests. Organic materials such as wood, cotton and leather can deteriorate and develop odors. Before you leave, thoroughly clean the interior and exterior surfaces of appliances and cabinets; wash and dry bedding, towels and clothing; vacuum carpets, mattresses and upholstery; clean and leave a light wax coating on wood furniture.
  • Prep your refrigerator. Clear out perishable foods. If you choose to leave your refrigerator plugged in while you’re away, leave a sealed plastic bag of ice cubes in the freezer. When you return, if the ice cubes have turned into a solid block of ice, it’s a sign that the power had gone off long enough for the cubes to melt and refreeze. If so, the food in your freezer and refrigerator may have been contaminated or spoiled and should be thrown out.
  • Wrap your toilet and close your drains. Water evaporating from drains and toilets can add to the moisture inside your home. If enough water evaporates, sewer gas and pests can enter the house through the drains. To help reduce evaporation, close all drain stoppers and seal toilets and tanks tops with plastic wrap. Indoor plants should be moved outside or left with a friend or neighbor.

For more suggestions and information, check out the University of Florida IFAS Extension’s article, Closing Your Seasonal Home.