Winter is here and with it comes a whole new set of tasks designed to keep your home in good shape during the cold weather ahead.

From cleaning and organizing to insulation and weather stripping, our winter home maintenance to-do list will help get your home in tip-top shape for the holidays.

Read on to find out how to maintain your home this winter both inside and out!

Indoor Winter House Cleaning & Organizing

Kitchen Cabinets:

While you’re stuck indoors in winter weather, take the opportunity to give your kitchen cabinets a good cleaning to remove any grease and grime. To make the job easy, spray on a little orange oil cleaner to cut the grease, then wipe the cabinets clean with a wet sponge that’s been microwaved about 40 seconds. Be sure to wear gloves so you don’t burn your hands!

The combination of citrus oil and hot water will make short work of grease on cabinets. To see how it’s done, check out our video on Removing Grease from Kitchen Cabinets.

Stovetop and Oven:

Citrus-based cleaner also works great for cleaning your stove. Start by removing the burners and pans, then give the stovetop a good cleaning using the same hot sponge method. Be sure to remove and clean the knobs and the surface behind them as well. For stubborn stains, sprinkle a little baking soda and scrub. While you’re at it, be sure to clean your oven with a commercial oven cleaner, following the instructions. For a greener option, sprinkle the bottom of the oven with baking soda, spritz with water, let it sit overnight, then scrub it clean.

Range hood and Filter:

Allowing grease to build up on range hoods and over the stove microwave fans can reduce their efficiency and shorten the life of the fan. In addition to cleaning the outer and inner surfaces of a range hood or microwave with a citrus cleaner, it’s important to remove and clean the range hood grease filter regularly by washing it in the sink in hot, soapy water or running the filter in the dishwasher. If you can access the exhaust fan on the range hood, turn the circuit breaker off and clean the fan blades as well.


Take advantage of a rainy or snowy day to clean and organize your closets. Remove everything from the closet and give the floors and woodwork a good cleaning. Then, before putting anything back, take a look and see if you’re getting the best use out of the space. Some new DIY wire track shelving along with hanging bars, drawers, bins, and baskets can increase your storage space dramatically. For help designing and organizing your closet, consider hiring a company specializing in organizational solutions to design and install a new closet system in your home.

Bathroom Drains:

Nothing ruins a good shower like a slow running drain! To clean tub and sink drains, remove the drain assembly and insert a drain stick in the drain pipe to pull out any hair or other clogs. Follow this by pouring a little bleach down the drain, allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes, then flush it with water to kill any mold or mildew lurking in the pipe.

Home Inventory:

Winter is a great time to compile a home inventory of all your prized possessions for insurance purposes, or update to inventory you have with any new purchases from the past year. Be sure to document it with photos, videos, and receipts. Make extra copies and store them in a safe place away from your home, such as a safe deposit box or with a friend or relative.

Indoor Winter Home Maintenance

Furnace Filter:

Your heating system works hard during the winter, so be sure to replace the air filter every 1-3 months. A clean filter allows the unit to run more efficiently and keep the air inside your home cleaner. To change a furnace air filter, turn the system off and wait until it stops running. Next, remove the air return cover, take out the old filter, and install a new one—making sure the arrows on the edge of the filter point in the direction of air flow.

If you have allergies, upgrade to a high-performance allergen air filter. For help in locating the air filter in your home, see our article on How to Find the Air Filter in Your Home.

Attic Insulation:

Before the mercury drops too far, head up in your attic to make sure you have at least 12” of insulation in warm climates and 16” in colder areas. Since heat rises, it’s important to have a good insulating barrier between your heated living space and the attic to keep that valuable warm air where it belongs. If your attic is uninsulated, install fiberglass rolls or batts between the joists, making sure the paper or foil backing is facing down towards the living space. If your attic has some insulation but needs more, lay rolls or batts of unfaced fiberglass insulation over top of what’s there, or blow in or spread loose insulation. For more information, check out our article on Insulation R-Value and video on How To Install Attic Insulation.

Attic Stairs:

Drop-down attic stairs are often made of thin plywood that allows quite a bit of heated air to escape into your attic. To insulate attic stairs start by installing foam weatherstripping around the opening and caulk and seal any cracks. For even more protection, build an insulating foam box over the opening or purchase a premade insulating attic stair cover.

Smoke and CO Alarms:

With your fireplace and furnace going strong, be sure to test and refresh the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. Press and hold the “test” button on each unit to see if the alarm sounds. If the alarm doesn’t work, or if the batteries are more than a year old, install new batteries. Next, clean the units by blowing out dust with canned air. Finally, replace any units that are more than ten years old. For more information, check out our article on Home Fire Safety.

Water and Icemaker Filters:

Replace disposable water filters on your water filtration system and/or icemaker as recommended by the manufacturer (usually every six months). This will keep mold and mildew from growing in the filter and keep your water clean, fresh, and flowing freely. If you don’t have water filters on your kitchen sink or refrigerator, now is a good time to install them.

Outdoor Winter Home Maintenance

Siding and Trim:

Tighten up your home’s exterior by caulking and sealing cracks around siding, doors, and windows.

Fill small cracks less than 1/4” wide with exterior caulk.

Wider gaps should be filled with foam backer rods topped with caulk, or filled with expandable spray foam.

Windows and Doors:

Take a look at your home’s windows and doors to be sure the weather stripping and thresholds are in good shape to keep your home energy efficient in winter. If not, it’s not hard to replace weather stripping on newer doors. Take a piece with you to match the style, then cut it to length and push it into the groove. For older doors consider self-adhesive weather stripping or strips that are nailed in place. You can also replace the rubber strip in your door’s threshold, or install a door sweep on the bottom of the door.

Garden Hoses:

To protect your garden hoses from freezing, disconnect them, remove the spray nozzle, draining out all the water, and store them in a shed or garage. If you need to use a hose in winter for occasional watering, keep it disconnected and drained in between uses, and be sure sprayer valves are removed or left open to allow water inside the hose to expand.

Outdoor Spigots:

If your home doesn’t have frost-free outdoor faucets, be sure to drain and winterize them to prevent pipes from freezing. Winterize outdoor spigots by locating and turning off the shutoff valve under the house, then open both the faucet valve and the bleeder valve located near the shutoff. Allow all water to drain out of the pipes, then close all the valves once more. If your outdoor spigots don’t have shutoff valves, install insulating foam covers over the faucets themselves.

Water Pipes:

It’s a good time to insulate water pipes under your house to prevent them from freezing. Foam pipe insulation is easy to install by simply cutting it to length, opening the insulation along the split edge, and fitting it around each pipe. Joints in the insulation can be taped to tighten the seal.

Gutters and Roof:

During freezing winter weather, ice dams can be very damaging to your home, as melting snow trickles down the roof and re-freezes along the eaves. This backup can allow water to wick up under your shingles and cause water damage inside your home. Ice dams are most likely to form when the attic is warm due to leaking heat from the living area, so be sure your home is well insulated. Prevent ice dams by sealing air leaks, adding insulation to the attic, and making sure attic ventilation systems are installed and working properly.

Holiday Decorations:

Enjoy the holiday season by hanging decorations and lights on your home! Throw away any old or frayed light strands, and update old lights to energy efficient LEDs. To avoid damaging your home with nails or hooks, consider hanging decorations using cable ties and self-adhesive bases.

Printable To-Do List

For more home maintenance to-do lists, check out:

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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