Spring Cleaning Tips for a Healthier Home
The ritual of spring cleaning has been going on for centuries. Although most of us no longer have to throw open the windows to get rid of the buildup of grime from whale and kerosene oils used during the winter months, there are many other good reasons to clean your home when spring rolls around. While you’re washing the walls and scrubbing the floors, remember that not all dirt is visible. For instance, poor ventilation and air flow may be affecting the air quality in your home. Make your home a healthier place to live with these spring cleaning tips.
1. Clean Your Carpet, Curtains, Upholstery and Walls
While you likely vacuum your carpets at least once or twice weekly, when was the last time you steamed or shampooed them? Philip Tierno Jr., Ph.D., a microbiologist, immunologist and author of “The Secret Life of Germs,” says that your carpets may contain up to 200,000 bacteria per square inch. This includes human skin, pet dander, food residue, pollen and other kinds of dirt tracked in from outside or just floating in the air. A vacuum often isn’t strong enough to reach all of this bacteria, and the only way to get rid of it is to have the carpets steam cleaned at least once a year. Upholstery should also be more than simply vacuumed, and walls should be wiped down with some type of antibacterial and disinfecting mixture, especially in bathrooms. Don’t forget about curtains and drapes, which attract airborne particles and often get overlooked when cleaning day comes. Most are machine washable, but you should follow the care instructions.
2. Consider an Air Purification System
Speaking of airborne particles, if you don’t already have an air purification system installed in your home, you may want to consider one — especially if you or other family members suffer from asthma or allergies, and/or you have pets. A WAVE air purifier removes and kills 99 percent of everyday indoor air pollutants through the use of UV technology and a HEPA filter. It’s important to change the purifier's filter to keep the system working at its most efficient, as well as to save on energy costs, since a dirty filter makes the purifier work harder than it needs to. However, it typically needs changing once every two years, so you can add this to the spring cleaning list every other spring.
3. Make Sure Crawl Spaces and Basements Are Well Ventilated
Another way to keep the air throughout your home clean is to ventilate closed-off areas, such as musty basements and crawl spaces. Proper ventilation helps to prevent the backup of air pollutants in these areas, such as radon, carbon monoxide and VOCs from things like furnaces and other household appliances. It also keeps moisture from collecting and causing damp places that are susceptible to mildew and mold, and that can lead to bug infestations. Making sure you have proper ventilation in your home can not only save you money by preventing some really big problems, but it will also improve the overall air quality in your home by keeping air circulating through every room.
4. Don’t Overlook These Oft-Forgotten Things
Spring cleaning is the perfect time to make sure you clean the things you tend to overlook in your regular weekly dusting, vacuuming, mopping and scrubbing. Look around each room in your home taking care to check every nook and cranny. This includes lamp shades, baseboards, cabinet doors in the bathroom and kitchen, as well as air ventilation covers and ceiling light fixtures and fans. Use the crevice cleaning attachment on your vacuum to gently clean lamp shades, moving it in straight lines down from the top to bottom and turning the shades as you go. Attach the wand brush to clean everything else; you might also wipe down cabinets with a rag and vinegar-water solution. Clean inside appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators. You can do this naturally using white vinegar and/or baking soda, along with some rags and sponges. For the washing machine, fill it with hot water and pour a two-gallon container of vinegar into it. Let it agitate for about ten minutes, and then stop the cycle after it has filled. Leave it to soak overnight, and in the morning, start the cycle again and let the vinegar wash out. Next, to clean the refrigerator, first remove all the contents. Then use a damp sponge to wipe out the inside. Pull out drawers to get underneath them where food particles typically collect, and clean them in the sink using soapy water. Before you put the food back in the fridge, make sure to throw out everything that’s expired, including condiments such as mayonnaise and jelly. Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal, and it's also a perfect time to clean and refresh your home. As the temperatures get warmer and the days get longer, you'll likely want to pull back the curtains and throw open the windows to let the outside air in. Just remember that you need to do more than that to ensure that your home isn't making you sick. Clean every item and surface to remove dirt and bacteria, and consider installing a UV air purifier and a ventilation system to ensure the air you breathe inside your living space is fresh and free of pollutants. Feel free to contact WAVE Home Solutions to find out more.