By Robin Wilson
(Editor’s note: Not everyone looks forward to spring cleaning, but I do. I love that freash clean start for the year. OK, I’m a little OCD, but I think my family benefits from it. Our home is clean and organized (most of the time) and when it’s not, I’m not a happy camper, so when I saw these spring cleaning tips, I just had to share.
- Start with the closets for one very important reason: Start with your closets so you’re not dumping everything into a room you’ve already cleaned. Closets are dust mite havens because of the clothing and junk that sits untouched for years and collects dust. Empty it, trash what you don’t need, and put it back together neatly and organized. Then take on the rest of the room.
- Bathing the bathroom: Get rid of vinyl shower curtains because they hold mold more easily and off-gas. Use a nylon curtain instead. Give the entire room a good scrub down using eco-friendly and non-toxic cleaners.
- For fresh floors:Get rid of wall-to-wall carpeting. Tile and hardwood floors are preferable, but don’t forget to vacuum on a regular basis. Ensure that your vacuum has a HEPA filter to better manage dust particles in your home, especially since dust can be a leading trigger for allergic or asthma reactions.
- Empty each room: For the ultimate in spring cleaning, remove everything from each room as if you were moving, and mop or steam clean the floors. You’ll be shocked at all the nastiness living underneath and behind furniture and appliances.
- Lighten up the living room: Consider using slipcoverson upholstered sofas which can be washed regularly and have come a long way from slipcovers of 10 years ago. Eliminate dust-catching drapes and horizontal blinds. Try washable rolling blinds or shutters instead.
- Neaten up with the news: Use newspaper to clean windows. Newsprint is a cousin to paper towels, but its high absorbency makes it more effective and will leave windows sparkling. Newspaper is also recyclable. But be careful: the one downside is wet ink can stain wood moldings so use extra caution. Use microfiber cloths instead of paper towels on floors, tile and countertops. They do a great job sanitizing and can be reused.
- Mind the mold: Hot spots to look for mold build-up are dishwashers, the water pan under the fridge, and sink and bath drains. Change water dispenser and icemaker filters while you’re at it.
- Take care of Ted E. Bear: Wash or freeze stuffed animals to kill dust mites. Keep all toys, games and stuffed animals in sealed bins when not being used.
- Keep Fluffy dander-free: Groom your dogs or cats as part of your spring cleaning ritual and keep them away from bedrooms and any rooms that contain carpets. If it’s an option, keep pets outdoors to avoid excess dander in your home.
- Breathe easy in bed: Switch to hypoallergenic pillows and comforters. Make sure and wash pillow cases, pillow protectors and mattress protectors on a regular basis to protect against dust mites.
- Pick Non-VOC paint: Spring is a great time to paint a room. Use non-VOC paints which won’t off gas or leave an obnoxious odor and stir up asthma or allergies. It looks just the same on your wall.
About the Author:
Robin Wilson is Founder and CEO of Robin Wilson Home, author of Clean Design: Wellness for Your Lifestyle and an ambassador for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.