In many areas of the world, spring cleaning is a necessary step in preparing our homes to weather the transition from winter into spring and summer. The process keeps our homes—and by extension us—healthy and safe. If you live in an environment where winter is synonymous with freezing temperatures, frequent snowfall and a nearly-constant overcast sky, you’ve likely already planned out a few weekends to tackle the necessary renovation projects.
With all of the tasks ahead of you, it’s easy to get bogged down while cleaning out the winter muck and mire. And that fluster makes it even easier to overlook important chores. But if you use our spring cleaning tips, your family can power through these tasks without forgetting the smaller chores that keep you all healthy and safe.
Snuff Out Allergens
Allergies are unanimously awful, and spring weather plays a big role in how affluent allergens will be while winter’s icy grip thaws. But what’s inside your home also affects how susceptible you are to having a runny nose, scratchy eyes or a sneezing fit.
Household allergens commonly appear in three forms: dust, dust mites and hair.
Dust mites are a particularly prevalent allergen that can also cause asthma. The tiny creatures love to nestle into your mattress, bedding, carpets and drapes, and then deposit their exoskeletons and feces, which contribute to allergic reactions. The Mayo Clinic recommends washing your bedding and mattress cover in hot water that is at least 130 F (54.4 C) to kill any dust mites and remove their allergens. They advise that if your bedding can't be washed hot, then put the items in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at a temperature above 130 F (54.4 C) to kill the mites. Then wash and dry the bedding to remove any allergens.
Otherwise, snuffing out prevalent allergens happens during most of your routine spring cleaning tasks. Be sure to thoroughly wash and shampoo any carpets (or replace the carpet with hardwood or tile), wash the flooring and walls, dust, and remove whatever hair (pet or human) that you find.
Keep the Lights On
Cold temperatures zap away battery effectiveness and longevity. It’s why you shouldn’t leave a battery in the fridge. And winter acts like a giant refrigerator for your outside equipment. Motion detectors are often a victim of the cold, so while you’re replacing any dim or burnt out light bulbs be sure to also change the batteries powering any motion detectors you use. And if you have flashlights in the garage or basement that don’t get used often, we recommend putting a fresh set of rechargeable batteries in those, too. It’s never fun to have a spring storm power outage and discover your flashlights are dim or dead because you skipped recharging or changing the batteries for a few years.
Protection through Detection
The dream-shattering blare of a smoke or carbon monoxide detector can destroy a good night’s rest. It’s an unfortunate event that happens to most of us at some point on our lives, but if you check or replace the alarm’s lithium battery during spring cleaning then the night of unrest is entirely avoidable. Keeping on top of detector functionality is crucial to your family’s safety. According to the National Fire Protection Association, about two-thirds of home fire deaths happen in houses where the smoke detectors were not working or don’t exist. The NFPA recommends testing every alarm in your home and replacing the smoke detector battery each spring.
While you’re testing the smoke detectors, double check the expiration date of your carbon monoxide alarms and replace them if necessary. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports about 170 people die in the United States each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. A simple test could save you and your family.