Spring Cleaning a Healthy Home

Today marks the first day of spring!  With budding flowers, longer days and outdoor fun comes another seasonal activity:  Spring Cleaning.  If you’ve just rolled your eyes at the thought of all of the household chores you need to do, adopt a new perspective on your spring cleaning responsibilities.  Cleaning your home can make it a healthier and safer place for you and your family.  If you are pregnant or have a baby, this is especially important.

Today we’re reviewing tips and reminders for spring cleaning for a healthy home:

Spring Cleaning a Healthy HomeUse Natural or “Green” Cleaning Products.  Many cleaning solvents contain dangerous chemicals.  While these toxins may do the trick in sanitizing your surfaces, they could actually do more harm than good when you or your baby ingests such chemicals.  Look for plant-based products such as those made from tree, fruit or nut oils, are biodegradable, pH neutral, contain baking soda and are listed as natural or organic.  Avoid petroleum-based products or anything with a harsh odor.  You can also concoct your own natural cleanser using some simple household ingredients.

Remove Dust and Allergens by Thoroughly Dusting and Cleaning Airways.  Dusting with a feather duster only spreads allergens through the air.  Instead use a damp cloth that will attract dust.  Rinse your cloth periodically while cleaning to avoid spreading dust from surface-to-surface.  Also clean out air conditioning filters, ducts, vents and window treatments where air can blow particles around your house.  Replace parts that are worn or not well-sealed.

Use a High-Efficiency Particulate Air-Filtered (HEPA) Vacuum or Steam Cleaner.  Regular vacuums releases many of the dirt and allergens that it sucks up.  A HEPA vacuum is sealed and keeps contaminants inside.  Find one that is easy to dump or change bags.  Alternatively, use a steam cleaner to suck up and sanitize floors, especially hard woods, tile or other non-carpeted surfaces.

Remove Toxic Substances from your Cabinets, Garage and Medicine Chest.  There is no reason to keep toxic materials lying around your house if you are not using them.  Find an appropriate waste removal facility to discard these items.  If you need them, store them in very high, out of reach places and lock the doors.  Do not leave them out in your garage, kitchen or laundry room cabinets.  Similarly, dispose of old medications and be sure current medicines, even over-the-counter varieties, are locked safely away.

Remove Mold and Mildew from around Your House.  Mold and mildew are a fungus that grows in damp spaces.  You may find it near sinks, bathtubs and showers.  Be sure to clean these spaces thoroughly.  Also check for leaky pipes, cracks or standing puddles of water.  This is a breeding ground for mold and mildew that may not only be harmful to the body, but also wreak havoc on the walls and floors of your home.

Sanitize Stuffed Animals and Linens.  Favorite stuffed toys, loveys and blankies that are dragged around your house and outdoors can be infested with germs.  Spring is a great time to wash all of these items in hot water and a natural detergent.  For items that cannot be washed, freeze them for 24-hours.  Be sure to wash comforters, throw pillows and other linens that you may not toss in your washing machine on a regular basis.

Ensure Safety Measures are in Place.  Check all of the batteries on your smoke detectors and make sure your carbon monoxide detector is also in working order.  Ensure gates are secured tightly on stairs and other areas that are off-limits to your baby.  Place safety covers on electrical outlets and secure long cords.  Put no slip mats beneath rugs and around the bathtub.

Spring cleaning a healthy home is a great way to jump into the season.  You’ll feel good about accomplishing something and your house will be a healthier and safer place for everyone.  Happy Spring!!