As spring is coming to an end it’s time to think about spring cleaning if you haven’t already. Spring cleaning is a tradition to restore and rejuvenate the appearance of the home. However, many people are unaware of the most important reason for spring cleaning: their family’s health. The home is a huge collector of germs and allergy-inducing dust mites during the winter months, which can lead to illness and jeopardize the health of the home and family. Especially with Spring bringing allergy season, it’s important to clean away the germ and grime build up from winter. Creating a safe and healthy living space, is easy but often overlooked.
If you’re not convinced, let me introduce you to your microscopic housemates: dust mites. Dust mites are the most common cause of asthma and allergies, from which 50 million Americans suffer. They thrive in warm, dark areas of the home including carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture, curtains and mattresses. A good, thorough house cleaning that includes those areas typically cleaned less often can reduce the allergic triggers caused by dust mites and reduce other health risks. To remove the unwanted dirt, allergens and germs that have been lingering and breeding all winter, Chem-Dry, the world’s leading carpet and upholstery cleaning service, has made it their mission to educate families on proper cleaning methods to ensure the health and well-being of their home and loved ones.
In fact, Dan Tarantin, CEO of Chem-Dry, has said, “Spring is typically the time of year when people feel like cleaning is more of a fresh start than a chore. At Chem-Dry, our goal is to educate homeowners on the most effective cleaning methods so they can celebrate and fully enjoy the start of nicer weather. By raising awareness of the importance of a clean home for optimal health, we aim to make every home a cleaner, safer, healthier and happier place to live.”
The experts at Chem-Dry recommend the following techniques for overlooked germ hotspots to help minimize germs and reduce allergens this spring.
- Mattress. The average bed holds up to 10,000 dust mites, which can cause hay fever, asthma and allergies. Mattresses are a dust mite’s paradise because people sweat up to a half pint of moisture on average each night and shed up to nine pounds of skin each year while they sleep. In order to clean your mattress, vacuum it thoroughly and turn it over. Mattresses should be vacuumed at least once a month and turned over every six months to reduce dust mites.
- Tile. Porous grout, tile and stone are prone to attracting dirt, dust and grimy particles such as mold spores. When these particles gather on stone and tile surfaces, they easily become a breeding ground for disease-causing bacteria in addition to looking dirty and grimy. When you clean the tile in the bathroom and kitchen, you should use a neutral pH tile cleaner in order to protect any previously applied sealers.
- Carpets, Rugs and Mats. Carpeting, rugs and mats accumulate dust perhaps faster than anything else in the home and can become a feeding ground for microscopic dust mites. They pick up everything from pet urine to toenails and can hold approximately 200,000 bacteria per square inch. Vacuuming isn’t enough to remove this bacteria, so carpets and rugs should be cleaned by a professional three times a year. It’s important to deep clean the area underneath rugs and mats as well.
- Behind Stove and Refrigerator. Over time, crumbs, grease and other unwanted particles accumulate behind you kitchen appliances, which provides a food source for insects and other pests. It’s important to clean these areas, but it can be difficult. If possible, move the appliance out from the wall and unplug it. Then use a long-handled, slightly damp sponge to mop the back of the appliance to lift dust from the surface. Finally, wipe the floor and walls with hot soapy water and let dry before you move appliances back.
- Curtains and Blinds. Window curtains and blinds collect dust and dirt easily. Remove dust build-up by shutting blinds and dusting with a microfiber cloth. Next, close blinds in the opposite direction for a quick, thorough wipe-down using a non-toxic window cleaner and clean cloth. Many curtains can be simply throw in the wash to clean, but be sure to double-check the instructions on the tag.
- Furniture Upholstery. Upholstered furniture including sofas, love seats, recliners, and dining room chairs provide the perfect breading ground for dust mites. To reduce dust build-up, thoroughly vacuum fabric-covered furniture and wash removable upholstery covers in hot water, letting them air dry. It’s a good idea to get your upholstery professionally cleaned every once in a while as well.
- On Top of Furniture. The tops and surfaces of furniture can be overlooked and easily collect dust. When cleaning surfaces such as table tops and shelves, use a dryer sheet as a dust cloth; not only will it pick up dust mites, but it will eliminate static and make it harder for particles to adhere to the surface. Be sure that you dust before vacuuming the floors since dust and debris will fall to the floor.
If you follow these tips can clean regularly throughout the year, spring cleaning won’t feel like such a daunting task. To increase the cleanliness and healthfulness of the home, the EPA recommends that most homes have their carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned at least two to three times per year while bathrooms, kitchens, walls and tile or stone surfaces are generally recommended for a professional cleaning every 12 months. Chem-Dry adds that close to 70 percent of its customers schedule a spring cleaning service with one of its 2,000 U.S. locations, partly to increase home health but also for the physical and emotional benefit of making the home a cleaner and happier place to be for the start of warmer weather. It’s important to find a cleaning schedule that works for you and your family in order to keep your home as clean and healthy as possible.