Many of us consider spring as the prime cleaning time. However, I beg to differ. There are certain cleaning tasks that are especially important to do in the winter, and you shouldn’t wait until spring to get a handle on them. During the winter, we’re spending more time indoors. We’re more likely to get sick, there’s a higher risk of accidents in the home, and there are some messes that are time-sensitive. Spring cleaning is a time we all think about getting the home back in shape, but to stay on top of it all it is best to check on the status of you’re homes health through out the year.
So, if you’re of the same mind as me, here are some tips to get the most out of your winter cleaning efforts:
Reduce Carbon Monoxide and Fire Risk
Many carbon monoxide risks come from heat-generating sources that we use in the winter, such as wood stoves, clothes dryers, furnaces, and fuel space heaters. Maintaining any fuel-burning appliances in your home properly, and ensuring that vents are clean and clear reduces the risk of CO poisoning in your home.
Clutter and built-up dust and debris can also be a fire hazard. Any appliance that produces heat should have a three-foot berth between it and anything that could be potentially flammable. This means that clutter around a space heater, in your laundry room, or even dust bunnies around incandescent light bulbs can all present a fire hazard.
So, in order to prevent fire risk this winter, do the following:
- Clear all clutter around anything that produces heat, including:
- Candle warmers
- Hair care appliances like straighteners, curlers, and blow dryers
- Clean out ventilation shafts and outlets, and wash or replace filters when necessary. Ventilation is used for:
- HVAC system
- Clothes dryer
- Space heaters
Reduce Flu Contagion
There are several reasons that flu season happens in the winter, but one of the biggest is that we’re all sharing the same space. Closed windows and doors mean that germs and contagious viruses are given the perfect atmosphere to spread. One person’s flu quickly becomes everyone’s flu.
In order to reduce contagion, be vigilant in cleaning the most commonly-touched surfaces of your home, which can harbor microorganisms. For example, smooth surfaces like light switches can harbor germs for up to two days! This link has a great guide for cleaning shared surfaces to prevent the spread of sickness. If there’s someone sick in the house, these areas should be cleaned and disinfected every day. Otherwise, do a cursory wipe-down every week. This should include:
- Door handles
- Light switches
- Telephone receivers
- Steering wheel
- Remote controls
Double-Check for Pests
The cold drives us all indoors during our spare time. The same is true for insects and critters. Seeking heat and ready food supplies during the lean months of winter, they might set up shop in neglected areas of your home. Many insects are also drawn to moist areas, of which your home might have more in the winter. Cockroaches love to make their homes under sinks, rats and mice hide in the insulation within your walls, and termites are attracted to the smell of wet wood.
So, in order to prevent health dangers to your family and damage to your home, there’s some winter-cleaning that has to be done.
- Clear out the clutter under your kitchen and bathroom sinks
- Elevate boxes and items in storage areas in order to reduce spots where pests can shelter
- Take out the trash regularly and stow it somewhere removed from the walls of your home
One of the reasons we like to do our intense deep-cleaning in the spring is because it’s a job that we’d prefer to have the windows open for. The heavy smell of ammonia and other chemical cleaners can irritate the respiratory system and lead to headaches and dizziness. In order to reduce the irritation and health risks of harsh cleaning supplies, you might want to look into all-natural green cleaners, whether you make them yourself or buy them at the store. This can make your winter cleaning projects much more enjoyable. This link has some great tips for green cleaning.
You might also like: