As soon as the weather is warm enough, most people’s instinct is to throw open the windows and air out the house after living in the recirculated air of all those winter months. This is because, in most cases, the air quality indoors is significantly worse than the outside air quality, even if you live in a city.
Follow these steps to spring clean your home and create better air quality to protect your family’s health this spring and summer, particularly during allergy season.
Shine the Kitchen with Vinegar: White distilled vinegar is an terrific cleaning agent for kitchens, particularly when paired with baking soda. Strong chemical cleaners leave an unpleasant odor and residue that may not be safe on food preparation surfaces, but vinegar is safe for your entire kitchen — and much less expensive than other cleaning agents. Shine chrome fixtures with a paste of salt and vinegar; clean the sink with a fizzy combo of baking soda and vinegar; and use vinegar diluted with a bit of water in a spray bottle as your multipurpose cleaner for the inside of your microwave and other kitchen surfaces.
Dust Effectively: Some types of dusters actually spread dust back into the air, so be careful what tools you use for wiping away dust. Always dampen your dust cloth slightly — try using mismatched socks as dust rags — so the dust sticks rather than billowing back into the air just to land in a different spot. You can also use damp paintbrushes to dust blinds, corners and other tricky surfaces.
Vacuum Regularly: Carpets and upholstery are breeding grounds for allergens, which work their way into fibers and stay there. You can keep them out of your furniture and floors by investing in a high-powered vacuum and using it weekly on all carpeted surfaces. Vacuum upholstery thoroughly every spring and hit the exposed surfaces at least once a month. If you keep up with this chore, fewer allergens will be able to work their way deep into carpets and upholstery.
Dry Clean Carpets: In addition to regular vacuuming, be sure to also give your carpets a deep cleaning once each year. Shampooing carpets is an option, but the water actually pushes dirt even deeper into the carpet and leaves moisture that may lead to mold or mildew growth. Instead, use dry carpet cleaning, which cleans with a substance that loosens dirt and allergens, making it easy to vacuum them up and out of your home.
Make a Cleaning Schedule: Although you may be inspired for a big spurt of spring cleaning, the trick is keeping up with it throughout the season. Create a cleaning schedule on your calendar, listing the cleaning tasks you want to do each week on the day you’re most likely to have time for them. If you have a few spare moments on another day, look forward to the next day with a cleaning chore on it, do that one, and cross it off.
A consistent and attentive cleaning routine goes a long way in improving your indoor air quality. As you clean more regularly this spring, you’ll probably notice fewer sneezes and sniffles in your household. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy a home that looks beautiful and smells fresh!
Holly is an Indianapolis native with a passion for running and the outdoors. In her spare time, she enjoys blogging on behalf of Sears and other brands she loves.