Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home
With spring in full force comes the yearly tradition of spring cleaning. The time of year for dusting, scrubbing and purging. This season is more than de-cluttering — it’s good for your health.
“Thoroughly cleaning your home can help eliminate allergens and keep new ones from easily entering,” said James Sublett of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. “Allergy season can last all year for those sensitive to indoor allergens, but it can worsen in the spring months when pollen becomes an issue. It is important to remove allergens from the home so you can lead a healthy and active lifestyle.”
The problem is, many traditional chemical cleaners worsen indoor air quality and increase the risk of chronic respiratory illnesses and asthma attacks, according to the American Lung Association.
You can take a more natural approach to spring cleaning this year with these tips and tricks:
Use baking soda and vinegar
Recreate your school science fair days and thoroughly clean your home all at once with nothing more than a solution of vinegar squirted or poured on baking soda.
You can use this simple solution to unclog slow drains, make a paste to scrub the interior of your oven, scour stovetops and even clean ceramics like bathtubs and toilets, according to HGTV.com.
Refresh your bedding
Although you may clean your sheets regularly, now is a great time to refresh all your bedding, including pillows, blankets and duvets. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, did you know that 10 minutes in a hot dryer can kill dust mites in blankets and duvets, according to Dr. J D Miller of Mission: Allergy. This testing also showed that washing in hot water at least 266 degrees was enough to kill the mites and their allergens.
Spring cleaning is about more than removing dust and grime. It also means de-cluttering an overflowing pantry loaded with lost culinary treasures, or identifying food items too expired or freezer burned to be considered safe for consumption.
A few other ideas for organizing your food could include labeling cans by writing their expiration dates in permanent ink on top, changing out food storage so older food is used and newer food is stored, and checking all condiments and leftovers in the fridge to be sure they’re still edible and uncontaminated.
If you find foods near their expiration or best by dates, consider meal-planning so you can use them up rather than throwing them out.
Rotating your food also gives you the chance to look for evidence that rodents have discovered your food storage or weevils have infiltrated your flour. If you don’t invite the pests in, you won’t have to resort to chemical or poisonous means to get them out.
Avoid storing food on garage floors and use air-tight containers for food being stored in the pantry after it’s been opened. Clear storage containers are best to help you identify the contents.
Clean with water
Not a fan of the smell of vinegar? Don’t underestimate the power of water. With the right equipment, you can use water to clean most of the surfaces in your house without leaving the chemical residue of traditional cleaners.
For example, using a specifically designed cloth, like E-Cloth allows you to simply dampen the cloth, then scrub whatever counters, tabletops, sinks and floors need cleaning. Doing so “removes over 99 percent of bacteria and mold, locking it away inside the cloths’ fibers, where it stays until the cloths are rinsed,” according to E-Cloth.
By removing contaminants from a surface, E-Cloth differs from cleaners that leave a liquid chemical film that has to remain in place to protect the household from mold, pollen and bacteria. It’s also an environmentally-friendly cleaning product that doesn’t produce waste.
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