This holiday season, you’ll no doubt want to celebrate by inviting friends and family members over for a festive dinner – or two. But before you ever serve that tasty ham, you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you with cleaning and tidying up your domicile. This collection of tasks should be anything but totally mindless, as improper cleaning techniques can actually prove harmful. Do you want to make it to your holiday party without a sprained wrist or twisted ankle? Consider these following safety precautions before you begin cleaning:

“Always lift with your knees.”

1. Don’t overdo it: Depending on how deeply you intend to clean, you may have to move some furniture or other heavy household items. If that is the case, it’s important to be as cautious as possible. Never lift anything you’re not comfortable with, and if necessary, get help from a family member. It’s also important to have the right technique when moving large objects to avoid injuries like a pulled back or torn rotator cuff. When moving anything significant, always be sure to lift with your knees and not your back.

2. Check your gear: Some folks may perform one large-scale annual cleaning, like during the preholiday season. If that’s the case, then it’s a good idea to do more than sweep the rugs or dust the bookshelves. Most safety experts suggest that you check your fire extinguisher at least once a year, and during a cleaning binge is a great opportunity. If you don’t have one around the house, consider buying one, especially if you plan to have plenty of people over or are cooking in abundance. Finally, change out the batteries in your smoke detector if you can’t remember the last time you actually did so.

3. Use a little soap: For many homes, antibacterial soap is a normal part of any cleaning routine. However, as the Smithsonian Institution pointed out, these specialized soaps aren’t always the best choice. For one thing, a number of independent studies over the years have proven that antibacterial soap is no more effective than ordinary soap and water, according to a Literature Review published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. More importantly, bacteria that are exposed to these soaps can actually gain a special immunity, and that can prove problematic to your health. If you don’t think regular soap is usually sufficient, just use more before resorting to antibacterial substances.

4. Consider chemical help: Whereas you should avoid antibacterial soaps, industrial cleaners are all right to use. However, as Better Homes & Garden explained, it’s important that you take a few precautions. Before using any chemical, do your research and know exactly what’s inside. When employing these cleaners, leave a couple of windos open for ventilation. For further protection, you may also want to wear a mask. Finally, watch what chemicals you mix; for instance, combining ammonia and bleach can create a harmful chemical reaction.

“Precleaning, like clearing pathways, can reduce cleaning time.”

5. Preclean before you clean: In many ways, tidying up your home is a multistep process. Before you bring out the vacuum cleaner or the mop and bucket, it’s important to take a few steps to better protect yourself once the proper cleaning commences. Secure any loose phone cords or other electrical extensions, as these can lead to tripping accidents. Have your family put away their personal belongings and clear up paths to their respective rooms. This added step is not only much safer, but it also helps to cut down on your final workload.

No one wants to be injured while beautifying his or her home. However, if that does happen, you can always head to a nearby CareWell Urgent Care location. With a staff of highly-trained medical professionals at every hospital, CareWell can treat almost any minor injury you may encounter during your adventures in cleaning.