This month, as the snow finally begins to melt and temperatures begin their steady climb upward, most people celebrate the season with some thorough spring cleaning. If you plan to pick up a mop or broom this month, you're not alone. A 2013 survey from the American Cleaning Institute found that 72 percent of adults consider spring cleaning an annual ritual. While this series of tasks is all about new life and renewal, cleaning after a long winter requires certain safety precautions, similar to your scrubbing spree this past holiday season.
"Some 72% of people consider spring cleaning an annual ritual."
For the safest, cleanest experience possible, here are a few things you'll want to consider:
1. Take your time
With the weather starting to become more agreeable, it only makes sense that you'd want to get through your spring cleaning as quickly as possible. However, rushing through any cleaning job is only going to delay your leisurely stroll or sun-soaked picnic. Simply going through the motions means you'll miss plenty of dirt and grime, and that prolongs the cleaning process. Beyond wasting your precious time, rushing opens you up to certain injuries, be it pulled muscles or accidental slips and falls. Be deliberate in your actions, and if you get tired or distracted, give yourself a momentary break. Remember, the sunshine will still be outside waiting for you in a couple hours.
2. Don't forego the alarms
For some people, spring cleaning involves sweeping, mopping, dusting and some light rearranging. However, as the National Safety Council explained, people should take ample time to check their fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. For alarms, you want to replace the battery once a year, and spring cleaning time seems optimal. If you're placing new fire alarms in your home this season, be sure to keep them at least one foot from all doors, windows and ducts. CO detectors should be installed similarly, though you also want to make sure that vents for any and all gas appliances – like stoves and fireplaces – are free of debris.
3. Open the windows
And not just because you want to let in a little fresh air, either. Instead, as Consumer Reports Online explained, opening the windows is a way to counteract the side effects of most household cleaners. Though not true of every product, a majority of cleaning solutions and air fresheners contain VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, that can cause dizziness and headaches via prolonged exposure. In fact, according to a 2012 study from Harvard School of Public Health, it takes just 10 minutes of exposure to these VOCs to cause painful symptoms. Plus, with the way chemicals tend to hang around in rooms, the effects can linger long after the cleaning has finished.
"Clutter can affect your physical and mental health alike."
4. Remove needless clutter
Clutter doesn't just look bad, but as AHC News explained, it can also affect your physical and mental health. Clutter means an added risk of slipping or having things fall on top of you, and it can also make people feel more stressed and powerless. Speaking with AARP, professional organizer Barbara Reich suggested a few easy tips to de-clutter your home.
Reich said she is a firm believer in boxes, and that anything on the floor can go inside a container to prevent injuries and help with organization. When it comes to actual de-cluttering, she said people should start with their "hot spot," the place that's most challenging and high traffic. To aid with that process, it's a good idea to store similar objects together, which makes accessing them easier. Finally, Reich said to establish routines – like putting your car keys in the same spot – and stick to them to prevent new clutter from emerging.
Be it allergy attacks, sprains and muscle tweaks, or any other injury accrued during spring cleaning, your local CareWell Urgent Care Center can treat it all. With facilities all across the East Coast, CareWell's team of physicians can treat almost any accidental injury and get you back to enjoying the fruits of your labor.