It’s never too early to start thinking about spring cleaning. It needs to be done, and getting a head start can save a lot of trouble down the road.
According to research performed by Ketchum Global Research and Analysis, 66 percent of American adults participate in spring cleaning. However, 54 percent of them find it very difficult to get motivated. Another 40 percent say that they struggle to find the time to do it.
Creating a schedule to break up the cleaning can relieve some of these challenges. It’s usually easiest if you spread it out over the course of a couple of months, doing a few things here and there around your busy work and family schedules. As you work through this year’s spring cleaning, here are some items to put on your list.
1. Windows, Sills, Blinds, and Treatments
Most people hate to clean windows, especially the blinds and window treatments. However, this part of the house collects dust and grime just as much—if not more—than other areas of the house. The sills and tracks collect bugs and grime from the outdoors and must be cleaned to prevent rust and to extend the life of each pane. Use rubbing alcohol for a streak-free shine on the glass.
Curtains can be taken down and hand washed, machine washed, or dry-cleaned depending on the type of fabric. Blinds are a pain to clean, but you can reduce future maintenance by using dryer sheets. This will not only pick up the dust on each slat, but it will also leave a layer of protection that will decrease your frequency of cleaning.
2. Moth Prevention
Moth-prevention might not jump to the front of your mind, but it’s essential. Moths can get into clothing, carpet, furniture, and any other soft, fibrous material to feed and lay their eggs. If you don’t treat the infestations, they’ll eat holes through your favorite articles of clothing, even your precious garments like a wedding dress or baby blanket.
Adam Smith of Moth Prevention, a company devoted to eliminating moths in residential homes, recommends going through dark spaces, closets, basements, and other areas in the house for evidence of moths.
“The ‘right’ conditions for a moth infestation include absence of strong light, a reasonable degree of humidity, and suitable materials to ensure a food source for the emerging larvae, and hence a potential site for moth infestations,” says Smith. “Food is the crucial issue for the larvae to survive – being adept at converting the proteins found in keratin into food, larvae are most at home on clothing, upholstery and carpets made of natural fibers.”
Any of these materials are at risk, but there are plenty of tools to treat moths. Explore your options and use what works best for you.
3. Dryer, Refrigerator, and Other Appliances
Start with the inside of your appliances. Then, polish each surface with rubbing alcohol to eliminate streak marks from the cleaning supplies. Next, dust the coils on the back of your refrigerator and wipe down the exterior of each appliance.
One of the most important household appliances to clean is your dryer. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are 2,900 home dryer fires every year, causing five deaths and 100 injuries annually. “Failure to clean the dryer is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires,” says the Fire Administration website.
“More home clothes dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months, peaking in January,” the website continues. For that reason, you’ll want to clean your dryer every year during spring cleaning and check it again towards the end of the year.
4. Heating and Cooling Systems
It’s always smart to have your heating and cooling systems regularly inspected for functionality and efficiency. Dusting the vents and a few inches of the duct can reduce the amount of dust that gets into the air.
The EPA clearly states that there is no research to support the health effects—negative or positive—of cleaning your air ducts.
“Duct cleaning has never been shown to actually prevent health problems,” says their website. “Neither do studies conclusively demonstrate that particle (e.g., dust) levels in homes increase because of dirty air ducts. This is because much of the dirt in air ducts adheres to duct surfaces and does not necessarily enter the living space. It is important to keep in mind that dirty air ducts are only one of many possible sources of particles that are present in homes.”
Still, many people feel better after cleaning their heating and cooling systems, and the yearly inspection is important for ensuring efficiency and safety for your ducts.