Spring Cleaning for a Healthier, Safer Home

It’s time to open the windows and make your home sparkle! Call me weird, but I love spring cleaning. When the sunshine starts making regular appearances and breaks through the gloom of a long Michigan winter, it makes me want to wash and de-gunk all the detritus that’s built up over the past season.

This year I’m going to tackle some tasks that go beyond the surfaces in my home. They’re not glamorous but taking on these heavy-duty cleaning chores is going to make my home cleaner, healthier, and in some cases, safer.

Furnace filter: Did you know that cleaning the filter on your furnace can help you cut down on your bill? If that doesn’t motivate you to clean it up, how does improved indoor air quality sound? Check your manual (or find it online) to determine how to best clean your furnace filter and how often you should be doing this dirty job.

Reusable bags: If you’ve made the switch to reusable shopping bags for the environmental benefits but aren’t washing them, you could be putting your family and food at risk of bacterial contamination. Canvas bags are simple to pop in the washing machine and most other bags can be wiped down with warm, soapy water or disinfectant wipes. If you haven’t already, designate one bag to be used for raw meat and poultry purchases and wipe that down after every use.

Coffee maker: Has your morning brew lost its kick? If you’re not regularly cleaning your coffee maker, your cup of joe could include a dash of lime scale or other buildup – yummy, right? Luckily, this is a pretty simple job and all you’ll need is some vinegar.

Cleaning appliances: Sometimes the tools you rely on to clean your home, dishes, and clothes need cleaning themselves. Show your favorite cleaning appliances some extra attention with a deep clean:

  • Vacuum: Regularly checking and cleaning the filter or bag in your vacuum will help your machine work more effectively, sucking up more of the debris you don’t want on your floor and in the air. Clean your unit according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Dishwasher: Even though it seems like your dishwasher goes through a literal wash cycle most days, it can still stand a little love. All that food going through the machine can build up, which could lead to a germy appliance. Yuck! This three-step cleaning process says all you need is vinegar and baking soda for a sparkling place to do your dishes.
  • Washing Machine: If you’re not regularly disinfecting your washing machine, it can be a hotspot for germs. Running a hot empty load with a cup of vinegar can disinfect your machine and keep it in good shape to keep your clothes fresh and clean.
  • Dryer: You should clean out your lint trap every time you do laundry. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, failure to clean the dryer is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires. There are 2,900 dryer fires reported every year, causing an estimated five deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property loss. In addition to cleaning the lint trap, you should also be cleaning out the ductwork from your dryer annually. This step-by-step guide shows you how.

Other cleaning projects you could work on to create a healthier home include the refrigerator and freezer, your mattress and bed pillows, remote controls and light switches and your personal grooming products.

What’s on your list to clean up this spring? Share with us in the comments.

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Photo credit: Halfpoint

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