It’s Time for Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is an old tradition rooted in many cultures. It is the process of thoroughly cleaning a house from top to bottom once the weather has lost its winter chill.

Spring cleaning origins date back to prehistory, and represent the time when it was easiest to conduct a good cleaning of living spaces. Extra light allowed people additional time to truly see the messy state of their caves, huts, or teepees. Warmer weather also meant that people could get things thoroughly dry. In agrarian societies, spring cleaning usually coincides with the beginning of planting. Spring was an ideal time to organize seeds and get the home ready for the busy months ahead. As well, there are also several suggested origins for spring cleaning based on religious practices. For many of us, the warmer weather inspires us to want to take the time to get the house in order after the winter months.

In the past, inadequate heating in homes and small living spaces often meant that certain types of cleaning had to wait for spring. Before modern dryers, washing drapes or comforters was complicated by cold weather and tight living quarters. Those in cold climates had no other choice but to wait for warm weather to hang laundry outdoors to dry.

Today, the thought of taking a weekend or even a day to turn our houses upside down seems a near impossibility. Who has the time? Besides, our modern centrally heated and cooled, climate-controlled homes don’t get oily, sooty, or smoky, and our washing machines and vacuum cleaners help keep the dirt from sneaking in. Despite this, a thorough cleaning of your house offers many health advantages that you should not ignore. During the cold days of winter, the quality of indoor air can be two to five times worse than outdoor air. Those seemingly harmless dust bunnies locked in our air-tight homes - and the daily use of many chemical cleaning products  - contain airborne toxins that can aggravate respiratory and other health problems.

Revitalize your hibernating home with these simple suggestions:

  1. Work from the top down, inside to outside, to avoid getting what you just cleaned dirty again.
  2. Do one room, even one area of one room, at a time to avoid unfinished jobs. The satisfaction of seeing one room sparkle will make the hard work feel like it's worth the effort.
  3. When tidying, reduce trips around the house by temporarily depositing items in one spot en route to but not at their final destination.
  4. Do two things at once. While laundry is going on, scrub the shower stall.
  5. Make small repairs. If you're not handy, hire someone.
  6. Invest in good rubber or vinyl gloves to protect your skin and nails.
  7. Dust before vacuuming or cleaning the floor. Try feather or lambswool dusters, especially extendable ones for reaching above window and door casings and into corners. Household rags are invaluable for jobs requiring a damp cloth – natural fibres work best.
  8. Buy mops with a squeeze mechanism and a decent-size heavy-duty pail – one with a measuring scale helps get soap-to-water ratios correct.
  9. Use a Swiffer for light dusting, or your favourite broom or vacuum attachment to clean hardwood floors. Then damp-mop with a mild cleaner such as Murphy Oil Soap.

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