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Mopping, wiping, dusting, tidying — for some people that may sound like a wild Friday night while for others it sounds like a horrible time.
Luckily with a few tips and some pretty cool products, cleaning can easily become fun. As an added bonus, we also have a few tips on how you can make it a little healthier this season too.
Clean your air
While most of us don’t equate spring cleaning with clean air, It might be just as important as cleaning the rest of your home. According to the EPA. The air you’re breathing indoors can be up to five times worse than the air outside.
Though there are a number of things that contribute to poor air quality in your home, air fresheners and scented candles are some of the worst offenders. Here's why: when the word fragrance is used on the ingredient list it is technically a “trade secret,” so what looks like one ingredient can actually contain anywhere from 50 to 300 distinct chemicals.
If you are looking to limit your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals, you can use a diffuser that still makes your space smell great while doubling as a humidifier too. If you just love the ambience scented candles create or if you have an upcoming date night, opt for beeswax candles instead.
Keep dust mites at bay
Another way to improve your air quality is to keep your home at moderate temperatures. Why? Dust mites. Since they thrive in warm conditions, you'll want to keep your home below 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity below 50 per cent so you won't create a vacation hot spot for those little guys.
This is essential because dust mites are a major indoor trigger for people with allergies and asthma, as their feces and carcasses can cause irritation. Dust mites prefer porous surfaces like your bed and carpets, so another way to keep them at bay is to mop and vacuum regularly, and dust with a wet cloth.
However, dry vacuuming isn’t always effective, so some experts suggest using a steam cleaner for deep cleaning carpets, upholstery and mattresses as the heat of the steam can kill the mites.
Overhaul your household cleaners
In addition to indoor air quality, it's important to ensure that the cleaning products you use are safe and healthy for use throughout the home. A study by the Environmental Working Group that examined 2,000 popular household cleaning products, found that just seven per cent adequately disclosed their contents.
An easy switch is just to use a green-friendly cleaner, or just use vinegar and water for an easy DIY cleaning solution. Whatever you choose to use, a microfibre cloth is your best friend. The UC Davis Medical Center found that cleaning with just a microfibre mop reduced bacteria by 99 per cent compared to cotton mops which only reduced bacteria by 30 percent.
Don't forget these neglected areas
Did you know that one of the dirtiest places in your kitchen is your coffee reservoir, which can be dirtier than a toilet seat? Another appliance that is often neglected is your kettle and for that, TikTok user Chantel Mila has the ultimate cleaning hack.
Other often neglected items in your home include your TV remote, door handles, cutting boards, refrigerator and kitchen sink. And then there’s your everyday kitchen sponge.
Studies show more than 75 percent of dish sponges and rags have some sort of coliform bacteria, a family of bacteria which includes e.coli and salmonella. In order to keep it clean, the USDA recommends wetting the sponge and putting it in the microwave, or using your dishwasher on the “heated dry cycle” every couple of days.
After two to three weeks, consider using it on less hygiene-sensitive areas like your bathroom or replacing it altogether. Since they need to be replaced frequently, a switch from your everyday sponge to biodegradable eco-friendly version is a great sustainable swap.
Show your laundry some love
Last but not least, the laundry room is one last area of the home that can easily be given an overhaul with just a few simple swaps. It's another area of the home where you'll want to avoid the elusive all encompassing “fragrance” label. While more research still needs to be done, a recent study found that just switching from fragrance to fragrance-free laundry products helped improve indoor air quality at home.
It’s definitely worth switching your detergent to a greener option, but incorporating dryer balls into your laundry routine is an easy and affordable switch. Not only do they cut your drying time and save on energy, you can avoid buying dryer sheets for good —saving you money, and skipping the fragrance controversy all together.