05 Dec Time to Spring-Summer clean your home
With the lines officially blurred between the seasons you may have missed your cue for an annual Spring clean. We’re now well into December and I have to be honest, my heating has still been turned on once or twice and the blankets are still out!
The warmer weather and sunshine are inevitably on their way, and it’s a great time to give your home a thorough clean and air out.
In Building Biology our homes are considered our third skin (clothes are our second), and they play an important role in our health. Our home should protect us from the elements while still being able to ‘breathe’ to help control internal humidity and air quality.
Over the cooler months we tend to close up our homes while increasing sources of moisture (such as drying clothes indoors) and clutter. Coupled with having our heaters on, this can lead to an increase in dust and dust mites and poorer indoor air quality.
There are lots of simple things you can do to get your home feeling fresh and clean and in turn, support the health of yourself and family members.
- Take advantage of the sun’s antibacterial UV rays
– Air out mattresses, pillows, blankets, soft toys, etc. in the sun and give them a good whack to remove the accumulation of dust and dust mites
- Avoid chemicals and switch to natural alternatives
– Most cleaning products available from the supermarket contain a range of harsh and irritating chemicals, such as solvents (glycol ethers), antibacterial agents (triclosan) and artificial fragrances (phthalates). Switch to natural alternatives such as white vinegar, bicarb soda and natural essential oils. There are some great natural brands available from health food stores, such as the Abode range.
– Avoid chemical based air-fresheners
- Damp dust with a microfibre cloth
– Give all hard surfaces including skirting boards and the top of door frames a wipe over with a damp microfibre cloth, followed by drying with a clean tea towel
- HEPA vacuum
– Use a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, motorised head and disposable bag (conventional vacuum cleaners recirculate dust back into the air)
– Give all carpet and rugs a thorough vacuum in all directions and vacuum fabric furnishings (couches, curtains)
– William Morris is quoted with the following: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”. Keep this in mind as you do a room-by-room tidy up of your home
– Donate clothing and unused items to charity
– Leading up to Christmas, think about how you can reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ you give or accumulate by giving experiences rather than material items
– There are lots of great resources online to help you de-clutter
- Storing winter items
– Extra bedding and winter jackets and clothes are best aired in the sun and then stored in space bags until they are needed again. Space bags are available from stores like Big W or online at Lifespace Australia – www.lifespace.com.au
– Avoid storing items under the bed. There should be good air flow under the bed to make dusting easier and to reduce dust mites (which can increase allergy and asthma symptoms)
- Let fresh air in
– Remove stale air and let fresh air in by opening windows on a daily basis. If you live in areas of higher outdoor air pollution (such as on a major road) then consider getting a good quality indoor air purifier such as InovaAir or Winix – https://www.havenbuildingbiology.com.au/shop
- Bathrooms and Laundry
– Due to high moisture in these areas, the accumulation of scum or development of mould growth may occur. In bathrooms, always use the extraction fan (now is a good time to give these a clean). Give tiles and grout a thorough clean with a non-citrus based chemical free cleaner (citrus based products may penetrate grout and compromise water-proof membranes)
– In the laundry, run a clean cycle on your washing machine and give the seal a good clean with vinegar (always leave the door ajar so the seal dries out)
- Heating and Cooling
– Close off heating vents if you have ducted heating and check and clean the filters on any split system air conditioning units. Now is a great time to have your air-conditioner professionally cleaned and serviced (these are notorious for mould growth and re-circulating mould spores through the air). A reputable Melbourne based company is The Clean Fresh Group – www.cleanfreshgroup.com.au
- Seasonal jobs
– Clean out gutters
– Clean the dishwasher and stove extraction fan vents
Happy cleaning! The benefits will be well worth it.