The Importance of Spring Cleaning

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If you’re moving into a new home while the first whiffs of fresh spring air blow through melting snow, then you may need to add spring cleaning to your move-in checklist. New homeowners might skip this task, but it’s immensely important for the safety and health of your home, and anybody living within it. Spring cleaning prepares our homes and us to weather the transition from winter into spring and summer. If you live in an environment where it’s second nature to deal with freezing temperatures, frequent snowfall and a nearly-constant overcast sky,  you can’t afford to get bogged down in the muck and mire and miss the necessary renovation projects—especially if you’re prone to allergies.

Some people love the spring, and others detest it. Anecdotally, the difference seems to come down to allergies. Allergies are unanimously awful, and because melting snow means blooming flowers, spring weather plays a big role in how bad your nose runs, eyes itch and throat cries out in a hoarse whisper. But allergies aren’t all outside; a lot of the everyday contents within your home also affect how likely you are to have an allergic reaction.

Dust, dust mites and hair are the most common household allergens.

Depending on how long the house you’re moving into has been on the market, you’re going to have varying levels of these allergens present. If the home has been sitting vacant for months then you’re going to have a significant amount of work to tackle. But if the previous homeowners recently moved away, then you’ll have some work, but not quite as much.

The first step is to clean your own possessions before you bring them into your new home. Once that’s ready, you’ll move everything inside, clean the place and then unpack (or let your movers do this for you).

This roundabout hassle is to prevent spreading dust mites, which are an allergen-causing creature living alongside humans and animals. As a bonus nuisance, dust mites also cause asthma. The tiny insects love to burrow into your mattress, bedding, carpets and drapes, and then deposit their exoskeletons and feces, which contribute to allergic reactions. To prevent this infestation, wash all of your bedding before you unpack and toss recently packed sheets, blankets and comforters into your new bedroom. The Mayo Clinic recommends washing your bedding and mattress cover in hot water that is at least 130 F (54.4 C) to slaughter any dust mites and remove their allergenic deposits. They advise that if your bedding can’t be washed hot, then put the items in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at a temperature above 130 F (54.4 C) to kill the mites. Afterward, wash and dry the bedding to remove all residual allergens.

Otherwise, snuffing out prevalent allergens happens during most of your routine spring cleaning tasks. Be sure to thoroughly wash and shampoo any carpets (or replace the carpet with hardwood or tile), wash the flooring and walls, dust, and remove whatever hair (pet or human) that you find.

Washing the walls is an often overlooked step. Cleaning or replacing carpet just makes sense, but walls attract a lot of grime and dust, which can blend in with the paint color. To smite this dust heaven, grab your clean floor mop, add some gentle cleaning and then you’re ready to start living in your new home, hopefully allergy free.