Safe spring cleaning: 12 tips
After a long winter, dust and dirt can collect in your home like snowdrifts in Alaska – making spring cleaning a must.
Before tackling this annual chore, though, you should be aware of the hazards that may await you: handling household chemicals, lifting heavy objects, navigating around clutter, walking on wet surfaces, and reaching or climbing – to name a few.
Here are 12 tips for keeping spring cleaning safe.
Declutter before cleaning
Before you start cleaning, clear any clutter that you could trip over.
Limit the use of harsh cleaning or disinfectant products such as bleach and ammonia, and never mix the two – doing so can create toxic fumes. (To help prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in your home, the Environment Protection Agency has a searchable list of registered disinfectants.)
Read the label
Each cleaning or disinfectant product should have a label describing proper use of it and safety precautions to follow during use. Take a minute to read the label and follow the instructions.
Ventilation is your friend
When using cleaning or disinfectant products, open windows or a door, and run a fan to help air circulate.
Consider a mask
If you have allergies or breathing issues, wear a mask to prevent allergic reactions and irritation.
It’s a good idea to wear rubber gloves when using some household cleaners. The gloves can help prevent reactions (e.g., rashes, skin redness) from exposure.
Get a mop
When you’re cleaning floors, avoid working on your hands and knees, which could cause sprains and strains. Use a mop instead, including when you’re cleaning a bathtub.
Avoid wet floors
Wet floors are a danger zone for slips and falls. Allow freshly cleaned floors to dry before walking on them.
Safely store cleaning products
Keep them in a clean, cool, dry space where children and pets can’t get to them.
Stay safe on step stools
Using a step stool? Be careful! Always place it on a level surface before using, and choose one with a handle or railing so you can maintain three points of contact (two feet and one hand) for optimal safety. One hand can be free for cleaning tasks. Make sure the stool’s steps are large enough to properly fit your feet, and face the stool when climbing up or down. Set up the stool close to where you’re cleaning, and never attempt to move it while standing on it.
Lift with caution
When lifting or moving furniture and other heavy objects, ask for help. Bend with your knees – not your back – and use your leg muscles to avoid a back injury.
Spring cleaning is great exercise, so drink plenty of water and take rest breaks.