Getting Ready for Spring
Maintaining a healthy home goes beyond dusting and vacuuming. When is the last time you checked your smoke alarms? How about the last time you cleaned out your dryer vent? Follow the tips below to make sure your family and home are ready for a happy, clean spring season.
Grab a ladder, and check your gutters for debris. Remove as much as you can with your hands (Don't forget to wear gloves!). Remove any leftover gunk with a garden hose. Take off any nozzle and have a helper turn on the water when you’re ready. Shove the hose into the downspout to power out of gooseneck bends. Make sure your downspouts channel water at least five feet from foundation walls.
Or, call a reputable house washing company. Most good ones will offer this service such as Elite Pressure Washing, LLC.
Scrub Walls, Baseboards and Outlets
Scrub all the walls — in the bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms and living areas — with a sponge or brush and mild soap and water. This includes baseboards and outlets. Make sure to completely dry outlet covers before replacing.
Replace all filters including water, range hood and air vent filters. You should replace these filters every 3-6 months depending on the type of filter you have.
Clean Faucets and Showerheads
Unscrew the faucet aerators, sink sprayers and showerheads, and soak them in equal parts vinegar and water solution. Let them soak for an hour, then rinse with warm water. Also, placing acidic fruits into your garbage disposal is a great way to freshen it up.
Clean Out the Dryer Vent
A clogged dryer vent can be a fire hazard. To clean it, disconnect the vent from the back of the machine and use a dryer vent brush to remove lint. Outside your house, remove the dryer vent cover and use the brush to remove lint from the other end of the vent line. Make sure the vent cover flap moves freely.
Keep Allergens Away
Keep dust, mold and pollen at bay by decluttering your home, checking pipes for leaks and keeping the air clean. Follow these 5 steps to an allergy-free home>>
Clean up clutter. The less stuff in your house, the fewer places for allergens to hang out. And, just as important, the easier it will be to clean thoroughly once a week.
Get rid of old rags, newspapers, clothes and other porous items.
Limit knickknacks, magazines, and other dust catchers that you don't use or enjoy.
Focus on bedrooms especially, because you and allergens both spend more time there.
Clean the Air
Making your home inhospitable for allergens sounds like a daunting task. In a particulate sense, it's going to be you against millions of mold spores, dust mites and pollen. Fortunately, though, you're smarter than these minute microbes, and following these tips can help you keep allergies at bay.
A well-ventilated house and nonleaking ductwork is a first line of defense against bringing allergens into your living space.
Use HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters in the air conditioning system.
Maintain the humidity level in the house at about 50 percent. Mold likes moisture, and dust and pollen are easily stirred in dry air.
Keep your windows closed when pollen counts are highest: in the early morning hours, between 10 am and 3 pm, and in windy conditions.
Pollen and mold spores settle on clothing, so when you come in from outdoors, remove your outer garments in the mud room, and take a shower.
Clean the Cleaning Room
Your bathroom is for mold what your bedroom is for dust mites — heaven at home.
Inspect water pipes for leaks and fix.
Regularly clean walls with a nontoxic cleaner.
Make sure that ventilation fans are routed to the outside, and run them for 30 minutes after a shower or bath.
Scrub away mold on pipes and fixtures.
Reduce Dust Generators
Fabrics and carpeting generate help create dust by the breaking down of fibers. Consider pitching curtains, high-pile carpeting and upholstered furniture in the bedroom: all cozy accommodations for allergens.
Best bet: washable throw rugs over wood, linoleum or tiled floors.
Damp mop regularly, and clean walls and other surfaces.
If you must have carpeting, make it short, tight pile and vacuum weekly with a cleaner that has a small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
Make smart selections for the landscape. The yellow, sticky pollen that bees carry from plant to plant rarely causes allergic reactions. It's the fine, lightweight particles that are blown about by wind that trigger discomfort.
Avoid adding allergenic trees like maple (male), birch and ash (male) to the landscape. Instead, choose low-allergy trees like dogwood, double-flowered cherry and magnolia. Female ash and female maple trees are considered low-allergy, too, but buy from a reliable nursery source to be sure of the tree's gender.
Low-allergy flowers include astilbe, impatiens, hosta, scabiosa, columbine and viola.
Check Foundation Vents
A house with a crawl space has vents along the foundation walls. The vents provide air circulation that helps prevent excess moisture and mold growth, and they prevent critters from taking up residence underneath your home. The screens collect leaves and other debris from fall and winter. Spring is a great time to clean them out and check for damage. Clean the vents by hand or use a shop vacuum. Repair any damaged screens — critters can get through even the smallest holes.
And most importantly.....
Test Smoke Alarms
Test smoke alarms and CO detectors, and change out batteries as needed. It's cheap, only takes a few minutes and can save your family's lives.