Here it is folks. Spring time is approaching. The time of new beginnings, where the birds and bees do their thing. A time when the flowers grow, the sun begins to shine again, we get a few more hours of daylight and everyone starts to sing (go on, admit it!)…
The only downside to spring time – dreaded allergies! Sneezing, itchy eyes, skin rashes – all of that exciting stuff that those of us who are prone to love to hate. For some of us, spring can be the worst time of year. Particularly those who have major hay fever or sinus issues, who end up with asthma or massive infections. Others are a bit luckier and get by with a few over-the-counter anti-histamines; while some of us just have a few sneezes here or there. Either way, allergens thrive in the springtime and bring a downer on all that “new beginning” beauty!
So, how can we get through the spring and begin to enjoy the end of winter again? First, you need to give you house a good spring clean. The “spring clean” has actually been a tradition in households around the world for hundreds of years. The Chinese spring clean as a way of welcoming in the new year. It was completed before the new year, to get the home ready for all those positive energies coming their way. And today, the Chinese still don’t clean for a few days after new year for fear of sweeping the good things out the door.
Like the Chinese, in Persian tradition they bring in the new year through a ceremony called “shaking the house”. The women take all the rugs and blankets outside and beat the dust out of them (and in Saudi Arabia, there’s a lot of dust so this isn’t an easy feat!). They wash the floors and walls, polish all the furniture and finally, they can celebrate a new year!
Meanwhile, the Jewish includes cleaning during the festival of Passover, in March or April, where it’s forbidden to have any leavened bread in the house. So, to avoid that and ensure they are abiding by tradition, they spring clean and get rid of every little crumb.
Though the western tradition of Spring Cleaning doesn’t have any history like these, it is considered a great time to start fresh. And these days, according to records by the American Cleaning Institute, 72% of Americans still spend a day or a few spring cleaning their homes once the winter is over.
Of course the major benefit of spring cleaning – you can get rid of those allergens that are going to start causing you trouble before it’s too late!
So, where should you start?
Carpets: This is definitely one of the most important things to clean if you want to get rid of as much dust, dirt, grime as possibly. Throughout the winter, no doubt you’ve spent more time at home than you would in the warmer months, which means your carpets have suffered a gruelling time! You can give them a good vacuum, or get a professional carpet cleaner in to do the job properly. Either way, you’ll be lying back on those beautifully cleaner, softer carpets in no time.
While you’re at it, get your rugs cleaned as well. They’re usually quite expensive and get as much punishment as your carpets would (or more if they are actually sitting on top of your carpets!). You can get a professional to do this for you, same as your carpets, or if you aren’t too concerned about their quality – put them through the washing machine on a no or low spin cold wash cycle. This will help remove some of the dust and dirt.
Tiles & Grout: Have you ever seen brand new tiles in a brand new home? Or professionally cleaned tiles and grout? Take a look at your tiles and grout and see the colour. If your grout is a dark grey, or almost black, it’s probably not supposed to be! Grout is usually quite white, so that’s a great sign of build up of muck. Again, get a professional cleaner in to do this for you, saves you getting down on all fours and scrubbing the floors.
Now that you’re got the floors under control, you want to take care of the other surfaces. Dust is the biggest issues, of course so wipe down your cupboards with some warm water and clean cloth. Don’t use a duster as this will only send the dust particles into the air to drop somewhere else.
Another major issue is mold and this can accumulate on any surface throughout the entire home, particularly through the winter months when the air flow in the home isn’t as prominent.
You can clean hard surfaces – like your tiles, granite and linoleum-like products by making your own solution from vinegar and water. If you want something stronger, go for bleach, but you can probably get away with the former option. Spray the area and walk away for a few minutes. Head on back with a cloth and wipe it down. Any possible mold residue will come with it. For softer surfaces like unprotected wood that has been affected by mold, you can soak the affected area and give it a good scrub, or simply call in a professional to do the work for you.
If you want to get rid of allergens this spring, follow the steps above and work your way to a cleaner environment in the home. It’s the best place to start and will allow you to feel healthier so you can enjoy the warmer weather.