Ahhh, springtime! Warm, fragrant breezes surround us. As we all know, this means we must immediately dive into that ritual called spring-cleaning. Working in healthcare for nearly thirty years, I’ve managed to pick up a strategy or two, or in this case, seven, on getting your home to a healthy place. And yes, you guessed it, there are many myths surrounding this venture. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. The Early-Bird Myth
This myth addresses the sooner the better adage when it comes to your cleaning. People who fall for this one obviously do not live in the Southeast, or haven’t for very long. If you have ever stepped outside and your car is covered with a fine greenishyellow film of dust, you know this just doesn’t work. The best plan of action? Wait a few weeks, then open all the windows, air the house out, and become the cleaning machine you know you are. Start too soon, and what’s floating around outside will end up inside your house, even with the windows closed, so all your hard work will be wasted.
2. The Surface-Cleaning Myth
This one holds that you should clean everything with bleach and disinfectant. Yes-and-no to this. Bleach can’t clean, and most cleaners don’t disinfect. The floor, countertop, and range hood, for example, must be cleaned first, then disinfected.Remove all grease dirt and food particles first, or the surface will continue to breed germs.
3. The Too-Much-Cleaning-Wears-Out-the-Carpet Myth
Some people (all three of my brothers) have become such staunch believers in this myth that they neglect any carpet cleaning, including a good vacuuming. Most people think shampooing carpet will ruin the stain-wear coating, thin the pile, and leave dirt and germs in the padding. Fortunately,Mold, odors, and shrinkage occur only if the carpet is too wet for too long. If you hire a reputable company or invest in solid carpet cleaning equipment, your carpet will be fine and have improved durability. The biggest wearing agent on carpet is dirt. Most of which comes in on your grimy boots – or perhaps your brothers!
4. The Nobody-Cleans-That Myth
This includes exhaust fans, tile grout, and anything else labeled with too high a degree of difficulty to tackle. Some people would add walls, ceilings, and drapes to this list. The truth is, if you haven’t cleaned something since you can’t remember when, you should probably go for it.
5. The Rain-Cleans-it Myth
Believe it or not, someone must actually clean the gutters and wash the windows. Almost as important as removing a year’s worth of dirt and bird droppings is the inspection that goes along with the cleaning.This is when you find the caulk that needs reinforcement, the cracks to repair, and damage to fix before it grows into the kind of overhaul that requires a major investment.Oh and you may as well check the roof and the dryer vent while you have the ladder out.
6. The Nobody-Does-it-the-Way-i-Would Myth
This one, of course, is often followed up with But I just don’t have time! But hold on, there are many reputable companies that will spring clean for all of us, both inside and outside. Furthermore, there are lots of young people who will work with your guidance for even less. And some of them might even live in your home.If you don’t have the time or the energy, find someone to help.
7. The Get-it-Done-in-One-Weekend Myth
Perhaps the biggest myth of all is that all this work must be done at one specific time each spring. Not so, fellow procrastinators. Just because you can’t do all the work that needs to be done right now doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Keep your priorities straight. Your home should be clean, not just look clean. Achieving this means decreasing infection and health risks to you and your family. So maintain your home and its furnishings, but do it on your own schedule. That might be one room a week (or month) if that’s all you can handle.Once you get started, and get things on a schedule, you might surprise yourself. Okay, maybe just your parents.