Why do people obsess about spring cleaning when it’s the fall and winter seasons that are the busiest and most germ-infested of all? You shut yourself inside for months to protect yourself from the cold, surrounded with all the dust and dirt your home has collected over the summer, on top of what you’re continuing to track inside… and we breathe this stuff in daily until spring. GROSS.
The EPA estimates that indoor air quality can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Here’s a short winter cleaning checklist to help you stay germ-free and breathe a little easier all winter long.
Take all of your garbage cans and wastebaskets outside to somewhere you can spray the insides out with a garden hose. If you don’t have such a place or a utility sink, then use your bathtub (but make sure to thoroughly clean your tub afterward). Add disinfectant such as bleach. Let them sit for an hour, then pour out the contents and scrub out the insides to remove any residue. Rinse out and dry outside in sunlight, if possible.
Tables and countertops aren’t the only household items that collect dust. Everything in your house has some kind of surface where dust and dirt will settle, often unnoticed. Think about the top horizontal edges of objects like:
• Door trim, including baseboards and chair rails
• Picture frames and mirror frames
• Electrical outlet plates
• Smoke detectors, CO2 detectors, and thermostats
• Kitchen cabinet surfaces
• Tops of light bulbs and light fixtures
• Front and back of computer monitors
Dirty window glass can cut daylight by up to 20%. Especially at a time of year where you really need as much sunlight as possible to chase away winter blues. To clean windows inside and out, you can make a homemade non-toxic solution:
• 1/4 cup white vinegar
• 1/4 to 1/2 tsp eco-friendly dish detergent (like Seventh Generation)
• 2 cups water
Once you’ve cleaned the glass, dry and polish using a microfiber cloth.
Most importantly, change your filters at least once every 60 days (and even more frequent if you’re sensitive to allergies). Air filters help trap the very dust particles that you are constantly cleaning up throughout the house. Filters are rated by level of efficiency so the higher the rating, the better the filter will be at removing dirt, mold spores, and pet dander.
The winter is notorious for being aligned with cold and flu season. It’s also a wonderful time to snuggle indoors to keep warm from outside temps. Stay cozy and germ-free by using this winter cleaning checklist to keep your home in great condition well into spring.