When you think about it, we all consider spring cleaning as a time when we give our homes a thorough clean. Perhaps we should be obsessing over Autumn cleaning instead of spring cleaning though. After all, we are all about to shut ourselves inside for months with all the dust and dirt our homes have collected during the hot, dusty, open-window days of the summer period. Who wants to inhale that?!
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As summer fades into the background and the crisp autumn air has made its presence felt, it is that time of year when we cut back all our garden plants, cover over the patio furniture and prepare for the winter months ahead. During this fall ritual, how often do you consider the quality of the air you breathe during those long winter months?
As a nation, we spend most of our time in the winter months indoors. The freezing outdoor temperatures winter offers forces us to keep the windows closed, outdoor air stays outside and the inside air stays inside. The explosion of energy efficiency in home building and renovation projects have added to the already stagnant conditions of indoor air. Modern day airtight seals on openings lead to conditions of little to no air exchange at all. When the majority of the air we breathe comes from our indoor environment, indoor air quality needs to be taken into consideration for the health of you and your family.
The health effects of poor indoor air quality include, throat, nose, and eye irritations, respiratory infections, sinus problems, headaches, asthma, allergies, and even lung cancer from radon exposure. So, as you and your family prepare for the autumn and winter months ahead, we at Xtraclean encourage you to think about the air quality in your home. Ask yourselves questions like; when was the last time we had our carpets cleaned? Does our indoor air have a “musty or damp smell”? Do I see mold anywhere? Or does anyone in our family have persisting health problems? Remember, there is no price tag you can put on your health or the health of your family.
You're going to be shut in all winter with these germ breeding grounds, so now’s a good time to clean them thoroughly. Take them outside and clean the insides with a garden hose or pressure washer, then add disinfectant. Regular bleach is an effective disinfectant (one part bleach to six parts water). Let your rubbish bins sit for an hour, then pour out the contents and scrub the insides with a stiff bristle brush to remove any residue. Rinse and, if possible, let the rubbish bin dry in direct sunlight, which helps eliminate bacteria.
Take the holder and the brush outside, and spray wash thoroughly with a garden hose. Immerse the holder and brush in a bucket of hot waterand bleach in the same way as you would indicated with rubbish bins (one part bleach to six parts water) Let everything sit in the solution for a couple of hours, then rinse the holder and brush with a hose and place in direct sunlight to dry.
You might shift furniture around so you can vacuum the floor, but there’s another side to the story - the underside. Tilt upholstered chairs and couches all the way back (much easier with two people) to expose the bottoms. The dustcovers tacked underneath furniture can catch rubbish, dust and fluff, so vacuum this off, being careful not to press too hard on the fabric.
Tables and countertops aren’t the only household items with horizontal surfaces. In fact, just about everything in your house has some kind of horizontal surface where dust and dirt will settle, often unnoticed. You’ll want to clean the top horizontal edges of items such as:
Your fridge needs to be cleaned periodically so that it operates at peak efficiency. Ignoring this can lead to an increase in monthly utility costs. We recommend cleaning the condenser coils. Here’s how:
If the condenser coils are on the back of the refrigerator, then pull the unit out completely, and unplug it while you work on it. Brush or vacuum the coils to clean them, and clean up any dirt and dust on the floor. Check to make sure your freezer vents are clear. Freezers circulate air to reduce frost, but piling up too much stuff in front of the little grill-like vents inside your freezer blocks their business. Use a soft, long, thin vacuum attachment to clean under the fridge. Pull out your refrigerator all the way out and vacuum up dirt and dust that accumulates in back of the unit. Unplug it while you work on it. A word of advice: Put down a piece of cardboard so that grit under the wheels doesn’t scratch your flooring.
Keep winter’s slush and gunk at bay by making your entryway a dirt guardian. Have a boot scraper to hand to help clean autumn and winter debris at bay. Add a chair or bench for taking off boots, and have a boot rack for wet footwear. Put down a tough and hard wearing outdoor doormat for cleaning footwear.
By some estimates, dirty window glass cuts daylight by 20%. That’s a lot less light coming in at a time of year when you really need it to help chase away winter blues.
Probably one of the most overlooked items in the home for cleaning. They are big dust magnets. Dust settles on the top surfaces where you can’t see it.
Out of sight maybe, but not out of mind. If possible, remove light shades and clean with a soft vacuum attachment. If you are unable to remove shades then use a damp cloth to wipe down the shade surfaces. Make sure that the lights are off before attempting to remove shades and keep in mind that its sensible to do this during daylight hours when the lightbulbs will be cold from not being used.
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