Spring Cleaning and COVID-19

Spring Cleaning and COVID-19

 

 

Spring cleaning is an age-old tradition, a chance to refresh and deep clean your home after the cold days of winter.  And, the coronavirus pandemic has upset daily routines around the world providing more time than usual to enjoy this tradition of purging, re-organizing, and deep cleaning.

 

With all the information about coronavirus coming at us at full force, it can be hard to know what to do during this admittedly scary time. With the government requiring people to practice social distancing, more people are getting to stay at home for longer periods of time than is normally possible.  It’s the perfect opportunity to declutter and begin spring cleaning.

 

This year, while disinfecting frequently touched surfaces daily may be the most crucial in keeping our families healthy, let’s take it one step further and clean some other often overlooked areas of our homes!

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Take advantage of having more time on your hands

We're in the unique position right now where you don't have to worry about getting it all done on the one free weekend you have during the Spring. This really is kind of a rare and unique opportunity to really take your time with things you’d ordinarily feel pressured to rush through ... 

 

Feel encouraged by the fact that you do have the time, so you can take on some of those projects you would otherwise have to postpone for more pressing things or shun for more exciting activities.

 

Try not to clean the whole house at once. A cleaning plan that spreads the work out over the day, week or month can help to avoid burnout and keep you and your family motivated. This is a great time to teach your kiddos how to clean some things that maybe they’ve never had the chance to watch you do. 

 

Here are some areas that we often have to overlook when our lives are so much busier:

Cleaning the exterior of your home: 

  • Kids can easily help with sweeping patios and walkways. Making sure to clean out the corners and underneath things can help keep bugs and critters from finding places to nest.

 

  • Cleaning the outside of your windows can be a fairly time consuming project as you have to remove the screens and clean those as well as the glass to do the job well. But, teaching your kids the right way to remove and replace a screen is an important life skill for do-it-yourselfers!  And, your kids will love using the hose to spray down the screens and windows. 

 

  • Light fixtures should be inspected for dead or alive insects and spider webs. This could be part of your home school science!  A good scrubbing and rinse while you are doing the windows will get light fixtures back to their original shiny appearance.

 

  • Patio furniture and outdoor rugs should be swept or beat to get all the loose debri off and then depending on its weatherproofing can be sprayed down while you’ve got the hose out as well. Beating the rugs and cushions could be fun for the kiddos too!

Non-routine interior cleaning: 

  • Clean interior windows- Kids love to get a chance to go up a ladder. This would be a productive way to help them do that. They could also gain some perspective on what smashing their face against and touching the windows and sliders does!

 

  • Cleaning out closets and dressers- This could be lots of fun! Turn this chore into a fashion show and an opportunity to give to others that may be in need. One trick when you are wavering about getting rid of an item of clothing is to put the hanger up backwards and next year during Spring cleaning if it is still hanging that way, give it away.  

 

  • Tackling the cupboards- Tupperware drawers or cabinets are a great place for kiddos to help!  Nothing is breakable or heavy and kids can organize by size and shape which is a skill that is worked on in preschool and kindergarten classrooms. 

 

Now is a good time to dig way back and pull out the utensils and cookware in the back of the cabinets that have made their way back there because they are never used. If they are for special occasions, clean off the dust before you put them back, but if they were just a random Christmas gift...donate it!

 

  • Updating the pantry- Having your kids search through the pantry to find expired items definitely counts as some sort of reading and/or math for the recognition of dates!  Once all the old stuff has been removed, have your kids sort the items by category or type and then put them back in alphabetical order if possible or by size if they are younger.

  • Change out the air filters throughout your home to improve the cleanliness of your air as well as the efficiency of your HVAC units. Kids often find it interesting how dirty these can get and will enjoy helping you put new ones in.  Little fingers are perfect for manipulating the little levers that latch the register cover back in place.

 

  • Check your carbon monoxide and smoke detector systems and fire extinguishers- With everyone at home and more electronics and appliances being used along with the increased cooking, the chances of something being left on or food catching fire is increased. 

 

A home fire is always terrible, but during this pandemic when we must stay hunkered down at home, it could be extra stressful to be displaced from your home or to have essential workers coming in and out of your home to address any damage. 

 

Be sure you have fresh batteries in these systems, run the tests, and if your extinguisher is expired have it serviced or buy a new one. You can leave it outside your front door to be serviced. Now is also a good time to discuss fire safety with your family and to make that fire emergency plan we’ve all been meaning to do when we found some time!

 

  • Deep-clean appliances- since we are all disinfecting our counters, take it one step further and deep clean your appliances. Teaching your kids how to properly clean a microwave, oven, cooktop, or fridge are often things we don’t have time to do. But, when they move out some day and aren’t making the big bucks just yet, they will appreciate knowing how to keep their kitchens clean. 

 

  • Clean under the kitchen and bathroom sinks- Oftentimes many of us put stuff under here and forget it's there. Have your kiddos help you investigate what is under there and see if it is expired or even still needed. While you are under there, keep any eye out for any moist surfaces or mold growth that can often occur in these spaces. If you see some, check out this article on what you should do.

Reminders for COVID-19 Cleaning

Just as a reminder to what you have probably been doing these past few weeks...Disinfect your frequently touched surfaces at least one time a day. Making a checklist of all the places you want cleaned regularly, will allow others to help and ensure you don’t forget any of them:

 

  • Door knobs

  • Light switches

  • Drawer handles

  • Television remotes

  • Refrigerator and microwave oven doors

  • Counters

  • Toilets

  • Faucets

  • Desks

  • Keyboards

  • Phones

  • Bedside tables or nightstands 

 

How frequently surfaces need to be sanitized depends on how many people are in the household and how often people are coming and going from the residence. Best practice is to disinfect these surfaces at least one time a day, but it may need to be done more if you have an Essential Services worker that lives in your home that is interacting with others outside your home regularly.

 

To decontaminate a surface, you can’t just wipe it. It’s critically important to use enough of the disinfectant and give it time to work. To disinfect hard, nonporous surfaces it's recommended to wet it thoroughly enough for the treated surface to remain visibly wet for 4 minutes and let the surface dry on its own. 

 

Many common disinfectant products, including wipes and sprays, need to stay wet on a surface for a certain amount of time to actually be effective, says Carolyn Forte, Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab. 

 

Depending on how many people live in your home, and whether or not they're sick in the first place, you may need to change tactics from simply cleaning something to fully disinfecting with bleach or other strong cleaning agents.

Follow the instructions on your household cleaner.

When cleaning, it’s important to read the label of each of the products. Many products do not work instantaneously and need to rest on the surface of the door knob or counter for at least a few seconds before being wiped dry.

 

Many common household cleaning products can kill the coronavirus if you use them properly. 

Commercial disinfecting products contain chemicals, although they're actually EPA registered pesticides. Try to use chemicals when kids are not around because as we know kids touch everything and often put their hands in their mouths, noses, and eyes. Some products also indicate that they can trigger asthma symptoms as well.

 

The Environmental Protection Agency has a list of cleaning options that meet its criteria for use against the novel coronavirus. The CDC website also has recommendations for households with suspected or confirmed coronavirus cases.  Here’s what you need to know about what will and won’t work against the coronavirus — according to the experts.

 

  • Soap and water- It’s not fancy, but soap and water work. The soap removes the viral particles that have attached themselves to surfaces — whether it’s your hands, face or countertops — and suspends them in the water, so they can be washed away. Most of the cleaning products we call soap are actually detergents that not only remove the germs from surfaces, but also kill them.

 

  • Bleach- When you're at the store, you should skip the wipes if you can even find any, and get some bleach. If you're heading out to buy cleaners and other disinfectants to keep your spaces germ-free, you may be best off buying a gallon of household-friendly bleach as it is not only effective in killing viruses, but is also very cost effective. 

 

Bleach can remove color from fabrics, burn skin, damage some paint, and over time, it can corrode metal, etc.  So be cautious if you use it. Do not mix the bleach with anything but water. According to the CDC, mixing 5 tablespoons of bleach with a gallon of water or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart is an effective solution. 

 

  • Hydrogen peroxide- Commercially available 3% hydrogen peroxide is a stable and effective disinfectant when used on surfaces according to the CDC. It is not as strong as bleach, so it’s less likely to cause damage, but it can discolor some fabrics. Don’t dilute it, use it straight. Hydrogen peroxide decomposes into water and oxygen.

 

  • Alcohol- Rubbing alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol will kill the coronavirus says the CDC with less potential for damage than bleach. When using rubbing alcohol, don’t dilute it. Consumer Reports says rubbing alcohol is safe for all surfaces, but can discolor some plastics. 

 

Don’t count on distilled white vinegar or vodka.  Many people clean with vinegar. It’s cheap and natural but Consumer Reports cautions: “There is no evidence that either vinegar or vodka are effective against coronavirus.  Despite what you may have seen on social media, vodka is not effective at sanitizing, nor are any other types of distilled spirits.”

Keep Yourself Safe

Wear gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.  Discard gloves after use or if the gloves are reusable, dedicate the pair for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces for COVID-19 and no other purposes.  Wash hands immediately after removing gloves.

 

Now that everyone is required to have a mask when going outside, we should all have a mask on hand to use when cleaning with strong products like mentioned above. Wearing a mask is always a good idea when applying cleaning products of any kind.

 

For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, please visit the online resources provided by the CDC, WHO, and your local public health department.  If you have any additional questions about cleaning, our Five Star Team is available 24/7. We can also support you in dealing with any water damage or mold you may find during your Spring cleaning efforts. 

 

Our initial inspection and advice is always free and our team is outfitted with all the proper personal protective equipment to wear when entering your home to keep you and your family safe!  Call us today at 951.368.2227.

 

Tags: Spring Cleaning and COVID-19, reorganize, pandemic cleaning

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