Checklist for Spring Cleaning
[This is a guest post from our content partners at LawnStarter]
Few people enjoy spring cleaning, but it does signal the start of the new season. Emptying closets, dusting blinds and hosing off patio furniture are essential parts of home living. Making a list helps keep you focused on the tasks at hand. A clean house is a healthy house. In addition to clearing out the clutter and cobwebs, it's vital to inspect for mold.
Mold Made Simple
Made up of tiny organisms that help breakdown animal and plant matter, mold thrives in damp, shady areas. Basements and bathrooms are notorious mold magnets. So are woodpiles and areas where leaves and vegetation are decomposing. Inside, mold can grow on just about any kind of surface with moisture, oxygen and organic material, releasing tiny spores into the air.
Mold spores lacking nutrition enter dormancy until they’re wet and warm again, which tends to happen in spring. In cooler climates, such as Portland's, mold can grow inside your home’s walls. Warm inside temperatures prompt fungal spores to spread.
Outside, proper lawn care helps keep mold from spreading. For example, too much water will oversaturate the grass, inviting mold and diseases. A pile of wet leaves invites mold and disease on your lawn.
Mold and Health
Mold-related health problems can include coughing, skin rashes, eye irritations, and sinus problems. It can also kick up allergies and affect breathing. If you suspect a problem while cleaning, hire a professional to test for mold.
Where to Look and What Questions to Ask
Download our infographic Buying a New Home? Here’s How to Check for Mold Before It’s Too Late to help you understand where to look and what questions to ask when doing a property walk through.
Homes gather dust; there’s no real way around that. But the less stuff you have, the fewer places dust can settle. Divide your belongings into four categories; throw away, give away, recycle, and keep. Having an organized plan helps you get through the clutter.
Vacuum often. Dust and dander (especially if you have pets) are never-ending. Vacuum with a unit that has a HEPA filter to trap particles. Keep pests at bay by not leaving food scraps and crumbs lying about. Dirty dishes and leftover food in the sink are an invitation for bugs. Keep trash cans covered.
Sprays, polishes, waxes often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are gasses from paints, adhesives, aerosol sprays, varnishes, upholstery, formaldehyde, and cleaning products. VOCs can negatively affect your health, especially if you’re around them for a long period of time. If you’re cleaning with chemical solutions, follow these tips:
- When using products that emit VOCs, open windows to increase air circulation.
- Read and follow label instructions and warnings.
- Seal containers tightly after use.
- Keep away from children and pets.
- Do not mix household chemicals.
Eco-friendly cleaning solutions are available at your local store and online.
Spring is the best time to start tackling those outdoor chores. Rake up dead leaves, tree limbs, dirt, and debris from the yard and patio. Power wash the driveway and front steps to remove dirt and grime. Scrub the lawn chairs and front porch swing. Wash outdoor furniture cushions. Soap up the window screens to remove last year’s dust. Scrape chipped paint off the deck, railings, shutters, window frames, and light poles — it’s time for a new coat or two. Inspect for foundation cracks, asbestos, and hazards.
After a long, hard winter, your home’s roof and gutters need attention, too. Clean out thickened mud, decaying leaves, bird poop, and tree trash from gutters. Run a garden hose through the spout. While it’s best to hire a professional to inspect the roof and gutters, you can do that yourself (but make sure you have gripped shoes and your disability insurance is paid up). Look to see if any shingles are loose or missing. Check the chimney for crumbling mortar, loose rubber or damaged flashing.
Spring cleaning is more than decluttering, dusting and deodorizing. Along with sweeping the garage and putting away the snow thrower, your checklist should include a few home improvement tasks. Rocking the chore list in spring lets you have more time for a laid-back summer.
Five Reasons to Get a Mold Inspection
Our Podcast is Here! Listen in to our new episode of The Secret Life of Mold for the top five reasons why getting a mold inspection before purchasing a home is the smart thing to do.