If You're Doing One Thing To Spring Clean This Year, Make It This
"Spring cleaning" means something different to everyone. Some people take it as a cue to scrub down every inch of their home while others (hand raised high) will just use it as a time to declutter, quickly wipe down surfaces, and maybe buy some fresh-cut flowers to celebrate the new season.
No matter where on the cleaning spectrum you may fall, though, according to the experts there is one thing you should definitely be doing this time of year, and that's dusting.
"Like a lot of people, I'm guilty of not doing much in the way of regular dusting, so if you're a lazy duster like me, I highly recommend using spring cleaning as an excuse to get a damp cloth and dust all those dark and hidden areas you don't normally get to," Adria Vasil, journalist and author of Ecoholic Home: The Greenest, Cleanest, and Most Energy-Efficient Information Under One (Canadian) Roof, said when we asked about one important cleaning ritual that people often neglect.
"All that hidden dust means you're breathing in more phthalates, flame retardants, stain repellents and plasticizers that accumulate in dust bunnies," she adds. Just this week, one new study even found that endocrine disrupters in dust could be associated with weight gain in children.
What's the best way to dust at home?
According to the author of that endocrine study, the best tool for getting rid of dust is a slightly damp microfiber cloth. Dusting dry, it turns out, might just kick chemicals back into the air and make them easier to inhale. Pro tip: Melissa Maker, the green cleaning expert behind the book Clean My Space: The Secret to Cleaning Better, Faster, and Loving Your Home Every Day, says that you'll know if a cloth is the right level of damp when it feels like you sneezed into it. Graphic, but effective! One quick hack if you want to quickly dust your floors, too: Just wrap your microfiber cloth around the bottom of your broom.
5 areas in the home you should be dusting right now.
Candice Batista, an environmental journalist, green cleaning expert, and blogger behind The Eco Hub, wholeheartedly agrees that we could all be dusting more—and recommends starting with these four often-neglected spots:
1. All over your kitchen cupboards.
Batista recommends wiping down the tops, moldings, and doors of all your cabinets at least once a week. She says that instead of just using water, you should try a slightly heavier duty 50:50 mix of water and white vinegar on your microfiber cloth for these, and don't forget the knobs and hinges!
2. Your mattress (and your pet's bed!).
According to Batista, both of these should be dusted and vacuumed at least once a month, since they are hot spots for sweat and dead skin cells (graphic, but true!). Here’s her three-step cleaning process:
First, remove and wash all sheets and bedding. Give your mattress a good vacuum, making sure you're using a clean attachment. Vacuum or dust the headboard and base as well. Sprinkle baking soda onto the mattress, let it sit for at least 15 minutes, then vacuum it again.
The same can be said for pet beds. "Most pet beds can be washed in the washer, but regular vacuums and deodorizing will cut down on danger, allergens, and dust," she says.
3. Your vents and filters.
"If you live in North America, odds are you have an HVAC system in your home, which is essentially the lungs of your home!" Batista says. Make sure you're maintaining yours by vacuuming its filters once or twice a month and replacing them every six months.
4. Your vacuum canister and vacuum attachments.
These are important to clean out regularly (Batista does it twice a month because she has cats, but you can get away with doing it once a month). Here's how: "Always empty the canister before it gets totally full. You can wash the cup in hot water with a few drops of Castile soap or dish soap. Don't forget about the vacuum's filter, either! Check with the manufacturer about the best ways to clean it. Some can be washed; others need to be replaced."
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