In many homes, the sight of the first daffodil kicks off preparations for Spring cleaning. Projects are determined, lists are drawn and you brace yourself. This is an annual deep cleaning, which means getting into places that you don't normally reach, like behind furniture. It also means taking care of grimy areas that have been too big to handle with regular maintenance. You know that if you don't take care of it, the dirt and mold will build, possibly leading to unhealthy conditions, particularly for people with allergies or auto-immune diseases.
Spring cleaning is a challenge for most of us, but for people with arthritis or other physical challenges it can be overwhelming. If, due to physical challenges, you absolutely cannot do the cleaning yourself and cannot afford a housecleaning service, you may qualify for assistance through your local Area Agency on Aging. You can also inquire at your local religious organization to see if there are volunteers who could help you out.
Getting help from some additional people is always nice. However, if that is not available, the task is not impossible. The staff at Dynamic-Living.com offers the following products and suggestions to diminish the task at hand:
Reduce the workload:
Look at each room and identify specific tasks. Make a list of cleaning priorities.
Take on a task or two each day, so as not to wear yourself out.
Gradually decrease the clutter. Anything you haven't used in a year, get rid of through yard sales, Goodwill, donations to church, etc.
Have all necessary cleaning tools in the room to prevent extra trips to the cleaning closet. A Portable Shopping Cart will let you wheel your tools easily from room to room.
Use long handled tools to eliminate bending and reaching:
> The Long Handled Toilet Bowl Brush features a super long (33") lightweight handle with a rounded bristle brush at the end.
> The Long Handled Tub and Shower Scrubber extends across the tub (from 33" to 55") to get into hard-to-reach places. It has a unique flexible neck that gets around the curves in showers and bathtubs. Or try the 20" Long Handled Bristled Bath Brush which is great for cleaning soap scum from your bathtub or tile.
> A sponge on a long handle can be used for reaching into the tub, behind the toilet, wherever you need a few more inches.
> The Neat Sweep is a theater-style broom and dustpan that is extremely light weight and allows you to sweep debris into the long handled dustpan without bending over. The dustpan will stand open on its own allowing you to sweep the dirt in with just one hand.
> For picking up gooey messes, like wet rags or paper towels, put a plastic bag over the end of a long handled pooper scooper, and surround the mess with the wide opening. Once collected, the mess is already inside of the bag and can be disposed of neatly.
A Step Stool with a railing provides a safer way to step up to reach the top of the shelf in the closet and a reacher will give you another way to move your belongings without having to stretch and strain.
Use tools that eliminate pressure on your hands. The Aerosol Spray Holder uses leverage to help you hold down the spray button. Ergonomically shaped sponges gives you a resting place for your thumb and fingers, making them easier to grasp.
Reduce your exposure to odors and chemicals that can make you weary, or even sick:
Open windows and doors for about 20 minutes to an hour at least once a week. Allow the indoor air to cycle outside and let the fresh air in. If you can't open windows, invest in some houseplants. Certain plants, like pothos, philodendrons, peace lilies, banana plants and spider plants, are adept at absorbing airborne pollutants, converting them to fresh, clean oxygen!
Some people are sensitive to strong odors from cleaning products. Find fragrance free alternatives. Or look in your pantry for natural, fragrance free cleaning solutions (test these on a small hidden area before diving into the project!):
> Baking soda - cleans, deodorizes, scours, polishes and removes stains
> Cornstarch - cleans and deodorizes carpets and rugs
> Ketchup - cleans copper
> Lemon juice - cuts grease and stains on aluminum, brass and porcelain
> Vegetable oil - a furniture polish
> Mayonnaise - removes tree sap, grease or tar from your car or hands. It will remove crayon marks from wooden furniture.
> Mix one teaspoon of baking soda, one teaspoon salt and a cup of warm water in an aluminum pan. Leave tarnished silverware in the mixture for a few minutes to get them clean.
Don't mix cleaning products like ammonia and bleach. The combination lets off fumes that can be toxic.
The Smellkill is a non-chemical odor remover that will help eliminate stale odors as well as the fumes from cleaning solutions.
Wear rubber gloves with cuffs to protect your hands and arms from contact with cleaning chemicals.
No matter how clean you keep your home on a regular basis, spring time is the perfect opportunity to tackle the projects that have been neglected throughout the rest of the year. You don't have to do them all, or all at the same time. Take your time and do what's manageable, but get it done. Then you won't have to stress about getting to the task and you won't have to run the risk of creating potentially unhealthy conditions
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