Cleaning can help improve your health and air quality in your home. Newer homes are energy efficient and trap indoor pollutants inside your home. Older homes were designed to be a bit drafty to help reduce indoor air pollution. Indoor pollutants can only escape when we keep doors and windows open to allow fresh air inside. Indoor pollutants and outdoor irritants are sending more people running to the doctor for allergy relief.
One of the easiest ways to reduce indoor pollution is to keep your home clean and keep the clutter at bay. Keeping your home clean not only keeps you healthy but it also keeps you active. I have found that cleaning up as you go and cleaning a little bit a day makes keeping up with the household chores easier.
Several times a year, it is necessary to deep clean your home so that you take care of the items that we often neglect. We came up with a checklist of those chores that are often neglected on a regular basis.
Air Return Vent
Last fall, we were prepping our home to sell and we noticed that our air return vent was super dusty. At the time, we had a metal return vent. In the past, we would just vacuum or knock the dust off with a broom.
Even though it is a bit more work, you should pull out the ladder and remove it completely if you have a metal return vent. Then give it a deep cleaning with a scrub brush and soap and water. We also took it a step further and used the vacuum cleaner attachments to get rid of as much dust as we could from the vent.
In our current home, our return air vent is a wooden door with slats. It dawned on me that I haven’t cleaned it since we moved in. I walked by it a few days ago and the dust caught my eye.
Under Kitchen Appliances
How long has it been since you have cleaned underneath your kitchen appliances? It is amazing how much junk gets mysteriously pushed underneath your kitchen appliances over the years.
Plus, clean the dust off the coils underneath and behind the refrigerator will help make it last longer.
It is amazing how much dirt accumulates on the window seals. I opened the windows one afternoon when the weather was nice outside and I had to run get a damp rag to clean up the dust on the window seal.
Curtains and Blinds
Speaking of window coverings, it is important that you frequently clean your curtains and blinds. If you are allergic to dust, you will need to wear a face mask and take a non-drowsy allergy medicine to avoid an allergic reaction while deep cleaning.
Grab some old socks (ones that don’t have matches are perfect) and slide it over your hand. Open the blinds and then run your fingers and thumb on the blinds to quickly clean them. I have found that this is a quick way to clean the blinds.
In our last home, we had carpet in the entire house except for the wet areas. It is amazing how quickly the carpet collects dirt and grime, especially if you have young children and pets. It is ideal to clean the carpet in your home several times a year unless you can afford to rip it out and put down laminate or hardwood flooring.
Do you have ceiling fans in your home? We currently have ceiling fans in every room in our home and they seem to be a dust magnet. You probably don’t realize how much dust is on the blades unless you turn off the fan or a dust bunny comes floating down from
nowhere the ceiling.
Over the years, I have purchased numerous tools and tried using the vacuum cleaner attachments to clean the fan blades. However, these methods require sending dust everywhere. I usually wait until I am ready to clean the bedding before I attempt to clean the fan blades so that I can wash it after I am finished.
Grab an old pillowcase that you aren’t using and place it on your ceiling fan blade. Slide the pillowcase off the fan blade and wipe it clean. This cleaning method keeps the dust from flying all over the house.
Don’t be fooled by companies who offer to clean your ductwork in your home for a ridiculously low price. It is just a way for that company to try and scam you. Typically, those companies simply do an inspection and tell you that they found a major problem like mold in your ductwork.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that ductwork cleaning doesn’t have any impact on preventing health problems. There are only three instances that require ductwork cleaning:
- evidence of vermin or feces
- excessive dust or debris flying out of your vents or clogging up your filter
If you are concerned that your ducts need attention, you can take off the vents and inspect the ducts yourself. It also won’t hurt to use your vacuum cleaner to clean just inside of your vent. While you have the vent covers off, you should also clean them using soap and water to clean off the dust that tends to accumulate.
Change the Filter in Your A/C and Heater Frequently
A dirty air filter can reduce the air flow in your home making your unit work harder to heat or cool your home. Filters aren’t made to last forever and over time they fill up with dirt and other particles. Neglecting the air filters in your home could lead to an increase in the amount of dust circulating in your home.
Dirty air filters can also be breeding ground for bacteria and fungus. Bacteria and fungus growth can lead to contamination of your unit and ductwork in your home.
Never forget to change your air filter again. Schedule a reminder in your smartphone so that you remember to swap out the air filter on a regular basis.
Did you know that excess dust and a low battery could set off your smoke detector? Last year, we were all cozy in our beds and got a rude awakening around 2 am one morning when the smoke detectors went off. My husband didn’t smell or see any smoke inside our home. We decided to call the fire department in case there was a fire in the attic that we couldn’t see.
It was cold outside, so we piled into the car and turned on the heater in the driveway until we got the all-clear from the fire department. The fireman told us that the smoke detector went off due to a low battery. When we changed the battery on the smoke detector, we also discovered that there was dust on it as well.
Growing up I used to think my mom was weird for taking down the light fixtures in our home several times a year. Now that I am responsible for cleaning, I have discovered how quickly the dust tends to accumulate on the light fixtures. I’ve tried to clean the light fixtures with Windex and paper towels but it usually creates a huge mess.
Instead, I take them down and wash them in hot soapy water. Rinse and dry the light fixtures before putting them back up. Not only do you get rid of the dust but you also get rid of bugs or other debris that somehow makes it inside of the light fixture.
Door and Trim Around the Door
I never made it a habit to dust all of the doors and trim in our home until I noticed a thick coating of dust on them. Call me oblivious but it is just one of those things that you don’t think about cleaning on a regular basis. Now I keep this cleaning task on my radar and don’t wait too long between cleanings.
Houses today are designed to be super energy efficient and not allow fresh air inside of the home. Energy efficient homes trap pollutants inside of your home. This also causes a buildup of excess dirt and contaminants to build up on furniture and fixtures inside of your home. Deep cleaning your home on a regular basis can help reduce the allergens in your home. However, these items on today’s list are often overlooked but they are tasks that need attention on a regular basis.
Have you recently cleaned these 11 household cleaning tasks that are often overlooked?