The ritual of spring cleaning

Spring is known for a few things, among them the ritual of spring cleaning.

That entails a good old fashioned scrub of everything and a substantial decluttering. Not only does this one-two punch make your house sparkle, experts say it has an additional psychological benefit. But, a word of caution. The process of cleaning itself releases particulate matter into the air and cleaning agents can release harmful fumes into the air.

Deep Cleaning

First, let’s walk through a deep cleaning process. What does that entail? The doyenne of domesticity, Martha Stewart, is the authority on the subject. She hits it all, including but not limited to: dusting lightbulbs, shampooing rugs, and washing blinds.

Harmful Cleaning Agents

Note, however, that cleaning supplies that release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be harmful when inhaled. Bleach and ammonia are well known irritants, but less obvious products containing VOCs and other toxic fumes include aerosol sprays, air fresheners, detergent, rug cleaners, and furniture polish.

Decluttering

Have you ever heard the saying, “Clean space, clear mind”? Well it’s true and there’s a psychological explanation for why. Clutter is said to be a stressor by overwhelming us with excessive stimuli and by presenting us with a constant reminder that there is still stuff to be done. Clutter also correlates with less physical activity, and getting those piles off surfaces, clusters off floors, and stacks out of the closets can increase your level of physical activity and motivate you to take better care of your health. However, there is a down side to decluttering. All that shifting of piles can release particulate matter like dust and mold into the air during the process.

A Safe Solution

To combat VOCs when cleaning, make sure your home is well ventilated and use products that have reduced levels of VOCs. Safer Choice is a handy resource. You can also make old fashioned cleaning solutions using things like baking soda and vinegar. These options are a frugal alternative to store-bought products, and they emit fewer VOCs. Finally, the addition of an Airmega air purifier can round out the defense against VOCs and reduce the amount of particulate matter released during the spring cleaning and decluttering process.

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