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Annual Spring Deep Cleaning Is a Healthy Habit

For many of us, "spring cleaning" belongs to a bygone era. However, from a maintenance or good housekeeping standpoint, annual deep cleaning is a great old-fashioned idea that is never out of style. Moreover, "deep cleaning" even twice or more a year can benefit you and your family from the standpoint of indoor-air quality.

Do you live in a home that is tightly closed and climate controlled year-round? Chances are that your air re-circulates over and over again with few exchanges of fresh air from outdoors. The fabric furnishings of your home act like an air filter. They trap airborne contaminants. Without removing these soils regularly, they can build up into unhealthy concentrations and corrosive films damaging to your textile furnishings.

Worse yet, in addition to our airborne soils there are populations of microscopic organisms camping out wherever we and our pets like to rest.

Dust mites are the major offender. We are told that they can number in the millions in and around textiles and dust-gathering surfaces where we rest and sleep. They are invisible to the naked eye. Harmless for the most part, dust mites are eight-legged creatures without eyes that love to eat. As a matter of fact, researchers describe them as nothing more than walking stomachs.

Dead skin cells from ourselves and our pets, called "dander", is their favorite food. Adult dust mites can digest a lot of dander in their 30-day life span. One adult can produce a pile of droppings10-15 times its body weight. Many people have allergic reactions to this invisible sewage.

Virtually weightless, dust mite droppings mix with other airborne contaminants in your home to form what allergists call "bioaerosols." These are extremely small organisms or fragments of organisms easily kicked up and suspended in the air. Dust mites, molds, fungi, spores, pollen, bacteria, viruses, amoebas, fragments of plant materials, and human and pet dander are some common bioareosols.

For most of us it is impractical to eliminate dust mites and other bioaerosols totally from our indoor environment. Fortunately, regular cleaning keeps such contaminants at acceptable levels.

First, we need to work to keep the humidity in our homes around 50%. Dust mites thrive in 70% or above humidity. That's why they reach their peak population in late summer- perhaps also why many allergy problems get worse. Try to remedy moisture-producing problems in your home like leaks, blocked vents, plugged drains and gutters. Keep HVAC filters clean and appliance "drip catching pans" emptied.

Cleaning is the next line of defense. Bedrooms, where researchers say we spend a third of our lives, is a top priority. Avoid the urge to remove all your carpet and upholstered furnishings like some misguided "experts" recommend. They ignore the well documented fact that carpet, upholstery and other fabric surfaces in your home act as "environmental filters." That means they work like trash cans to collect bioaerosols from the indoor air for easy removal. Like all trash cans, however, they need to be periodically emptied. Once full, these trash cans overflow back into the air, making matters worse.

So for a healthy indoor environment, four things to do regularly are recommended.

  1. Without stirring up the dust, gently wipe all hard surfaces with a soft dampened cloth.

  2. Machine wash everything you can, like bed clothes, bedding and stuffed animals. Hot water (around 130°F) kills dust mites.

  3. Vacuum everything else, especially all fabric surfaces and carpets, with a well-maintained vacuum cleaner. (HEPA or micro-filtration models are even better at removing more of this incredibly small bio-rubbish.)

  4. Occasionally invest in new mattress pads and pillows -- well worth every penny.

Finally, call Dalworth for a deep steam cleaning of your carpet and upholstery. Our commercial strength equipment uses pressures and temperatures that can't be achieved by "vacuum steamers" or retail store rentals. We move quickly, do all the work and guarantee your satisfaction.

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