Let’s face it. Spring cleaning can either be a huge chore no one in the family really has the desire to tackle, or it can be an exhilarating time of year to clean out your space, create some mental and physical clarity and refresh your perspective on all of the great things you have going on in life. This year instead of just sprucing up your home, why not turn your home into a healthy living oasis where allergens, pollutants and not-so-planet friendly practices are manned?
Eco-friendly designer Robin Wilson, president of RobinWilson Home in New York City, one of the pioneers of eco-friendly design and an ambassador for The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, offers these nine tips for taking spring cleaning to another level this season:
1. In the bathroom, get rid of your vinyl shower curtain because it holds mold more easily and off gases. Use a nylon curtain instead. It’s also less expensive. Use non-toxic cleansers, always lower the toilet seat when flushing and fix a leaky faucet (which will also save you money!)
2. For bedding, use synthetic pillows over feathered ones if you suffer from allergies or asthma. Wash your pillowcase once a week, your pillow protector at least once a month and replace pillows every three years. Cover your mattress with a hypoallergenic cover and wash it every two months. Make sure that it is non-toxic without formaldehyde-based fire retardants.
3. Use non-VOC paints in your home, which won’t off gas, leave an obnoxious paint odor or stir up asthma or allergies. You can’t even tell the difference in how it looks on the wall.
4. Avoid wall-to-wall carpeting. Tile and hardwood floors are a much better choice, but must be vacuumed or cleaned on a regular basis to eliminate dirt and dust. Each Spring, remove everything from the room as if you were moving, and mop or steam clean the floor.
5. Check for mold in dishwashers and under the fridge in the water pan. Regularly change the water dispenser and icemaker filters.
6. One of the biggest trends today is eco-friendly cabinetry because it has no formaldehyde adhesives and is made with low VOC stains. Consider frameless cabinets, which won’t collect as much dust.
7. Wash or freeze your child’s stuffed animals to kill dust mites.
8. Consider using slipcovers, which can be washed regularly on your upholstered sofas. Make sure you limit the use of drapes as they are “dust catchers.”
9. Always take off your shoes when you enter your home to prevent the outside world from coming in.