With the Cincinnati Reds opening day looming, it is time to think about spring cleaning. It can be difficult to get motivated, so I thought some classic headlines might provide some inspiration, incentive, and shock therapy to spur your need to clean.
Let’s start with some facts –
On average, most carpets can accumulate up to 40 pounds of dirt in a year. Depending on where you live, most homes contain about twice the amount of dust in the air compared to the air outside. Scientists believe thousands of dust mites can survive on one ounce of carpet dust.
Your clodhoppers track in dirt, yes, but also fecal germs and diarrhea-inducing bacteria, studies show, and the shoes themselves can get dirtier than a toilet seat. And science has shown just what makes up that filth, too. That fecal bacteria “indicates frequent contact with fecal material, which most likely originates from floors in public restrooms or contact with animal fecal material outdoors,” Gerba said for the study. And here’s the, ahem, kicker: The transfer rate bacteria from shoes to clean tiles was 90% to 99%.
The last line is particularly disturbing when you consider they are talking about tiles. I can only imagine what it would be for carpets, which seem to attract debris like a magnet.
Let’s move from shock and think about the incentive, especially for those that struggle with seasonal allergies: 8 commonly neglected items that need a good cleaning before allergy season –
“Keeping a clean home is very important as allergies and asthma are directly impacted by your external environment,” says Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network. “Besides improving allergy and asthma symptoms, a clean home has also been linked to fewer mental health problems and lower levels of anxiety, depression and stress. Even the act of cleaning is a stress reliever for some.”
This article offers a good reminder of the hidden areas that need to be cleaned and the upside to making the time to tackle the task.
And, let’s round out the headlines on a high note with some inspiration: The potential mind-altering, life-extending benefits of spring cleaning–
And by starting anew in less cluttered space, we reduce our stress, improve our moods, and get more energy — which in turn could give us the boost we need to eat healthy, exercise and get more sleep — which in turn, could lengthen our lives.
Part of me thinks it might be reaching to say that spring cleaning offers “life-extending benefits,” but who am I to argue with “science,” especially when it is the motivation to achieve a good goal.
I have noted in the past that I recommend a top-down approach to spring cleaning where you work from the ceiling toward the floor. In other words, before you open the windows and kick up sitting dust and allergens, capture and remove as much as possible. The best general approach is to start at the “top” of the room and work your way “down.” Dust ceiling fans, light fixtures, and return air vents first. (And while you are “up there,” test the batteries in your smoke detectors!) Then wipe down windowsills and window tracts before vacuuming curtains and window blinds.
Now it’s time to work on the “middle” of the room. In between professional upholstery cleaning sessions, I recommend damp dusting and vacuuming furniture. Just mist water onto a clean white towel and lightly wipe (never scrub) arms and seating areas of all furniture in your home. It’s also a good time to flip the cushions of all seating areas. This not only helps to maintain firmness and limit distortions but may lessen the temptation of “others” in your home from flipping the cushions to hide a spill. Here are my best practices for upholstery cleaning, and for any non-upholstery cleaning, this article from Nationwide Insurance has some good spring cleaning tips.
Parts of your home that are easy to forget, especially given that it’s a pain to bend down to clean, include baseboards. The top of trim pieces, and any profile details, are notorious for gathering dust. To avoid crawling around on your hands and knees, try using the extension wand on your vacuum or a duster on a stick. (If the dust is tenacious, they even make dedicated baseboard cleaning tools!)
Other Carpet Cleaning Tips
Anything that can be done to prevent dirt from entering the house helps. One of the easiest solutions is using doormats. An outside doormat is your first line of defense for keeping dirt and muck outside. Doubling that defense with an inside doormat is even better. This won’t relieve you of your obligation to vacuum, but it will help you do it on your terms. In other words, you can vacuum when it’s convenient, instead of needing to run the vacuum because someone just tracked dirt, grass clippings, pebbles, etc. into the house.
Of course, there are limits to what a doormat can handle. Even though the calendar said it was spring in Cincinnati, we saw snow last week which inevitably leads to tracking in salt – either in the form of rock salt clinging to shoes or salt water. And even without Mother Nature playing cruel tricks, spring in Cincinnati always means rain which leads to muddy footprints. The best solution here is to encourage people to leave their shoes at the door. (And if you need more convincing, it’s worth reading this – 3 Gross Reasons You Shouldn’t Wear Shoes In The House.)
And speaking of muddy footprints, those of us with dogs know the special challenge that “mud plus dog” presents for keeping carpets and upholstery clean. For the ultra-prepared, Purina offers eight tips for keeping your carpet clean after a muddy walk. However, for those strapped for time there is an 80-20 application. Spread out a towel (or stack a few up if needed) and simply have your four-legged friend walk on it a bit. We find it’s easy enough to just hold a treat over the area for a few seconds and our Roxie will walk in circles right on the towel.
Our last tip for making carpet cleaning easier is to have DuPont Teflon applied to your carpet. DuPont Teflon repels liquid spills, dust and dirt, allowing carpets to remain cleaner longer. (We are currently offering a free application of DuPont Teflon, which is a $75 value – see details here.)
Finally, if it has been more than 6 months since your last professional carpet cleaning, you should consider it. While there is a good deal of marketing hype around the various types of cleaning methods, carpet manufacturers recommend the hot water extraction method. The hot water extraction method is not only recommended but required by some carpet manufacturers to maintain your warranty.
Elliott S. Fishman, Co-Owner
Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Inc.
About Elliott S. Fishman
Elliott Fishman, along with his son Brian, is the owner and operator of Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Inc. We serve the residents and businesses of Greater Cincinnati to include West Chester, Mason, Maineville, Loveland, Wyoming, Fairfield, Indian Hill, Montgomery, Hyde Park and Anderson Township. Elliott started this company in 1984, based on the belief that it takes Extra Effort to make each job a success. The father/son team puts the extra time, extra care, and extra effort into every task they undertake – no matter how large or small the job. Extra Effort’s quality equipment, trained technicians and safe products have made the company a top choice for residential and commercial carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, water damage / water extraction, fabric protection, odor control and spot removal.