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JAMES AND MORRIS CAREY \ On the House Seasonal cleaning makes a home healthy and happy



Published: Sat, February 19, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Seasonal cleaning means an all-out, deep-down attack on dust, dirt and clutter. Most important, effective seasonal cleaning can help create a healthier home.

Seasonal changes generate allergens and trap dirt and dust in closed-up homes. The need to clean increases especially for those with allergies and asthma. But outdoor allergens and dirt combine with indoor allergens, like dust mites and pet dander, to trigger sneezing, coughing and irritated eyes in anyone, not just those with allergies.

Home remodeling can stir up dust and dirt and create a bigger challenge during and after major projects.

Streamline your routine

Make in-depth cleaning part of any remodeling plan and look for ways to minimize dust while work is under way. Close off work areas and place doormats outside the area to keep from tracking dust around the house. Keep children and pets away to contain dirt and keep children away from irritating dust.

For seasonal cleaning, whether remodeling or not, consider it an opportunity to streamline your routine and to get dust, dirt and allergens out of the house so you can breathe easier. Not only are you doing what it takes to protect your investment in your home, you can take comfort in a healthier home. Smart cleaning strategies and advanced cleaning technology can take the fear factor out of seasonal cleaning.

An overall guideline: Set realistic goals for seasonal cleaning.

Here are essential cleaning rules to help make cleaning stress free: organize, prioritize and streamline for a cleaner, healthier home.

UOrganize: Have a plan and stick to it. Don't get discouraged or overwhelmed. Take it one step at a time. Clean one room or task at a time that is realistic for your schedule. Doing one room can give a sense of accomplishment and inspiration to move onto the next.

A good place to start is the bedroom. We spend about one-third of our time sleeping. You'll breathe easier in a cleaner bedroom and have more energy to clean the rest of the house! Clean from top to bottom. This method is most efficient.

UPrioritize: Survey the total cleaning needs and determine an efficient order. Get down to details that are overlooked in regular cleaning such as under and behind furniture, closet floors, baseboards, behind the refrigerator, tops of kitchen cabinets and lamp shades. Be sure to vacuum the mattress and box spring and all pillows as well as stuffed animals.

UStreamline: Speed cleaning is a skill anyone can develop. Use the most effective cleaning tools that eliminate the need for physical stress and do more of the work for you.

Vacuum cleaners play a major role. Instead of pushing and lugging a heavy vacuum, move at top speed with a lightweight, powerful machine. Since most homes today have different types of flooring, look for a vacuum with two speeds that works well on carpets and hard floors and automatically adjusts to the surface.

UCreate a healthier home: Dust can harbor dust mites and other allergens, mold spores and bacteria. To help rid the home of potentially harmful particles, a vacuum with a highly efficient allergen filtration system is key. An effective filtration system should capture 99.9 percent of allergens and other particles. Bagless models may be a trend, but blacklight tests show bagless vacuums can leak dirt and dust back into the air, onto hands and face and into eyes when dirt cups are emptied.

To capture and remove the smallest particles of dust and allergens, one leading vacuum manufacturer has developed seven layers of filtration, via a three-layer inner bag inside a four-layer hypo-allergenic outer bag. To prevent dust emissions, it has a self-sealing inner bag so whats picked up by the vacuum stays in the vacuum until it is emptied.

To capture dirt, dust and allergens all over the house, from ceiling corners to shelves, use vacuum tools that reach high and low and in other tricky spots. Use vacuum tools to suck in dust, not spread it around, like a dust cloth can.

Use those air purifiers

Deep-cleaning floors is part of a seasonal cleaning ritual. Its a smart step for a healthier home since particles can be embedded deep down. Use a multi-floor machine that dry cleans and deep cleans carpets and bare floors.

Keep an air purifier working all day year-round to trap airborne contaminants. You can breathe easier while the air purifier does the work. With a seasonal cleaning plan in place, it's easier to get ongoing cleaning under control and be ready to step up when remodeling is being done.

XFor more home improvement tips and information visit www.onthehouse.com.




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