Spring Cleaning: 6 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Home
Spring usually means new beginnings… the days are starting to get longer and warmer, the buds are out and the snow is melting. It’s also time for spring cleaning. And spring cleaning is a great time to check for mold, dust mites, and other environmental toxins.
Not only is mold destructive, it is also bad for your health. All mold needs to grow are moisture, warmth, and any organic surface (like drywall). Under those conditions, mold begins to grow within 24 hours.
What does it look like? Mold usually has a splotchy pattern; it comes in a variety of colors including white, grey, green, red, blue, and black. Black mold is the most toxic form- yikes!
RTK’s founder, Robert Weitz, a certified microbial investigator, knows the dirty truth about mold — and he has put together a few tips for your spring-cleaning routine:
1. Clean under your kitchen and bathroom sinks.
– It sounds obvious, but the only way to find possible leaks and damage is to have a clean and clear view of the area.
– Check for dampness, corrosion, and water stains– all of these can lead big problems. It’s better to stop a leak early than to wait until water is gushing out from under your sink.
– You may also want to deep clean your tub and shower area, as mold tends to grow on shower curtains, bathmats, and in cracks and crevices of the bath.
2. Clean your bathroom fans.
– This is a key way to battle mildew and mold growth. Fans should be cleaned every three – six months.
– We recommend keeping your fan on for an extra 30-minutes after a shower or bath, to suck out the excess moisture in the air.
3. Clean your air filters and HVAC ducts.
– Dust, debris, and mold can collect on the filters and in the HVAC units.
– Regularly check and change filters to avoid distributing dust and mold spores throughout your home- ick!
4. Clean your gutters.
– Gutters full of leaves and debris can pull away from your house, causing leaks, especially during spring showers and summer storms.
– If you find any suspicious spots (or mold) call an independent testing company to come check your house.
5. Test your water.
– Drinking and bathing in contaminated water can cause serious health problems.
– Municipal water systems are regulated by the EPA and tested by local government agencies.
– But, if your water comes from your own well, the CDC recommends you check once a year for: total coliform bacteria, VOCs, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH levels. In addition, every few years check for other contaminants, such as: lead, arsenic, E.coli, radon, nitrates, pesticides, and MtBE (a gasoline compound).
6. Dust and wash forgotten items.
– Over time, dust builds up on curtains, plants, electronics, and screens.
– Dust (or wash) these forgotten items to improve the indoor air quality of your home. Otherwise, when you open your window to the first spring breeze, you will have dust mites, skin cells, dirt, and other nasty microorganisms wafting through your home.
– Also be aware of moisture buildup and humidity in furniture and textiles, which can create mold. Find out more here including how to remove mold.
Spring weather means warmer, more humid conditions, which creates the perfect environment for mold to grow. Even if winter leaks have dried, once spring hits, mold can “wake up” and start wreaking havoc on your allergies and asthma! *Ah-choo*
Whatever the season, be aware of your home’s indoor air quality, and always get an independent testing company to test any suspicious spots or stains. Remember, when it doubt, have it checked out!