Spring Clean (continued)Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013
Finally, our long awaited Spring has arrived and has given us our first sunny weekend. The sun reflects on our pale faces and this time hopefully it will stay longer than just an afternoon. The buds on trees in London parks are blooming, and all the different colours of Spring increase our feelings of warmth. We take off our coats, sit outside in cafés and open our windows at home. This time we open them not only for a quick morning exchange of slightly stale-smelling bedrooms for fresh (yet very cold) air; we actually leave the windows open. Opening them in Spring brings in pleasant, fresh air amid the sound of chirping birds, as well as the less savoury realities of Spring – dust and pollen. Add to that the moulting of pets.
Let’s begin with windows. We discussed how to easily clean windows in last month’s article and all that remains to be said is how to lubricate the mechanisms of our windows. If you’re the owner of old Victorian-type sliding windows based on wood and rope, you’re probably fine. The problem might occur with those new European style windows of wood or plastic. The metal mechanisms windows might have lost their ease of use over a cold and dry winter and need to be lubricated. We highly recommend not using oil on those parts, because it absorbs dust and sooner or later the oiled parts will become dirty and the levers lose their function. Also, some oils may stain the wood or plastic and it’s very difficult to clean them. More suitable are lithium-grease based or bicycle chain lubricants sold in sprays. After applying the lubricant, open and close the window a few times to spread the lubricant thoroughly. Don’t forget to clean excessive grease off the metal parts with a clean and dry disposable cloth.
Now your windows are ready to leave open and allow Spring into your home, including those lovely smelling pollens that may be difficult to deal with. If you’re not allergic to pollen, freshly cut grass or dust, sit back and enjoy. Your home will need nothing more than maintenance as usual. A bit more amount of dust comes in through open windows and garden doors, but no more than your vacuum can deal with every week.
This may not apply if there’s a maple tree near your home, even if you’re not allergic to it. Most maples bloom between March and May, their pollen colour is variable from bright yellow through green to brown. Willow, cherry and pear trees may be as problematic as maple. Pollen is very important for trees’ reproduction, as well as maintaining the decreasing bee population due to environmental pollution. As much as the colourful pollen is vital for bees and trees, it’s generally unpleasant for us. Pollen flying around our home may leave stains on white sheets, chairs, sofas and couches, especially if they’re made of suede. It’s wise to use window screen-mesh, preventing both insects and pollen. It’s far easier to clean the mesh at the end of the season, than cleaning furniture and sheets all the time. It’s also an elegant solution for those who are allergic to Spring blossoms.
If you are extremely allergic and you suffer eye irritation, runny-nose or cough, dust and vacuum your house far more regularly. If you choose to do it yourself, consider wearing a hygienic face mask, because cleaning generally churns up the dust and pollen and it may temporarily worsen allergic reaction in your system. Don’t forget to put your vacuum cleaner out of the way after you finish cleaning or dispose of an even partially filled bag, because allergens remain inside and if disturbed, it may again cause problems. Most heavily allergic people clean (or have their home cleaned) 2 or 3 times a week during the Spring.
Another unpleasant, yet natural aspect of the season is pet hair. Cats and dogs tend to moult every Spring and Autumn because they replace their fur with every seasonal change. We understand it’s nearly impossible to keep pets off the couch (and sometimes beds), because you love them and they’re important members of the family. What you can do to keep your home clean is comb and brush your pet’s fur far more often than normal. Ideally, make it part of your everyday play with the pet, because the more hair on your comb, brush or a microfiber glove, the less will adhere to chairs, couches and beds. Some hair will always accumulate anyway and the best way to remove it from furniture is with a clean and slightly wet hand, latex glove, squeezed-dry sponge, duct-tape, or microfiber glove.
Spring is the season when most wild animals reproduce, which means you may also see problems with insects like ants and clothing moths that love eating things inside your house. If you see an occasional ant in the house, there’s no need to panic. It’s probably only exploring the world. However if you see ants creating little trails under your door, across windows or in the cracks in your wall, they’ve probably already found their way to your food storage and won’t stop until they find a better source in a neighbouring house. If you don’t choose to kill ants with insecticides or regular all-purpose cleaners, you can stop them by fixing the cracks, putting baby-talc in their path, draw a line with a chalk in the areas where they enter your home, or use kitchen-seasoning like chili peppers, cinnamon sticks or bay leaves. Seasoning, arranged on a little flat tray may also be a nice decoration of your kitchen.
There are similar ways to rid yourself of moths with seasoning and herbs, but it takes a lot more work to determine if they’ve chosen to live in your wardrobe or not. As we wrote last month, part of Spring cleaning should include cleaning wardrobes and closets. If you go through your clothes separately, try them on and decide whether to wear them again or not, you’ll most likely find out if there are moths in your clothes. Moth larvae lives off fur, fleece, cotton, linen, wool and all other natural fabrics. If you find a flying moth in your wardrobe, it means there are larvae somewhere in your clothes. Since it is difficult to determine visually, take all the clothes made of natural fabrics and wash or dry-clean them.
If this is impractical, as with fur coats for instance, zip them into a plastic bag, put into the freezer for several days and then vacuum thoroughly. It also helps to clean your wardrobe or closet with warm water and detergent. In order to deter moths in the future, hang a bag with dried lavender, mint, clove or rosemary in your closet, or use cedar wood or chips. Of course there are chemical products available in drugstores, if you’re not into natural products. Regarding moths, remember to vacuum every part of your carpets, even in rooms you do not use, because clothing moths breed in some natural fibre carpets as well.
Remember cleanliness keeps diseases at bay and makes you feel really good. If this article led you to think there’s too much work, let others do the job for you and call A.G. Cleaning services.
Next month we’ll discuss what you can do to refresh your home’s appearance, how to stay neat during wall panting and reconstruction and what methods are best and most convenient for cleaning barbecue equipment.