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A New Approach to the Spring Cleaning Checklist

Make the most of the new season and recommit to home health and wellness this year.

A Full Home Scrubdown

Did you spend a little too much time at home this winter? We did too—its made us all more intimate with how our homes need sprucing up, and not just decor-wise. A clean home lays the groundwork for better health, and that means that spring cleaning is more important now than ever. Whether you've got allergen-sensitive family members, a home with young kids, or pets (and everything they entail), we could all use a deep cleaning.
Scrubbing down your entire house (in one season) can seem like a massive task. Instead, look at spring cleaning as a multi-phase project, and lose any notion of achieving a "100% clean" space. Instead, make strides toward a more sanitary home wherever you can, and invest in products that will make a healthier lifestyle achievable in the long term. Our home experts delve into some of the little steps you can take to make your spring cleaning session healthier and more effective than ever before. Check a few tasks off our checklist below.
Spring Cleaning on Sign

1. Flex Your Dishwashing Muscles and Sanitize

While dishwashers are made for, well, washing dishes, these powerful cleaners have become incredibly multitalented in recent years. Even if your dishwasher can't clean that soft plastic lid from your new coffee traveling cup, it can kill bacteria on all kinds of other household gear. We'll include the caveat that you should always check anything you load into the dishwasher to ensure it's dishwasher safe. Your dishwasher can kill stubborn bacteria on things like:
  • Microwave turntables
  • Refrigerator shelves and bins
  • Scrubbers and sponges (not steel wool)
  • Vases and light fixtures (glass or plastic)
  • Plastic switch plates
  • Rubber pet or bath mats
  • Brushes and combs (no wooden handles or natural bristles)
  • Bath toys
  • Pacifiers and teething rings
  • Pet toys (Plastic or rubber)
  • Pet food and water bowls
  • Pet leashes and collars (non-leather)
  • Grill or oven grates
  • Tools like screwdrivers, hammers, and pliers
  • Appliance knobs
  • Toothbrushes and soap dishes
While any dishwasher can "clean", if you really want to remove as much bacteria as possible, look for a device with a "sanitize" function, like the Bosch 24" 300 Series SHSM63W55N. The Bosch 300 Series device kills 99.99% of bacteria with its sanitize option, which meets the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standards of cleanliness. Use the sanitize option on things you come in contact with on the regular, and double-check to make sure it won't melt in high-heat drying functions.
Cleaning the dishwasher with Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner after you've finished a load of household gear will help keep your appliance cleaner in the long run. These tablets eliminate mineral buildup and reduce odor, ensuring your next group of post-dinner dishes will come out clean and fresh.

2. Wash More than Clothing

The same goes for washing machines. Use yours in creative new ways to get rid of bacteria in places you don't normally clean (or even think of). Just like with regular clothing, remember to put delicate things in mesh bags, or to toss in a towel or two to help cushion what you're washing. When in doubt, use the gentle cycle and cool water to prevent your things from being damaged. Set your clothes aside for a load and toss the following household items in your washer to rid yourself of unsightly grime:
  • Shower curtains (and their liners)
  • Curtains
  • Small rugs
  • Fabric car mats
  • Outdoor chair cushions and cushion liners
  • Hair ties and scrunchies
  • Baseball hats
  • Yoga mats (gentle cycle, air dry)
  • Stuffed animals
  • Canvas sneakers (in a mesh bag)
  • Grocery totes
  • Pet leashes, harnesses, and collars (nonleather)
  • Pet beds
If your washables are visibly dirty before you throw them in the washer, make sure you pre-wash by spraying them with household cleaners or even the outdoor garden hose. To ensure an even stronger clean, invest in a washer like the LG WM4000HWA. This front-load washer is AAFA certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and strips 95% of all dust and pet dander from its Allergiene Cycle. Longtime sufferers from seasonal allergens will thank you.
After you've finished cleaning your sneakers and pet leashes, don't forget to clean that washer before you start washing clothes again. Cleanse the machine with soap and hot water, or opt for a device like the Samsung WF45R6300AC that has its own self-cleaning function. The Samsung's Self Clean+ cycle destroys 99% of bacteria that can form in the machine.* The device automatically notifies you every forty wash cycles when it's time for deep cleaning.
*Based on testing by Intertek of the Self Clean+ cycle on the WF6000R.
Person doing laundry

3. More than Hot Air: Dryers

Your warm and toasty dryer can actually do more to kill bacteria than a wash cycle can. A full 30-minute drying cycle on hot will kill most household germs that cling to clothing and fabric. It's not the tumbling that destroys any harmful microorganisms, it's the heat. That's why you should always wash your clothes on as high a cycle as possible without damaging them.
It's a good idea to sort clothing and fabric into loads with similar items when both washing and drying. That way, you can apply higher heat and higher drying temperatures to gear with more germs like underwear, wet towels, and gym clothes.
For even stronger germ-killing power, look for a dryer with a dedicated sanitize function. The Samsung DVG45R6300C has a high-temperature Steam Sanitize+ cycle that destroys over 99.9% of bacteria along with 100% of dust mites and 95% of pollen.* The steam penetrates deep into your fabrics, keeping clothing clean while refreshing and disinfecting.
*Based on internal testing and independently verified by Intertek. Individual results may vary.

4. Get Creative with Garment Steaming

Not everyone is familiar with these old-fashioned steamers, but they're a worthy investment into better-looking clothes and a higher quality of clean in your household. Designed primarily for ironing and steaming clothes, these steamers can get to high temperatures a normal washing machine might not achieve on its own.
Steamers like the Laurastar Lift attack germs that resist 100°F temperatures in the wash, powering through dust, allergens, and remaining bacteria. Push high-heat steam through garments for a fresh look and wrinkle-free style, or use it around the house to get a leg up on spring cleaning. Sofa upholstery, drapes, carpets, and even mattresses can benefit from a deep-cleaning session with a garment steamer.
Pro tip: don't use your steamer on anything labeled "dry clean only", and always read the care tag on what you're about to steam (whether it's a reclining chair or a carpet.
Person using Air Purifier

5. Breathe Easier with an Air Purifier

Between scrubbing floors, shaking out sheets and cleaning out pet gear, you can kick up a lot of allergens and dust. If you have allergies, this sort of shakeup might sideline you from spring cleaning with an allergy attack. And even if you don't have allergies, you'll still be sending germs and irritants swirling throughout your home. The solution? A powerful air purifier with a HEPA filter.
HEPA stands for "high-efficiency particulate air", and multi-layered air filters only achieve this designation if they can trap 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns or larger. Remove unwelcome guests like pollen, dust, pet dander, smoke, germs, bacteria, viruses, odors, fungus, and mold from your home with a HEPA filter device.
Look for models like the Dyson HP04 Pure Hot+Cool Purifying Heater that detect airborne particles and rotate to capture them. With voice control and connection via the Dyson Link App, this air purifier helps you keep an eye on what you can't see when it comes to air filtration.
Meanwhile, a device like the economical Blueair Blue Pure 411 doesn't sacrifice performance for price. Their own three-level filtration system filters pet hair, dust, and small particles out in different stages. This multi-level approach helps to extend the lifetime of the innermost primary filter. An activated charcoal layer helps to keep light odor from recirculating, while dust and allergens are caught by the main particle filter.
No matter what air purifier you own or buy, make sure it's the correct one for your space. First, check the square footage of the room(s) you need to cover against what the device is rated for. A 100 sq. ft. device won't be able to clean a large home all on its own. It's always a good idea to have an extra filter or two on hand as well.

6. Higher Standards of Clean: Steam Cleaners

Even if you're able to pull allergens, dust, and bacteria from the air, those little particles can hide deep down in your home's carpet and rugs. They're even re-released when you or the kids walk, sit, or exercise on the ground. A steam cleaner can help you get to the root of the problem, deep-cleaning the fibers of your carpet and pulling pollutants from the fabric. Regular steam cleaning can help contribute to a healthier home.
Instead of renting a steam cleaner dozens of other people have used, pick out your own device like the Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Carpet Cleaner. This 2-in-1 steam cleaner vacuums floors and cleans upholstery with help from a handheld attachment. Use hot water and Bissel's dedicated cleaning formula to vaporize bacteria on carpets, rugs, fabric couches, and chairs. This version specializes in pet stains and messes too, pulling up pet hair and eliminating messes set deep into the fabric with Deep Clean Mode.
Person with dog next to robotic vacuum

7. Spotless Floors with Vacuums and Mops

Steam cleaners can't clean everywhere, though, and are too labor-intensive to use very often. Instead, eliminate dust and dirt from your home by vacuuming at a minimum of once per week. The vacuum has been a beloved household cleaner for over 100 years, and makes it easy to keep germs on the run with a tight cleaning schedule.
However, using a vacuum cleaner at least once a week can seem like a daunting task in a mid-size or large house with kids and pets. If you can keep to your once-a-week schedule with a classic upright or canister vacuum, you'll be able to put that personal touch on high-traffic areas and your home will thank you. But if your schedule is a bit busier and you need some help, your home could benefit from a little automation from iRobot's Roomba i7.
The fan-favorite Roomba has been on the market for some time, but its newest incarnation is designed to make spring cleaning easier and smarter. Designed specifically for homes with pets, the Roomba's 3-stage cleaning system prioritizes removing dirt and pet hair using its triple-stage filtration system. Allergens and dust are swept inside as the Roomba maps your house. And you won't have to worry about your vacuum bumping into tots or knocking over water; set a "Keep Out" zone in kids' spaces or near pet bowls once and your Roomba will never go near it. When it's finished cleaning, the Roomba returns to its stand to empty on its own.
The robot vacuum's partner in crime is the iRobot Braava mop, designed to sanitize wood and tile floors with little to no supervision. With wet, damp, and dry cleaning modes, you can tailor the Braava to meet the task at hand. This mop loosens dirt and stains with its precision jet spray, then continues cleaning the home in a triple pass cleaning pattern, the way a real person would. Whether you're using an old-fashioned mop or an automated one, you should mop at least once a week. Between weekly vacuuming and mopping sessions, your floors will be visibly cleaner and more pristine (even if a robot doesn't do it for you).
Phone on top of mophie UV Sanitizer

8. An Everyday Commitment: Phone and Tablet Disinfection

Even if your floors, clothes, and air are clean, there's one item that almost everyone keeps with them constantly (and should be sanitized way more than it is). Smartphones come along with us everywhere, from kitchen countertops to backyard patio tables to back pockets to bathrooms. And since we're always scrolling, it can be easy to forget that phone screens can harbor bacteria like Streptococcus and E. coli. Health experts recommend you clean your phone at least once a day.
Instead of potentially damaging your phone with water or other cleaning sprays every day, look for devices that clean with UV rays. The Mophie UV Sanitizer* and PhoneSoap HomeSoap Electronics Sanitizer** both "scrub" down any non-porous items that fit inside with UV sanitizing rays that kill 99% or more of surface bacteria. There's no heat involved, and no elbow grease either. If you'd rather take a lower-maintenance approach, an isopropyl alcohol wipe once a day will help kill bacteria, too.
*Mophie UV Sanitizer tested by 3rd party to ISO standards to kill up to 99.9% of Staph and E. Coli bacteria after five-minute sanitation cycle using a new UV Sanitizer.
**PhoneSoap 3 Laboratory Results. Testing was conducted in a laboratory setting on actual phones, Apple watch, headphones, credit cards and keys with the pathogens: Escherichia coli (E. Coli), Salmonella typhimurium (Salmonella), Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Influenza A H1N1 (Flu) Rhinovirus (common cold). Real-world results may vary depending on the size, shape, and material of the phone or phone case.

9. Protect your Sleep with a Mattress Protector

We spend nearly a third of our lifetimes in bed, and a good night's rest fuels us for the day ahead. That's why good sleep hygiene is more crucial to a healthy lifestyle than you may think. The mattress you sleep on, how often you change your sheets, and cleaning your bedroom regularly can all have a positive effect on your health.
It all starts with the quality of your mattress. Whether you sleep on a foam mattress or an innerspring foundation (or a hybrid mix of both), make sure it's keeping you healthy as can be with help from a mattress protector like the Protect-A-Bed Waterproof Mattress Pad. The botanical Tencel fabric helps lock out dust mites, allergens, sweat, liquids, and body odor. This bed protector is considered a Class 1 medical device by the FDA. Machine wash warm and tumble dry medium to keep your bedding fresh and clean.
No matter which sheets, pillows, and pillowcases you use for your bed, make sure to wash them regularly—at least once a week. If you have allergies or asthma, or let your furry friends climb in bed with you every night, consider washing them more frequently.

A Long-Term Change

Recommit to better health by investing extra effort into this season's spring cleaning. Instead of a weekend-long vacuum session and rush to fit everything in the washing machine, take a tactical approach to accomplishing your goals. Make a list of what you'd like you'd accomplish, along with a schedule for everyone in your household. Set time aside on weekends and after work to dedicate to your fix-up operation.
Better long-term cleaning solutions can lead to improved health and a cleaner living space, as well as an increase in home value. A little investment in effort, hours, and money will pay back over time. If you've got any questions about your spring cleaning plan this year, give us a call at 800-860-3577. Our experts can connect you with the proper products to help fend off allergens, dust, dirt, and other home invaders.

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