By Rich Feczko, National Director at Compass Crothall
As the father of two teenage boys, ages 15 and 16, my house can take a beating. Whether it’s the kitchen floor, the living room carpet or the bathrooms, I’m often cleaning up a mess – or trying to prevent one.
Both boys play baseball and the youngest one plays basketball, too, so there is plenty of activity in the laundry room, bathroom and other areas of the house. Combined with regular foot traffic, holiday activities and other events, it needs a regular cleaning.
No matter how many people live in your home, or how often guests visit, everyone wants to provide a safe, clean environment. Here are some home cleaning tips that can also save some money on wear and tear and add value to your home:
Use ice cubes to remove gum and other sticky substances that can stain a carpet.
My years of experience in healthcare have taught me well. When the boys were toddlers, I recall using a product from an aerosol can to clean stains in hospitals. One day, the product was not available, so we improvised and used ice. That’s how long I’ve used ice to get rid of gum and other sticky substances. While often used to remove stains from clothes, Spray n’ Wash is another option for lighter carpet stains.
Welcome mats that can be washed and cleaned near all outside entrances.
A clean mat will significantly reduce the amount of debris tracked into the house, but I recommend cleaning them at least once a month to remove all of the dirt trapped inside. Without these mats, organisms attached to shoes will spread throughout the home. In addition, the mats will increase the durability of floors, carpets and other surfaces. To reduce the risk of germs further, I take my shoes off once inside the home – and encourage my boys to do so, too.
Use HEPA filters with vacuum cleaners and routinely change air furnace filters.
HEPA filters can trap airborne particles, such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites and tobacco smoke. I had asthma when I was younger, so I know what a difference these filters can make.
HEPA filters, which stands for high-efficiency particulate air, are required in vacuum cleaners we use to clean hospitals and other healthcare facilities. So, using them in your home vacuum cleaner will make the home cleaner.
I also recommend changing filters in furnaces and air conditioning units at least once a year. I change mine out twice a year, and the air is cleaner for it.
Routine restroom cleaning, with a particular emphasis on toilets, sinks and shower fixtures to reduce microorganisms/bacteria that are spread by hand.
Restrooms attract various pathogens that cause illnesses. Each week I thoroughly clean the bathtub, sink and toilets, and mop the bathroom floor. Every two or three weeks, I clean the shower head and the walls. And in the spring and the fall, I clean the cabinets and discard products that are old or outdated.
Just like our cleaning protocol in hospitals focuses on high touch points, do the same at home. In addition to the toilet seat and faucets, clean the base of the toilet. Without it, hard water stains can build up over time.
Hand washing is paramount when handling food.
I regularly preach the benefits of hand washing to my boys before they handle food. It’s the easiest way to avoid germs. I have pump bottles with antibacterial soap in all bathrooms, the kitchen and a utility room sink. I also keep Purell hand sanitizer in most rooms. It’s a bit of a shortcut, but for people with children always on the go, it provides one more option.
Finally, don’t allow old boxes, furniture and other items to clutter the house, especially in storage areas and the garage.
I try to clean my garage and other storage areas at least twice a year. At the very least, organize tools, ladders, garden equipment and lawn mowers to avoid tripping over any of these items. You also want to eliminate fire hazards, such as gasoline cans that can tip or be knocked over. If you’ve accumulated a lot of items over the years, considering buying a shed to store them.
To reduce hoarding, consider donating unused goods to Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, or another local nonprofit, or calling a company to come and pick them up. I recently moved to a new house and found a local company that came and got all of these items.
Finally, place decorations for Halloween, Christmas, Hanukkah and other seasonal celebrations and items in plastic bins or storage boxes and place in a safe place before it’s time to pull them out again. You’ll find it not only reduces the clutter around the house, but makes these events much less stressful.
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Crothall was the first in the industry to standardize the use of ultraviolet (UV) technology. Crothall quickly identified UV as an innovation to destroy microorganisms and fight HAIs.