No matter how long the winter is, spring is sure to come!
After the wet and cold months in British Columbia, the warmer weather, bursting buds, and the beautiful song of birds early in the morning are welcome sights and sounds for everyone. They signal the start of spring. And what comes with spring? Spring cleaning!
If spring cleaning is an annual ritual in your home, you know that there is no greater satisfaction than putting your house back in order and eliminating clutter and allergens from your space.
However, for older adults, cleaning the house from top to bottom might become harder with each new spring. Body pains, mobility challenges, loss of energy and other health issues might deter them from cleaning and accomplishing tasks that used to be so easy to do.
The good news is… there are easier ways to do spring cleaning without back pain and less twisting / reaching needed.
1. Use extension tools to clean hard-to-reach areas
Older adults should avoid climbing ladders as this can lead to accidental falls. Good thing that there are innovative products available, such as this extension pole with cleaning tool set which allows people to reach high places without the need to stretch or climb onto surfaces.
In case you do not have an extension pole in your home, you can always use a good old mop or broom. (Awesome idea: Cover your broom brush with a cloth and then spray with your favorite cleaner to wipe your walls or baseboards.)
Having trouble bending down? Grabber tools and reachers are also available to help you pick up objects without the need to strain your back.
2. Use a lint roller to clean lampshades- and more!
Lint rollers are handy for cleaning items such as lampshades, drawers (with those hard-to-clean crevices), couch, chairs, drapes, or other objects with an odd shape- and they can easily pick up dust, pet hair, human hair, and small craft materials from surfaces.
Cleaning with lint rollers requires little effort and energy, so they are perfect for older adults who want to participate in spring cleaning.
3. Use gloves to get rid of pet hair
Apart from lint rollers, rubber gloves are also effective in picking up pet hair. Static is generated when you run your gloved hands over surfaces, causing pet hair to stick to the material. Rubber gloves are easy to wash with soap and water afterwards.
4. Use your dishwasher for items besides plates and kitchenware.
Do you know that you can clean plastic hair brushes, combs, and hair accessories in a dishwasher? This might sound gross, but you can even clean your gardening tools and shoes in a dishwasher (of course, put them in a separate load from your kitchenware).
Here are common household items that can get grimy and are actually dishwasher-safe:
Running a separate load for these items might cost you more in terms of water and electrical usage, compared to cleaning them manually. However, if you’ll be cleaning them once or twice a year only, consider this as an investment to ensure more thorough cleaning- with less effort required from you too!
5. Let the sun do its work
Where do you think UV air purifiers get their inspiration from? It’s none other than the sunlight, which is nature’s own disinfectant. UV rays from sunlight can eliminate molds, mildews, bacteria and even viruses.
Spring is when you can finally bring out your linens and let the soak in the power of sunlight.
Here are household items that can benefit from being aired out and exposed under the sun for a few hours:
6. Use vinegar to clean the kitchen (and other parts of your home)
Vinegar diluted in water is definitely a lifesaver- it can be used to clean and disinfect ‘almost everything’ in your kitchen (or other parts of your home), leaving surfaces squeaky clean and removing oil and stickiness.
It is very convenient for seniors especially, since it is all-natural and contains no chemicals that can be harmful to the lungs, skin and eyes. Plus, since it can be used to clean almost everything, it takes the guesswork out of which solution to use- which is a huge benefit for those whose memory might not be as sharp as before.
You don’t have to worry about the smell too- because the vinegar-y scent evaporates quickly.
Here are some of the things that you can clean with a 1:1 vinegar-water solution:
Bonus: Do you know that cleaning your washing machine with vinegar and baking soda will make it function like brand new again? Mold and mildew can thrive in your machine lid and door, due to the build-up from soiled clothes, detergent and hard-water minerals.
Running a complete cycle with vinegar and baking soda every six months (more often if you use your washing machine heavily) can help avoid any issues.
7. Sort and dispose
Before you start cleaning, it is best to eliminate the things that you no longer need, such as expired medicine and food items, worn and damaged floor rugs and linens, non-functioning electrical and battery-ran appliances, etc.
Remove all dead batteries and broken light bulbs and replace them with new ones.
Old clothing and items that are still usable but no longer needed by you may be donated to charities or thrift stores for reuse and recycling.
8. Organize items into bins and baskets
Make sure areas are clutter-free to make cleaning more efficient.
It’s a good idea to make use of bins and baskets to make moving of smaller items from one area to another easier, to remove clutter from surfaces and to make it simpler to remember where each item belongs. In addition, pinch grip strength may decline with age, so older adults may find it challenging to hold onto or move small objects around.
9. Make a checklist
Before you start with your spring cleaning, make a list of all tasks that need to be done.
Identify the cleaning sequence:
As you write down tasks, take note of ideas on how to make tasks easier to accomplish and what supplies / tools are needed, so you can put them on your shopping list.
From the list, identify the tasks that should be assigned to each person. Do not be afraid to admit that you can no longer do everything by yourself and to… (see next tip)
10. Ask for help
Tasks that are more physically taxing should be done by the caregiver or physically able family members.
If you opt to hire professional cleaners, services in Vancouver range from $100 to $500, depending on the type of cleaning that you want to get done.
Getting the answers to these questions can help you filter your cleaning provider options:
The Best Vancouver published a list of the 11 Best Cleaning Services in Vancouver.
BONUS: Evaluate your home for safety
Is your home optimized for safety?
Apart from general cleaning, spring is the perfect time to check and upgrade your home’s safety.
Include safety in your spring cleaning checklist:
Check out these home modifications that you can do to ensure safety in your home. (link to universal design article)
Incorporating the tips above can help ensure that you are able to accomplish your spring cleaning efficiently, completely, and most importantly- safely. Spring cleaning is a big job- but when you’re done, you can enjoy a cleaner and more comfortable home. You can turn it into a meaningful family activity too, as you work together towards a common goal.
Good luck and please share other house cleaning tips and hacks you may have in the comments below!
If you want to include home safety and accessibility modifications in your spring cleaning, our team at Home2stay would be happy to help. Give us a call at 604.259.1211 and let’s schedule your FREE ASSESSMENT.
We love making your space safer and more comfortable!