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Spring cleaning safety

April 6, 2016
Before you begin your spring cleaning, make sure you understand the risks and how to stay safe.

Winter seems to be gone for good, which means many homeowners are preparing for spring cleaning. Before hauling out that dusty ladder, there are some important safety measures to keep in mind.

Spring cleaning may seem like a low risk activity, but it actually involves many hazards. From the toxins in cleaning products to the physical demands placed on your body, spring cleaning can bring serious injury to anyone who does not know what they're doing. It doesn't have to be a high-risk operation, though. As long as you know what to do, spring cleaning can be a fun, exciting and refreshing way to start the season.

"Never mix any cleaning products together.”

Working with the cleaning products

According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, there are distinct differences between cleaning products labeled “natural" and those labeled “non-toxic.” Natural cleaners can still be poisonous if ingested, so it is always best to use non-toxic ones, especially if any children, pets or seniors with memory problems spend time in your home. No matter what type of products you use, however, it is always best to store them in an area these individuals and animals cannot access. For added protection, purchase bottles with safety caps.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said to be aware that chemicals in products like oven cleaners, toilet cleaners, rust removers and drain openers can cause skin burns. When using any of these, take extra measures to prevent them from coming into contact with your skin.

In addition, never mix any cleaning products together. Doing so could create gases that impair your health. UPMC said sometimes mixing can even cause an explosion.

While working with any cleaners or chemicals, make sure to open the windows and turn on fans to help circulate fresh air into your home.

Protecting yourself from injury

It can be easy to forget that spring cleaning involves a significant amount of physical activity. It's a real workout, so take the same steps to protect your body that you would if you were spending time at the gym.

Everyday Health suggested taking a walk and stretching to warm up, staying hydrated and taking regular breaks. When doing heavy lifting, make sure you enlist the help of others. In addition, activities like vacuuming and standing on a ladder can strain your neck and spine if done incorrectly. When on a ladder, make sure you're at the same level with whatever you're cleaning to avoid having to reach. When vacuuming, hold onto the vacuum with both hands and keep the hose at your waist. Avoid short pushes and pulls and instead push the vacuum across an entire room.

Sprucing up your auto and home insurance

You're already in refreshment mode, so why not take some time to review your auto and home insurance policies and make sure you are getting the coverage you need? The Insurance Information Institute said spring is a great time to check your policies to make sure you have enough liability coverage, to find out if your car still needs comprehensive coverage and to make sure your home has enough coverage to be fully rebuilt (it may not if you have recently renovated or added on) and also has enough coverage for any new possessions you have purchased.