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4 Spring Cleaning Tips That Could Improve Your Health 

4 Spring Cleaning Tips That Could Improve Your Health 

A survey conducted by the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) revealed that 91% of Americans engage in spring cleaning activities yearly. That number increases to 96% for Millenials. 

Survey results show that the type of cleaning mostly consists of general surface-level cleaning in the house. In fact, only 26% of the participants say that they do a “deep cleaning” of the entire household, which includes floors, furniture, and surfaces. 

When asked the purpose of cleaning, an overwhelming majority of people said they simply want to thoroughly clean and get rid of clutter. 

Surprisingly, only 10% of Americans say they spring clean to get rid of asthma and allergy triggers.  This is extremely interesting considering that asthma affects more than 24 million people in the US and allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the US. To put a number to that statistic, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year! With numbers like these, one would expect the purpose of spring cleaning to focus more on preventing illnesses triggered by household allergens and toxins over anything else.

Which is why we recommend 4 potentially health saving, spring cleaning tips to add to your to-do list. These tips are so easy, that even the small percentage of “never cleaners” will be compelled to do something! 

1. Check the basement for moldy boxes 

Mold grows on organic materials. A question that is often asked is if mold can grow on cardboard. The answer is yes. 

Cardboard is absorptive and holds moisture. This creates a nice space for mold to grow. We do not recommend storing basement items in cardboard boxes for this reason. 

If mold is visibly growing on cardboard boxes, quickly identify the source of moisture. Is there a moisture problem in the house? A leaky pipe nearby? 

You can reduce the amount of items mold can grow on by storing your items in plastic bins or eco-friendly containers. 

2. Check the basement for old chemicals

We’ve seen this problem time and time again. New homeowners settle into a home and fail to inspect the basement for old chemicals that leak and seep into their living space. Or the opposite happens. After a DIY project, a homeowner improperly stores contaminates or doesn’t dispose of them properly.

Basements are a logical place to store leftover cans of paint, adhesives, and household chemicals that emit toxic substances into the air. These substances are called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and are health-threatening. Exposure to VOCs could cause a host of health issues ranging from headaches and allergies to more serious chronic, neurological issues. 

Because it is nearly impossible to fully re-seal cans containing chemicals, you could purchase household chemicals with low VOCs or dispose of the leftover cans after a project. 

Never pour chemicals down a drain. Instead, contact your local government to find out how to safely dispose of hazardous chemicals or contact a company that specializes in the removal of hazardous materials. 

3. Check on and around pipes in the basement

When you think of spring cleaning, you may not think about the term “oxidation.” But, you should, especially if your copper pipes turn green. 

Oxidation occurs when the copper is exposed to elements such as water and air. A thin layer of copper carbonate forms called a patina. This is precisely why the world famous Statue of Liberty appears to be green. Lady Liberty’s exterior is made from copper and the green color is the result of oxidation. 

Oxidation is not necessarily terrible for pipes (a patina may actually help create a more water-proof pipe), however, copper pipes that turn green could indicate that something isn’t right. For example, there could be small leaks in the pipes caused by water that isn’t ph balanced (typically well water has these issues). 

Another example of a pipe problem is when corrosion occurs in older pipes and small metallic particles scrape the inside of them. This can cause costly problems to the structure of the pipes, not to mention water damage to the surrounding area. 

While you’re checking pipes for leaks, look carefully to see if the pipes are sweating. There is a difference between leaky pipes and sweating pipes. Sweating pipes can cause water damage, increase the moisture levels in your home, and contribute to mold growth. 

Much like water condenses on the outside of a glass on a warm day, water accumulates on pipes. One reason is that cold water runs through pipes in a warm, humid area of your home. Check the relative humidity in your home or run a dehumidifier to lower moisture levels

4. Test the windows for lead paint to protect the soil 

No spring cleaning checklist should be completed without checking windows for lead-based paint first. This is particularly important for new homeowners or renters who reside in older homes. A very big mistake we see homeowners make is failing to test for lead paint, especially around windows. 

Consider this common scenario. People move into a new home and plant a garden near the house, garage, or shed. Without realizing it, they’ve planted their tomato plants close to windows that have been painted with lead based paint (applicable to homes built prior to 1979). Harmful lead dust and paint chips fall into their beautifully planted garden and harmful lead is ingested with a meal. 

We strongly recommend lead-based paint testing on painted windows and sheds in older homes, especially if peeling paint is obvious. And we do not recommend planting a vegetable garden near suspected lead paint. 

Re-think spring cleaning this year. Identify and get rid of potential hazards that could be lurking in your basement and around your home. Your health may depend on it.

For information about safe hazardous waste disposal or environmental testing, visit AMD Environmental at