Spring is Here! So, what’s the big deal with Spring?

spring cleaning

Ever heard of Spring cleaning? Yeah, I wished I never had, either. But it’s that time.

allergiespicSo, how you gonna do that cleaning? Got allergies? I strongly suggest you give that some serious thought. So many people do that dusting by taking a big old broom or nasty old feather-duster and start moving that pile of dust off the dresser. I know, you thought a woolly mammoth took occupancy right there on your favorite part of the dresser. You could just take a snow shovel (or that big multi-colored feather duster) and push it off the end of the dresser. It’s only 42” to the floor, and after all, you were going to get around to running that vacuum sooner or later. NOOO!

The scientific principle you need to think about is aerosolization. To aerosolize means to disperse or discharge as an aerosol. Useful in some things, but NOT in dust which contains many allergens, substances that induce allergies. Some of these highly allergic substances found in dust are pollen, pet dander, grasses, and, yes, dust itself. So many people have allergies to these substances and when they see them in the air, run and hide. What they don’t see will not hurt them? NOOO!

We are not into brand names here, but… Consider those electrostatic or “magnetic” cleaning clothes that are the rage today. The most famous are Swiffer® dry wipes. Many come on a handle for dusting. You can even do the floors. Whatever you do, DO NOT use a feather duster – all that does is aerosolize the dust and allergens allowing them to fall right back down to the closest horizontal surface, whether it’s the floor or the furniture it originally came off.

Did I mention VACUUM CLEANERS? Talk about picking up dust and aerosolizing it. There’s suction under that thing and usually a brush rolling around at ninety miles an hour. Talk about the fast and the furious! So all that stuff gets picked up and the bigger stuff – little kids and baseballs – get deposited in the bag. But what about all that dust, molds and other harmful particles that you can’t see. Achooo! Oops, excuse me, all that stuff makes me sneeze!

vaccumepicSo what’s a spring home cleaner to do? Use a broom and dustpan? No, that’s worse. Make sure that your vacuum has a good HEPA filter or HEPA bag. True HEPA means that it removes 99.97% of particles at least 0.3 microns in size. So how big is that? A single strand of spider web silk is 3 – 8 microns. A single human hair is 50 – 90 microns. Can we agree that if the filter is true HEPA, it stops a lot of tiny stuff? And the stuff bigger than that, too!

OK, so the real truth is that most vacuums are NOT true HEPA. Read the fine print and may say “HEPA-type”, “HEPA-like”, or “99% HEPA” somewhere. So is that a big deal? Not really. The fact remains that the vacuum manufacturer is attempting to arrest some of that stuff you picked up from the floor three months ago.

hepapicSo, here are some important things to remember when spring cleaning and anytime cleaning:

  • Don’t just push the dust off a surface; capture it – don’t let it fall to the floor or wherever.
  • When you capture dust (with all those allergens) don’t just shake all that stuff off, either throw out the dust rag, or wash it out.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner instead of a broom, it keeps down the aerosolized dust.
  • If you are going to use a vacuum cleaner, be sure it says “HEPA” on it somewhere. Look more carefully when you buy a new one.
  • Before you use that vacuum – clean it up, empty the collection bin or replace the bag. If it’s a HEPA, it may have a filter that should be replaced. Many filters can be cleaned.
  • Always remember that the vacuum spreads more dust that you can’t see than any other household activity.

Having a hard time pin-pointing where your indoor allergens are originating, call us for an appointment. Alpha Environmental at 813-961-6653 or 727-331-6653.

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