Man cleaning home windows on ladder

Indoor & Outdoor Spring Cleaning Safety

In spring, the days get longer, the snow begins to melt, and we are welcomed with growing plants and blossoming flowers. It's also a great time to clean up the house to get it ready for the warmer weather. But spring cleaning presents safety challenges for both indoors and outdoors, and we wanted to share some tips that will help keep you safe, no matter what you're doing to prepare your house this spring.

 

Indoor Spring Cleaning Safety Tips
 

1. Declutter before cleaning

Over 50% of slip, trip, and fall incidents are caused by problems with the walking surface, according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI). Before you start cleaning, clear any clutter that you could trip over.

2. Go Mild

Limit the use of harsh cleaning or disinfectant products such as bleach and ammonia, and never mix the two – doing so can create toxic fumes. In addition, be careful of common household cleaners that claim to be safe or non-toxic. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), many products are mislabeled and may actually be harmful, especially to kids. Time Magazine has a list of some of EWG's worst offenders.

3. Read the Label

Each cleaning or disinfectant product should have a label describing proper use of it and safety precautions to follow during use. Take a minute to read the label and follow the instructions. The American Cleaning Institute has a great article on how to read a product label, breaking down the elements of the label and what the certification symbols mean.

4. Ventilation is your friend

When using cleaning or disinfectant products, open windows or a door, and run a fan to help improve indoor air quality.

5. Consider a mask

If you have allergies or breathing issues, wear a mask to prevent allergic reactions and irritation. Fortunately, most of us have plenty of masks lying around the house now.

6. Glove up

It’s a good idea to wear rubber gloves when using some household cleaners. The gloves can help prevent reactions (e.g., rashes, skin redness) from exposure.

7. Get a mop

When you’re cleaning floors, avoid working on your hands and knees, which could cause sprains and strains. Use a mop instead, including when you’re cleaning a bathtub. Make sure to wring the mop before use. It'll work better and leave only a thin layer of water that will dry more easily.

8. Avoid wet floors

Wet floors are a danger zone for slips and falls. Allow freshly cleaned floors to dry before walking on them. Using a dry mop on wet or damp floors can help speed up the drying process.

9. Safely store cleaning products

The American Cleaning Institute, recommends these three tips to safely store products:

  • Store household products out of children's reach and sight
  • Keep cleaning products in their original containers and read product labels
  • Save the Poison Help number in your phone and post it visibly at home (1-800-222-1222)

10. Stay safe on step stools

Always place a step stool on a level surface before using, and choose one with a handle or railing so you can maintain three points of contact (two feet and one hand) for optimal safety. One hand can be free for cleaning tasks. Make sure the stool’s steps are large enough to properly fit your feet, and face the stool when climbing up or down. Set up the stool close to where you’re cleaning, and never attempt to move it while standing on it.

11. Lift with caution

When lifting or moving furniture and other heavy objects, ask for help. Bend with your knees – not your back – and use your leg muscles to avoid a back injury.

12. Stay hydrated

Spring cleaning is great exercise, so drink plenty of water and take rest breaks. A lack of water can lead to dehydration, which can cause a number of issues, including headaches and vertigo.

Indoor spring cleaning safety tips provided by Family Health & Safety

 

Outdoor Spring Cleaning Safety Tips
 

1. Dress for yard cleaning

  • Wear protective footwear — Wear shoes or boots, not sandals, to protect your toes.
  • Wear properly fitting gloves — Improves your grip on tools and also help keeps skin safe from blisters, sunburn, bug bites, poisonous plants and chemicals.
  • Wear hearing protection when using loud equipment — Keep your ears safe from damage.
  • Wear safety glasses — Keep flying objects out of your eyes.
  • Apply bug spray — Keep pests away. Shower after use to remove the chemicals from your skin. And while you’re at it, take a minute to look for ticks. If you find one, gently pull it out with tweezers.
  • Apply sunscreen or skin products with SPF — Prevent exposed skin from harmful sun's rays. Don’t be fooled by cloudy days; you can still get a sunburn.

2. Work smart

  • Stretch your body — Take time to stretch and warm up before the work begins. Weeding, trimming and raking are repetitive motions. Change your posture or stance every few minutes and switch activities every 30 minutes.
  • Lift things carefully and safely — Lift properly by bending at the knees and hips and using leg power rather than bending at the waist and putting the strain on your back. Instead of carrying heavy or unwieldy loads, employ a cart or wheelbarrow.
  • Drink water and take breaks in the shade — Even if it’s not hot or humid, yard work is exercise, and staying hydrated is important to avoid heat related illness.
  • Don’t use power tools under the influence. The same rules that apply to vehicles apply to power tools, including lawn mowers. Say no to distractions and anything that might cloud judgment.

3. Ready the tools

  • Familiarize yourself with power tools and how they work — Read owner’s manuals (many are available online) and know about various switches, modes and required maintenance.
  • Check cords on tools and extension cords. Look for cuts, cracks and frayed wires and do not use them if damaged. Also check the label to make sure you don’t use an indoor extension cord outside.
  • Make sure tools are in the “off” position before plugging them in or unplugging.
  • Use ladders safely — Set ladders on a firm, level surface; never stand on one of the top three rungs; and use a utility belt to hold tools so you can properly climb facing the ladder.
  • Call 811 before you dig. This notifies local utilities to check your property before you plant a tree, dig a trench or set fence posts.

4. Protect loved ones

  • Watch out for children and pets — Be sure children and pets are inside (or well supervised if out) while you work.
  • Securely store tools and equipment. Store sharp tools, weed killer, fertilizer and other dangerous items in a locked cabinet out of reach of curious hands and mouths.
  • Educate and supervise kids with equipment — Before allowing any child to operate a mower, sound judgment, strength, coordination and maturity are necessary. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should have these characteristics and be at least 12 years old before operating any type of mower — and at least 16 years old to operate a riding mower.

Outdoor spring cleaning safety tips provided by StateFarm.

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