There’s something incredibly cathartic about spring cleaning, isn’t there?
But what drives us to want to deep clean our homes once a year?
It’s gotta be the combination of a brand new season, with summer now right around the corner, and the promise of a fresh and sparkling home to enjoy after your hard work is done.
However, while spring cleaning can be incredibly therapeutic, it can also come with its own share of risks.
Many of us don’t think twice before embarking on a cleaning adventure. Instead, we just simply push up our sleeves and get right into it. But, whether you realize it or not, this could be an incredibly dangerous mistake.
If you’re wanting to give your home a nice, deep cleanse – but you don’t want to endanger yourself in the process – then it’s important to keep these five common mistakes in mind when tidying up.
1. Skipping Out on Protection
Does this scenario sound like you? You walk into your bathroom. You see an icky layer of soap scum in your shower and an ominous dark ring in the basin of your toilet.
You think to yourself, “Yeah, I’m just going to spritz that with a little bit of bleach, wipe it down, and I’ll be good to go.” You reach for the cleaning agents in your closet aaaaand… let’s go ahead and stop right there.
At what point during this inner monologue did you say to yourself, “Hm, I should also grab some heavy-duty gloves and an N-95 mask while I’m at it, too”? You didn’t, did you? Big mistake.
Just because these solvents are sold over the counter, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re entirely safe to use. If you get even a small droplet on your skin, or you inhale those fumes, you could be looking at a nasty chemical burn. (And yes, you can get them in your lungs, too.)
2. Lifting By Yourself
When you’re on a mission to scrub your home from top to bottom, you’re likely not going to want to leave any stone unturned. Or, in this case, any piece of furniture unturned.
Whether you want to sweep away those dust bunnies underneath your couch or you’re simply wanting to vacuum underneath your bed, moving your furniture out of the way is going to be the easiest way to accomplish this.
However, if you try to lift or move that furniture on your own, you could be looking at severe injury as a result of your hard work. Most people don’t know how to lift heavy objects correctly, and they try to lift with their backs instead of their legs.
Even if the item in question doesn’t initially seem too heavy, struggling with it by yourself is a one-way ticket to a back injury. Instead, don’t be afraid to ask for help moving things around.
3. Using Ladders Carelessly
You have a danger lurking in and around your home, and you may not even have realized it yet. Yes, we’re talking about your ladder here. Did you know that approximately three hundred people will die this year in a ladder-related accident?
And an additional 164,000 people will be sent to the emergency room after falling from one. These aren’t those massive, towering ladders, either.
Rather, most of these deaths and injuries are caused by a fall of fewer than ten feet. The bottom line here is that you really do not want to mess around and be careless with ladders.
From the ground, it might not look that far up. But from the peak, staring down at the ground below you, it’s a whole ‘nother ball game. If you’re going to use a ladder, use safe techniques… and it just might save your life.
4. Mixing Powerful Chemicals
There’s a common misconception that because household cleaners are sold one aisle over from laundry detergent at your favorite department store, they’re entirely safe to use.
While most of these products have been formulated to be as safe as possible for household use, that doesn’t mean they’re not without risk. Even some of the more harmless-seeming cleaning agents can be dangerous on their own.
But the moment you start mixing chemicals in your home like some frenzied, cleaning-driven mad scientist? You could also be brewing up a cocktail recipe for mustard gas.
Even if you don’t intentionally mix them, you could be inadvertently combining chemicals. For instance, if you start cleaning with ammonia then decide to tackle the same spot with bleach shortly after, the risk is still there.
5. Ignoring Your Mental Health
This may seem like a random addendum to a list about the dangers of spring cleaning, but it has merit – more than you might initially realize, in fact. There’s no denying the fact that cleaning can feel good.
It can feel quite incredible, even. Seeing your cluttered, messy home transform before your eyes can be described as nothing short of cathartic, and it’s going to make those reward centers in your brain go off like a fire alarm.
Nonetheless, you need to stop and ask yourself exactly why you want to clean. If it’s because you haven’t done it in a while and you want to freshen up your home, that’s a completely valid reason.
However, if your home is constantly messy and cluttered, or you feel an almost compulsive drive to clean it over and over again, it can hint at underlying mental health concerns.
Surprisingly, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can be one of the leading causes of either of these issues. “Packrat” tendencies, as well as the seemingly-irresistible urge to be constantly cleaning, can both be traced back to OCD.
While there could be other explanations for these behaviors, speaking to a mental health professional to determine a diagnosis – as well as turning to online counseling – can make a world of difference.
Ultimately, having a clean home can be such a rewarding experience. Whether you’re a tidy-up-as-you-go kind of person or you let things pile up before you start to tackle the mess, there’s no denying how wonderful it can feel to have a nice and organized home once more.
And just as long as you’re aware of these five risks, you can feel confident that your home will sparkle afterward – but without the danger of accidentally injuring yourself in the process!