Cleaning to Prevent the Coronavirus

With many parts of the nation initiating localized lockdowns against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, many readers may be wondering what they can do to help the situation as they prepare to spend more time at home.

First, don’t panic. The “social distancing” measures advised are intended to slow the spread of the virus by decreasing person-to-person transmission — and the faster they are implemented, the less impact the virus can have on day-to-day activity.

Although you may be forced to reduce participation in group activities for a short period time, purchasing six months’ worth of toilet paper and other supplies will only make it more difficult for others to access the basics. Stores will restock!

If you and/or your children are forced to stay home due to a COVID-19 lockdown at work or school, make the most of that time and do a good #decluttering. Set items you no longer need or want items aside for a donation to ClothingDonations.org.

Decluttering is a good step toward a thorough deep-cleaning, but since scientists say COVID-19 can survive on certain surfaces for up to three days, you may wish to do some cleaning and disinfecting to prevent the virus from spreading or causing an infection.

You’ll want to clean and disinfect household surfaces that get touched regularly, including doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, door handles, toilets and sinks, The Seattle Times says. Use EPA-registered disinfectants or a bleach solution to kill the virus.

Also remember to practice good antiviral personal hygiene to protect your health. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face, WHO says. If you feel feverish, develop a dry cough or have difficulty breathing, seek medical help immediately.

Hopefully, these precautions will prevent COVID-19 from affecting you directly and spreading. Stay safe!

Six More Weeks of Winter for Decluttering

The sky was overcast as Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his Western Pennsylvania burrow early Saturday morning. He “told” his Inner Circle handlers that he hadn’t seen seen his shadow, and to expect an early spring.

But the world’s most famous marmot is notoriously inaccurate. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the woodchuck has zero predictive skill, and Phil’s track record has been equal to a coin toss — about 50/50 — for the last 10 years.

Whatever the groundhog says, no one north of the 35th parallel should be surprised to see wintry weather through mid-March at least. But having projects to do inside your own “burrow” while you hibernate will help make the next six weeks fly by.

This year — instead of just hoping for an early spring — make an early spring cleaning a reality. Start now by #decluttering, says The Simply Organized Home, because “There is no point in cleaning things that you don’t need, use or love.”

Put away or donate any winter-themed knickknacks and decorative items. With those out of the way and the junk you don’t want boxed and bagged for a #donation pickup from ClothingDonations.org, you can get to work on a deep-clean.

Start with the entryways, a checklist from Premeditated Leftovers says. Sweep, mop, and wipe down all surfaces. Empty the front closet to clean and store heavy sweaters and winter coats as the weather warms, or #donate them if they didn’t see any use over the winter.

Clean seldom-considered areas including as sliding door tracks, dryer vents, behind appliances, and the tops of baseboards and picture frames. Pressure-wash the patio and scrub your outdoor furniture and grill so you’re ready to enjoy warmer weather.

If you’re feeling ambitious (or empowered by your initial success), repeat the decluttering/deep-cleaning process in every room of the home, one by one. By the time temperatures reach the 60s and 70s again, your home will be streamlined and sanitized.

When you finally emerge from hibernation to see your shadow, you will no longer be encumbered by useless stuff and your home will feel fresh. And you’ll be ready to make the most of the spring and summer seasons.

Rainy Days Are a Natural for Spring Cleaning

Use rainy days to deep-clean your home this spring, Mom Intelligence says. Start with a top-down cleaning of the kitchen, starting with the tops of the cabinets and refrigerator to the floor, throwing out foodstuffs, spices and other items that are stale or unused. Don’t skip the oven, but wait until you can open a window if it is not a self-cleaning model. Next, use the top-down strategy for the living room and bedrooms, too: Sweep the cobwebs from the ceiling; dust the top sides of shelves, books and frames; and wash or vacuum the pillows, upholstery and floor. Finally, wash the windows; when the weather clears up, you can clean the other side and let the summer sun come streaming in.