Spring brings in a feeling of joy and newness that makes you want to throw open the windows and sing.
And, of course, with that feeling of newness comes the most important part of spring: cleaning. Well, maybe it's not the most important one, but it's definitely the most notorious.
The struggle is real: One must declutter, scrub and bleach everything in the house, all to achieve a gloriously clean home.
One thing you may not be considering, though, is that spring cleaning comes with a lot of hazards. The good news is most of these dangers can be avoided easily -- as long as you know what you're trying to avoid.
1. Large furniture and lifting
This is one of the most obvious dangers of spring cleaning, yet most of us simply ignore the threat.
Moving and lifting large furniture is among the most common causes of back injuries, either from poor lifting techniques or simply because the item you're trying to move is too heavy to be handled by one person.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends doing a couple of stretches before taking on the furniture.
Another danger of spring cleaning comes from ladders: Falling off a ladder while trying to clean the windows or the roof is more common than you may think.
In order to stay safe, your belly button should stay within the ladder's width -- otherwise, the risk of falling increases.
3. Wet floors
Wet floors are another danger of spring cleaning. According to slip and fall lawyers, the threat is very real, as one can suffer a number of severe injuries from falling, such as nerve damage, back/knee/neck damage, miscarriages and brain injury.
To avoid slips and falls, allow wet surfaces to dry off completely before walking on them.
4. Pests and their waste
There is no household without pests, even if you don't see them. From ants, cockroaches and mice to flies and spiders, there are bugs in every house.
Many of them cause allergies and aggravate asthma, which is annoying, but mice and their waste carry something more dangerous: hantavirus.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 25 percent of homes contain proteins found in mouse urine that can cause allergic reactions. But hantavirus causes Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, which is a potentially deadly disease.
This is why it's important to know how to get rid of mice as soon as you notice the signs they're lurking nearby. Meanwhile, always wear gloves, especially when you're cleaning areas with mouse waste.
Bleach is one of the most powerful cleaning agents, but it's also highly toxic. While scrubbing the floors and the tiles, you may inhale large amounts of bleach, which causes skin and eye irritation, chest pain and even asthma.
In the most severe cases, frequent exposure to bleach can lead to pneumonia. Bleach can become even more toxic when it's mixed with certain products, so the best thing is to avoid it completely and switch to natural cleaning agents, which can be just as powerful, but don't harm your health.
Formaldehyde and formalin are carcinogens and unfortunately, they're found in most cleaning products. Every time you're shopping for cleaning products, check the labels for one of these components and choose products that don't contain them.
Just like with bleach, you can replace the chemicals with natural products.
One of the best moments of spring cleaning is that amazing fresh smell of a clean house. That smell is partly fragrances, which can actually harm you. Unless the fragrances come from essential oils or flowers, they may cause allergies and aggravate asthma.
In fact, artificial fragrances are among the top allergens in the world and in severe cases, they can lead to skin irritation and respiratory distress.
To avoid these problems, choose fragrance-free products, make your own fragrances from essential oils and carrier oils or simply ventilate the house by opening the windows. Placing flower pots in the rooms is another good way to avoid dangers.
So! Now that you know all the hidden hazards of spring cleaning, you can get to work making your home a fabulous space. Or you can just skip the cleaning altogether and pour yourself some wine. Either one works.