Healthier spring cleaning

While you're doing your spring cleaning around the house, avoid using harsh chemical cleaners that can irritate your skin and even take your breath away. Try these healthier cleaning methods instead.

1. Go natural

Use natural cleaners that don't emit harmful fumes. The cleaners with strong fumes like Javex irritate the lining of the airtubes (bronchi). For people with asthma, the irritation caused by harsh chemical fumes can precipitate an attack.

2. Use VOC-free paints

When you're adding a fresh coat of colour, use VOC (Volatile Organic Compound)-free paint in your home to avoid headaches, and irritation of your throat and lungs. Long-term impact of paint fumes isn’t well understood, but there are concerns that some VOCs may be carcinogenic. Keep the windows open until the paint dries to vent fumes and take frequent breaks and get outside for some fresh air.

3. The kitchen sink

A lot goes into a kitchen sink: fruit, vegetables, meat, dishes and hands. Germs and bacteria will grow if you don't regularly clean and disinfect your sink. Use a mild detergent and non-abrasive cloth to clean your sink every day. Use undiluted vinegar to disinfect and rinse. Baking soda works well for stains.

4. Air quality

Check your basement for moisture after the winter thaw. Repair any leaks and dry the area with a dehumidifier to prevent growth of mould. Moulds in the home can also cause asthma in those who are allergic.