During the long winter, buildings are buttoned up tight against the cold air. Unfortunately, a sealed building does more than keep the cold out. It also keeps pollutants in, allowing dust and allergens to accumulate in the environment, often in areas just out of sight. This is why, according to the EPA, indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air.
With the arrival of spring, maintenance programs have the opportunity to start fresh. During the annual project cleaning spree that is spring cleaning, they can remove dust from every area of a building, improving indoor air quality at the same time. To make that happen, supervisors must sit down and create a comprehensive spring-cleaning plan. Without a plan, areas will get missed – probably the same areas that were missed last year. Places that are never cleaned become a haven for dust and pollutants, harming the air quality of the building as a whole.
As you create your spring-cleaning plan, make sure you include these 10 commonly neglected areas.
1. Real or Fake Plants
The leaves of indoor plants can harbor an amazing amount of dust. There are several ways to clean real plants, but the most practical is just wiping down the leaves with a damp cloth. You can also spray down the leaves in a sink or shower. Never use an oil-based product to make plant leaves shine, as it will block the plant’s pores, interfering with its ability to breathe. Silk plants can be dusted with a dry cloth, or you can take them outside and blow the dust off with a hairdryer on the cool setting.
Remove dust from real and fake houseplants.
For routine cleaning, lampshades can be vacuumed or wiped with a dry cloth. Once a year, however, it’s important to address dust that becomes embedded in the fabric with a few gentle dunks in warm water mixed with a mild detergent. If the lampshade appears to be glued together instead of sewn together, skip the dunking. Instead, mix a 1:4 ratio of water and dish washing liquid with an eggbeater until foam forms. Apply the foam to the lampshade and gently wipe it off.
Routinely, cleaners should vacuum the tops and spines of books along with the exposed edge of the bookshelf. Annually, the books should come off the shelves, so the shelves can be fully dusted and spot cleaned in areas with stubborn soils. Then shake out the pages of each book, dust the book, and return it to the shelf.
Remove books from shelves for thorough cleaning annually.
4. Coat racks
We rarely think about coat ranks becoming damp, but they often do. Wet weather leads to wet coats, which leads to dust and fuzz sticking onto the damp surface of the coat rack. This spring, give coat ranks a much needed once over with a damp dusting cloth and a protective polish.
5. Framed Art and Pictures
Once a year, framed art and pictures need more than just dusting. Use a damp dusting cloth to remove stubborn dust. Then clean the glass with your usual glass cleaner and apply polish to the frame. This will make the wood shine and the artwork pop.
6. Exhaust Fans
For routine cleaning, a quick vacuuming will often do the trick. For project cleaning, exhaust fans and their filters should be cleaned more thoroughly. Exhaust fans vary greatly based on type and location, so follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on cleaning. Just remember, a dirty exhaust fan is not able to do its job as effectively, leading to less ventilation and poorer indoor air quality.
7. Architectural Details
Crown moldings, coffered ceilings, and other architectural details add luxury and visual interest to a space, that is, until they get dirty. To clean these high areas, you need extension poles, a ladder, or a hydraulic lift. Train your staff in best practices for safety and cleanliness before assigning them to dust or vacuum high architectural details.
Don’t forget about architectural details.
8. Undersides of Furniture
Cleaning under furniture is one thing. Cleaning the underside of furniture is another. Spider webs and dust cling to the bottom of couches, armchairs, and table braces. At least once a year, turn furniture on its side and thoroughly vacuum the bottom with a brush attachment to remove dust and grime.
9. Curtains and Hardware
Routinely, you should vacuum curtains to dislodge loose dust. This spring, a deep cleaning of curtains will be in order. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for machine washing, hand washing, or dry cleaning curtains. Be aware that sun damage and age can make once durable fabrics fragile and take extra care when washing. Before rehanging, wipe down curtain rods and brackets and mounted valances.
10. Air-Return Vents
Like exhaust fans, when air-return vents are not kept clean, they can negatively impact the air quality of a whole building. Remove the vent cover for washing and thoroughly vacuum the entire opening. If there is a filter, remove and replace it on the manufacturer’s recommended schedule.