Consumer

5 Tips for a Great, and Safe, Spring Cleaning!

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It’s still cool outside, but spring has sprung — and that means it’s time again to break out the supplies, roll up your sleeves and start those major spring cleaning projects.

You want to do it right. You want your home to be safe. So, here are five tips, a bunch of links, and things to think about that can help you make this your best spring cleaning ever.

Recycle

Getting rid of stuff is a huge part of any successful spring cleaning. But remember, not everything belongs in the landfill — which is where it’s headed if you toss it in your regular trash. Fortunately, almost all of us have trash haulers who help us recycle right at the curb, to make sure things like hard plastics, glass, cardboard, cans and even green waste are properly recycled. But if you have any questions about recycling, or need help to figure out how to do it, here’s a great County website with lots of info and links to helpful sites, including WasteFreeSD.org.

Household Hazardous Wastes

We’ve all got them — from old household cleaners, to paints, used oil, pesticides, batteries and more. Not only is it illegal to dispose of these into landfills, sewer systems or down storm drains, they also need special recycling attention. Never fear, here’s a link to our Household Hazardous Waste Web page with more information about it and links to places where you can safely recycle it.

Protect Yourself by Using Wet Cleaning Methods

Spring cleaning is often the time we’re tidying up that shed in the backyard, the garage, or maybe even a cabin — places where mice and rodents can get inside. Remember, wild mice can carry hantavirus, a potentially dangerous virus that can be inhaled through contaminated dust, feces and urine. If you have to clean up an area where rodents have nested, be safe: do not sweep or vacuum. Use “wet cleaning” methods: ventilate areas, spray them with bleach solutions or disinfectants, and use sponges and mops!

Mosquito Protection

Speaking of wet-cleaning, spring cleaning is a perfect time to patrol the inside and outside of your home to get rid of any standing water where mosquitoes can breed. Last year, two San Diego County residents tested positive for West Nile virus and no one here died. But just to the north, in Los Angeles County, 264 people tested positive and 27 people died. We also have two types of invasive Aedes mosquitoes, the yellow fever mosquito and Asian tiger mosquito in San Diego County — and they like to live and breed right next to people, in yards and even inside homes. San Diego County doesn’t have the diseases that these mosquitoes typically transmit — Zika virus, dengue fever and chikungunya. But travelers have come home with them after visiting other countries. So protect yourself and everyone else. Find and dump out standing water inside and outside your homes so mosquitoes can’t breed! Here are some County links to get more information about West Nile virus, the yellow fever mosquito and Asian tiger mosquito, and actions you can take to protect yourself from mosquitoes.

Defensible Space

San Diego County is fire country. So help protect yourself, your family and your property, and give firefighters a safe area where they can potentially defend your home from fire by creating 100 feet of “defensible space.” Don’t wait for the summer heat. Remove debris, including dry leaves, firewood stacks and trash (including on the roof and in rain gutters); trim away tree branches that overhang your home and cut low branches on trees; prune or remove dried-out bushes and plants; and properly dispose of tree and shrub clippings in a bin. For more information about wildfire preparedness, go to ReadySanDiego.org.

Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact