5 Tips for Tackling Spring Cleaning

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Spring officially arrives this weekend, which means a lot of people will be rolling up their sleeves and starting major cleaning projects in and around their homes.

If you’re one of those folks, you want to do the best, most thorough and effective job possible.

So here are five tips (and numerous links) to help you have the best spring-cleaning ever:

  1. 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
  2. Household Hazardous Wastes: We’ve all got them — from old household cleaners, to paints, pesticides, batteries and more. Not only is it illegal to dispose of these in landfills 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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. In 2015, 43 San Diego County residents were diagnosed with the mosquito-driven West Nile virus and five people died. In addition, small numbers of two invasive Aedes mosquitoes, the yellow fever mosquito and Asian tiger mosquito, have been found in our county. 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 help protect yourself and everyone else. Dump out standing water inside and outside your homes! 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.
  5. Defensible Space: As we’ve seen in the recent past, 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.” 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


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