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A Spring Cleaning List That Can Help Keep You Safe

March 01, 2016

Spring house cleaning is a great way to clear out the built-up clutter after a long winter, but house cleaning is more than just cosmetic. Cleaning your house in the spring can also make your house safer.

There are dangers lurking in our homes that we rarely think about. Spring is a good time to clean up and take stock of small issues that can lead to bigger problems with time. This checklist of things to keep an eye on will help make sure your home is as safe as it is clean.

Clean Your Dryer Vent

Most people clean their lint trap after every load of laundry, but the dryer vent is often neglected. Lint can build up in the hose from the dryer and the dryer vent, creating a fire hazard. During your annual spring cleaning pull out a vacuum hose, coat hanger or plumbing snake to help clear out years of lint that accumulates in these forgotten spaces.

Put a Fire Extinguisher on Every Floor

Most homeowners have at least one fire extinguisher, but if your house has multiple floors it might not be easily accessible in an emergency. A fire could spread out of control in the time it takes to get to a fire extinguisher, or even make a staircase impassable. Small fire extinguishers are affordable and can be tucked away in hall closets. Include fire extinguishers on your annual spring cleaning checklist.

Replace Frayed Extension Cords

Extension cords routinely get yanked around to wherever we need them, without much thought to the damage it can cause to the cord. Damaged cords are a big fire risk. Extension cords are cheap, and much easier to replace than a home or personal property. Pick up some extras on your next shopping trip and switch out your old cords to make your home a little safer after this year’s spring cleaning.

Change Your Online Passwords

If you are really doing a deep cleaning, it’s a good time to take it one step farther and update your passwords. Changing your passwords often is a good way to help prevent accounts from being hacked or your identity from being stolen. You can tie your new passwords to something seasonal as an extra reminder to update them. Also use this time to clean out your inbox so that there’s no accessible personal information that thieves can use against you.

Clean Electrical Outlets

Outlets are usually in areas that don’t get much foot traffic, making it a prime spot for dust and pet hair to build up. Take the time to clean around outlets to reduce the risk of a stray spark landing on something flammable.

Clean Your Stove

Grease and food particles can build up over time, making your stove top and oven a fire hazard. Give your stove a thorough cleaning, including inside the oven. If you do a lot of cooking, your stove needs extra attention.

Change Your Air Filters

It’s easy to remember to change the air filter in the furnace during the winter, but it slips down the priority list as spring approaches and the weather warms up. Your furnace is still moving air through your home’s duct work, and pollen and pet dander can cause more allergy issues.

Check Pilot Lights

Keep an eye on the pilot lights for your stove, furnace and water heater to make sure they’re lit and smell for gas to make sure none is leaking out. If the pilot light goes out, turn off the gas and give the air time to clear before carefully following the instructions to relight it.

Locate Your Personal Documents

You probably don’t access your social security card, birth certificate or will regularly, making them easy to misplace or forget where they are. Gather them up and put them someplace secure in your home, like a fireproof safe, or store them in a safety deposit box.

Organize Your Medicine Cabinet

Winter usually comes with a few new prescriptions for cold and flu season. Go through your medicine cabinet, check the expiration dates and get rid of old or unused medication. Many pharmacies will dispose of expired medications for you.

Check the Batteries on Alarms

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors keep our homes safe, but they’re easy to forget if they don’t go off. Checking your alarms and putting in fresh batteries is a good routine to be in. Change the batteries immediately if the alarm is chirping. Also take this time to wipe down the detectors to make sure dust build-up isn’t blocking vents.

Put Away Space Heaters

Electric heaters are great for warming up a room, but they also cause thousands of fires every year. Make sure any heaters are unplugged and stored when winter ends to help prevent them from doing any damage when you don’t need them.

Spring Clean Your Humidifiers

Humidifiers are a relief for dry skin and sinuses during the winter, but anything that holds water has a risk for producing mold. Even worst, mold could be dispersed into the air along with the humidity. Rinse the water tank and fill it with white vinegar for half an hour clean out anything growing inside.

Update Your First Aid Kit

Over time, first aid kids get depleted as we raid them for bandages, use antibiotic ointment and forget to put tweezers back. Spring cleaning is the perfect time to take stock of your first aid kid and replace any items that are missing or expired. You don’t want to realize you’re out of something during an emergency.

Clean Your Bed

You regularly wash your sheets and pillowcases, but mattresses and pillows can get neglected. Vacuum your mattress to clean it and rotate it so it wears evenly. Pillows should be washed in hot water to clean them and get rid of dust mites. Check the pillow’s label to see if it can be machine washed, or if you need to wash it by hand. If you toss pillows into the dryer, be sure to include a couple of tennis balls to ensure that the pillow’s stuffing doesn’t get lumpy.

Accidents can happen, no matter how safe your home is. Home Insurance from Farm Bureau Financial Services will help make sure your home and family are protected