We have decluttered Mom’s overloaded storage room and Dad’s garage. We have made the Home of our aging loved ones reasonably safe again. We have begun the spring cleaning with high surface cleaning. Today, we focus on vacuuming the floors, nooks, and crannies of Mom and Dad’s Home.
Vacuum First. Then Dust.
We suggest that before anything else, it is best to first vacuum floors thoroughly. Why? Because floors, generally speaking, are the most dirty. The vacuum sucks dirt and dust on one end, and pushes out clean air through the other end. However, that clean air blows through the rest of the not yet completely clean floor, creating more airborne dust, which settles on furniture, etc. This is why we start with floor vacuuming, and we end with dusting — never the other way around.
Another reason to start with vacuuming floors before, for example, washing bathrooms, is that while washing bathroom sink, bathtub, etc., we will inadvertently make the bathroom floor wet. Wet bathroom floor, which usually has plenty of hair and dust on it, will be very difficult to vacuum. Vacuuming is most effective on dry surfaces. The same idea applies to the kitchen.
Avoid Vacuuming Partially Wet Floors
We want to vacuum all the floors first and do so only when they are completely dry. Vacuuming partially wet floors is very bad for the vacuum. Dampness causes the vacuum hoses and elements to retain and build up dust and dirt, which often causes mold to grow. Please, vacuum only dry floors.
Make Use of Attachments
We love canister vacuums because they offer the best attachments for various surfaces. Upright vacuums are just too large and bulky to get into tight spots, edges, corners, and under sofas. If possible, use a canister vacuum. Switch between attachments for carpets or rugs, and bare floors.
Sofas and Armchairs May Need Special Attention
Depending on Mom and Dad’s lifestyle and eating habits, there may be areas that need special attention. Many Seniors leave their dining rooms for special occasions, and resort to consuming their daily meals on comfortable seating surfaces, like sofas and armchairs. Make sure that all the sofa cushions are removed so a vacuuming attachment can get into every nook and cranny. Food particles left unvacuumed often attract bugs and insects.
Air Vents and Ventilation Grilles
We also recommend vacuuming air vents. Feel free to vacuum air filters, which are usually located behind the air vent grille. Bathroom ventilation air vents usually collect plenty of paper dust on their grilles. It is best to vacuum that dust off with a soft bristle attachment.
Leave the Dusting for the End
We started with thorough floor and special surfaces vacuuming, and we end with dusting. Dusting is the least strenuous, but it is time consuming. Effective dusting can be done with a soft bristle vacuum attachment or with a slightly damp microfiber cloth. Microfiber cloth will not leave fabric particles whereas a cotton cloth or paper towel usually will. Soft bristle vacuum dusting is effective for electronic items, baseboards, air conditioning vents. Before vacuum dusting electronics clean and dry the soft bristle attachment. Cloth dusting technique is most effective for table tops and larger, flat surfaces.
Cleaning is very much like gardening. The weeds never stop growing. The dirt and dust always find its way into the Home. Cleaning, therefore, is an never-ending project. Be patient. Make a list of cleaning priorities. Break it down into small, manageable, yet methodical stages. Please keep in mind that most state laws allow only 20% of the Caregiver’s duties to include housekeeping and cleaning.
Over the next few weeks we will discuss best practices for bathroom cleaning, kitchen cleaning, and effective disinfection of high contamination areas and objects in Mom’s Home.
With love for the Elderly…
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