Ultimate Guide to Spring Cleaning

Benefits and Drawbacks of Spring Cleaning

Somewhere between compulsive cleanliness and abject squalor may lay a healthy immune system.
Somewhere between compulsive cleanliness and abject squalor may lay a healthy immune system.
Marc Dietrich/­iStockphoto

­The benefits of spring cleaning are self-evident. You end up with a clean home, which won't require further cleaning for awhile. Your house, and by extension your life, is less cluttered, freeing your mind to dwell on more important things. You'll be less likely to suffer an allergy attack or fall ill in your newly-sterilized environment.

That last benefit's up for debate, actually. While allergy sufferers can attest that a clean home is less likely to produce allergy attacks, it's possible that their chronic allergies are the result of living in too clean an environment. There's a school of thought in the field of immunology that it might be a bad thing to completely eradicate dirt in the home. Called the hygiene hypothesis, it says, essentially that dirt contains germs. Germs in small doses have the effect of triggering production of antibodies that can ward off allergic reactions. So, logically, a little dirt and germs around the house may help children develop more robust immune systems.

This theory jibes with a current trend in cleaning, spring or otherwise: using green cleaning products. Out are harsh chemical-based cleansers, some of which contain toxins shown to act as carcinogens. In are cleaning tools that don't require additional cleansers, such as microfiber window cloths that require only water and leave no streaks [source: Daily Green]. Time-tested traditional cleaning solutions, like vinegar and water for window cleaning, are also increasingly replacing cleansers manufactured by chemical companies in environmentally- and health-friendly homes.

Again, there's no set method or tools that are required to spring clean your home. Regardless of what route you choose to take -- room-by-room, green cleaners, in-depth or nothing at all -- it's fairly difficult to screw up spring cleaning. It's also fairly difficult to resist the urge to clean the house when spring comes. Ultimately, the urge is in the reward: getting to kick back in a clean house and await spring's arrival.

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