The ultimate spring cleaning guide for older people
26th March 2018
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
Spring has finally sprung and for many, the change of season means a fresh start and that means one thing: spring cleaning.
Spring is the perfect time for people to swap out their winter wardrobe and get rid of boxes from the home and garage. But tidying your home can take a lot of time and hard work, which for older people with mobility problems that need home stairlifts this can be unmanageable.
It is important that older people’s homes are clean, safe and that excess clutter that could be hazardous to their mobility is cleared. Here are some great tips from experts for older people to help them spring clean their home.
Ask for help
Cleaning an entire home for an older person can be overwhelming and instead of tackling chores alone it is recommended to reach out to family members for assistance.
Steph, who is the Content Editor at Expert Home Tips, recommends getting help for some of the big jobs around the home.
“Spring cleaning is all about the 'big jobs'. For older people, jobs, like taking down the curtains, cleaning windows and clearing out cupboards, can be tasking, especially for those with reduced mobility.
“Depending on how well you're able to get around, it's worth getting someone in to help with heavy or high jobs. Perhaps you're perfectly able to wash and iron net curtains, providing someone has taken them down for you. For clearing out cupboards, you may be able to do the sorting and the cleaning but struggle with bending down to empty their contents in the first place. Cleaning the carpets and floors will be much easier when someone has helped you move all the heavy furniture out the way.
“Cleaning windows require strength and are one of the few jobs we'd recommend handing over to a professional/friend or family member.
“All of these things you can get help with - don't be ashamed to ask. 10 minutes of someone else's time focussing on the high/heavy stuff will enable you to carry out the majority of your Spring Clean independently, without overexerting yourself.”
Franchise Owner Angela Lofthouse of MOLLY MAID Chesterfield suggests older people get help with high and low areas.
“I would suggest all high and low areas, older people find it difficult to reach up and bend down. So we would suggest having their windows and frames cleaned, curtain poles, change their net curtains, thoroughly vacuum the upholstery on settees, pull out the settee, pull out the bed, turn the mattress over and even make the bed up. We would also clean the kitchen cupboards and fridge. Finishing with a thorough vacuum throughout the home, some older people really find the vacuum can be far too heavy for them to use. Wash the front and back door down outside, along with the weather strip it really makes a difference.”
Break the spring clean into areas of the house
Steph from Expert Home Tips suggests spring cleaning areas of the home and making lists of the jobs to tackle first.
“At Expert Home Tips, we recommend breaking your Spring Clean down into groups, or areas of the house. It may help you to make a list of all the rooms, and the jobs in those rooms you want to tackle. For the kitchen, we always clean out the fridge, dishwasher and oven.
“Bathrooms should have grout scrubbed with an anti-mould treatment during the Spring clean to keep them looking spotless, and drains should also be cleared.
“In the bedroom, it's a good time to tidy your wardrobe and throw away any old items. Consider airing out your mattress too.
“Throughout the house, all light fittings, curtains and windows should be dusted and cleaned thoroughly.
All of these tasks will leave your house looking and smelling fresh for spring. A deep clean will also mean your regular cleaning is much easier to keep on top of.”
Check and chuck out of date food
Angela Lofthouse of MOLLY MAID Chesterfield says one of the most important parts of spring cleaning is to check out of date food.
“Tidy up and look at out of date food items in their kitchen cupboards and fridge. It really is a feel good feeling when everything is fresh and in order!”
Get professional help for cleaning carpets and upholstery
Older people with mobility problems often struggle to move the hoover around the carpets and cleaning the upholstery so one great way to help spring clean is to get professionals to clean these items.
Jen Chapman, the Assistant Product Manager for Safeclean, says, “As only 20% of the dirt in carpets and upholstery gets picked up by a vacuum, we would recommend that these items are professionally cleaned every 6-12 months. Even the cleanest of homes will still generate a build-up of allergens and dust mites, particularly if there are pets in the home. These can have negative impacts on the health of those living there and even babies/grandchildren that come to stay.
“Safeclean technicians provide deep clean, thorough treatments to remove this build up and can even protect items with a treatment that helps prevent staining to keep items looking nicer for longer.
“We would suggest that carpets, upholstery and curtains are carefully vacuumed on a regular basis to reduce the built up of harmful allergens to keep their homes hygienic and healthy. If they are faced with a stain, treat it carefully. Work on it as soon as possible to reduce the risk of permanent damage, by using a slightly damp, plain, clean white cloth or kitchen towel. Blot from the outside in, changing the area of the cloth used and be careful not to rub the area as this could damage the pile.”
Clean the mattress and the curtains
Cleaning mattresses and curtains can be difficult for older people, but Safeclean’s Jen Chapman says it is important that these are cleaning during a spring clean.
“Another element which many people forget about is their mattress - we spend on average 56 hours in our beds each week. Every night an adult loses approximately 2 pints of fluid, that's 14 pints in just one week, that builds up over time. To provide a healthy environment to sleep in, Safeclean can also perform their deep cleaning and even deodorisation and sanitisation services on any mattress.
“Curtains are an integral part of any room, keeping them warm and private, but they are one of the biggest holders of dust and grime that are largely forgotten about. For many people, particularly the elderly, unhooking and taking down each pair of curtains, transporting them to the dry cleaners and picking them up can seem too much effort. Safeclean technicians can actually clean curtains in situ, which means there's no need to unhook them and have bare windows and there is less chance of shrinkage.”
Get rid of clutter
It can be difficult for people to part ways with items that have been accumulated over the years, but these things build up and take up space.
It can often lead to boxes being left on the floor causing trip hazards, which for older people, especially those with mobility problems could cause injury.
Tackle the rooms with the most clutter first and make piles of the items you want to keep and get rid of. The items that are no longer of use can either be donated to the charity shop or thrown away if they are not in great condition.