Spring cleaning the entire house is indispensable if you kept all the windows tightly shut for the whole of winter. Not only does spring cleaning let in fresh air and help your house breathe, it also helps you get rid of germs and insects.
When most people think of spring cleaning, they only consider scrubbing floors, vacuuming carpets and upholstery, cleaning fans and air vents, and dusting surfaces. While all these are necessary, it is also important to spring clean your closet! You certainly wouldn’t want to have everything in your house spic and span while your closet and clothes remain dusty.
Getting rid of the dust may seem like an easy thing to do, but if you have tons of clothes, washing and organizing it all can be troublesome. And you’ll also have to watch out for dust mites, mold, and mildew!
You don’t have to fret over the workload; if you go about this the right way, you’ll be fine. Here are some tips to help you.
Dedicate Ample Time
You need to give yourself enough time to get the work done. You don’t have to clean the closets and wash, dry, and rearrange clothes back in on the same day. However, if you’re cleaning the closets thoroughly, you wouldn’t want to throw dirty clothes back in.
You especially can’t do this if you spot mold or dust mites on your clothes and in the closet. That’s because dust mites from your clothes will get back into the nooks and crannies, and mold can grow again on the closet walls. Also, rushing to put clean clothes back into the closet right after cleaning it can expose clothes to a humid environment. This can encourage the growth of mold and mildew.
So save yourself the extra work and dedicate enough time to clean the closets and let them air-dry. Also examine clothes the same day and get rid of dust mites and mold (if any) so that these allergens do not spread to the rest of the house.
Clear the Bedroom of Clutter
This means getting all unnecessary things out of the way. Keep the bed and floors clear so that you can dump things inside the closet on them. You don’t want to jumble up items and waste time figuring out what items go back inside the closet.
Do lay out a clean sheet on the bed or floor before hurling the contents of your closet on to them. This will prevent your clean carpet and bed sheet from being soiled by dirty clothes.
Pull Everything Out
Empty all the drawers and cubbies in your closet and pile everything on the floor or on the bed. You can choose to inspect your clothes while pulling them out one after the other or you can examine them once you’re done with cleaning the closet.
Don’t forget to take out your jewelry items, belts, handbags, and other accessories too. If you have mold or dust mites in your closet, they could have latched on to anything and you don’t want to take chances!
Inspect the Closet
With all your belongings out of the way, you can now inspect your closet closely and see if you have mold, dust mites, moths, or other insects thriving inside.
- Mold is usually seen on surfaces as a thread-like growth or as clusters of specks. If you find any of these on the inside walls of your closets, you know what it is. But remember, mold may be present even if you can’t see it! If you notice a strange pungent smell coming from the closet, it is probable that mold is growing in corners or behind the wallpaper. If your closet has a carpeted floor, you may want to lift the carpet and check beneath it; a damp floor can provide the perfect environment for mold to grow.
- The presence of clothes moths can be verified if you see adult moths, larvae, or eggs. Furthermore, finding holes in clothes is also an indicator that moths have invaded your closet.
- When it comes to dust mites, finding them can be a problem as they cannot be seen with the naked eye. However, if you have had your home inspected for the same and the results were positive, there is a high probability that you have dust mites in your closet as well. In case you’re experiencing a respiratory allergy, you could also go for a dust mite allergy test to confirm the presence of dust mites.
Examine the Clothes
If you can’t find anything in the closet, examine all your clothes closely. If you do find mold, moths, or dust mites in even one clothing item, you’ll have to ensure that all your clothes are cleaned as required to eliminate all traces of these allergens.
If you don’t find traces of mold, moths, or dust mites on your belongings or in the closet, set about separating clothes in different piles. Make two piles- one each for clean clothes and those that need to be laundered. If you have weather specific clothes, separate your winter wear so that you can launder it and store it in the right way. Storing your woolens properly will ensure that mites and moths don’t thrive on them.
Get Started with the Cleaning
Once you assess the problems properly, you can begin cleaning your closet. First and foremost, grab a microfiber duster and get rid of all the dust you can see. Also, go over surfaces where dust isn’t visible; the microfiber will ensure that no moth eggs or dust mites are left behind.
Grab your vacuum cleaner and fit the crevice tool. Vacuum all the edges you can see so that all dust mites and moth eggs and larvae are sucked in. Do remember to open dresser drawers and vacuum the insides. Go over the carpet too to eliminate allergens. As soon as you are done with vacuuming, remove the waste bag and discard it properly so that the allergens don’t get back inside your house.
Next, make a mixture of water and vinegar taken in equal parts. Fill this mixture in a spray bottle and spray it on the closet surfaces. Wipe down with a microfiber cloth. You can repeat this step if necessary. Don’t forget to clean the closet rods, hangers, mirrors, and other surfaces!
Let the closet air-dry before you start putting all your belongings back in.
Your next step should be preventing allergen infestations in the future. You can do this easily by doing a few simple things.
- Prevent the closet from becoming too humid. If the carpeted floor stays damp all the time, do away with the carpet and get tiles or linoleum installed on the floor.If your closet is next to the bathroom and is subjected to hot humid air, get a dehumidifier installed in the room to keep the moisture levels under control. Keeping moisture levels under control will keep your clothes and closet free from mites and mold.
- If your closet is next to the bathroom and is subjected to hot humid air, get a dehumidifier installed in the room to keep the moisture levels under control. Keeping moisture levels under control will keep your clothes and closet free from mites and mold.
- Discourage mold, mites, and moths by storing woolens in plastic containers or zip lock bags. A naphthalene ball placed alongside the clothes will help prevent infestations. Do make sure that the naphthalene ball doesn’t touch your garments and also that it isn’t placed in direct contact with plastic.
- Cedar blocks can also help repel moths. Make good use of them to keep off-season clothes fresh. Use cedar hangers to hang your regular wear.
- If you have wooden shelves or cubbies, be sure to line them with muslin or drawer lining paper. This will prevent the acidic nature of the wood from damaging clothes stored for a long time.
Wash Clothes Well
Note that regular washing won’t rid your clothes of dust mites. Be sure to wash everything at a temperature of 130 degrees to kill the allergen. You can also consider exposing your clothes to direct sunlight on a sunny day. Turn the clothes over a couple of times so that all parts are exposed to sunlight.
Alternatively, you can freeze your clothes for 24 hours to kill mites as they cannot survive in such conditions. You can also kill mites on your jewelry pieces and accessories such as belts by placing them in a bag and freezing them for a day.
To get rid of mold from clothes, soak them in bleach or wash them with borax or vinegar.
Spring cleaning your closet may seem tough, but you can’t do without it. If you missed cleaning your closet this time, you need to get this chore done with as soon as you can. You certainly don’t want to compromise on your health by having allergens lurking in your closet. Nor do you want them to damage your wardrobe!
With the tips mentioned here, you will be able to go through the entire process of spring cleaning your closet step-by-step. Doing things one at a time won’t feel burdensome. Just take the time out for it and get started. You’re sure to love the feeling of a clean closet with fresh clothes!