How to stay safe when spring cleaning
People across the country are clearing the cobwebs from their cleaning materials to spring clean their home and make their property fresh and comfortable for the summer.
Although clean, clutter-free homes are typically safer than less well-kept residences, with clutter linked to slips, trips, falls, fires, pest infestations, mould, and food contamination, cleaning can also prove dangerous. It is estimated that every year, at least 200,000 people go to the UK’s accident and emergency departments after becoming injured when gardening, doing DIY or otherwise maintaining their home, and that around 5,000 people die in home accidents.
Sheila Merril, public advisor for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), said that although spring cleaning might seem harmless, it actually poses a number of risks, stating it is “not surprising” that the number of gardening and DIY-related injuries rises at this this time of year.
Avoiding injuries while at home
According to Hospital Episode Statistics, in 2013 to 2014:
- Nearly 7,000 people were hospitalised after falls off or on ladders;
- Almost 4,000 went to hospital following furniture-related incidents; and
- A total of 3,053 were hospitalised after accidental poisoning or exposure to noxious substances.
To stay safe at home while cleaning:
- Put medicines and household cleaners away when cleaning cabinets and kitchen cupboards, and keep them out of reach of children in high-level or locked cupboards;
- Clean up any spillages immediately;
- Use stable-step stools rather than chairs when attempting to reach high places, such as when cleaning or changing light fixtures;
- Use a proper lifting technique when moving heavy appliances and large pieces of furniture;
- Take care when walking on wet surfaces;
- Keep walkways and staircases clear of obstructions;
- Don’t leave buckets of water unattended;
- Clean in a relaxed manner – accidents are far more likely to occur if you rush; and
- When you have finished cleaning for the day, tidy up any cleaning equipment.
Spring cleaning safety check-list
As well as making sure that you clean the home safely, you should also perform a few simple checks to make sure your house is as safe as it can be for the year ahead.
- Check ventilation for boilers and gas appliances
Gas appliances need to be properly ventilated; if vents are blocked, these appliances may produce lethal carbon monoxide. To clean vents, turn off the appliance, then suck out dust with a vacuum cleaner and wipe clean with a damp cloth.
- Check batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
You should check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms every week. Typically, their batteries last around one year, so make replacing these batteries part of your spring cleaning check-list.
Look for signs of damage around extension leads, such as black sooty patches and scorch marks, and check the lead itself for fraying or damage. Dispose of any extension leads you think are dangerous.
Avoid connecting extension leads together, as this habit can cause you to overload your sockets. It’s also a good idea to consider where extension leads run and to rearrange your room if these leads pose a tripping hazard.
If you ever experience an emergency relating to services such as your electrics, plumbing, security and drainage, you’ll be thankful you took out home emergency cover with 247 Home Rescue! Check out our plans online.
247 Home Rescue accepts no liability for any injuries or damages you sustain following the advice on this website. If in doubt, seek professional assistance.