Spring Cleaning for Your Health

Laura Mitchell's picture
By Laura Mitchell on March 20, 2017

As temperatures rise and daylight stretches into evening, many of us want to open the windows and let fresh air in as we clean the house from top to bottom. While you are scrubbing floors and washing linens, make time for some health-related spring cleaning tasks too.
Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet
Dispose of any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements that have expired or that you or your family members no longer take. 

"That includes prescriptions that have changed," said Carilion Clinic Pharmacy Director Adrian Wilson. "Be sure and notify your pharmacy of any changes so that they can update their records."
Box them up and bring them to a drug-take-back day event, or follow the guidance from Virginia’s attorney general for home disposal:

  • Crush and dissolve medications with water and add coffee grounds or kitty litter to prevent children or pets from ingesting them.
  • Place the mixture in a sealed container and throw in the trash.
  • Remove identifying information from packaging before placing in the trash or recycling bin.

As part of keeping your medicine cabinet current, check your first-aid kit and make sure it still contains everything you might need in case of an emergency.

Clean Out Your Refrigerator
That fuzzy science experiment in the back of the fridge needs to go! Throw out anything that has begun to rot or smell, and scrub each drawer and surface with warm, soapy water.

This is a great time to restock your refrigerator with fresh, healthy foods. The simpler the label is, the healthier the food is.

People should focus less on trying to decipher food labels and more to buy and eat foods that don't have labels at all such as fruit and vegetables.

Hint: Instead of hiding vegetables away in the crisper drawer when you bring them home, clean and chop them into snack-sized pieces and store them in clear containers where you are more likely to see them—and snack on them.

Revisit New Year’s Resolutions
Did you set a goal to improve your fitness this year? To move more or eat better? Spring is a great time to assess your progress. If you are on track, congratulations! Keep it up! And if you need a bit more motivation, these Four Ways to Improve Health in the New Year might help.

Clean Your Home
Of course, the floor-scrubbing and linen-washing that we associate with spring cleaning has its own benefits. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has found that spring cleaning can remove significant allergens from the home environment, such as pet dander, dust and mold.

Follow these tips to clean safely:

  • If you are using commercial cleaners, wear gloves and work in well-ventilated areas.
  • Wear a dust mask when changing air filters and cleaning moldy areas
  • Enlist help to move heavy furniture.

And remember to take breaks as needed. Spring has just begun and there will always be something that needs cleaning, so take your time!