Spring is here, and for many of us that means it’s time for major cleaning. It feels great to have a clean, organized home, but don’t do it at the expense of your back.
These tips will help you to get the spotless house you want without causing back pain in the process.
1. Use proper lifting techniques.
We talk about this one a lot, but it cannot be stressed enough. Improper lifting techniques are a common cause of back pain and injury, so make sure you take the time to learn how to lift the right way. Always bend at the knees, rather than the waist, and keep your back straight. Use your legs to do the lifting work, rather than your back. Hold heavy items close to your body, and avoid twisting while holding a heavy item. If you need to place an object to the side, turn your whole body to the side. If you need to lift a very large, heavy item or move furniture, have someone help you; do not attempt to move these items on your own.
2. Avoid bending and reaching whenever possible.
Try to do as much as you can while standing upright. For example, mop as much as you can, and only get on the floor to scrub if additional cleaning is needed. You can even try using a mop or a similar device to clean the tub and shower. If you need to reach high-up areas, use a step stool or ladder; do not strain to reach it. By limiting the amount of bending and reaching you do while cleaning, you reduce the risk of straining or pulling your back muscles.
3. Keep the items you need nearby.
Keep the cleaning items you need within arm’s reach so you don’t have to bend or reach to grab them. If you need to fold laundry or sort items, try to do it on a table or countertop so that you can reach what you need from a standing or seated position while maintaining good posture. The less you need to twist, reach, bend, or strain your back, the better.
4. Don’t try to do everything in one day.
If you’re planning a major top-to-bottom cleaning, don’t expect to get it all done in one day, especially if you are doing it by yourself. Go room-by-room, just focusing on one or two areas a day. If it helps, follow a plan to help you stay on track. Take breaks frequently so you don’t wear yourself out, and don’t forget to drink lots of water so you stay hydrated. Believe it or not, cleaning can be very physically demanding, and fatigued muscles lead to injury. Give your back (and the rest of your body) little breaks throughout the day so your muscles aren’t fatigued.
5. Be careful when climbing to reach high surfaces.
When you need to climb on something to reach a high surface, only use a step stool or ladder–do not attempt to climb on furniture or other items that were not designed for this purpose. You need a stable surface to climb on to reduce your risk of falling and hurting yourself. Make sure your step stool or ladder is placed on an even, level surface–it should not move or rock while you are standing on it. If you need to get on a tall ladder to reach the surface, you may want to ask someone to assist you.
With the right techniques and preparation, you can enjoy your nice, clean house without back pain. Want more spring cleaning tips? Check out Martha Stewart’s spring cleaning checklist, or look for tips on Pinterest. Happy spring cleaning!