The weather is starting to turn and it's time to indulge in the annual spring cleaning ritual. Clean out your garage, tidy up your place and prepare your living area for the season ahead. But spring cleaning doesn't just have to be about cleaning, it can also be a great opportunity to purge your home of things that may pose health and safety risks as well. Here are nine things, according to AARP, that you must get rid of in your spring cleaning journey.
- Hazardous Waste. Aerosol cans, batteries, motor oil, antifreeze and paint all need to be disposed of properly so they don’t contaminate the environment or accidently harm children or pets. Eart911.com will help you find a safe place for disposal.
- Piled-Up Plastic Containers. Containers with recycle codes 3 or 7 may contain BPA, a hormone-disrupting chemical that leaches food as containers age or get heated in the microwave or dishwasher. Replace containers made before 2010 with new plastic or glass ones, which don’t contain BPA.
- Expired or Unused Medications. Toss old drugs in an eco-friendly way. Don’t flush them down the toilet or put them in the trash. Take them to official collection sites on National Take-Back Initiative Day, April 27.
- Old Spices. Dried-up, decades-old spices won’t make you sick, but they won’t add flavor or nutrients to your food, either. According to experts at McCormick, seasoning blends last one or two years, herbs and ground spices one to three years and whole spices up to four years.
- Moldy Makeup. Makeup is only safe for a limited time, but then bacteria that may cause infection can start to grow – especially in eye makeup. Mascara only lasts two to three months, lip gloss only six and foundation six months to a year.
- Crusty Contact Lens Cases. Studies show that 92 percent of cases are contaminated due to poor cleaning and hygiene. Eye experts and the government say cases should be replaced every month to three months, and cleaned and air-dried daily. Use fresh soaking solution every day.
- Nasty Pillows. Pillows older than 18 months contain fungi, dead skin and dust mites that can aggravate allergies, asthma and sinusitis. Try folding your pillow in half and squeezing out the air. If it doesn’t spring back, it’s too old.
- Expired Canned Food. Food-safety experts say canned tomatoes and fruits are good for 18 months; canned meat and vegetables, up to five years. Just don’t donate them. If you can’t eat them, nobody should.
- Germy Kitchen Sponge. Studies show it’s the germiest thing in most American households, with bacteria thriving in the damp crevices, says microbiologist Philip Tierno, Ph.D., of New York University. To reduce the bad stuff, microwave your sponge daily in an inch of water for a minute on high heat.