The Official Branch Basics Spring Cleaning Method
By Marilee Nelson |
Spring is here and with it comes the extra daylight, sunshine, and energy we all need to banish the dust and clutter synonymous with the colder seasons. That’s right, we’re talking Spring Cleaning! Or more specifically, a healthy home spring detox, with the goal being to remove common household toxins and improve your indoor air quality. This goes far beyond your standard spring cleaning routines as it addresses dust, fragrances, and pollutants held in your belongings, walls and ceilings. Dust acts as a carrier for heavy metals, bacteria, VOCs, and SVOCs such as fragrance chemicals, phthalates, BPA, and PFAS!
Enter the Official Branch Basics Spring Cleaning Method. A step-by-step, non-toxic, cleaning routine you can use every spring, any time you move to a new home or office space, or whenever you feel your indoor air quality needs a serious reboot. And the best thing about this method is, it only needs to be repeated once a year in addition to your regular cleaning routine.
- Branch Basics Concentrate or Starter Kit
- HEPA Vacuum
- 2 Buckets
- Sponge mop (any type that squeezes out water) or a microfiber mop
- Unscented microfiber wipes, clean microfiber rags or sponges (2-3)
- 1 or 2 junky towels
- Ladder or step ladder (to reach the ceiling)
- Face mask that filters particles. When you vacuum ceilings and walls, dust is stirred up. Wearing a mask reduces your exposure.
- A friend or cleaning partner (this will speed things up...and can be a great way to get the kids involved if they’re doing virtual learning or homeschooling)
Why a HEPA Vacuum or Using Microfibers to Clean Are So Important
Using the right tools for dusting is critical. Cleaning with typical rags or towels smears the dust and dirt around on a surface rather than cleans it well.
For the best results with this system in terms of improving your home’s air quality, an abatement level HEPA vacuum is highly recommended. These have a completely sealed system which stops any harmful, dust-borne contaminants (heavy metals, VOCs, SVOCs, biocides, bacteria, etc.) from re-entering your air as you clean. Unfortunately most vacuums do contaminate the air with fine particulates if they do not have a certified sealed HEPA system. If buying a HEPA vacuum isn’t possible, you may be able to rent one for a reasonable price. Recommended brands for renting or buying include:
- Nilfisk GM 80—this is an abatement level vacuum used to abate mold, lead, and asbestos and is the most highly recommended vacuum.
- Nilfisk GD 930 – another highly recommended abatement level vacuum; if you have carpet, add the Nilfisk Power Nozzle M70032
- Any Miele Vacuum with a certified AirClean Sealed System.
- Shark Apex Powered Lift Away—the most economical option with a sealed system.
No worries if you can’t buy or rent a HEPA vacuum! A good microfiber cloth is one of the best cleaning tools money can buy. It is affordable and reusable! It is a great choice for grabbing, holding, and removing dust and dirt from your ceilings, walls, and belongings. It works wet or dry! Just consider using Guppyfriend or Planet Care when cleaning the microfiber cloths to reduce microplastics pollution.
Important note: Do not include popcorn ceilings in your deep cleaning procedure. Many popcorn ceilings contain asbestos and this process can disturb and release the fibers. Ideally, have a professional test your ceiling - if it contains asbestos, have it removed by a professional abatement company.
The Branch Basics Spring Cleaning Method in 4 Steps
Step 1: Tidy up like a minimalist on a mission
The more clutter you remove the faster the cleaning process will be.
Put everything in its place and only leave what belongs. Donate, throw away, or put away the rest. Clutter piles are magnets for dust bunnies and navigating around and through them will make your deep cleaning more challenging.
If you have a lot of clutter to go through, you may wish to complete this step a day or two before the actual cleaning begins.
Step 2: HEPA vacuum like it’s a sport
- HEPA vacuum
- Grab your vacuum and ladder, start at the corner farthest from the entryway of whatever room you wish.
- Starting with the ceiling and moving down to walls and floors, HEPA vacuum all horizontal and vertical surfaces using careful, overlapping strokes.
- Make three passes over each area. HEPA vacuuming all surfaces, trim, items, and furnishings: sides, underneath and back of tables, chairs, furniture, desks, lamps, and anything else in the room.
- Finish with the floors as they’ll catch any dirt, dust, etc. that falls down.
If you don’t have a HEPA vacuum, dust the ceilings, walls, etc. with a dry microfiber mop and dry wipes.
Step 3: Wipe everything down like you mean it
- 2 buckets
- Branch Basics Concentrate
- Sponge mop or microfiber mop and microfiber wipes
- Grab your two buckets and Branch Basics Concentrate.
- Fill the first bucket with 1 teaspoon Branch Basics solution per gallon of water.
- Fill the second bucket with clean water for rinsing.
- Dip your mop or wipe in the Branch Basics solution and squeeze as much out as possible. Thoroughly wipe all large horizontal and vertical hard surfaces, starting with ceiling, then walls, then floors, making 3 passes over each area.
- The surface should look slightly damp after wiping, but not truly wet.
- Always rinse the mop first in the clean water bucket and squeeze out the water (and dirt, dust, toxins), before re-dipping in the Branch Basics solution.
- Refresh the rinsing bucket when it starts to turn gray.
- Repeat the same process with your microfiber cloths on trim, corners, and all furniture. For any small pieces and all solid, non-porous items such as figurines and lamps, spray a clean rag with All-Purpose and wipe clean.
Step 4: Towel dry...and you’re done!
- Junky towels
- Quickly dry off any areas of excess moisture, particularly wet spots on the walls or floor. That. Is. It!
Tips for Keeping your Space Clean Between Deep Cleanings
After completing these steps, congratulate yourself! Knowing your efforts have succeeded in detoxifying your home and massively improving indoor air quality.
As we mentioned earlier, when you use this Spring Cleaning Method, you shouldn’t have to do it again until next year. However, there is a lot you can do to help maintain the healthier home you’ve just created, including:
- Stop toxic build up at the source with our #TossTheToxins method.
- Open your windows for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening! This old tradition increases oxygen levels, flushes out carbon dioxide and airborne toxins, and generally improves your home’s air quality.
- Keep a no shoes indoor policy to prevent tracking-in of chemicals, heavy metals, and pathogens.
- Use a Himalayan Pink Salt Lamp to help settle dust particulates floating in your air.
- Use an air purifier regularly (especially in the rooms you sleep and spend the most time).
- Aim to HEPA vacuum thoroughly or dust with microfibers once a week. Limit clutter as it’s a magnet for toxin-harboring dust bunnies.
- Dust as often as needed.
Happy spring cleaning from our families to yours!
Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.