Home care for the holidays

(BPT) - Whether its guests arriving for a holiday party, visiting relatives or holiday revelers, your home can feel like a revolving door during the holiday season. Unfortunately, all of this added traffic can also bring unwanted dirt and germs that can outweigh holiday cheer. Keep your home looking clean, germ-free and ready to welcome guests throughout the holiday season by establishing a cold-weather cleaning routine.

If you regularly take care of the tasks on the list, your home will be ready for guests who arrive on schedule or on a whim. And by giving your guests a clean environment to enjoy, you’ll also be giving them the gift of health. According to the American Lung Association, poor indoor air quality can cause headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea and fatigue.

To start a routine in your household, follow these tips:

* Keep the air cleaner – and healthier.

Because cold temperatures ensure that windows stay closed through the holiday season, air quality can quickly deteriorate. That problem can be exacerbated when you consider it’s also cold and flu season. To help keep your air cleaner – and your family and guests healthier – make sure that your vacuum is helping air quality, not hurting it. Many standard vacuums release lung-damaging particles back into the air, which defeats cleaning efforts. Miele’s new S8 Vacuum series features a standard HEPA filter and Miele’s patented AirClean FilterBag plus Sealed System which retains 99.9 percent of lung damaging particles inside the machine. This is especially important if you decorate with a live tree or greens. For those guests or family members who are susceptible to allergies, the need for a vacuum cleaner that truly cleans the air is more important than ever.

* Minimize clutter. Everyone gets a little bit busier at this time of year, and putting things away and keeping living spaces tidy can fall by the wayside. From the morning routine to the evening return home, encourage family members to put things in their proper places. Piles or stacks of clutter can collect dust and cobwebs and make your cleaning tasks take longer, so it’s best to avoid them in the first place.

* Establish a freshening routine. As you go through your day, take opportunities to do a bit of dusting and freshening up, even if it’s one room at a time. Strip guest beds on a regular basis - even if they’re not always being used - and launder the sheets and blankets to ensure they smell and feel fresh when guests arrive. Utilize the attachments on your vacuum to easily clean window treatments like blinds and curtains to ensure they’re not hiding dust or cobwebs.

* Don’t forget pets and their belongings. While it’s obvious to vacuum floors, carpets and furniture, you should also remember to keep your pet’s bed and toys clean. Many manufacturers, like Miele, now offer specialized vacuums which eliminate pet hair and dander, as well as any lingering odors through special charcoal filters. For a thorough cleaning, be sure to launder your pet’s beds and plush toys in the washing machine.

A clean home is a welcoming home, and your holiday season guests will appreciate the effort you make. By making cleaning routine, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of a fresh house all winter long, as well. For more cleaning ideas and tips, visit www.mieleusa.com.