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Virtually all Canadians who engage in spring cleaning feel a strong sense of accomplishment after the annual endeavour has been completed

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Our homes may no longer be covered in soot created from wood fires or coal stoves that necessitated spring cleaning after long cold winters in years gone by, but the practice of cleaning a home’s nooks and crannies remains an annual rite of passage for many.

In fact, 59 per cent of Canadians engage in spring cleaning every year, according to a recent Ipsos survey commissioned by Libman, a business that manufactures household cleaning tools.

“Spring cleaning is traditionally a time when Canadians tackle the larger tasks around the house that we don’t typically get to on a regular basis – it’s that quintessential fresh start so many of us are yearning for right now,” says Greg Allen, Libman’s Canadian director of sales.

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“Interestingly enough, in this survey we found that spring cleaning conjures up the full gamut of emotions – both positive (69 per cent) and negative (50 per cent), for those who engage in it.”

Nor surprisingly, spring cleaning has taken on new meaning for many households since the onset of the pandemic. One of four admit they’re cleaning more vigorously compared to pre-pandemic times. Being home more often and concerns related to the COVID-19 virus entering the home top the list of reasons for spring cleaning more vigorously.

Virtually all Canadians who engage in spring cleaning feel a strong sense of accomplishment after the annual endeavour has been completed.

Nearly two in five admit spring cleaning makes them feel comfortable, three in ten feel confident, one in four feel inspired and one in five are eager to begin.

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Conversely, one quarter admit that spring cleaning overwhelms them, 20 per cent are stressed by the mere thought of it and 17 per cent are anxious.

Nine-two per cent of those surveyed feel more relaxed when they have a clean home. Ninety per cent believe having a clean home is important for mental health with their physical health right behind at 89 per cent.

But not all spring-cleaning chores are created equal. The least favourite task is washing windows inside and out, followed by thoroughly cleaning the bathroom and then scrubbing large kitchen appliances inside and out.

Time for an oil change?

As you clean out your kitchen pantry as part of spring cleaning, you might want to make room for avocado oil. As its name suggests, it’s an oil that has been extracted from the pulp of the avocado fruit. Chef Maria Covarrubias of Chosen Foods touted numerous benefits of the oil as she led a recent virtual cooking class from her kitchen in San Diego, Calif.

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Participants chopped a sweet potato, red onion and cabbage and sautéed them in an avocado oil spray with salt, pepper and red chili flakes before popping them into the oven.

From there, we heated some avocado oil in a pan, seasoned our skinless salmon or extra firm tofu with salt and pepper and cooked them in the hot pan.

After pulling the veggies out of the oven, we added toasted sesame seeds and drizzled the dish with just a touch of toasted sesame oil and lemon juice. “A little goes a long way,” our instructor assured.

Other pro tips: pat the salmon dry for a crispy crust and moist inside. Don’t overcrowd your pan and use just a splash of oil when cooking salmon because the fish will release omega oils as it cooks.

“The beautiful thing about avocado oil is that it holds to a very high temperature,” Covarrubias said. “I love baking with it as well because it’s very mild in flavour. It has a subtle avocado taste. It’s very versatile,” Covarrubias said, daring participants to pour a bit of oil onto their hand and taste it. “There’s room for everybody at the table,” she said when asked how avocado oil compares to olive oil.

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The smoke point of an oil is the temperature at which it to degrade and release harmful free radials. Avocado oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil (250°C versus 190°C), so it doesn’t burn and smoke as quickly.

While each oil has its own flavour profile, their nutritional profiles are similar. Each contains heart-healthy fats shown to reduce inflammation and protect against heart disease.

As Covarrubias would say: “Perfecto!”

Green cleaning tips

There’s no shortage of recipes for homemade cleaners made from nontoxic and common household ingredients like lemons, baking soda and vinegar to cut through grease and grime.

A simple solution of vinegar and water, for instance, can tackle many cleaning projects, including floors, surfaces and windows. Adding essential oils like lemon or orange will boost cleaning power while adding a pleasant scent.

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Castile soap, a vegetable-based and chemical-free soap, and baking soda add elbow grease to most scrubbing projects.

Vinegar cleans and deodorizes almost as well as most all-purpose cleaners. The recipe calls for mixing equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle.

Don’t worry, the smell disappears when it dries but be warned: vinegar can discolour or damage some surfaces, so test it on a hidden area first to ensure no colour change or damage occurs. Improperly diluted vinegar is acidic and can also eat away at tile grout. Nor is vinegar a good idea to use on marble surfaces.


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