Spring Cleaning to Get the Lead Out

While you are cleaning out closets and airing out your home this spring, don’t forget to prevent dust build up.  Lead found in paint (homes pre-1978) and older items (imported, antique, etc) in your home crumbles over time into dust.  Lead can harm both adults and children, but for a child it can affect growth, behavior and the ability to learn.

Wet Mop

Wet mopping with disposable pad on hard surfaces.  If you don’t have disposable pads, use a 3-bucket method with:  cleaning solution, clean rinse water and an empty bucket to squeeze excess water from the mop.  Change buckets when they are dirty or when you start cleaning the floor in a new room.

Method: Start from the furthest point in the room and work your way towards the door.


Consider steam-cleaning carpets.  A vacuum with a HEPA filter is preferred to a bag less, canister with no bag, or car wash vacuums.  Small particles can be released back into the air.  Make sure to empty the vacuum bag or filter outside and dispose outside.

Method: Vacuum one side to the other, then again to create a checkered pattern.


If plush toys, wash in washing machine separate from clothes, towels or bedding. For hard toys, wash with all purpose cleaner and a paper towel, rinse and dry.


Start at the top of the room or window and work your way down with paper towels. Use an all-purpose cleaner rather than bleach. Change paper towels frequently.  When disposing of paper towels, take outside to trash and wash hands.

If you think you may have lead in your home, keep children and pregnant women away from the room while cleaning. Consider using plastic gloves and an N-95 mask to prevent inhalation of lead-laden particles. Wash hands frequently.

Be aware that since April 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes built before 1978 must be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. Learn more about this at https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2013-11/documents/steps_0.pdf. You can also visit your local county health department for more information about lead poisoning at https://floridaHealth.gov/environmental-health


Posted: February 28, 2023

Category: Home Management, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Lead, Spring Cleaning, Suwannee County Extension, Topic Tuesday, UF/IFAS Extension Suwannee County

Subscribe For More Great Content

IFAS Blogs Categories