September is here and in our part of the world, that means spring has arrived. While we all look forward to more sunshine and longer days, the idea of spring cleaning also comes to mind which is less welcome than warmer weather and budding blossoms. Paradoxically spring cleaning is not something we only do in spring, it’s come to mean any kind of regular deep cleaning or the kind of pre occupation cleaning we do when we move house, so why then is it called spring cleaning you might ask?
Turns out, the notion of spring cleaning, has its Northern Hemisphere roots in both cultural and religious origins. One of the explanations dates back 3,000 years to the Persian-Iranian New Year, also known as Nowruz, which happens to coincide with the start of spring. House cleaning or shaking the house, is still practised by Iranians today in preparation for the new year – it involves a major spring cleaning which also extends to clothing, it’s customary to buy at least one set of new clothes to celebrate this fresh beginning. In the Jewish faith, spring cleaning is connected to Passover, which commemorates the freeing of Jews from slavery in Egypt – everyone is expected to do a thorough clean, especially in the areas where food is prepared, stored and eaten; to remove any leavened bread or crumbs from the house which is forbidden during the holiday. The Christian custom also takes its lead from this ancient Jewish practise, with spring cleaning normally devoted to the three days after Palm Sunday.
But the idea of spring cleaning was also born of practicality. In centuries gone by, during the cold winter months, houses were warmed using coal or wood, and lit using whale oil or kerosene which left a layer of soot and grime throughout the house. Spring heralded the start of warmer weather which in turn allowed windows and doors to be left open to let the soot out. And according to historian and author, Susan Strasser, to get rid of the grime was ‘a tedious, back-breaking process [which] typically lasted for a week, with householders, mostly women, working from dawn till dark. They lugged carpets outside and beat them with paddles. Upholstered furniture was dragged from rooms and briskly rubbed with brushes. The workers scrubbed ceilings, walls, baseboards and floors [and] hazy windows.’ So arduous was this deep hygiene cleaning that the poet Emily Dickinson wrote in an 1866 letter to a friend ‘house is being cleaned. I prefer pestilence’.
Luckily modern times have made this task far less daunting and also more convenient, especially if you choose to outsource your spring cleaning, or any other form of cleaning you may require – whether it’s pre-occupation cleaning because you’re about to move into a new house, or post renovation cleaning because you’ve finally added that extra room, cleaning specialists like QClean have done it all and are ready to help, so give them a quick call today.