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Why Do We Traditionally Clean Our Homes At the Beginning of Spring?

It feels ­almost like a biological imperative. The sun takes a little longer in its descent below the horizon and the chill of winter begins to leave the bones. Without much thought on your part, the couch is moved from its place so you can sweep beneath it and the drapes are suddenly in the washing machine. Disinfectant sprays suddenly attract a ne­w level of interest and you decide your sponges must all be replaced. You've awakened from the long winter quasi-hibernation that kept you glued to the television. Now it's time to thoroughly rid your home of the dirt and dust and dog hair that have accumulated over the long, dark season. You've been gripped by the urge to spring clean.

You're certainly not alone in this strange desire to clean your house. Spring cleaning has become nearly ritualized in the West. Makers of cleaning products ramp up advertising late in the winter. Internet sites and magazines become awash in spring cleaning tips. Public service campaigns for everything from properly disposing of outdated pharmaceuticals in America to removing litter from t­he Irish countryside are attached to spring cleaning each year. It's kind of an unconscious, collective movement.

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