If you have allergies, you’re probably already all too aware of the problems that dust, dirt, and grime can throw up. Keeping a regular cleaning schedule can do wonders at keeping symptoms at bay… providing, of course, you use the right techniques and the right products. Use the wrong ones, and you’re likely to end up with more problems than you started with. Get the spring cleaning under control with these top ten cleaning tips for people with allergies.
1. Step Away From The Chemicals
While it can be easy to think you need to go full throttle with the chemicals during your spring clean, you could actually be doing more harm than good… at least as far as your allergies go. The chemicals in household products are notorious for setting off allergens (with formaldehyde, ammonia, sodium lauryl sulfate, d-limonene, and sodium hypochlorite being some of the worst offenders) and rarely clean any better than simple, homemade solutions made from baking soda, vinegar, water, and lemon juice. Equally, stay away from anything scented (including candles) and stick to fragrance-free options only.
2. Wash Bedlinens In Hot Water
Bedding can collect allergens like almost nothing else- if you want a restful night’s sleep, getting your linens as clean and mite-free as possible is the best way about it. As Mommy Bites notes, one of the easiest things a person with allergies can do to reduce their suffering is to wash their linens in as hot as water as the care label will allow. 130 degrees Fahrenheit is the lowest temperature you should consider if you want to rid your home of dust mites, although if you can go hotter, do. While you’re at it, throw in your kid’s stuffed toys as well: they’re a breeding ground for allergy triggering nasties.
3. Vacuum Clean Twice Weekly
It might be everyone’s least favorite chore, but regular vacuuming will help keep allergens to a minimum. Just make sure you do as WebMD advises and get a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Regular filters will do absolutely nothing to get rid of the tiniest of allergens (other than giving them a bit of a trip as you suck them up then spit them back out again). A HEPA filter, on the other hand, will make sure that what gets sucked, stays sucked.
4. Don’t Shampoo Your Carpet
While regularly vacuuming your carpet is encouraged, regularly shampooing it is anything but. Unless you have an industrial-sized dryer that’ll suck up every last trace of moisture as soon as you’re finished shampooing, the leftover moisture can provide the perfect breeding ground for dust mites and mold… neither of which are likely to do your allergies one ounce of good.
5. Get Naked
No, not you… your floors. While we’ve already discussed the value of regular vacuuming, going one step further and ripping up all your carpets will 1) take away the need to do quite so much vacuuming and 2) deny a lot of mites and other allergens their natural habitat. Whether you go vinyl, tiled, or wooden, you should find a significant reduction in your allergy woes without all that carpet underfoot. Just don’t go ruining the effect by layering your new floors with huge, hard to wash Persian rugs…if you want something warm underfoot, stick to small rugs you can easily pop on the hot wash.
6. Wear A Mask
We’re not suggesting you buy a full-on gas mask, but a washable face mask can do great things for your allergies, especially if you wear it religiously every time you get down to some cleaning. Vacuuming, dusting, and general cleaning can throw dust, mites, and other allergens into the air: wearing a mask will let you breathe easily without accidentally taking in a mouthful of something unpleasant in the process. Similarly, investing in some disposable latex gloves is a must for anyone whose skin gets easily irritated by cleaning products.
7. Wash Your Drapes
How tempting is it to stick your window treatment up and never think about them until the next time you redecorate or move? Easy though it is to leave them off your regular cleaning schedule, it’s really best not to. Drapes and blinds are natural dust-gatherers, and where there’s dust, there’s mites. Follow the advice of Merry Maids and vacuum drapes with the appropriate attachment on a once-monthly (or more, if you can manage it) basis. Blinds should be given a thorough wipe down every month with a microfiber cloth.
8. Get Dampness Under Control
Water and bathrooms might go together like love and marriage, but uncontrolled moisture and allergies go together like Heaven and Hell. Although it might seem like a never-ending task, get to grips with any excess dampness as soon as possible: left to its own devices, it’ll quickly turn into a breeding ground for mold. After every shower or bath, wipe the walls down with a dry cloth, and, if possible, leave a window open ajar to let plenty of airflow.
9. Clean From Top To Bottom
Regardless of which room you’re cleaning, it helps to start from the top down. This will make sure that any dust, grime, or allergens simply fall to the floor, later to be scooped up by the vacuum. The Spruce recommends you start by giving your ceiling fans and light fixtures a thorough clean, before moving onto blinds, drapes, and the windows themselves. Any ash or residue in the fireplace should be removed next, before finishing off with a good vacuum.
10. Dust With A Damp Cloth
This might sound an obvious one, but if you’re going to dust, make sure you do it with a damp cloth. A dry cloth will throw a lot of dust particles and allergens into the air: a damp one, on the other hand, with catch them before they give you any trouble.