For those with allergies, the smallest bit of dander can set off miserable symptoms. Staying inside your home with the doors and windows closed often seems like the best solution especially in the spring! However, millions of allergens can still sneak into your home in a matter of seconds, settling in and causing you misery. Luckily there are steps that you can take year round to make your home as allergen free as possible!
- Vacuum and mop 2-3 times per week: This is especially important if you have carpet or rugs in your home. Dust mites and other allergens can easily become trapped in carpets and become “stirred up” by simply walking across the floor. Combat this by vacuuming and mopping as often as possible. If you have a vacuum, make sure that it has a HEPA filter. They trap more particles than regular filters and help with the amount of dust and mites that are put back into the air of your home. Also try to avoid sweeping with a traditional broom when possible since the action tends to push allergens up into the air which you in turn breathe in. Try to opt for a static cling dry mop or a vacuum if at all possible! Mopping hard floors helps ensure that you collect any dust, mites, or dirt that may be lingering there. The wet nature of the mop traps particles rather than releasing them back into the air. Just be sure to change mop heads frequently!
- Wear a mask while cleaning: This may make you feel silly but a mask will greatly help limit your exposure to allergens that you have stirred up while cleaning. No matter how cautious you are, there are bound to be “floaters” just waiting to be breathed in. Masks are affordable and can be found at most hardware and department stores.
- Wash sheets and blankets at least once a week: Try to get your water as warm as possible and use the most “extreme” setting on your machine. Also be sure to use a gentle, anti-allergy, or scent free detergent. Strong scents found in a great deal of detergents can wreak havoc on you and your family’s allergies if you are susceptible to them. Also launder any blankets or throws you have throughout your home even if they don’t receive direct use. Allergens tend to cling to fabrics and can set allergies off by simply being touched or brushed against.
- Never air-dry any laundry: This is especially true during the spring when pollen and spores are dancing through the air. Putting your laundry outside voids all the hard work you have done disinfecting the items in the first place. Opt for an electric dryer and clean out your lint trap each time you run a cycle.
- Deep clean damp areas like your bathroom at least once a week: Mold and mildew thrive in damp or wet places. They are not only a bummer for your allergies but they can also be incredibly dangerous to everyone whether they suffer from allergies or not! Deep cleaning sinks, toilets, and showers regularly helps to kill both before they spread. Bleach based cleaners are the easiest and most affordable way to kill everything and to ensure that all is sanitized. If you don’t have a bottle of pre-mixed bleach cleaner handy – you can easily make your own! Be sure to wear gloves and mix about 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Thoroughly soak the area with your cleaner and then scrub until any visible soap scum or mold is gone. If you can visibly see mold, try to let your bleach solution sit for at least 10 minutes before starting to scrub. There are also cleaners available that are made specifically for cleaning up mold. Using a good cleaner also ensures that you get rid of dander and soap scum which allergens can easily cling to.
- Ask for help: If your allergies are so bad that cleaning is miserable for you, don’t hesitate to ask someone for help! Leave your house while your friend or family deep cleans your home weekly. Allow a few hours after the cleaning is complete before returning home to ensure that any remaining allergens have settled.
If you still continue to experience a great deal of allergies even after taking precautionary measures in your home, it may be time to visit your doctor for an allergy test. You may have something in your home causing you trouble that you never suspected! Your family doctor may even recommend that you visit an Allergist who specializes in allergies and how to avoid them.