Like everyone else in the tri-state area, your house has probably been closed up all winter. The air inside is stale, the carpets are full of salt residue that has been carried in on your shoes from repeated snowstorms, and you just feel like everything inside could use a thorough cleaning.
What you probably don’t realize is that the cleaning isn’t only necessary, but is also going to create a much healthier environment for you and your family – particularly those who suffer from asthma and allergies.
Allergies affect people of all ages. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports that allergic rhinitis affects between 10 and 30 percent of the world’s population. In addition, the prevalence of allergic diseases has risen in industrialized nations for more than 50 years.
Seasonal allergies tend to be the strongest in spring and autumn. Allergies can be exacerbated by many factors, including in homes that have been closed up for the winter or where home improvements are being made. Regular housecleaning can remove many common allergy triggers and help alleviate symptoms. Knowing which common home improvement mistakes can aggravate allergies can help homeowners avoid them.
With several weeks to go until spring fever really hits, you have plenty of time to prep your cleaning task list. Make sure to take a good look around your house for hidden culprits and must-tackle tasks before you get started.
Before any cleaning begins, allergy sufferers should don face masks and rubber gloves to prevent themselves from breathing in allergens or having them touch their hands, where they can be transferred to the face or elsewhere. Those cleaning should also wear clothes that can be easily removed and laundered after a day’s work.
The AAAAI recommends using an exhaust fan in the kitchen and bathrooms to reduce the levels of moisture in these rooms and filter out potential allergens and odors. Moisture can eventually lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which isn’t healthy for anyone, including allergy sufferers, to breathe in.
Vacuums with HEPA filters can trap allergens that are so small that they pass through regular vacuum filters. That means instead of containing them, these small particles are only being shot back into the air where they are easily breathed in. WebMD suggests vacuuming once or twice a week to keep carpets and floors as clean as possible. Plus, don’t forget to vacuum upholstered furniture and drapes as well.
When it comes time to wash linens, do so in hot water, which can kill dust mites residing in sheets and blankets. Employ mattress covers to further protect against dust mite allergies.
Shampooing a carpet may cause moisture to become trapped in the carpet fibers, leading to increased dust mites or mold growth. Spot-clean stains instead. Otherwise, hire a professional cleaner who will clean and dry the carpet as quickly as possible.
When cleaning up dust or home renovation debris, use a damp cloth or a vinegar solution to wipe down surfaces. This helps trap small particles instead of sending them into the air.
Mold can trigger allergic reactions, so it is best to keep it out of a home. Solutions that contain at least 10 percent bleach can be effective at killing mold, but it’s best to prevent mold from growing entirely. That means keeping tabs of any moisture issues and addressing them immediately.
Allergies can be problematic, but routine home cleaning in the right way can help alleviate symptoms. Don’t be afraid to bring in the professionals for the bigger tasks that you may not want to try to handle on your own, especially if you’re prone to nasal and breathing problems resulting from dirt, dust, dander and moisture in the home.