Garden sections at stores are being stocked and people are gearing up to work on their lawns. It may still be a few weeks early, but spring is in the air! And so are allergies. Yes, those common seasonal allergies that bother the best of us each year, sometimes coming back with a vengeance.
Thankfully, regularly cleaning your home can help reduce the effects of allergies on you or those you love. Here are our allergen removal spring cleaning tips to help you not only make your home feel fresh, but to help you feel your best!
If you haven’t cleaned your home all winter – like, really cleaned it – then this alone may cause some allergies, as you’ll be dealing with lots of dust and debris. Make sure you wear a basic protective mask as this will prevent you breathing in unwanted particles. Also make sure your cleaning tools are, well…clean, and ready to do their job. Gather the best supplies for reducing allergens in your home, including:
Fine-particle filter and even ultra-violet vacuums exist for those with extreme allergy problems, but if your allergies are mainly seasonal, then simply double bag your vacuum to trap as many particles as possible. If your vacuum is bagless, then just be sure it’s cleaned and that the collection cup is washed thoroughly, especially before a big spring-cleaning job.
Microfiber cloths work much better at trapping dust and debris than basic rags or towels, and they’re of course washable and reusable. You can also use disposable dusting wipes for other areas that you may not want to deal with after the cleaning is over. These create static cling that prevents the particles from floating off into the air after being wipes up.
Some cleaners can lead to allergies or skin irritations, so choose cleaners that have as few chemicals as possible. Be sure to read the labels before buying or using, and be wary of ingredients like ammonia, d-limonene, formaldehyde, sodium hypochlorite, or sodium lauryl sulfate. Also, look for cleaners that are unscented or dye-free. You can also use natural products like distilled white vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice for cleaning.
What are some whole-house, spring-cleaning tips to help reduce and keep allergies at bay?
- Control indoor temperature and humidity. Dust mites and mold spores like heat and humidity, so keep your temperature between 68 and 72 degrees, with a humidity level of no more than 50 percent.
- Change or clean your air filters every month if possible.
- Keep clutter at a minimum, especially in living spaces.
- Keep pets outside as often as possible. If your pets are indoor-only, then wash them and their bedding weekly. Keep them off the bed and couch as well.
- Wash your bedding weekly.
- Clean starting from the top and work down. Dust ceiling fans and light fixtures. Then dust blinds and wash curtains, move on to window sills, wall décor, and shelves. Finally, clean furniture and floors. This will keep allergens from spreading.
- If your home has any mold or mildew (usually found in bathrooms), then mix a solution of three parts water to one part bleach. Wear a mask and rubber gloves, and be sure to ventilate the area well. Scrub the area and let the solution sit for about 15 minutes. Then rinse the area with water.
- Always hang towels to dry between uses. Wash rugs, bathmats, and shower curtains frequently.
- Dust ceiling fans and light fixtures. Then dust blinds and wash or vacuum drapes using the hand tools. Don’t forget to clean window sills and mantles or any horizontal surface. Clean away any ashes or residue in fireplaces.
- Vacuum living areas at least every other day.
- Dust artificial plants weekly.
- Clean the kitchen counters and sink daily. Wash dishes after every meal, or at least put them in the dishwasher. All leftovers should be covered, and be sure to empty the trash frequently to prevent pests, foul smells, or mold from developing, all of which can trigger allergies. Clean out your fridge regularly as well.
- Have everyone in the family take off their shoes before going into the house.
- Store jackets in a coat closet near your front door or in a mud room to keep allergens from spreading to other areas of the house.
- After drying a load of laundry, be sure to clean the lint filter out. Seasonally check the outside dryer vent to make sure it’s working properly.
- When storing things, use plastic bins with lids to prevent your items from collecting dust or growing mildew.