Controlling allergy triggers in your home
Many of our clients have allergies – and Spring time seems to be full of allergy triggers. What should be a lovely time of year to enjoy ends up being a marathon of sneezing, coughing, sore throats and headaches. Detail-cleaning the house is, of course, a front line defense against allergies. By detail I mean all those places that dust likes to hide – baseboards, under area rugs, under furniture, on top of ceiling fans, window and door sills. Getting dust up and out of the house is important – when vacuuming, be sure to use a HEPA vacuum, which traps the dust in the vacuum and filter. Vacuums without a HEPA filter can suck the dust into the vacuum head and send some of it flying back into the air through the exhaust filter.
If you or a family member has allergies, being pet-free is the best option. If you have a pet already, as we all know, it’s a family member and you are probably not going to bundle it off because you want to spare yourself from sneezing. Try to limit the spaces your pet goes into, and keep the pet from sleeping in your bedroom (give yourself a good 8 hour sleep without breathing in dander.)
Other things you can do in your home to control allergies:
- Keep shoes at the front door, in a bin or on a mat to keep from tracking pollen and dust into the house.
- Put a doormat at each entrance to catch dust and dirt, and shake it out – outside! – regularly.
- Hard surface flooring is best for those with allergies. It is easy to maintain and doesn’t harbor dust or dirt. Carpeting and carpet padding can hold a lot of dust and dander. I pulled up an old shag carpet one time and there were piles of sand and silt and dust underneath it, even though it had been vacuumed regularly. It had degraded over the years and actually disintegrated in places – every time someone stepped on it, a little puff of who-knows-what wafted up into the air.
- In warm weather, use air-conditioning to keep the humidity in the air lowered, and so limit mildew and mold growth.
- Mites (actually, mite poop) are an allergy trigger for many people, and can cause eczema and sinus problems as well. Wash bedding weekly in hot water. Keep mattresses, pillows and boxsprings encased in mite-proof plastic covers.
- Dust using a dampened microfiber, which picks up the dust, and launder microfibers after using (launder separately, by hand, if possible, and hang to dry, or put in dryer on cool setting.)
- Dust blinds, and vacuum or launder curtains.
- Don’t use harsh chemicals when cleaning – I’ve personally had asthma attacks triggered by bleach or cleaners with ammonia in them.
- Don’t burn candles or use scented air sprays. I can’t tell you how many times clients have told us their allergies are horrible and when we come to clean, the air is thick with scented candles and perfumed sprays.
No time to clean the house? Call a professional housecleaning company to come regularly and get that dust and dirt up and out of the house (ahem – I can recommend an excellent housecleaning company if you are in the market!)