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| Welcome to the National Allergy E-Mail Newsletter! We hope that this month's topic on Spring-Cleaning will be helpful and also get you looking forward to the coming warmth and sunshine of spring and summer! As spring approaches every year, it is an exciting time to start opening windows and enjoying the outdoors again. It also means that a season worth of debris, dust, and other allergens have been accumulating in our homes. Thus we have the tradition of spring-cleaning - that necessary evil that enables us to get a fresh start. Spring-cleaning is not only time-consuming and messy, but can also leave us feeling stuffed up from inhaling allergens or sick from exposure to the chemicals we are using. So we'll take a look at some common indoor and outdoor spring cleaning tasks from an allergy sufferer's perspective. We hope this information will help you to clean safely and with the confidence that you are using products and methods that will protect both you and the environment. So read on, enjoy, and then put your newfound knowledge to work! Spring will be here before you know it!
In this issue we address the following topics:
The National Allergy Newsletter Team
Indoor Cleaning For The Allergy Sufferer
One of the most important considerations for the allergy sufferer during both indoor and outdoor cleaning projects is to be aware of your allergic sensitivities. For protection against airborne allergens like dust, mold and pollen, try a mask like our popular Silk Mask ” it's washable, cool and breathable! For bigger jobs, use a long lasting 3M Particulate Respirator for excellent protection. Non-Latex Gloves are also a good idea for working in potentially moldy areas or while using cleaning agents.
Wash Bedding, Drapes & Clothing. Wash all your winter blankets, comforters and quilts in hot water. Water must be above 140 degrees to kill the dust mites that have probably been making a home in these items all winter. If you are concerned about hot water causing damage to your bedding, consider using De-Mite Laundry Additive which will eliminate dust mites in a cold or warm water wash. The window treatments from your bedroom or living room have, most likely, been collecting allergens and dust for several months as well. Vacuum them, take them to the dry-cleaners or launder them on a gentle cycle. A cold water wash is fine here since you're just trying to clean and wash out collected allergens. It is also a wise idea to give your winter clothes a good washing prior to packing them up. This will give you a fresh start for fall and also cleanse them of allergens that may have collected. Also remember to use the 12 month rule when cleaning out closets ” if you have not used or worn an item in at least 12 months and it's still in good shape, consider donating it to a local charity or a needy family.
Vacuuming Tips. Presumably, you have maintained a fairly regular vacuuming routine through the winter. Spring means it's time to move the furniture and appliances aside in order to pick up the dust and dirt that has collected under them. Vacuum your furniture as well using an upholstery attachment. This is also a great time to use one of our dust mite treatment products that we discussed in our January Edition. Don't forget to vacuum those hard-to-reach places like baseboards, windowsills, vent and return registers, and even books themselves that have been gathering dust all winter. Magazines and newspapers are also dust collectors so part with them if you can, dust or vacuum them if you can't. If you have a HEPA air cleaner, it's a good idea to turn it on high while you vacuum since this chore tends to stir up a lot of allergens (this is an ideal time to change the pre-filters in your HEPA air cleaners, too). This spring may even be the time to consider a new vacuum cleaner. Are you using an older model that does not have HEPA filtration? Have you noticed an increase in symptoms when vacuuming? National Allergy's line of HEPA filtered vacuum cleaners offer excellent suction power and filtration in an upright or a canister at a variety of price ranges. Plus, they are all included in this month's product specials.
Dusting Tips. While dusting is often an unpopular task, it is a necessary step in spring-cleaning and in your allergen-avoidance routine in general. In addition to furniture, bookcases, and other "known" dusting areas, you should run a dust cloth over china, crystal or other knick-knacks that may be losing their luster due to a coating of dust. Ceiling fan blades, window blinds, cabinet tops and bookcases are also notorious havens for dust and allergens to settle. When tackling a whole-house dusting project, make sure you are armed with tools to make the job as quick and painless as possible while keeping the dust down to a minimum. Two items that will help with this effort, as well as being customer favorites, are the Dust Grabber dust cloth and the FloorWizard dust mop. The Dust Grabber is a re-usable, washable dust cloth that carries an electrostatic charge so dust clings to it and stays there rather than just being pushed around. The FloorWizard integrates the Dust Grabber technology into a 45" long dust mop, similar to some popular store brands. The big difference with Floor Wizard is that the cloths are washable, and won't lose their charge. With both products, you save money plus help reduce the waste of disposable cloths. You can find these and other helpful Dust Reduction Products on our website.
A look into many American homes usually reveals a wide variety of everyday cleaning products. Many of these products contain chemicals such as chlorine, phosphates, acetone, ammonia and petroleum that can cause side effects like headaches, depression and flu-like symptoms through exposure. Millions of Americans are sensitive to chemicals and millions more are concerned about the negative health and environmental impact they can have. At National Allergy, we are concerned for all our customers, so we offer non-toxic, fragrance-free, non-abrasive cleaning products for almost any project. Our EnviroRite line of products are plant-based yet hard working and include a multi-purpose spray, jewelry cleaner, bathroom cleaner, glass cleaner, laundry detergent and more.
In addition to safe cleaners, we offer several types of cleaning cloths that use microfiber technology to clean effectively but with no waste or harsh chemicals. The Miracle Towel is a super-absorbent, washable, deep-cleaning cloth that needs only water to clean away dirt and mess. The Action Fiber mop uses similar technology and is great for hard floors like vinyl and tile. Windows sparkle with the GlassWizard cloth and only a little water, and it is engineered to clean oils and greasy smudges without the use of irritating chemicals.
In addition to a growing number of non-harmful cleaning agents, there are several home recipes that have been used for centuries to de-grease, de-grime, unclog, and shine. Discover "new" uses for these common pantry items. The following is taken from Debra Lynn Dadd's book The Nontoxic Home which appears to be out of print. Home Safe Home by the same author would probably be a good substitute if you're interested.
Vinegar. Mix 1 cup white vinegar & 1 cup water in a spray bottle. This solution works on dirt, soap scum and hard water deposits, and is a natural deodorizer. In the kitchen, the spray cleans countertops, cooking surfaces and backsplash areas. The more undiluted the vinegar, the tougher the job it can tackle. Vinegar can also unclog mineral deposits in shower-heads ” simply set the clogged showerhead in a cup of vinegar, or attach a baggy filled with vinegar to the showerhead with a rubber-band and let it sit overnight. Vinegar odor will dissipate as it dries.
Baking Soda. Sprinkling a small amount of baking soda on a damp sponge can do wonders on grimy drains and faucet rings. For tougher jobs, use a thin paste of baking soda and let it stand on the affected surface for several minutes. Clogged drains will benefit from a handful of baking soda and , cup of vinegar. Pour the solution in the drain, then cover it tightly and allow the fizzy solution to dislodge obstructive matter. Then rinse the drain with hot water.
Lemon Juice. Not only does it give a fresh scent to disposals and other surfaces, but lemon juice can also be added to simple borax cleaners to cut through grease. Some furniture polishes contain silicone oil which can eventually harm the wood. A homemade furniture polish is as simple as , cup of lemon juice and 1 cup of olive oil in a spray bottle. Simply shake it well and apply it to wood furniture with a cleaning rag.
Outside Your Home
A good final step in the spring cleaning process is to take a walk around the outside of your home. First, check for chipping paint, roof damage, or evidence of leaks. While these things are unsightly, they also can signal potential mold problems. You may discover areas that after a few harsh winters need re-painting. First, scrape, prime and paint peeling spots on the trim and woodwork. Then caulk and seal any noticeable cracks. These upkeep projects protect the wood both from the summer heat and from moisture intrusion. When re-painting, invest in mold-retardant paint or use a product such as M-1 Paint Additive which will inhibit the growth of mold and mildew on the painted surface.
Next, remove accumulated dead foliage and weeds from garden beds and the lawn, as well as from the roof and gutters. This decaying, organic material can harbor irritating molds plus an uncovered yard will grow more fully. While in and around the yard, inspect the patio, deck or any outdoor furniture you have for mold growth or green algae. If mold is present, you'll want to first remove the stains by treating with a non-toxic cleaner like our NAS-12. After the surface is dry, follow-up with No More Mildew to protect against future mold growth for a long period of time. If you see green algae growing on your deck or patio, simply spray on No More Algae and 1 to 4 days later it will be goneú what could be easier? For more mold and mildew clean-up tips, you might want to review our August Newsletter in our archives section.
As you continue your walk around the house, make a point to inspect your HVAC system. Clear away all debris that is either on top of or around the unit so that it is not pulled into the unit. It may be wise to have a professional inspect your system to ensure it is ready for the approaching hot temperatures. Replacing your furnace filter at this time is a great idea for improving the air quality in your home. National Allergy's Permanent, Electrostatic Whole-House Filters can reduce indoor pollutants by up to 91% and need only be washed monthly to last a lifetime! But if you want the most efficient furnace filters on the market today, you'll want the 3M Filtrete Filters which should last 3 months each.
Spring 2004 Cleaning ChecklistINSIDE
We hope this article has motivated you to tackle the project of spring-cleaning. If you have further questions about any of the products mentioned in this edition, e-mail us at email@example.com and we'll do our best to help.
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