When someone in the family has allergies or if allergies lead to asthma, sinus infection, or skin conditions, housecleaning becomes part of the management plan for good health. As you clean different areas in your home, keeping allergies in mind can help prevent sneezing and sniffling, or worse. Here are some tips and useful products for getting ready to clean and for cleaning floors, dry surfaces, surfaces prone to dampness, laundry, and under-and-over places.
Getting Ready To Clean
It is best to get someone without allergies to do some chores, but when you must do them yourself, use smart precautions.
- Disposable masks provide protection for most household chores. Wear one when dusting, vacuuming, grooming the dog, and using household cleansers.
- If you are particularly sensitive to dust or chemicals, a more powerful mask may be called for.
- Non-latex gloves protect hands from water and cleaning products. If your allergies tend to cause skin irritations such as eczema, this is an especially important step. Wearing cotton gloves inside the vinyl gloves helps protect your hands from perspiration.
- For some dry jobs, wearing cotton gloves means washing the gloves when you are finished instead of having to repeatedly wash your hands.
- When dealing with mold or chemicals, protect your eyes with non-vented goggles.
Keeping floors clean means allergens are removed that would otherwise be stirred up into your breathing space every time you walk across the room. If you have children in your home who are prone to allergies, it is especially important to keep floors allergen-free. They don't call them rug rats for nothing.
Cleaning Dry Surfaces
- Vacuum carpet or hard surface floors at least once a week. A vacuum with HEPA filtration will keep allergens from going through the vacuum and being expelled back into the room with the exhaust air.
- Or you can choose to dry or damp mop hard surface floors weekly to remove allergen-laden dust.
- Use carpet treatments regularly as directed to neutralize pet and dust mite allergen and/or kill dust mites.
- Leaving shoes at the door prevents tracking in allergens, or use a doormat to brush off shoes before entering your home.
Any flat surface in your home will collect dust, and allergens are a component of dust. Controlling dust and the allergens it contains can make a big difference to allergy sufferers in your family.
Cleaning Surfaces Prone To Dampness
- Dust often. Use a damp cloth if the surface is water friendly like plastic or stone. If the surface can't handle water - like some woods - use a dry cloth or non-aerosol, fragrance-free furniture polish. An electrostatic cloth for dry dusting is especially good to keep dust from flying into the air.
- Keep kitchen countertops and other surfaces clean and free of crumbs that could attract cockroaches. Many people are allergic to the dried fecal matter of live roaches and dried body parts of dead roaches.
- De-clutter your home as much as possible so there are fewer places for dust to settle. Old newspapers, magazines, and books are particular favorites of dust.
- Think of beds as surfaces, too. Cover mattresses, pillows, and box springs in zippered encasings to protect them from dust and allergens and protect you from allergens, particularly dust mite allergen, in your bedding.
Surfaces around sinks in the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room or around other bathroom fixtures including tubs, showers, and toilets are all prone to dampness and mold.
- Be on alert for leaks under sinks, around other water sources, in basements, or roofs and fix them promptly before mold gets a foothold.
- Use low-chemical or chemical-free cleansers to get rid of mold. Choosing cleaning products without added fragrance can also be helpful to allergy and asthma sufferers.
- Using a mold preventative can help keep from having to clean away mold as often, especially around tubs and showers that get wet daily.
Pollen and other allergens can stick to clothing, bedding, and household fabrics. Even if you do not have a pet, your clothing may be picking up dander and bringing it home.
Keeping Under-And-Over Spaces Allergen Free
- A laundry detergent designed for allergen removal allows you to get rid of allergens while getting rid of dirt and grime.
- Or use a laundry additive that works with your regular detergent to eliminate allergens.
- Bedding that is not encased, throw rugs, and curtains should be washed every two weeks with a regular detergent in hot water or with an all-temperature additive. Or use an allergen-reduction, all-temperature detergent.
- Resist the urge to dry bed linens and clothing outdoors. They may seem and smell fresh, but allergens can hitchhike right back inside from the clothesline.
Dust, allergens, and mold found under your home in a basement or crawl space, over your home in an attic, or under your bed and furniture can also cause problems when someone in the family has allergies.
- Check for signs of mold - what you see and what you smell. Remove mold you can see with a bleach-free cleaner, and then apply a preventative to inhibit growth. If you can smell it but can't see mold, apply a bleach-free product to control mold growth and mildew smell.
- Reduce the amount of items you have in storage under or over the house or under the bed. Keep items in plastic tubs when possible. Although there can be some offgassing from plastic, this will dissipate, and plastic tubs are better than cardboard boxes that attract bugs, moisture, and mold.
- Do not store open containers of chemicals in the garage or basement.
Having allergies certainly is no reflection on your housekeeping. However, using some of the above tips for cleaning with allergies in mind can help reduce allergy symptoms. If you are dealing with the fight against allergies in your family, you know that even little things can make a big difference, and you are probably willing to do anything to relieve symptoms.
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Good Through: October 8, 2012
Block Mold Growth
No More Mildew seals mold and mold spores with a thin coating to inhibit growth of mold for up to 2 years. Use just about anywhere mold can grow.
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Stop Flying Dust
Dust Grabber Magnetic Dust Cloths, with permanent electrostatic surface charge, hold on to dust so it doesn't fly into the air while you are dusting.
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The lightweight, disposable 3M 9210 Mask efficiently keeps out allergens including pollens, dander, mite allergen and mold spores. NIOSH N95 rated.
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