Spring cleaning can be a refreshing and welcoming activity for many people, but it can also be a painful and frustrating one for those with allergies. Cleaning stirs up dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and other triggers that can exacerbate your symptoms.
While regular house cleaning isn’t going to magically erase allergy symptoms, it can help you reduce them. Follow these allergy season cleaning tips to keep your home free from triggers and breathe easier.
Consider Air Purification
Air purifiers are great for removing allergens and pollutants from your home’s air. They use a variety of technologies to clean the air, including filtration, ionization, ultraviolet (UV) light and activated carbon filtration. Many air purifiers also kill viruses and bacteria that can cause infections. Some can also eliminate odors.
Regardless of which type of purifier you choose, it is important to keep in mind that the EPA recommends a filter be replaced every three months. Make sure the filter is clean and free from dust, dirt, and pet dander.
For those who have asthma, an air purifier may help improve their asthma symptoms by reducing the number of allergens in the home’s air. This can decrease the number of inhalable allergens inhaled by the person with asthma and reduce the number of asthma medications needed.
Humidifiers are another option for alleviating allergies and sinus congestion. They help increase your body’s moisture levels to better support the mucus membranes in your nose and mouth. They can also help prevent allergic reactions.
When it comes to indoor allergies, pests can be a significant cause. They can bring in pollen from outside, dust mites, and mold spores. Eggs of cockroaches can become dust, which can cause significant difficulties for people with allergies, especially asthma.
All of these can trigger symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and runny nose. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, keeping your home free from these triggers can help you breathe easier and sleep better.
Instead of using toxic chemicals for pest control, try natural repellants. They are especially effective with cockroaches. You will not get the immediate effect, but it will be much more allergy friendly. You don’t need more allergens in your home.
If you’re prone to allergies, talk to your doctor about using prescription medications that may reduce or eliminate the effects of these triggers. They can also recommend over-the-counter medications that can be used as needed to treat symptoms.
Vacuum and Dust Frequently
Dust is one of the most common triggers for people with allergies. It collects on wooden and tiled floors, exposed surfaces, mirrors, and soft furnishings like curtains.
It is important to vacuum and dust frequently to remove allergens from the air. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends vacuuming twice a week for high-traffic areas and once a week for low-traffic zones.
You should also consider getting a specialized vacuum cleaner with an allergen-busting filter that can trap small particles and prevent them from circulating back into the air. This will keep you and your family healthier, the AAAAI says.
Wipe down furniture and carpets at least once a week. This will help to eliminate irritants such as animal dander, dead skin, and dust mites that can cause allergy symptoms.
Another way to reduce dust and allergens is to wash bedding in hot water once a week. This will remove sloughed-off dead skin cells that are a favorite food of dust mites. It will also reduce the amount of pollen that accumulates on your sheets and pillowcases.
Use Hypoallergenic Bedding
Aside from helping you breathe more easily, hypoallergenic bed sheets can also help you sleep better. These sheets are made from fabrics that are resistant to allergens, such as dust mites and mold.
These types of fabrics can be found in pillowcases, mattress covers, and pads, duvet covers and comforters, and more. They are also easy to wash and can help you achieve a better night’s rest.
However, it is important to choose the right type of hypoallergenic bed sheets for your needs. For example, you may prefer wool bedding if you have fabric allergies.
Another way to keep your home allergy free is to use anti-allergen dust mite covers for your mattress, pillows, and box springs. These covers are made from 100% natural cotton and are certified to have an average 4.39 micron pore size, which is ideal for trapping allergens.
Keep Windows Closed During Pollen Season
Pollen can be a major trigger for hay fever sufferers. Whether it’s tree and grass pollen in spring or ragweed in fall, a high count can lead to sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, and troubled sleep.
Allergy experts recommend keeping windows closed during allergy season to keep a lid on pollen. In addition, it’s also important to check your window seals for leaks.
If your windows are cracked or open, it’s a good idea to have them replaced with new ones. Cracked windows allow air to pass through them, which can cause mold and allergens to build up inside.
Another way to keep pollen from circulating throughout your home is by using an allergy screen. These filters have a fine mesh that blocks 90 percent of plant allergens from entering your home.
Make sure your pets are clean and groomed to help avoid them tracking pollen particles into the house. If you have pets that go outside, try wiping their coats with a damp cloth before they come in.
Avoiding outdoor activity in the morning when pollen levels are highest can also help prevent allergy symptoms. This is especially true if your allergies are linked to asthma, which can be aggravated by outdoor pollen in the early mornings.
Avoid Carpet and Upholstery Fabrics
Carpet is an attractive and warm alternative to hard floors but can trap allergens like dust, pollen, and pet hair. They are also easily dispersed with the movement of feet or hands, and for people with allergies, this can be a serious trigger.
Carpet and rugs can also contain dust mites that are a known allergy trigger. They feed on dead skin cells and pollen grains which cling to the fibers and accumulate inside homes where people spend most of their time.
Similarly, upholstery fabrics made from delicate fibers such as wool, silk, and cotton can release allergens into the air. Allergens can include dust, dander from pets, and food particles that have been ingested.
Upholstery fabric is a more challenging material to clean than carpet. A professional cleaner must be skilled in handling and cleaning a variety of fibers, blends, and types of fabric to get the best results possible.
The most popular synthetic fibers used in upholstery fabrics are nylon and polyester, which can help repel dust mites and other allergens, thereby reducing their number. They are also low in soil absorbency which makes them easier to clean with professional cleaning methods. On the other hand, natural fibers are more prone to staining and can be more difficult to clean with specialized cleaning methods.
Preparing your home for allergy season can be a challenge. However, with the proper cleaning tactics and allergen removal strategies, you can create a safe and comfortable environment in your home that will help protect you from potential allergy triggers.
By vacuuming often, washing bedding regularly, managing dust accumulation, sealing cracks to prevent pollen and other allergens from entering, and ensuring proper ventilation, you can significantly reduce your exposure to allergens and ease the symptoms of seasonal allergies. With these tips in mind, you can take control of your environment and create a healthier home for yourself and your family.