It’s a common scene – the weather changes from summer to autumn or from winter to spring and cue the allergies! The huffing, puffing, sneezing and wheezing that come with hayfever or asthma are often the soundtrack to this time of the year.
But it doesn’t have to be, there are ways you can help to relieve your allergies, even just by a little, through simple changes to your daily habits. Even the way you go about your cleaning can make a massive difference to your exposure to allergens.
With dust one of the top allergy culprits, along with pollen, pet hair/dander, and mould; eliminating as much dust and debris as possible from inside your home will help ease the overload on your immune system that causes the red nose, puffy eyes and sneezing.
Dust itself may not actually be the cause of your problems, it is usually the mites that feed on the dust – specifically their eggs and waste products – that cause allergies, so keeping dust to a minimum will reduce the ability for the mites to feed and breed.
Even if you or your family members don’t suffer from any allergies, sometimes your guests might, so ensuring your home is as comfortable as possible for all types of visitors is part of being an excellent host and friend.
Follow our allergy friendly cleaning tips to keep dust and mites at bay and reduce allergy symptoms:
Vacuum frequently – more than once a week is necessary for those with allergies. But if possible get a non-allergic person to do the vacuuming while you are out or in another part of the house, as the act of vacuuming can often disrupt and spread dust into the air. If you can’t find time to vacuum/sweep often or can’t find a willing helper, a tool like a Virobi that collects dust from hard floors onto an electrostatic pad is a handy solution.
Dust before vacuuming – the act of dusting can also send particles flying around the room to land on the floor, so dusting after vacuuming would be counterproductive. Use a damp microfibre cloth, an electrostatic duster or dedicated dusting cloths like the AttrActive duster refills, which really ‘catch’ dust, dirt and hair in the electrostatically charged fibres. Keeping surfaces relatively bare instead of cluttered with many items will help you dust more effectively.
Mop frequently – while vacuuming or sweeping hard surfaces will pick up some of the dust, a damp mop is most effective at catching more of the stubborn or trapped particles. A microfibre style mop will better trap particles in its fibres instead of leaving them for you to inhale once dry. When mopping, ensuring the mop is as dry as possible will help keep humidity down in your home, which will help prevent dust mites from propagating. Using a wringer style mop if possible will make this much easier.
Mould – if you have this problem in damp areas like bathrooms, laundries and kitchens, it could be contributing to allergies or all-round health problems. Look into products to remove mould or get an expert to help you, as sometimes trying to remove mould on your own can simply spread spores further and exacerbate your allergies.
Cockroaches – are also a cause of allergies due to particles from their saliva and waste, so keep these at bay with sprays if required.
Humidity & leaks – dust mites thrive in humid conditions, so if your allergies are really playing up open windows (only if pollen doesn’t cause your allergies), use an air conditioner or extractor fan to reduce the humidity levels in your home. Check your home for leaks or call an expert for help.
Bedrooms – the most favourable conditions for dust mites are often in here, with mattresses, pillows, blankets, curtains, carpets and rugs all ideal homes for the critters. So paying particular time and attention here will help ease the exposure during the many hours you spend in your bedroom. Pillows, blankets, soft toys and bedding should be washed in hot water frequently (weekly if you can) to kill any bugs and remove their waste. If you can get a barrier-style dust cover for your mattress this will greatly reduce access for them to live and breed in your mattress.
Remove or store – any non-essential items like sheepskin rugs, carpets, heavy curtains or indoor plants which could be harbouring dust or mould. The popularity of hard flooring instead of carpets these days is more than a trend; for some it is a necessity as they are easier to clean entirely. Carpets are often impossible to completely remove mites from, which is why many allergy suffers’ symptoms are greatly improved once carpets and rugs are removed altogether.
Air filters and purifiers – may help some in cutting out the amount of dust altogether and reduce the amount of cleaning required. Be sure to get a high rated model that doesn’t just pump dusty, dirty air around even more.
Pets – those with allergies to cats or dogs should avoid adopting one in the first place, however washing them regularly, keeping their hair short and brushing them outside daily will reduce the amount of allergens inside, sometimes to a more tolerable level.
Furniture – if you have strong allergies, avoid fabric furniture as it readily harbours dust and mites. Opt for leather or vinyl couches and chairs that are easier to clean so that each time someone sits down a range of allergens aren’t launched into the air. If you already have a set of furniture you aren’t able to get rid of soon, regularly vacuum your sofas and soft furnishing with the upholstery attachment.
Cleaning chemicals – may actually aggravate symptoms of allergies or asthma, particularly the harsher types. Avoid any containing the ingredients formaldehyde, ammonia, d-limonene, sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium hypochlorite. Choose the mildest form of detergents and cleaning chemicals you can, after all the quality of cleaning equipment such as mops and cloths is far more important in cleaning effectively than getting the strongest chemicals you can find.
While you may not be able to completely allergy-proof your home, sometimes reducing the level of allergens to a more tolerable point can ease symptoms or make them more bearable for the itchy-eyed, red-nosed allergy sufferers among us!