March 9, 2021

Yes, I am Allergic to Housework!

Spring Cleaning Tips That Reduce Triggers

Spring is a season of rejuvenation, and it is fast upon us. Our renewed senses stir us into action, most often motivating us to de-clutter and deep clean our homes. Spring cleaning benefits include more than just enjoying a refreshed, shiny-clean home. Deep cleaning to remove the allergen triggers such as dust, pet dander, molds, and mildew leaves you feeling refreshed and healthy, as well. 

There are particular steps you can take while cleaning that can greatly reduce allergy symptoms. Be aware beforehand: de-cluttering and deep cleaning mean more exposure to allergens. You may want to take allergy meds or even mask-up before diving into the task. 

First Things First – Dust!

Wipe all the surfaces in your home with a damp cloth, preferably one of microfiber. These cloths are top-rated when it comes to getting into nooks and crannies. Have several on hand and change them out frequently while working. Donate those little-used items and knick-knacks that sit and collect dust. It is easier to clean an organized area than to clean one cluttered up with “stuff.”  Consider a once a year super-clean for air vents and registers by removing them completely. Then vacuum, rinse, and reinstall. Using a cyclonic vacuum with a hypoallergenic filter can prevent the dust from escaping back into the room. Be sure to change HVAC filters frequently and use a filter that has anti-microbial properties.

To Carpet or Not to Carpet?

If you have severe dust allergies, you may want to consider only having hardwood or tile floors in your home. You can still place area rugs in rooms where more comfort is wanted. Area rugs can be taken up and vacuumed more thoroughly, and smaller ones can even be machine washed and dried. If carpets are in your home to stay, thorough cleaning must be an almost daily effort for dust and mite control. Move and vacuum under all the furniture room by room to ensure top-level clean for spring. It is generally not recommended to shampoo your entire carpet as mites are attracted to moisture and humidity. Spot cleaning with a warm, damp sponge is all that’s needed for some carpet stains.

Treat Your Curtains with Respect

Cleaning or washing curtains, blinds, valances, and other window treatments are often overlooked when it comes to spring cleaning. Some treatments can be machined washed; others need a trip to the dry cleaners. Be sure to check the care label. Also, look for mold on the window glass. It is not unusual to find a thin film of mold/mildew on the pane and sash. Diluted vinegar does a fantastic job cleaning windows.

Keeping it Clean Between the Sheets 

Most bedding and pillows can be machine washed. Make sure your water temp is at least 130F degrees. Heat kills dust mites. If some fabrics cannot be washed on a hot temperature, run them through the dryer for about ten minutes to kill the little buggers. Always check the maker’s label for care instructions. Fluff and machine dry your bed pillow with a clean pair of kid’s tennis shoes to help it from getting matted. Don’t forget to wash the dust-ruffles and the kid’s stuffed animals.

Last, but Certainly not Least

Bathrooms are notorious for mold and mildew growth.  Cleaners containing bleach do an excellent job taking out mildew stains and removing mold for the moment. However, mold-killing enzyme products have more staying power in keeping the mold from growing back. There are several on the market which can even be used on fabric and carpets with good results.  To reduce humidity, be sure to use a high-capacity ventilator during baths and showers and never leave behind wet towels and clothing.

More Spring Cleaning Tips

If you are looking for more tips on spring cleaning, check out this great article from Porch.

Greater Austin Allergy Asthma & Immunology