Spring Cleaning for Allergy Sufferers
|The sun is out, the weather is warming up, and it's time to throw
open our windows to spring. (Figuratively speaking, of
course—there's pollen out there!) It's also time for spring
cleaning. Whether you dread this process or find it strangely
satisfying, it's got to be done, especially if you're an allergy
sufferer. The air in your home is about 10 times dirtier than the
air outside, and allergens have been accumulating during the months
of winter. Pollen season has already reared its ugly head, but you
can strengthen your defenses by getting rid of other indoor
allergens—and the best way to do this is a deep, thorough spring
What kind of indoor allergens are lurking inside your home? Well,
there's definitely dust, dust mites, animal dander, mold, and
mildew, for starters—along with your ordinary household dirt and
grime. But don't worry; we're going to give you some pointers on how
to transform your home into a clean and healthy place to live.
Before you break out the cleaning products, there are a few other
tasks you may want to accomplish first. Many people organize
closets, drawers, and shelves as part of their spring cleaning, and
they often go through old belongings to see what can be thrown away
or donated to charity. This is an important first step for allergy
sufferers, too. Getting rid of excess knickknacks, decorations, and
collectibles will cut down on dust throughout the house, making your
cleaning job easier. Items that fit tidily into closets and drawers
can be hidden neatly away where no dust can gather on them. A
clutter-free environment is easier to clean—and easier to keep
Here's a checklist to help make sure that this year's spring
cleaning leaves your home sparkling, spotless, and allergy-free:
Finally, there's one more aspect of cleaning to consider this
spring: not simply what you clean, but how you clean. Standard
cleaning supplies often contain harsh fragrances and chemicals that
irritate allergies. We recommend cleaning with all-natural,
cleaning products. You may also want
to consider wearing an
allergy relief mask while cleaning—indoors
and outdoors—to protect yourself from fumes, dust, and allergens.
- Destroy mold and mildew indoors by cleaning under the
refrigerator, washing and disinfecting garbage cans, thoroughly
scrubbing bathrooms, and cleaning or changing shower curtains. If
you have a basement, you should examine and clean it thoroughly.
Mold and mildew flourish in damp environments. You can help prevent
the growth of mold and mildew with humidity control products.
- Don't ignore the mold and mildew outdoors. Mold spores are
airborne particles that can easily float indoors. Clean the yard
frequently and remove any wet piles of leaves, grass, or mulch.
- Clean your bedroom! Wash all your bedding, using hot water.
laundry additives and
detergents help kill dust mites and
eliminate other allergens. If you haven't already encased your bed
in allergy relief bedding, take this opportunity to do so (while
your bedroom is nice and clean).
- Dust mites live in carpets and upholstery, too. Treat carpets and
upholstery with a
powder that neutralizes or kills dust mites. We
recommend using only dry cleaning methods on carpets. Wet extraction
methods leave carpets damp, creating the ideal environment for mold
and mildew spores, which you've been working so hard to eradicate.
- Clean mini-blinds thoroughly. Better yet, get rid of them and
replace them with vertical blinds or washable window dressings.
Window blinds are dust traps.
- If you have them, wash your drapes.
- Vacuum as if your life depends on it! Move aside furniture to
reach every nook and cranny. Those rarely vacuumed spots may not
look dirty, but invisible allergens have a way of collecting in
these undisturbed corners. If you don't already have one, get a
filter vacuum cleaner; otherwise, you're just
spewing allergens back into the air every time you vacuum.
- Dust everything. We recommend using an
cloth, which traps dust, or a vacuum attachment designed
specifically for dusting. Normal dusting cloths spread too much dust
around in the air without actually getting rid of it. Don't forget
to dust above your head as well—light fixtures,
ceiling fan blades,
and the tops of cabinets and armoires.
- It's a good idea to keep your house well-ventilated while
cleaning. If the pollen outside is stopping you from opening
windows, consider running the air conditioning and indoor air
purifiers to keep the air well-ventilated and clean.
- Don't forget to change the
filters on your air conditioners,
vent registers. Since you
just clean your house, you want all the incoming air to be clean,
fresh, and breathable.
Even hypoallergenic cleaning products can irritate some allergy
sufferers. If this is the case for you, there are three wholly
natural cleaning products that you can find in your kitchen:
vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda. Vinegar, when mixed equally
with water, makes a great all-purpose cleaning solution and
disinfectant. Use it on kitchen and bathroom surfaces as you would a
general spray cleaner, but do not use it on marble. If you're unsure
of whether or not you can use it on a certain surface, then first
test it in an inconspicuous area. Lemon juice can be used as a
polish on copper and brass; it is also useful for dissolving hard
water stains and soap build-ups. Baking soda works well as an
abrasive cleaner on surfaces such as sinks, tubs, ceramics,
aluminum, chrome, and stainless steel. Baking soda is also an
Learn more about healthy and natural cleaning products and supplies
in the featured products section of this newsletter or on our
allergy relief cleaning supplies web site.