Spring Clean Without Sneezing
Spring is the official start of the allergy season. However, many allergies that are associated with the springtime are often caused by poor air quality in your home rather than outdoor pollen from flowers and trees. Here are some quick tips to make your home allergy-free:
- Protect against pollen. Keep your windows and doors closed, especially at night. Avoid going outdoors between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., when pollen is usually emitted from plants. Avoid being outside when the pollen count is high. Changing your clothes and taking a shower when you come home may also help get rid of any pollen you may have picked up while outdoors.
- Choose and use HPEA filters. Vacuum your home regularly with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter when you are cleaning (vacuuming with a regular filter blows more allergens into the air). Also use HEPA filters in your air conditioner.
- Defeat dust. When cleaning, use a damp or treated cloth that attracts dust rather than scattering it, and consider wearing a dust mask.
- Wash your bedding weekly. Wash pillowcases, sheets and blankets in very hot water – at least 130 degrees – and dry them in a hot dryer to kill dust mites. Place allergen-proof covers on non-washable pillows, comforters and other bedding.
- Avoid harsh chemicals. Many allergy-suffers are sensitive to chemicals and strong fragrances. If possible, use cleaning products that are unscented or contain only natural ingredients. Or make your own all-purpose cleaning solution by combining one half cup distilled vinegar and two teaspoons of borax powder in half a gallon of water.
- Deal with pet dander. Reduce animal dander by vacuuming frequently and washing your pet at least once a week. Keep your pet out of your bedroom and off your furniture.
- Prevent mold and mildew. Run an exhaust fan when taking a shower or bath. Scrub away mold from tiles and bathroom surfaces and replace moldy shower curtains. Use dehumidifiers in damp areas such as basements, and empty and clean the holding tank regularly.