Putting the Kibosh on Allergy Triggers
Spring is in the air, and with it comes a host of allergens — from dust and pollen to pet dander. While you might not be able to cure your allergies, you can banish some of the triggers that make them worse, by learning how to properly clean and maintain a fresher home.
Plenty of typical spring cleaning chores can help to remove allergen issues and relieve your symptoms. Below are the top 6 things you can clean at the start of the season, to give yourself the best chances of a sniffle-free springtime.
Mattress, Pillows, and Bedding
As one of the items we launder less frequently, your bedding is a common source of allergen build-up. Considering the fact that you spend hours each night laying on your mattress and pressing your face into your pillows, bedroom exposure to allergens can be a significant trigger.
Vacuum your mattress to get rid of any dust and debris, and throw your bedding into the washing machine at least once a month at 140 degrees to kill dust mites. Research suggests that adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil in your laundry could eliminate more than 90% of dust mites.
Some down and fiber pillows can be cleaned in your washing machine, but you’ll need to check the labels for specific instructions.
Curtains and Drapes
Your window treatments can act as traps for dust and outside allergens, so cleaning them regularly can help soothe your symptoms throughout the warmer months. Use a vacuum attachment to suck dust away from drapes monthly, and remember to launder curtains if they’re washing-machine friendly.
If you have blinds that you can’t launder, use either a microfiber cloth or a slightly damp rag to pick up stray dust particles. If you and your family regularly suffer from allergies, it may be a good idea to remove soft furnishings from your home wherever possible, as these are the items most likely to gather dust.
Spaces Around Doors and Windows
The areas around your doors and windows can gather dust very quickly, and they’re often overlooked in the regular cleaning schedule. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that regular dusting in every nook can help to eliminate pervasive allergens.
Since traditional dusting practices can lift particles into the air and make symptoms worse, consider using a treated or damp cloth that attracts the dust instead of scattering it. If your allergies are particularly bad, wear a mask while you do this, for extra protection. Dust at least once or twice a week for the best results.
Large pieces of furniture like sofas and chairs can be difficult to clean, but they’re also a significant source of allergens. If you have pets in your home that often curl up on your furniture, this could be making your symptoms worse. In America, up to 30% of people with allergies have reactions to dogs and cats.
Vacuum the areas around your furniture and in the nooks and crannies of the furniture itself, to help control your exposure to dust and pet dander. As with dusting, vacuuming can also spread particles through the air and trigger symptoms. Vacuuming with a HEPA filter can help solve this problem. Vacuum at least once a week, and launder any soft coverings for your furniture once a month.
Bathroom and Shower Area
When cleaning for allergies, it’s important to keep dampness under control. Machines that control humidity can be useful in this instance, but it’s also useful to check your bathroom and kitchen for signs of moisture. The more you keep on top of humidity, the less likely you are to end up with mold spores floating around the home.
Wipe down damp walls and floors with a microfiber cloth after a bath or shower. Spread out shower curtains when you’re not using the shower, to ensure that there’s plenty of room for air to circulate.
Your HVAC System
Your HVAC system should be at the top of your spring cleaning list. Many problems associated with indoor quality link back to a filter problem or an issue with HVAC performance.
A good system pumps clean air throughout your home, while removing stale air into the atmosphere outside. However, if your ventilation system isn’t working properly, it could be blowing dust around your property, or filling your home with outdoor allergens. The best thing you can do to make sure your machine is working effectively is to get it professionally inspected annually.
Regular HVAC maintenance is necessary at least once a year to help keep allergens under control. For help spring-servicing your heating and cooling system, contact Bob Jenson today for an HVAC health check.
For over 45 years, Bob Jenson has been providing quality heating and air services to the San Diego community.
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