A Really Clean Home: Allergies on the line

House dust mite (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinu...

House dust mite (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus) . More information here: news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_9290000/9290068... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pollen from a variety of common plants: sunflo...

Pollen from a variety of common plants: sunflower (Helianthus annuus), morning glory Ipomoea purpurea, hollyhock (Sildalcea malviflora), lily (Lilium auratum), primrose (Oenothera fruticosa) and castor bean (Ricinus communis). The image is magnified some x500, so the bean shaped grain in the bottom left corner is about 50 μm long. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Allergens are everywhere in our homes; there is no escaping them all together. 

However, there are certain steps to take that will seriously reduce the affects on us.   Consider these:

1. Wash Cycle

Every home has dust mites, but they can be controlled and significantly reduced by washing your bedding and curtains more often. Apart from investing in dust mite-proof pillows and mattress covers, ACI recommends washing your sheets weekly, your pillows at least four times a year and your blankets, comforters and mattress pads each month. As long as you’re updating your laundry routine, you can also save a little extra money and energy by incorporating concentrated cleaning products.

Also, making a habit of wiping down bathroom surfaces and wet-mopping floors helps eliminate mold and mildew. Try to do each once a week, and wash your shower curtain once a month.

2. De-clutter

Eliminating clutter in your home might come as a surprising fix for respiratory symptoms, but it can be effective. Apart from providing a place for dust and allergens to collect, clutter usually makes cleaning in general more difficult. To avoid waste when you’re taking on your clutter collection, be sure to utilize resources like the Earth911 directory for recyclables rather than tossing them out. For items like toys, books, stuffed animals and other nick-knacks that make the cut, store them in cabinets when possible, to keep them from gathering dust.

Also, simple steps like not letting dirty dishes sit in the sink and taking out the trash in a timely manner help avoid unwanted visitors like cockroaches.

3. Dry Clean

Dusting, vacuuming and sweeping are useful for removing pet dander, pollen and dust mites from your home. By doing these things more regularly, those allergens don’t have a chance to build up and trigger symptoms. Take the time to shake out the rugs in your living areas and keep window sills and door frames clean as well. Remember, extra cleaning doesn’t have to cost extra. Try putting a worn out T-shirt to use as a damp dusting cloth. These are simple steps, but they can make a big difference to you indoor environment.

When it comes to building a new cleaning routine, ACI encourages a family approach.

“Families need to know that it really is a family affair. Everyone needs to understand the importance of a clean environment and that they play a role in helping to reduce allergens in the home. The focus should not be on one room – but rather the entire house.”

Keep it Clean: Earth911′s Green Spring Cleaning Guide

By assigning duties to different family members, everyone is able to contribute to the cleaner environment. However, it’s important to remember to only assign appropriate tasks to the family member that suffers from symptoms. Responsibilities like washing dishes or picking up daily clutter have less exposure to triggers compared to dusting or vacuuming that can throw allergens into the air.

Cleaning solo? Try to ventilate your home as you clean to avoid allergens that get stirred up in the process. If your symptoms are severe, you can wear a medical mask to prevent exposure.

Visit ACI’s Clean Living site for more tips and tools to help reduce allergens and triggers in your home.

Editor’s Note: Earth911 partners with many industries, manufacturers and organizations to support its Recycling Directory, the largest in the nation, which is provided to consumers at no cost. The American Cleaning Institute is one of these partners.

Allergen glory

Allergen glory (Photo credit: Vince Alongi)

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