Spring cleaning is a great way of getting your home clean and tidy in readiness for the rest of the year. It involves some detailed cleaning jobs that don’t usually get done on a regular basis, so it’s very important to most homes. But for some people, the process can cause serious distress and discomfort.
Dusting, polishing and vacuuming can bring on or exacerbate the classic symptoms of allergy suffers — the most serious of which are related to breathing problems. These essential cleaning tasks dislodge dust, pollen and other allergens from the surfaces in a home, but taking a few precautions should keep allergic reactions to a minimum.
1. Keep shoes outside
Spring cleaning is a great way to reduce allergens and bacteria in a home to minimal levels for the rest of the year. However, what’s the point in doing all of that hard work if you’re going to carry allergens such as pollen into your home via your shoes. Enforce a strict no shoes policy in your home — both during and after spring cleaning.
2. Vacuum after every cleaning session
If you’re anything like most householders, you’ll probably attack your annual spring clean over several sessions. While this is a great way to ensure everything gets cleaned to a high standard, it can cause large quantities of allergens to be dispersed several times during the process. At the end of every cleaning session, the last thing you should do is thoroughly vacuum the floors with a powerful vacuum cleaner. Dust — and all of the allergens it contains — follows the laws of gravity and head downwards, which usually means most of it ends up on the floor.
3. Use the correct vacuum cleaner
The problem with many older bag vacuum cleaners is that they fail to trap and hold a lot of the allergens that are picked up during a clean. Dust, mite carcasses and pet dander often get spewed back into the air, causing serious problems for allergy sufferers. But you can prevent this from happening by using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. This technology is improving all the time, and now traps 99.97% of dust particles. Switching to a cleaner with a HEPA filter means you’re not simply moving potentially harmful allergens around your home.
Tip: Take your vacuum cleaner or the removable dust chamber outside to empty it — otherwise allergens might be launched into the air.
4. Shut your windows
While this might seem counterintuitive when you’re spring cleaning, it makes sense if you have people in your home with a pollen allergy. Particular during late spring, there’s a lot of pollen in the air – which can travel through open windows and settle on your carpets and surfaces. Make sure you deep clean your blinds and curtains, however, or the sacrifice of keeping your windows closed could end up being for nothing.
5. Use a dehumidifier
Once you’ve cleaned your home and removed the majority of the allergens in it, you should start thinking about ways to keep the situation under control. Using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and dusting with care will help to control dust, but what about mould?
Mould can be tricky to remove, and often requires some pretty nasty cleaning agents. The last thing you want is for the problem to return because of your failure to take precautions. Introduce a dehumidifier to the problem areas of your home. This should keep mould growth down to a minimum. However, contrary to point 4, controlling mould growth requires good ventilation (which is a fancy way of saying “close the windows”). This is a judgment you have to make, depending on the allergies you and members of your family have.
Mould, pet dander, dust and pollen can all cause some pretty horrible allergic reactions. And in the most severe cases, these substances can be life-threatening. Fortunately, reducing allergens in your home considerably requires just a few basic steps.