Spring Cleaning 101: Reducing Allergens
Spring is finally here and, for most of us that also means spring allergies. Indoor allergens such as pet dander, pollen, mold, and dust can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms for many people. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that at least 6 different types of allergens were detectable in more than 50% of homes in the United States. While it's near impossible for a home to be allergen-free, there are some regular cleaning tips that can help reduce the number of allergens in your home.
One of the best ways to eliminate allergens in your home is to get rid of as much dust as you can. Dusting, at times can make things worse by kicking dust up into the air, so it's important to remember to use a damp cloth to attract the dust.
Vacuuming your floors and furniture often can also help reduce and control the allergens in your home. As with dusting, vacuuming can also send dust particles into the air so it's important to use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to help prevent dust from spreading.
Bedding, pillows, and throw rugs harbor dust mites and dead skin cells, so it's very important to wash your linens thoroughly. At least once a week wash your pillow cases, sheets, and blankets in water that is at least 130 degrees, then dry on high heat to kill any dust mites. Allergen proof covers can also be purchased for your mattress and pillows to help eliminate dust mites on your bedding.
Green Cleaning Products
Harsh chemicals found in standard household cleaners can be known to trigger symptoms in people who have asthma. If you are sensitive to such allergens, switching to all natural products may be your solution. With green cleaning products becoming more popular, finding a product that works for you should be fairly easy.
The protein found in saliva, urine, and pet dander can be a common allergen for many people. These allergen particles can become airborne and trigger symptoms for those who are very sensitive. Frequently washing your pet as well as keeping your pet out of your bedroom and off the furniture can help reduce the pet dander in your home.
Mold & Mildew
Mold and mildew thrive in damp, dark areas such as your bathroom or basement. Mold spores are found in the air just like pollen and can also trigger allergy symptoms. To minimize these allergens, run an exhaust fan after taking a shower, towel dry the shower after using, scrub mold away from bathroom tiles, replace or clean your shower curtain often, and run a dehumidifier to reduce moisture in your basement. In areas where you experience water damage of any kind, it's best to leave it to professionals who are trained to handle and eliminate mold.
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Keep out Pollen
Pollen is the most well known spring allergen. Keep it from entering your home by keeping your windows and doors closed at night, avoid going outdoors in the early morning, don't hang your clothes outside to dry, and avoid being outside when the pollen count is high. Changing your clothes and taking a shower can help rid the pollen that has stuck to your clothes and body.
Allergen particles are more likely to fly around your home if there isn’t enough moisture. Too much moisture in your home can lead to mold and mildew. Depending on your home you may need to use either a humidifier or a dehumidifier to regulate the amount of allergens in the air. Some people choose to use air purifiers to extract the allergens from their home. When selecting an air purifier remember to purchase one with a HEPA filter.
Air Duct Cleaning
Air ducts can collect pet hair, cigarette smoke, dust, and dirt that can impact the overall air quality in your home. Regular air duct cleaning can provide you with a better air quality and can drastically improve the breathing conditions for both allergy and asthma suffers. Consistent cleaning and maintenance also increases the overall life span of your HVAC system and can lower electric costs.
High- efficiency particulate air, or HEPA filters collect the dust particles, pet dander, pollen, and other allergens that are found in the air. HEPA filters are known for their efficiency and are trusted by allergy sufferers everywhere.
Especially for pet owners, changing your furnace filter every 3-4 months can also help to eliminate the amount of allergens throughout your home.
Allergy season is here, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer! Follow these helpful tips to help reduce the allergens in your home, and breathe easier!
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