Posted on October 5th, 2020
Most of us automatically associate the word “home” with a safe, healthy place to be. For allergy sufferers, however, the home environment can be a minefield of symptom triggers. Some of the most common allergens, like dust mites and mold, frequently exist in higher concentrations indoors than outdoors. For the 50 million Americans who live with either a mold or dust mite allergy, this can lead to year-long sniffling, sneezing, and itching. In particularly sensitive individuals, these allergens can also cause repeated asthma attacks, sinus infections, and respiratory infections.
Before you reach for medication to manage your chronic allergies, it’s important to realize that you aren’t powerless to control allergens in your home. Thorough, regular cleaning can significantly reduce the density of allergens in indoor air, providing symptom relief for many allergy and asthma sufferers. Check out the tips below to learn the best ways to keep your home an allergy-free zone or if you’d prefer a team of house cleaning professionals to do it for you get in touch today.
6 Ways to Conquer Allergies by Cleaning
1. Vacuum often, and use the right techniques.
If you suffer from chronic allergies, consider your vacuum cleaner your first line of defense. Vacuuming regularly (at least 2-3 times per week) is one of the best ways to keep allergens from building up in your home’s air, particularly if you have carpets.
To increase the efficiency of your vacuum cleaner, make sure you use proper vacuuming techniques throughout your home: Choose a powerful model of vacuum cleaner equipped with a genuine HEPA filter, and vacuum slowly in rows. (Don’t use short, fast strokes.) Change the filter and bag in your vacuum cleaner whenever necessary to keep it working optimally. If you own a bagless vacuum cleaner, make sure you empty it outside to avoid releasing allergens back into the air.
If you have a severe allergy to dust mites, you can try using pre-treatments to make vacuuming even more effective. Carpet treatments, like Allersearch X-Mite carpet powder or Ecology Works DustMiteX, kill dust mites prior to vacuuming to ensure greater allergen removal. Simply dust the powder onto your carpets and furniture, let it sit for a few hours, then vacuum as you normally would.
2. Wash your bedding at least once a week.
Like carpets and upholstery, bedding provides an ideal home for dust mites. To keep these common allergens from disrupting your sleep, machine wash your sheets, blankets, pillowcases, and bedcovers or throw blankets on a hot cycle at least once every week. Make sure the water reaches a temperature of 130 F (54.4 C) to kill dust mites. Alternately, if you don’t want to use such a hot wash, you can dry your bedding in the dryer for 15 minutes at the same temperature.
3. Declutter your home.
Clutter contributes to poor indoor air quality in two ways: Firstly, it makes regular cleaning more difficult and time-consuming by creating obstacles you have to work around and secondly, clutter also collects dust mites and, in some cases, mold.
Generally, the best way to handle clutter is to get rid of unnecessary items that you haven’t used in a year or more. (You can, of course, make exceptions for items that have a lot of sentimental or monetary value.) If your home still feels cluttered after you’ve decided what to keep, consider dust-free ways to store your excess belongings: For instance, you could place them in sealed plastic bins or store them in a personal storage unit.
4. Supplement your cleaning efforts with an air purifier and dehumidifier.
No matter how clean you keep your home, new allergens can enter at any time. Even if you keep your windows closed, pollen and outdoor mold spores can filter in through the cracks around doors and other small openings in your house’s exterior. Dust mites are also notoriously difficult to control, because they feed on dead skin cells – and the average person sheds between 30,000 and 40,000 skin cells per day.
To help eliminate allergens that would otherwise build up in between cleanings, consider installing a high-efficiency air purifier in your home. Air purifiers constantly cycle indoor air through a specialized filter (usually a HEPA filter) designed to catch and trap allergens and other small particles. This process greatly slows the deposition of allergens on your floors, carpets, and furniture and keeps your indoor air healthy.
If you live in a damp climate, installing a dehumidifier is another worthwhile step to consider. By keeping humidity levels low, you’ll prevent the growth of mold and mildew in your home.
5. Dust frequently.
Even if you vacuum often and use an air purifier, you’ll still need to dust your home at least once a week to keep allergens at bay. To reduce your exposure to dust as you work, put on a pair of rubber gloves and a dust mask before you begin dusting. Use a damp microfiber cloth to remove dust from walls, shelves, and other surfaces throughout your home. Unlike dry dusting methods, damp dusting won’t stir up dust particles and release them into your home’s air. If dusting aggravates your symptoms despite taking these precautions, ask a family member or professional maid to do the job for you.
6. Get your home deep-cleaned by professionals at least twice a year.
No matter how fastidious you are about keeping your home clean, allergens can still accumulate in hard-to-reach places and within carpeting. (Most vacuum cleaners aren’t powerful enough to completely remove allergens from the deeper layers of carpets.) For this reason, it’s important to have your home cleaned professionally at least twice a year if you suffer from allergies.
Professional cleaners have access to powerful equipment, like hot water extraction cleaners, that can effectively remove even the most persistent allergens. Unlike steam cleaners, hot water extraction cleaners won’t leave mold-causing moisture behind in carpets or upholstery. Their high cleaning temperature also kills dust mites and bacteria, creating a healthier environment for everyone.
If your home is due for a deep-cleaning, our team of conscientious, affordable maids in Indianapolis can help you stay on top of both mess and allergens. To learn more about our professional cleaning services, consult our FAQ or book an appointment with us today and spend your day taking a walk or relaxing in Highland Park.