Spring is here and it’s time to break out the mop, dust off the duster, get out the cleaners and get your spring cleaning underway. Spring also brings with it a whole new host of allergens that cause sneezing, wheezing, coughing and other seasonal symptoms. To kill two birds with one stone, here are some ways to tackle those allergen hot spots in your home while getting a jump start on your spring cleaning at the same time!
- Avoid “bringing the outdoors inside.” If you know that you are allergic to pollen, then you will want to avoid keeping your windows open on a high pollen day. If you spent a good deal of time outdoors, be sure to launder your clothes right away and shower and wash your hair to avoid spreading those allergens throughout your house onto your furniture and bedding. Allergens tracked indoors can be potent enough for symptoms to last a few days
- Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. HEPA or high-efficiency particulate air filters trap allergens better than normal vacuums. You should use a vacuum with a HEPA filter at least once a week to remove allergens, if not more often.
- Wash your bedding once a week. Dust mites are the most common allergen that cause indoor allergy and asthma symptoms, and these mites thrive on soft surfaces. Your mattress is your greatest exposure to these harmful allergens. To decrease your exposure to dust mites, wash your bedding weekly in hot water (approximately 130 degrees Fahrenheit) and dry them on a hot dryer cycle. It’s also good to encase your mattress, box springs and pillows in allergen-proof covers.
- Clean your upholstery and drapes. Again, because allergens cling to soft surfaces, your upholstery and drapes are also susceptible to seasonal allergens. Wash or dry clean your drapes when possible and vacuum sofas and chairs to remove any dust mites from your furniture. You should also wash or dry clean any throw rugs you have lying around. Whenever possible, you should use roller shades or vertical blinds as they accumulate less dust mites than drapes and other window coverings. If you are renovating in the future, you should also avoid wall-to-wall carpeting and shoot for hardwood or tile floors instead, which are easier to clean and do not harbor allergens.