April showers bring May flowers… and unfortunately those pesky allergies, as well. But this year? This year is going to be the year that those allergies don’t slow us down. (Or at least slow us down a little less). How? By preparing ahead and making some key changes to the way you prepare your house for this beautiful time of year. Below are six ways that we recommend cleaning to avoid allergens.
The first step to keeping allergens out of your house is to work to keep them literally outside. By getting a HEPA air filter, you are removing over 99% of the particles in the air before it ever comes into your home. However, just installing the filters doesn’t mean that you are good to go. Be sure to keep them cleaned or changed every three to six months. (Tip: Be sure to clean the filter outside as opposed to the one facing inside your home).
Once you have your HEPA air filter and they are all clean and ready to go, be sure to have air only coming through the filters. That means, keep windows and doors closed. (But don’t worry, after pollen season is over you can enjoy those nights with the windows open again!)
Bonus: Think about all the other filters in your house before spring hits, as well. Clean your dryer filter, vent hood, and get a vacuum with a filter on it, so you aren’t spewing more allergens into the air as you clean!
Clean Pets (And Shower, Strategically)
While not typically what comes to mind when thinking of house cleaning, your pets are certainly part of your house (and family) and it’s important to remember that they are quite the vehicle for allergens. Be sure to wipe off your pet’s paws before they go inside to get all the pollen off. (More frequent bathing is helpful, too). It may also be helpful to keep them out of the bedroom if you are really trying to avoid your contact with pollen!
For us humans, it’s also helpful to change and rinse off after being outside for awhile – clothes and hair are perfect playgrounds for pollen to hang out on!
Tip: Even if you aren’t typically a household that takes your shoes off when you come in the house, it is definitely a helpful practice for the allergy season!
If there is ever a time to combat mold, mildew, and standing water, spring is it. Mold and mildew grow in damp areas. (Think: Basements, bathrooms, and anywhere with leaks or standing water).
Your first step is to find and fix any leaks. Check under all sinks, moisture around shower and tubs, as well as any water from roof leaks or under your house. Next, get rid of that mold! For hard surfaces, use water, detergent, and 5% bleach. After, be sure to towel dry the area completely.
Dusting this time of year is incredibly important. BUT, the trick is to avoid stirring up the dust at all costs. During this time of year, especially, avoid any sort of feather duster or dry dusting material and opt for a slightly damp cloth to trap and remove the dust. (If especially sensitive to allergens, cover your face while doing this!).
Also – be sure to remember to clean off all fan blades before turning them back on again. Think ceiling fans, rotating fans, bathroom fans, etc.
Allergen Proof Your Bedroom
For most of us, the bedroom is where we spend a majority of hours in our home, so it’s important to keep this the allergen-free sanctuary that we all deserve! To start, wash all your bedding in hot water to kill any lingering dust mites, and rinse off any pollen. Before putting your sheets back on, consider getting allergen-proof covers for your mattress and pillows.
If your bedroom is carpeted, amp up your vacuuming frequency during the spring. If you have rugs, consider removing them for the spring since hard surfaces are less of a magnet to allergens.
For those extra sensitive to dust and allergens, consider switching from drapes or horizontal blinds to roll shades that trap less dust. (And be sure to think twice before letting your dog in the bed with you!)
Get on a weekly schedule with vacuuming and mopping all floor area in your house.
For mopping (and any other cleaning products), avoid fragranced cleaners, as that alone is an allergen for some. For vacuuming, be sure to use a HEPA filter and only open up the vacuum outside when finished. (You don’t want all your hard work to go to waste when the particles fly everywhere again while dumping the vacuum).