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Green Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Cleaning Tips to Reduce Allergies

Cleaning tips to reduce allergies

Many people have allergies to allergens both indoor (dust mites) and outdoor (pollen).  Allergies are our immune system’s reaction to what it sees as invaders. When allergens enter our body, out come the sneezes, sniffles and itchy, runny eyes.

During the springtime, pollen from blooming plants pushes our system over its threshold.  Cleaning out allergy triggers helps the body tolerate allergens again.

Here are some tips to help rid your home of allergens:

Cover your face with a protective particle mask before sweeping or dusting.

Buy allergy-proof casings for your mattress, box spring and pillows. Casings come in various materials, including cotton. They are made of a special material that keeps allergens in the mattress from getting in or out.

Wash your bed linens in 130˚ water weekly to kill dust mites. Don’t forget about decorative pillows and stuffed animals. Wash them in hot water every 1-2 weeks, dry-clean, or spin in a hot dryer for 20 minutes.

If you store a lot of linens that rarely make it out of the closet, clean them in hot water before use. Before you put them back in the closet, wipe down each shelf with a microfiber cloth.

Don’t dust with cotton cloths, which spread particles around on surfaces and send them back into the air. Use microfiber cloths instead. They trap dust and remove over 90% of dust mite allergen that accumulates on hard surfaces.

Use simple window coverings in washable fabrics that will keep allergies at bay. Frilly curtains and even Venetian blinds are dust traps.

Buy a vacuum cleaner with a hard-shell container, or a bag vacuum with a HEPA filter. HEPA filters prevent smaller allergen particles from blowing back out.

Change furnace filters at least once every three months. Buy filters with a MERV (Minimum-Efficiency Reporting Value) rating no lower than 8. A rating from 1-16 indicates the filter’s ability to trap dust and other particles. The higher the MERV rating, the better it works. MERV 8 catches particles smaller than most allergens. Mark filter changes on your calendar so you’ll know when to make the next one.

Rinse vents and ceiling fans with soap and warm water. They are easy to forget, but will build up quickly and torture your sinuses.

If you have carpeting, clean it with a dry method, not water and shampoo. Shampooing increases dust-mite levels. Area rugs should be dry-cleaned.

Get a dehumidifier. It is very helpful for decreasing dust mites, mold and cockroaches. If you still see mold in your house after getting a dehumidifier, use a higher setting. Clean the tray once a month.

Keep your books dust-free. Books are big dust-collectors, especially one with leather bindings.

Don’t forget about the dust bunnies under the furniture when cleaning.

To remove bathroom mold, try using a solution of borax and water. This solution helps to prevent mold growth.

Wipe the glass and edges of picture frames with a microfiber cloth to remove dust. Don’t forget the top, which you often can’t see.

If you are allergic to your pets, instead of getting rid of them, ban the pet from the rooms where you spend most of your time, like the bedroom.

Indoor plants can make a nice home for mold. Empty any standing water beneath pots. Avoid setting plants in wicker baskets. Mold loves wicker.

Hire a green cleaning company to do your spring cleaning for you. You’ll save time and avoid exposure to dust and potential cleaning irritants.

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