Spring cleaning is a double-edged sword for allergy sufferers.
On one hand, you get to make a clean sweep of allergens and dust mites that have been hiding out, but on the other hand, the act of cleaning stirs up nasal congestion, sneezing fits and watery eyes.
In the interest of giving allergy sufferers a break and as a way to improve the air quality in your home, we present a primer for spring cleaning designed exclusively people prone to allergic reactions.
Where to Clean
Pay special attention to the following areas of your house or apartment if you have allergies:
Bathroom mold - when spring pollen meets mold it can wreak havoc on your nasal passages, so be sure to thoroughly clean mold and mildew in the bathroom, and anywhere else humid conditions are found.
Curtains - these are giant allergen magnets lurking in your home. Have your curtains and drapes cleaned regularly, once or twice a year, including your spring cleaning. Follow the laundering instructions because some curtains you can just throw in the wash, but the ones that require dry cleaning need to be aired out before re-hanging.
Ceiling Fans - Here’s where allergens really get the best of you. The blades attract dust because they’re large flat surfaces, and then they swish the dust into your face when you switch on the fan. Clean those blades with a specially designed microfiber duster to grab the dust, and do it once a month.
Upholstery - For future reference, you should stick to allergen-resistant furniture which is usually made from leather and metal. But if you have pieces of upholstered furniture, steam cleaning is the best way to deep-clean them.
Behind and Under - No one like to get down and vacuum thoroughly under and behind all the furniture, but if you have to start moving furniture around to get at the dust bunnies, go for it. Spring cleaning is the perfect occasion to “detail” your home.
Blinds and Shutters - Although blinds and shutters are way better window coverings for allergy sufferers than curtains and drapes, they still harbor allergens, and need to be wiped down or dusted every time you clean.
How To Clean
Although many allergic people will start sneezing just at the thought of getting up close and personal with dust, there are precautions you can take to minimize the chance of getting an allergy attack while spring cleaning.
For starters, wear a dust mask. These disposable surgical masks are readily available for house painters and germaphobes at hardware and dollar stores.
Next use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. You can also purchase vacuum cleaner bags which contain a HEPA filtration system.
Always choose the mildest cleaning solutions and solvents that will do the job. The last thing an allergy sufferer needs are harsh cleaning chemicals to irritate the nose and trigger a full-blown allergy attack.
Finally. Plan your strategy by starting at the top and cleaning your way down to the bottom. If you start at the bottom, the dirt you stir up will land back on the floor.