Experts figure that anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of the U.S. population suffers from allergies and asthma, and their conditions are exacerbated by the tiny dry particles floating around our homes – skins cells and dust. The natural response to this fact is to keep our homes fastidiously clean, but, unfortunately, some of the very products we use to rid our home of allergens contain irritating ingredients themselves. The dust mites, mold, and pet dander are major issues for allergy sufferers, but chemical fumes from cleaning products and spray air fresheners can be major detriments to your household’s air quality, too. Read on for the best anti-allergy cleaning tips and solutions.
Clean like a grandma. Baking soda and vinegar are the wonder twins of the natural cleaning world. Your grandparents and great-grandparents used homemade solutions made from these products to keep their homes spotlessly clean for a minimal cost and at minimal hazard. If the smell of vinegar bothers you, add some drops of lemon juice to your solution, or simply try to wait it out. The smell dissipates naturally after an hour or so.
- Toilet cleaning: Most toilet cleaners use very strong chemicals like hydrochloric acid or chlorine. Undiluted vinegar works just as well and won’t put a bunch of harsh chemicals in the air.
- Cleaning surfaces: Use a spray bottle that contains one part vinegar and one part water to naturally disinfect countertops and other surfaces. Note: do not use on marble; specific cleaning products are required for marble surfaces.
- Fight nasty odors: Mix some baking soda and water and apply to a microfiber cloth for scrubbing dirt and stains.
- When you can, avoid using cleaning products altogether. For example, all that’s needed for efficient dusting is a good, clean microfiber cloth.
- If you have to use a cleaning product with strong, chemical ingredients, wipe down with water afterwards.
Relentlessly clean carpets and upholstered surfaces. Many modern homes contain wall to wall carpeting, and while it may be pretty and pleasant to bare feet, carpet is a haven for allergens. If you can, lose the carpet. If you can’t, or don’t want to, you will have to aggressively clean your floors to reduce the amount of dust mites and other allergens who call carpet home.
- To reduce the amount of pollen coming into your home and sticking into the carpet, mandate a no shoes indoors policy for all, including visitors.
- Each day, vacuum high traffic areas with a specialized allergen busting vacuum. Vacuum other areas every few days at least. Do not neglect bath mats or area rugs.
- If you do a deep clean of your carpets, dry them as quickly as possible afterwards.
- Dust mites love the steady supply of sloughed off skin cells found in bedding. Wash bedding at least once a week to control the dust mite population in your pillows and sheets.
- Keep pets off of the furniture and out of your beds, especially overnight.