Allergies are finicky. They can be a small nuisance to some, and a debilitating condition to others. Either way, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Cleaning your house isn’t about keeping up with appearances; it’s about your health, as well as the health of everyone else who comes around. Keep to a strict cleaning regimen and routine, and your house will always be, literally, a breath of fresh air.
Get rid of dust
Dust is one of those things that you don’t notice accumulating until it’s extremely unsightly. Instead of waiting until your home gets to that point, wipe your surfaces down and vacuum your floors on a regular basis. Use sprays and carpet treatments sporadically — don’t overuse them, or you may be doing more harm than good. Lastly, use zip-on covers for any bedding you use regularly to prevent dust mites from creating a home under your sheets. You might not be able to see them, but believe me, they’re there.
Maintain plants and pets
Most of us enjoy having a home full of houseplants, flowers, and pets. But the downside here is when you realize the allergies you’ve been experiencing are due to your furry friends or aromatic greenery. The soil used in potted plants can actually grow moldy, so it’s actually best to leave them outside. If you absolutely must have some plants inside your home, coat the surface of the soil with aquarium gravel. Or, go with artificial plants for the inside of your home. They look pretty and won’t bother any guests!
As far as your animals are concerned, before you even adopt a cat, dog, or any other fuzzy wuzzy pet, make sure you’re not allergic in the first place. If you’re already past that point, but don’t have the heart to give little Fido away, at least keep him neatly groomed. Get him outside as much as possible, and definitely don’t let him sleep on your bed. You’re just asking for breathing problems if you do.
Like your mattress, wall-to-wall carpeting is a trap for dust mites and other allergens, such as pollen and dander. This is made worse by the fact that you don’t really notice when these allergens are building up in the crevices of your rugs. With hardwood surfaces, you can immediately see dust balls start to form, and can take care of them right away. But, again, don’t let it get to the point that you can actually see the dust. Be proactive with your cleaning regimen and you won’t have to start sneezing to remind yourself you need to sweep up.
Leave it at the door
You know how some people ask you to take your shoes off at the door? It’s not just because they don’t want you tracking mud in (although that’s obviously part of it). It’s also because you track in millions of unseen organisms (like the ones previously mentioned) that contribute to the overall dustiness of the entire house. If you don’t want to be a stickler about people’s shoe-wearing habits in your home, at least put a doormat on the inside and outside of your front entrance. That way, you can make sure your guests leave most of the “stuff” from outside at your doorstep.
Check the curtains
If you’re not too picky about what you hang on your windows, opt for blinds made out of material other than fabric. If you absolutely need to have curtains, make sure you maintain them as much as your floors and bedding. Vacuum them weekly, and wash them monthly. Be especially diligent during the months in which your windows are constantly open; you have no idea of the type of microscopic organisms your curtains pick up from a strong breeze.
Stay ahead of mold
A good rule of thumb is: where there’s water, there can be mold. Of course, the two most common areas to stay on top of in this matter are your kitchen and your bathroom. Again, don’t wait until you can actually see mold growing before you do something about it; it’s there in some form, but can explode overnight if left alone. Check the entire surface of tubs and sinks, being especially careful to notice any cracks where water might be sitting dormant. Other hotspots for moisture include your basement or any area with direct access to the outside. For those areas, consider using a dehumidifier to suck up any excess water that could lead to trouble down the road. You could not only save yourself some health problems, but also save your home’s foundation as well.
Featured photo credit: damned allergies – Day 43 / leila-anne cavé via farm2.staticflickr.com