If you suffer from allergies or respiratory problems, cleaning may be something you dread… or even avoid at all costs. The combination of dirt, cleaning agents and dust can be hazardous to health for some people.
If cleaning causes you discomfort, breathing difficulties or serious allergic reactions, there are a few steps you can take to make things more bearable.
In the kitchen
Keep the air in your kitchen as clean as possible by using an extraction fan to take away cooking fumes and excessive moisture. Store your rubbish in a sealed bin that can’t be accessed by pests. And make sure all food in your kitchen is stored in an airtight container; anything out of date should be thrown away immediately.
Cleaning as you go is always the best idea when trying to minimise allergens in your home. Mop your floors, wipe down cabinets and appliances at every opportunity. Wipe up moisture whenever and wherever you find it to stop mould growth.
Empty and clean drip pans every day, and keep an eye on seals, which can be the source of some pretty nasty mould growth. Wipe up any moisture, crumbs or dropped food as soon as you see it.
In the bathroom
If you or anyone in your home suffers with breathing difficulties, the first thing you should do is ensure that there is sufficient ventilation in your bathroom. The warm and damp conditions in your bathroom are perfect for mould, but fresh air will blow the airborne spores away before they can settle. If at all possible, fit an extraction unit in your bathroom, and make sure it’s running whenever anyone is using hot water.
Linoleum, tiled or wooden floors are always the best option for a bathroom. A carpeted floor can harbour bacteria, mould and a huge range of allergens — and it’s incredibly difficult to keep clean and dry in this type of environment. Use washable mats, and instead of wallpaper, make sure tiles or anti-mould paint is covering your walls.
The rest of your home
No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to banish all the dirt and dust from your home. However, there are a few steps you can take to keep things under control.
- Use mite-proof covers for your pillows, duvets and mattresses, and wash bedding at least once a week.
- Clean carpets every day (regardless of whether you think it’s necessary) with a cleaner that has a HEPA filter — the Shark Lift-Away Vacuum Cleaner is perfect for the job. Vacuum upholstery and curtains regularly too.
- Clean condensation from windows every morning, using an anti-mildew cleaning agent.
- Keep items and ornaments that gather dust to a minimum. Store anything you don’t use every day in a sealed container. And de-clutter to make dusting and vacuuming as easy as possible.
- Mould grows in both hot and relatively cold environments. To keep mould growth to a minimum try to maintain a temperature of around 21C in your home.
- Take steps to keep pests away. This includes cleaning up spillages and dropped food immediately. If you notice ants, roaches or rodents, take the necessary extermination steps immediately.
- Vacuum more often if you have pets. Dander is one of the most common causes of respiratory problems and allergies in the home.
- Control the quality of air in your home with air humidity machines and air purifiers. However, in most cases, opening your windows for a few minutes every day should suffice.
- Ditch the cleaning agents wherever possible. You can use natural agents such as lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda and essential oils to achieve many of the same results commercial cleaners are capable of.
You’ll never be able to rid your home of allergens completely. But with a concerted effort, you should be able to reduce them to a level that isn’t going to be hazardous to health.