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When you have allergies, cleaning your home can become a big ordeal. When you don’t keep up properly, spending time in your home starts to feel like a chore itself. On the other hand, the act of cleaning and kicking up those allergens can also cause allergies to flare.
As someone who struggles with cat, mold, and seasonal allergies, I feel your pain! I’ve been living with two cats and cat allergies for a few years now, and over time I’ve come up with cleaning strategies to help keep them at bay. So if you or a family member struggles with allergies, read on for cleaning tips for allergy sufferers:
1-) Prioritize your chores
No matter how hard we try, sometimes the cleaning to-do list gets ahead of us. When that happens, sit down and prioritize what chores should get done that will have the biggest impact on keeping allergies manageable. Since dust holds a lot of allergens, chores that reduce dust are often the best to help with allergies: dusting and vacuuming. So while the toilet may look gross, the likelihood that it’s making you or a loved one feel sick is low compared to those dusty shelves.
2-) Invest in a good vacuum
Because dust holds a lot of allergens, investing in a good quality vacuum is crucial for keeping allergies under control.
I hate to break it to you Dyson lovers out there, but Dyson vacuums are not the best choice for allergy sufferers. A much better option for allergy sufferers is a closed-system bagged vacuum with a true HEPA filter. These vacuums will reduce the amount of dust and allergens that are spit back into the air when the vacuum is running. Check out my guide to choosing a new vacuum for more information.
3-) Change your air filters regularly
When your HVAC runs, the air first travels through a filter before going through the duct work. Normally these are simple disposable filters that need to be replaced ocassionally.
Y’all…replace them regularly! Not only is it important for air quality, but it also prevents stressing out your HVAC unit by making sure air flow remains good.
Choosing an air filter depends on your needs. The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) is the standard rating for knowing how small particulate matter a given filter traps. The rating goes from 1-20, and the larger the rating, the smaller the particulate matter the filter traps.
However, if you go to Home Depot you’ll see a Filter Performance Rating (FPR), which goes from 4-10. Like MERV, a bigger number means that a filter can capture smaller particles (as opposed to letting them through). For reference, the FPR 10 filters from Home Depot are roughly a 13 on the MERV scale, so you may need to branch out depending on the actual allergens you’re dealing with.
4-) Watch out for fragrances
I’ve spoken about “fragrances” on the blog here before. The problem with “fragrance” as an ingredient is that it’s not one particular ingredient…it’s a vague term that could refer to a whole lot of ingredients.
The problem is that many fragrance ingredients can cause allergies to flare up. So try to avoid them in your cleaning products, and most definitely skip fragrances from room refreshers and artificially scented candles. I know, everyone loves to come to a home that smells like peach cobbler or pumpkin pie, but your family’s health will thank you for not using them.
Also, if you decide to make pumpkin pie (or any other dessert) to make your home smell nice, I’m happy to come over and test taste 😉
It’s no secret that I’m a huge advocate of decluttering, and here’s another reason why! More stuff equals more places for dust and allergens to settle (plus it’s harder to clean properly when you’ve got stuff everywhere). So literally decluttering can be good for your health!
If you need decluttering inspiration, you can start with how to declutter your bedrooom and reduce visual clutter and improve any home’s appeal.
6-) Consider a UV light
This is more of a one-time thing rather than a regular cleaning routine tip, but it’s worth mentioning. You can have UV lights installed in your duct work. As air containing allergens passes through the duct work the UV light “kills” them. It’s an interesting second line of defense after the air filter!
Here’s a simple resource for more information on UV lights for duct work.
7-) Keep up with bedding
Roughly a third of our lives is spent in our bed. And during our time, our bodies are busy healing from the stress of the day.
But your bedding is also a magnet for dust mites and other allergens. If you don’t keep your bedding clean your night’s sleep will be anything but restful for allergy sufferers.
So make sure sheets stay clean by washing them at least once a week, preferably in hot water (some machines have an “allergen” cycle). If you’re hesitant to use hot water because you don’t want to damage your sheets, I recommend this allergen laundry detergent. We’ve been using this detergent for about a year now. Although on the expensive side, it’s helpful for maintaining the integrity of your laundry while still reducing allergens!
8- ) Skip line drying
This is related to point one above, but it’s worth mentioning as its own tip. Yes, line drying clothes saves electricity. But it someone at home has allergies (especially outdoor allergies like pollen), line drying clothes is a no-no! After all, as the wind blows the allergens around they can stick to those freshly washed clothes. Not a great scenario for those who are trying to reduce their allergen exposure!
There you have my cleaning tips for allergy sufferers. Do you or a family member suffer from allergies? What have you done to reduce them? Let us know!
For more cleaning tips, check out How to Clean While You Sleep: 8 Chores to Do While You Snooze and The Scientific Reason You Should Ignore Cleaning Advice That Mixes Baking Soda and Vinegar