Routine cleaning isn’t quite so simple for allergy and asthma sufferers. With dust, debris, pet dander and mould lurking in every corner of the house, allergy and asthma triggers are everywhere.
Common reactions when exposed to household cleaning allergies can include:
- Itchy eyes
- Skin rashes
- Difficulty breathing.
We’ve provided the best tips to make cleaning with asthma or allergies as safe as possible and to reduce exposure to allergens that may trigger an episode.
For those who suffer severe reactions from household allergens, prevention is always best. If you can, let another member of the household complete the symptom-inducing chores for you, or consider hiring a cleaner.
CLEAR AWAY THE CLUTTER
Indoor allergens thrive in clutter. Items such as books, knick-knacks, lamps and untouched boxes increase exposure to allergens that love to congregate in clutter. These include dust mites, mould, and pet dander.
Cut the clutter from each room in the house to prevent unnecessary dust from collecting. Store your unused belongings in sealed plastic boxes, or pack them away in space-saving bags.
You should also consider removing unnecessary textile furnishings such as throw pillows and blankets. Not only do they trap dust; they also produce it.
SHIELD YOURSELF WHILE CLEANING
The first rule of cleaning with asthma: Limit your contact with cleaning-induced allergies. Whether you’re doing a top-to-bottom clean of the whole home or just wiping down the entertainment unit, you should always protect yourself as best you can.
This means donning a protective mask (disposable or washable) and cotton-lined rubber gloves before partaking in any cleaning. If cleaning allergies are particularly irritating for your eyes, consider using safety glasses as well.
USE ASTHMA-FRIENDLY CLEANING PRODUCTS
Many household cleaners actually contain harmful chemicals that may cause symptoms to flare up. Disinfectants and commercial cleaning products designed to kill bacteria are quite likely to aggravate airways and irritate the skin of those who are susceptible.
Swap out those harsher cleaners for anti-allergen cleaning products. There are plenty of natural cleaners such as vinegar, lemon and baking soda that are just as effective – if not more so – at tackling most jobs.
Avoid scented or fragranced products where possible and consult Sensitive Choice for asthma-friendly cleaning products.
USE DISPOSABLE DUST WIPES OR MICROFIBRE CLOTHS
Old-fashioned feather dusters (as well as synthetic ones) aren’t effective at getting rid of dust – they simply push it from side to side. Disposable dust wipes are a great alternative, as the dust tends to cling to the material until you dispose of it.
Microfibre cloths and mop tops are also super handy. They’re much better at collecting dust than paper towels, and they can be tossed in the wash to be reused repeatedly.
For the best results, lightly dampen the microfibre cloth before cleaning.
CHANGES TO MAKE AT HOME FOR ALLERGY RELIEF
To prevent allergy or asthma flare ups, there are several ideas you can implement around the home:
- Allergy-proof your bedding: Encase your pillows and mattress in certified allergy-proof covers to reduce your exposure to dust mites.
- Vacuum twice a week: It’s vital to stay on top of your vacuuming to ensure you’re keeping your home as healthy as possible.
- Keep your pets outside: Or at least out of the bedroom and off the furniture. It’s hard to resist those adorable faces, but your allergies will thank you for laying down the law.
- Take your shoes off before entering the house:This stops pollen from being tracked in.
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