If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?
Well, many things, but the answer we’re probably all feeling right now is allergies. And let’s face it, dealing with allergies is no fun! If you feel your nose running, your eyes itching, and constant sneezing, you may be one of the 50 million other Americans battling an allergy. And no matter how much Zyrtec, Allegra, or Claritin you take, the struggle is real, and it lingers.
But the great news is you can make things better for you and the others around you by using effective cleaning techniques that can reduce the allergens causing those annoying allergies to flare. Regular house-cleaning and office-cleaning can make a world of difference and can help you feel better.
Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum!
It’s time to get out that trusty Hoover and begin vacuuming two to three times a week, or more, depending on the amount of traffic that occupies the space on a daily basis. If pets are in the home (or office, because we all know about “bring your dog to work day”), then a daily vacuuming might be in order.
The same is true is your home or office is located in an area with a heavy pollen count. A regular vacuuming strategy will help you remove dirt, hair, dander, and other small minuscule allergens that are invisible when you look for them, but are definitely there and making you sick.
The Moldy Truth
Did you know that a large culprit for allergens is mold?? This silent menace is likely lurking in bathrooms, kitchens, and any other damp working space. Especially during these rainy months, decreasing humidity and proactively cleaning wet rooms will be vital in fighting allergy-causing mold!
Tile floors need to be scrubbed regularly, and the tub, shower, and sink should be washed out on a regular basis as well. If you are operating a hotel, then that shower and tub unit needs to be scrubbed out after every change of a guest (or more depending on local regulations). The key is to ensure surfaces are clean and free from soap scum, grease, and other stuff that can cause the surface to become a breeding ground for spores.
If the bathrooms in your home or office don’t have exhaust fans, put them in or ask the landlord to install them. And in the kitchen, watch out for mold in refrigerator drip pans, door seals, and on garbage pails.
Humidity control, in addition to regular cleaning, is critical. Dehumidifiers and air conditioners will help tremendously, and the humidity should be set below 60% (lower if you can make it happen, but remember that too dry of an environment can cause other health issues).
Avoid scented cleaners and detergents when possible
Use allergen-friendly bedding
While this might be more difficult for a hotel chain due to the increased expense (though some hotel chains DO this… APPLAUSE to them), at home, invest in dust-proof covers for your mattresses and pillows, which will help keep the dust mites away. Those pesky dust mites win for the biggest allergen triggers in bedrooms. It is estimated that approximately 20 million Americans are allergic to dust mites. So, keep those little buggers away!
In addition to using allergen-friendly bedding, make sure to wash those bed linens in hot water, at least once per week. While hot water isn’t as energy efficient as washing in cold water, it’s an absolute must to help keep down the prevalence of those little dust mites.
Cut the Clutter
If you are trying to solve for allergy concerns in your home or place of work, then you absolutely must cut the clutter. Boxes, stacks of papers, etc., often trap dust and other allergens, not to mention dust mites and cockroaches.
And let us not forget that there is a serious link between clutter and procrastination. Clutter problems are also associated with life dissatisfaction and increased cortisol levels (known for causing those inner-tubes around our bellies) so get that junk out of there. It’ll be better for you and your allergy-prone loved ones and colleagues on so many levels.
Say So-Long to the Feather Duster
As much fun as it is to channel your inner Lucille Ball and wave a feather duster around, these house cleaning tools only really work if your home or office is already clean. Otherwise, you’re just knocking that dust and debris back into the air and onto your floors. The best way to dust is to use a slightly moist rag that will trap allergens, and fully remove them from surfaces.
Time to Get Crackin’
Now that you have some suggestions on how to fight allergies through effective techniques, it’s time to put those various methods to work. With a proper and regular cleaning strategy, you’ll be sure to feel better in short order, and those other allergy-prone people around you will thank you too. So get at!