As soon as the first signs of seasonal allergies come about – those itchy eyes and the incessant sneezing – it’s normal that your first instinct would be to reach for the allergy meds. But even a strict regimen of Claritin can’t necessarily keep your symptoms in check if you’re not taking other necessary precautions. And just what precautions might those be, you wonder? Well, perhaps the biggest one on the list is your cleaning schedule. Because a lazy cleaning routine can mean more allergens spreading around your home, it’s important to stay on top of those chores to make sure you’re not inadvertently making your symptoms worse. To help you out, Leanne Stapf from The Cleaning Authority weighed in with a few key tips on cleaning with your allergies in mind.
Let some sunshine in.
When it comes to stopping allergens from spreading around your home, the sun can actually be one of the most powerful defenses. “On a sunny day, place your rugs, bedding, and even pillows outside in the sunlight to freshen up your home with some vitamin D,” Stapf advises. “You can also throw the windows open and let the fresh air take any allergens right out with the breeze.” Needless to say, we can probably be persuaded to let some fresh air in, so it’s all good.
Stay away from sponges.
We’re all about the power of reusing cleaning materials for the sake of the environment, but when it comes to allergy season, it might be best to stick to disposable options. “Stock up on paper towels and disinfecting wipes – anything that can be thrown away,” says Stapf. “It’s important to stay away from reusable sponges or cloths while trying to wipe away the allergens in your home.” If you do decide to use a sponge, Stapf recommends that you at least make sure to wash it on the top rack of your dishwasher after doing so.
Hit the laundry room.
Nobody necessarily enjoys doing laundry, but during allergy season, you’ll definitely want to make it more of a priority. Basically, allergens have a way of clinging to fabrics in your closet or around your home and making sure to wash everything regularly is important to keeping everything allergen-free. “Take all the bedding, washcloths, blankets and bath towels and throw it in your washer on the hottest setting,” recommends Stapf. “Stuffed animals can also be tossed into the washing machine with other items. You can also try a steamer if they are too delicate.”
Get creative with your dishwasher.
News flash: if you’ve been using your dishwasher exclusively for your dishes, then you really haven’t been getting the most out of it. “Items like soap dishes, non-electrical plastic and rubber kids toys, mouthguards, hair brushes, contacts cases, and small plastic trash cans may all hold allergens, and can all be cleaned in the dishwasher,” says Stapf. “Don’t forget to include any bathroom items that have touched your face, like makeup brushes and foundation sponges, too.”
Be mindful of bags.
“Think about the different places you set your purse (or where your kids set their backpacks) before coming into the house,” says Stapf. “Have those same bags ever ended up on the kitchen table or the kitchen countertop? Be mindful of the many different places your bags travel and frequently clean your handbag and kids’ backpacks using a cleaner safe for the bag’s material.” In addition to keeping your bags clean, Stapf recommends designating a place for your bags to be placed in when you’re home so that you don’t actually end up putting them on your tables or counters. That’s one way to make sure that allergens aren’t spreading too much around.