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Home cleaning tips to reduce spring allergies

Posted by American Homes 4 Rent Team

6m read time

Mar 30, 2022

Spring is the air. There’s no better feeling than stepping outside, feeling the sun shining down on you, taking a deep breath as you walk across freshly cut grass, and… immediately start coughing and sniffling.

 

Okay, we could probably do without that last part, but spring allergies are common in most parts of the country. The good news: There’s plenty you can do to combat those allergies and get back to feeling your best.

 

Here are 10 home cleaning tips to keep those spring allergies in check.

 

Start with the air

It’s hard to know which air pollutants are impacting our health the most, so it’s worth trying a few different methods to improve the air quality in your home.

 

The easiest steps are to take off your shoes when entering the house — this eliminates bacteria, fungi, feces, and pesticides from carrying throughout the home — and to run fans at least five minutes per day, which helps circulate air.

 

Other ideas include bringing in purifying houseplants such as spider plants, fern, or ivy, or using an essential oil diffuser. Both techniques will reduce airborne bacteria and capture pollutants.

 

Air filters trap a lot of particles, but as they collect those allergens, they lose their efficiency. Remember to replace your air filters with an allergy-friendly filter every three to six months.       

 

Clean up your laundry

Whether you do laundry every day or once a week, these steps can help minimize the effects of allergies. Start by washing your sheets, pillowcases, and blankets once a week in hot water that’s at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit. At that high heat level, the washing machine will kill dust mites.

 

Additionally, avoid air-drying your laundry, since pollen and mold can easily accumulate on clothing left outside or on tables. Opt for fragrance- and toxic-free detergents and cleaners.

 

It’s also a good idea to wash your washing machine. That process helps reduce bacteria and other build-up, and your laundry loads will be more effective, resulting in clean, fresh-smelling clothes.

 

Work that vacuum

Carpeted areas and rugs are great at housing pollen and allergens, and in most cases, they’re invisible to the naked eye.

 

Use an anti-allergy vacuum with a HEPA filter. These vacuums trap up to 99.97% of airborne particles. Without a HEPA filter, small particles can still escape through the vacuum, shooting pollen and dander back up into the air.

 

If you have pets, make sure you’re regularly grooming them — with a bath and brush, not a vacuum — to reduce the amount of dander on the floor.  

 

Show your kitchen some love

Cleaning the kitchen sounds like a tall task, especially after making a complicated meal involving several cheesy, oily, greasy pots and pans. Establishing a daily cleaning schedule can help, and it doesn’t need to be overly complicated.

 

One popular method is SOSD, which stands for surfaces, oven, sweep, dishes. Completing those steps each night will keep your kitchen looking (and smelling) better and reduces the amount of pollen and dust mites in the air. 

 

You can also clean out your garbage disposal by freezing blocks of vinegar with chunks of lemon. Place one or two in the disposal and enjoy a freshly scented kitchen.

 

Build your bedroom routine

We spend about a third of our day in the bedroom, and that means we’re exposed to quite a bit of potential allergens.

 

You already know to wash your sheets and blankets in hot water once a week, but there are other steps to take to keep your bedroom clean. Vacuum the floor, and don’t forget under the bed or around furniture. Dust any areas where dirt and airborne particles accumulate, including furniture, dressers, bookshelves, blinds, ceiling fans, and lights. 

 

While pets may love to cuddle in bed with us (and vice versa), they also carry a ton of dander and germs on their fur and paws. If you find your allergies acting up, they may have to sleep outside the bedroom.

 

Store unused items in large rubber or plastic storage containers, which are easier to clean. Or, even better, get rid of that clutter entirely — more on that below.

 

Don’t avoid the bathroom

Your bathroom contains plenty of germs. Viruses, bacteria, mold, mildew, staph, and coliform are among the most common, and they don’t only hang out around the toilet. Your shower, sink, door handles, shower mats, and even toothbrushes can capture these germs. Mold spores in the air might fire up allergies, causing congestion and itchy skin and eyes.

 

At a minimum, aim to keep both the sink and floor clean. Put away brushes, makeup bags, razors, or clothes, and wipe down sinks, faucets, and toilet seats every day. Hang up your towels and bathmats in between use and wash them frequently.

 

Instead of waiting until your bathroom looks like the setting of a horror film, break cleaning up into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. This method greatly reduces stress levels and is far easier to maintain. Here’s a checklist to help you get started.

 

Remove excess clutter

If you’ve ever tripped over a toy or a stack of papers, you know clutter is an unpleasant experience. Yet many of us still let piles of unused items fester around the house, from our closets to our living rooms. Piles of boxes, clothing, and papers trap dust and are inviting spots for dust mites and cockroaches. Cluttered spaces also introduce sleeping problems, distractions, and irritability while reducing productivity, so there’s good reason to get rid of that clutter.

 

On a positive note, the average American gets rid of 81 pounds of clothing every year. Once per quarter, take stock of your clothing. Is there anything you haven’t worn in a long while? Add it to a donation bag.

 

Don’t feel like you need to go through your entire home at once to remove clutter. Start with one room or even a certain space within that room. Throw out or recycle loose items you don’t use, and consider a storage bin for rarely used items. By breaking decluttering down into smaller tasks, you’re more likely to accomplish your overall goal.

 

Wear a mask when cleaning

We’ve grown accustomed to wearing masks over the past few years, but you might want to keep one on when you’re at home — at least while cleaning.

 

Masks prevent inhalation of dust mites, pollen, mold, and animal dander. Additionally, they’ll help protect your lungs and throat from any harmful cleaning solution fumes.  

 

Set some house rules

Each room has its own unique feel, but keeping a few house rules will enhance the overall air quality and freshness of your home.

 

First, keep your temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Humid environments are an open invitation to mold and dust mites. Second, limit smoking within the home to maintain a clean air environment. Lastly, store outerwear, such as jackets, sunglasses, and shoes, in an entry hallway or garage to prevent pollen from exploring the whole house.

 

You can also develop weekly cleaning routines and house checks, and engage your household members to help you maintain them. Damp-mop wood, linoleum, and tile floors, and vacuum carpet.Use a damp cloth to clean surfaces, and don’t forget windowsills, frames, and the tops and sides of doors.And check your roof, ceilings, and around your washing machine for water leaks, using a dehumidifier to remove mildly damp spots and repairing more water-damaged ones immediately.

 

Take a break when you’re done

When you finish cleaning your house, you might feel tired and want to lay down on the sofa for a quick nap. While you deserve some rest, it’s not the best idea to stick around the house.

 

Cleaning knocks dust mites and dander into the air, and they don’t immediately settle back down on the ground. If you have particularly sensitive allergy symptoms, they could flare up, dampening your celebration of all that impressive cleaning.

 

When you’re finished with that final nook or cranny, take a breather outside. Maybe you can admire your spring flowers, or simply walk around the block. You’ve earned that break!

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