Many people think that warm weather is the worst time for allergy sufferers. Actually, when houses are closed up during the wintertime, it can be worse than the highest pollen count times in summer. If you are fortunate enough to have hot water or radiant heat, good for you. Unfortunately, many of us are stuck with forced air heat that spews dust in the air every time it is running. If you have forced air heat, do get your ducts cleaned, especially if you have pets. It will help tremendously. With a little diligence, you can ease the effect on your allergies with a few other cleaning tips.
Do keep to a cleaning schedule. Folks without allergies can let cleaning go a bit but not those of us with them. Your main effort here is to keep down the dust. Do some cleaning every day to spread out the job throughout the week.
Dusting twice a week is a must. Do use a Swiffer type product that will trap dust and particles rather than feather dusters that just blow dust and allergens throughout the house. There is one that has an extending wand to dust above your head. A microfiber cloth works well too. Dampen it very slightly to grab and hold onto dust. Be sure to dust everywhere including, walls and baseboards, lamps, and ceiling fans in addition to tables. Do keep your furnishings simple. Try to avoid too many dust collectors. Even plants can aggravate allergies, so do not overwater. Excessively wet soil can produce mold, one of the worst indoor allergens. Use an exhaust fan regularly in the kitchen and bath to reduce moisture.
Toss out the brooms! Not really, but sweeping, especially in dry indoor air, can stir up dust more than cleaning it. Employ your vacuum and all its attachments. Purchase one with a HEPA filter to trap even more allergens. Vacuum at least twice a week. Use attachments to vacuum under and behind furniture.
Wash your bedding weekly, especially if you have furry friends sharing your bed. Vacuum your mattress cover monthly and your comforter twice a week. You do not want to think about how quickly a nasty mix of dust mites, hair, and skin flakes can build up in your bed.
Speaking of laundry, if you have allergies keep away from the scented detergent. All makes a great scent and irritant-free detergent that is ideal for sensitive skin too. For that matter, any heavily scented cleaning product could be an allergy trigger. Stay clear of air fresheners and use natural products. You can throw some cut lemons in water and heat them in the microwave for a fresh scent. You can use this concoction to clean the oven too. Simmer some apples on the stove, and the whole house will smell great.
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH AND DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO