Spring is a season of reawakening and renewal – a time of freshness and growth when all things “spring to life” after the long winter months. It is only natural then that you will feel inclined to spring into action as well and introduce all that freshness and beauty to your home.
The proverbial spring cleaning gives you the perfect opportunity to do so. Shake off the winter lethargy, allow sunlight and fresh air inside, get rid of the clutter that has accumulated in your home over the last several months, deal with the mess, and restore the neat, clean, and healthy condition of your living space. Spring cleaning will even help with your allergies and sensitivities as it will reduce the number of allergens, air pollutants, and other irritants in your home.
Allergies During Spring Cleaning
However, even though a clean home is likely to bring you allergy relief, the act of cleaning itself may aggravate your symptoms – a lot of dust, mold spores, and various other allergy triggers are released in the air during the cleaning process, so you may experience severe allergic reactions while sprucing up your home. To overcome this problem, you need to take some extra precautions during your spring cleaning project:
1. Wear Personal Protection Gear
No, you don’t need to wear a decontamination suit to protect yourself from allergies when cleaning. But you should take some adequate measures to prevent allergens from coming in contact with your eyes, nose, mouth, and skin. So, before you start cleaning, make sure you put on a face mask and rubber gloves – the mask will help you avoid breathing in allergens and the gloves will keep them away from your skin.
Good to remember: Do not touch your face while cleaning – this will allow allergens to reach your eyes and airways (through the nose and mouth).
2. Use a Vacuum Cleaner with a HEPA Filter
Vacuuming and sweeping stir up dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens. To protect yourself from airborne irritants, you need a vacuum cleaner that is designed to keep them in instead of blowing them back up into the air. So, make sure you use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and consider one of the newer models with complete seal technology.
3. Do Not Dry-Dust
Dusting with a feather duster or a dry cloth will do you no good – it will simply disseminate dust in the air where it can be inhaled, settle onto food, etc. You need to capture the dust, not spread it around. Using a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down the surfaces in your home will do the trick – the moist fabric will trap the dust.
4. Avoid Mold Exposure
Mold can trigger various allergy symptoms and aggravate your overall health condition. It is impossible to prevent mold spores from entering your home (they exist everywhere in the environment), but you can prevent them from causing a mold problem – mold requires moisture to grow, so keeping the humidity levels in your home low will help you keep mold at bay. Good ventilation and regular cleaning are also essential for mold prevention.
As important as cleaning may be though, you cannot simply scrub away at the allergen if you find mold in your home – you need to spend as little time as possible dealing with it and to prevent stirring up the spores and releasing them into the air. Your best bet is to spray the mold from afar with a 10% bleach solution or a specialized mold cleaner and get out of the room. Return after half an hour and wipe the spot with a damp microfiber cloth or rinse with clear water (if the surface allows it).
Good to Remember:
- A natural cleaner – like distilled vinegar – is your safer option for dealing with mold when suffering from allergies. Vinegar and other natural cleaning products, however, may not be strong enough to kill the harmful microorganisms;
- Spring mold is a common occurrence – the humid winter weather and limited air circulation during the cold season (windows stay closed most of the time) provide ideal conditions for the fungi to grow. Therefore, you may find mold in your property in early spring, even if you’ve never had a mold problem before. Make sure you take quick and efficient measures to get rid of it before the spores have had the chance to spread and cause further damage;
- If the mold has affected a large area of your home (more than 10 square feet) or if it has found its way in your HVAC systems or inside places that are difficult to reach and clean, consider hiring mold removal professionals to take care of the problem.
5. Use Natural Cleaning Products
Harsh cleaning agents and strong chemicals may be very efficient in disinfecting floors, walls, and other surfaces in your home, but they exude strong (sometimes – noxious) fumes that are certain to trigger your allergies. Even a mild cleaner is likely to irritate your nose if scented, so you’re strongly advised to use natural cleaning products – like a vinegar and water solution – whenever possible.
6. Run a Fan
Opening the windows may not be a good option (it will let pollen inside and may aggravate your spring allergies), but you still need to air out fumes from cleaning products when sanitizing your home. Running a fan can help – it will ensure efficient air circulation, keep indoor humidity levels lower, and prevent strong odors from bothering you.
7. Clean One Window at a Time
Fresh air will help prevent mold growth and remove VOCs from your home, but keeping the windows open for a long period of time may allow a lot of pollen and other allergens inside. Therefore, you need to avoid letting the windows wide open for hours on end, even when cleaning them. It is a good idea to clean the panes one at a time – open a window, clean it, and shut it right away. Then, move on to the next. This will help keep your spring allergies at bay when spring cleaning your home.
8. Have your HVAC System Professionally Cleaned
A central air-conditioning system with a HEPA filter attached will considerably improve the air quality in your home (thus reducing the number of allergens in your living space and alleviating your allergy symptoms). Yet, this will only be the case if you keep the HVAC system clean and properly functional – change the filters every three months and have the air ducts professionally cleaned at least once a year (preferably, during your spring cleaning routine).
9. Professional Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning
Carpets and upholstered furniture trap dust, pet dander, and various other allergens, so it’s essential to clean them thoroughly after the winter. Even if you have the time and the energy to do so yourself, shampooing the carpets and upholstery may present several allergy hazards. Dust mites love humid spots and might start gathering in the damp wood or padding under the carpet or upholstery, mold may begin to grow underneath because of the excess moisture, etc. Your best bet is to have your carpeting and upholstery professionally cleaned and dried.
Call for Professional Help
When you’re suffering from seasonal allergies, spring cleaning can worsen your condition. It’s best that someone else take on the chore and get your home in tip-top shape.
Hiring professional house cleaning services will allow you to enjoy a clean and fresh home without having to deal with allergy issues. The experts have the rich experience, advanced cleaning equipment, and professional know-how to do the job in the fastest, safest, and most efficient way possible. Just make sure you inform them of your specific allergies, so that they pay greater attention to certain aspects of the spring cleaning project (do not forget to tell the cleaners about sensitivity to chemicals, so that they don’t use cleaning products which may trigger your allergies). You can hire a specialist to do all the cleaning or just to help with some “riskier” chores.
If you need professional cleaning services in the Dallas and Garland, TX areas, ServiceMaster of North Texas will help you cross this chore off your to-do list without putting your health at risk – call us at (972) 840-8888 to schedule an appointment or get more detailed information.