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Spring Cleaning for Health: Beat Seasonal Allergies

Posted January 21, 2023 by Mike Lewis under Tips

Spring Cleaning for Health: Beat Seasonal Allergies

As winter turns to spring, I start gearing up for the annual spring cleaning ritual. While freshening up my home with cleaning and organizing feels great, my allergies inevitably flare up once I start disturbing all the dust and dander that has accumulated over the winter. As someone who suffers from seasonal allergies every year, I’ve learned that being proactive with reducing allergens in my home can really help minimize symptoms. Here’s my guide to spring cleaning for better indoor air quality and allergy relief.

Why Spring Cleaning Helps Allergies

During winter, my windows stay shut and heat runs often—perfect conditions for dust mites, mold, and pet dander to accumulate. Once spring arrives, I open my windows to let in the fresh air. This stirs up all those allergens, triggering sneezing, coughing, and itchy eyes.

By doing a deep clean of my home in early spring, I remove a huge amount of allergens so they don’t get stirred up when the weather warms. Thorough vacuuming, dusting, and scrubbing makes a big difference for reducing allergy triggers indoors.

Here are some key reasons spring cleaning helps control allergies:

  • Removes dust buildup – Dust contains allergy triggers like dust mite matter, pet dander, mold spores, and pollen that entered through cracks in winter.
  • Cleans surfaces – Allergens settle on surfaces like countertops, floors, and furniture over time. Disinfecting kills germs and wipes away allergens.
  • Replaces HVAC filters – Dirty furnace and AC filters circulate allergens. New filters improve air quality.
  • Washes bedding – Dust mites accumulate in bedding and get disturbed when sleeping. Hot water washing kills mites.
  • Cleans carpets and upholstery – Deep cleaning pulls out pet dander, pollen, and embedded dirt.

By tackling my home with deep cleaning and disinfecting before spring gets into full swing, I remove the majority of allergens so my symptoms don’t go haywire.

Top Spring Cleaning Tips for Allergy Relief

I’ve refined my spring cleaning strategy over the years to target the areas and tasks that make the biggest difference for my allergies. Here are my top spring cleaning tips for reducing indoor allergens:

Use HEPA Vacuums

A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is crucial for vacuum cleaning when you have allergies. HEPA filters capture 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, including allergy triggers like dust mite debris, pet dander, and mold spores. I use a corded HEPA vac for whole house cleaning and a cordless HEPA stick vac for quick cleanups.

Wash All Bedding

Dust mites thrive in bedding and can cause allergic reactions. I wash all bed linens, mattress covers, pillows, and blankets in hot water (at least 130°F) to kill mites and remove allergens. For comforters and pillows that can’t go in the washing machine, I take them to a laundry service.

Use Filters With High MERV Ratings

Replacing HVAC air filters is a must, as dirty filters just circulate allergens. Look for a minimum MERV rating of 11 for filters proven to trap tiny particles like mold, dust mites, and pet dander. I install new filters in my furnace, AC units, and air purifiers in the spring and fall.

Clean With Microfiber

Microfiber cloths are fantastic for dusting because they attract and trap allergens instead of scattering them. I use microfiber dusters and cloths wetted with hot water and a small amount of cleaner for a thorough dusting of surfaces. This cuts way down on airborne dust versus dry dusting.

Disinfect With Steam

Steam cleaners use very hot steam to naturally disinfect surfaces and kill dust mites on contact without harsh chemicals. I use a handheld steamer to clean and disinfect upholstery, mattresses, carpets, window treatments, and hard surfaces like baseboards. The heat also loosens embedded dirt and allergens.

Use Door Mats and Air Purifiers

Placing door mats inside and outside every exterior door keeps pollen and outdoor allergens from being tracked inside. I also run HEPA air purifiers throughout my home 24/7 to filter allergens. This combination goes a long way in keeping indoor air clean.

Clean From Top to Bottom

When cleaning a room, I start up high and work my way down. This prevents kicking up dust and having it resettle onto already cleaned surfaces. I vacuum upholstered furniture and window treatments first before vacuuming and mopping floors last.

Maintain With Regular Cleaning

Doing a deep spring clean sets the stage for fewer allergy issues indoors. But to make the benefits last, it takes diligent maintenance cleaning. Here are some of my year-round strategies:

  • Vacuum carpets and mop hard floors 1-2 times per week.
  • Dust and disinfect surfaces 1-2 times per week.
  • Launder bedding, including pillow protectors, every 2 weeks.
  • Check and change HVAC filters every 1-3 months.
  • Use HEPA air purifiers all the time.
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom to reduce dander exposure.

By staying on top of regular cleaning, dust and allergens don’t have the chance to build up again. My home stays fresh, and my allergies stay under control.

Consult an Allergist for Testing and Treatment

While keeping my home clean goes a long way towards allergy relief, it’s not a cure-all. I still have to take medications at certain times of year when pollen and outdoor mold spores trigger my allergies. Seeing an allergist for testing helps identify specific environmental allergies. The allergist can provide prescriptions and recommendations for avoiding and treating allergy symptoms.

Some treatment options may include:

  • Antihistamines – Block histamine release to minimize congestion, sneezing, and itching.
  • Nasal sprays – Corticosteroid sprays reduce inflammation in nasal passages.
  • Immunotherapy – Allergy shots or drops taken over time can desensitize your immune system.
  • Avoiding triggers – Limit exposure to known allergy triggers as much as possible.

While allergy medications help manage symptoms, identifying and reducing allergen exposure in my living environment provides important protection. Combining thorough, routine cleaning with the right medical treatment gives me the best defense for enjoying spring without suffering!

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