With spring coming really soon, the warmer weather is always most welcome for most people. For eczema and allergy sufferers, spring season can be a challenging one to go through if you do not know how to manage the spring allergy symptoms. Our ultimate spring cleaning guide aims to help you manage your home to minimize these symptoms for you and your loved ones.
The warmer breeze brings about the tree pollen and mold spores. If you do suffer from a bad seasonal allergy, you will probably be in contact with them with every breath you take. With the allergens triggering the immune system to react excessively, allergy symptoms such as sneezing and itching appears quickly.
These types of trees are known to be common triggers of hay fever in spring, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology: oak, Western red cedar, sycamore, maple, elm, birch, ash, cypress, walnut, hickory and poplar. Since these trees usually release its pollen around this time of every year, we can actually prepare for this season.
Another allergen that we should concerned about is mold. Similarly, mold such as yeast and mildew release seeds called spores which are carried by the wind. You can never imagine the levels that are found in the air outside and it can be a big problem not just during spring season.
Some of the outdoor molds include Alternaria, Cladosporium, and Hormodendrun.The allergy symptoms resulting from mold are rather typical and include sneezing, nasal congestion and watery eyes that may itch. The inside of your home is not spared as well and some of the common mold that can be found inside your home include Aspergillus and Penicillium.
Knowing where and how these spring allergens originate can not only help you to reduce your exposure and in the process alleviate the allergy symptoms.
Ultimate Spring Cleaning Guide : Getting Started
With so many websites providing loads of spring cleaning tips and guides on how to spring clean, we are here to keep everything simple and specifically focus on spring cleaning for allergies. This list of tips will certainly give you a head start for the spring clean up.
Knowing The Allergy Triggers of You and Your Family
It is very important to know what may trigger an allergic reaction in someone in the family. If someone is allergic to dust mites, it may be good to ensure good ventilation before you start cleaning. Alternatively, proceed with the spring cleaning only when there is no one else at home. If you are allergic to certain things and am doing the cleaning yourself, look out for those spring cleaning flyer in your mailbox as you may like to consider hiring some help to avoid the allergens.
Remember to cover your face with a protective particle mask before you start on any cleaning at all, especially if it's sweeping or dusting. Because some of the allergens are really small, the mask will serve as a good barrier to prevent any inhalation.
Cleaning through a pile of clutter in the house can be a real challenge. We would recommend that you declutter first, removing whatever items that are no longer needed. This will not only leave you with lesser stuff to clean, but also a wider working space to get your job done.
Mold-proof your storage
After you are done with the decluttering, you may like to put them into boxes for the sake of organizing the items. Avoid using cardboard boxes as mold can thrive in it, especially those water-damaged ones. Opt for plastic storage boxes which are not only waterproof, and they are easier to clean and if they are transparent, you will know where to find your things.
Organize your cleaning routine
It will be great to start cleaning from top to bottom, then from the inside to the outside. So it will be a good idea to start from the upper floors, from the ceiling down to the floor. Focus on finishing one room before moving on to the next one. This will ensure that you do not miss out any parts of the house, and also to avoid dirtying the items that you have just cleaned.
Try not to let the dust fly
Using microfiber cloth to wipe down those dusty surfaces will help to minimize the amount of dust flying around. Wiping the surface with a damp cloth also makes the cleaning a little easier.
Keep the humidity levels in check
Having a dehumidifier in the house will be very helpful in keeping out the mold, dust mites and cockroaches by reducing the moisture levels in the house.
Keep your filter fresh
Set up a schedule to replace the filters in the air furnace at least every three months. As the recommended replacement dates vary by brand, remember to check the owner's manual. When you do replace them, choose filters with a MERV (Minimum-Efficiency Reporting Value) rating preferably above 8. The MERV rating indicates a filter’s ability to trap dust and other particles. It ranges fro 1-16, and the higher the MERV rating, the better it works.
Simplify your curtain covers
Swap the frilly curtain drapes for simpler covers made of washable fabrics. You may even like to consider taking away those Venetian blinds as those are major dust traps.
Cleaning the fans and vents
Take out the vents from your heating / air-conditioning system and the fans for regular cleaning. Prepare a big tub of warm, soapy water and leave them to soak in it for a while. Once it's done, remember to dry them thoroughly before putting them back to leave no moisture for those critters to survive.
Get the right vacuum cleaner
Buying the right vacuum cleaner can go a long way to help with keeping the house clean, especially seasonal allergies. In our previous post on the best vacuum cleaner for allergies, we recommended that the unit should preferably have HEPA filter and a dust bag to minimize the stray dust particles escaping from it during cleaning.
Get some help with your spring cleaning with our comprehensive buying guides here:
Turn up the heat
Consider using a steam cleaner to help you with sanitizing your home. Get rid of the bed bugs and dust mites with weekly steaming of the bedsheets, covers and pillows. Use the power of steam cleaning to freshen your fabric upholstery and curtains.
Swap the carpets for wooden flooring
Minimize the amount of carpeting at home and use hard flooring instead. If you still need to have carpets and rugs around the house, keep it small and remember to clean them weekly by first vacuuming, then followed by steaming.
Move your furniture around
It may take a lot of effort to move that couch or cabinet, but it will pay off in the long term as you minimize the amount of hidden allergens stored in that forgotten corner behind the cabinet or under the couch. Spring cleaning is a good time to do this laborious chore.
Keeping the bathroom mold-free
Ditch the vinyl shower curtains for washable fabrics instead. Vinyl is a magnet for soap scums and water stains which allow for mold to thrive on it.
Allergy-proof your bedroom
Having to spend more than 8 hours in the bedroom daily means that you could be exposed to some nasty allergens such as the dust mites and bed bugs. Besides the usual steam cleaning and washing of the bedsheets, it will be a good idea to use allergy-proof casings for your mattress, box spring and pillows. The non-porous nature of such casings help to keep the allergens in the mattress from moving either way.
Setting boundaries for your pets
While you do not have to resort to giving them away, you can keep them out of your bedroom at least. Give them adequate space for their own activities outside the house or in the living room so that the pet fur and dander stays there.
With all these tips to help you get started, spring cleaning should not be as daunting as it seems. A little planning and mindfulness will go a long way to ensure that allergic reactions are kept to a minimum during the spring season.
Bonus: Spring Cleaning Checklist
We have also put together a simple checklist to help you out with your spring cleaning routine. You can print it out and stick it on the fridge. Just tick away each area that you are done with so that you will not miss out on any area.
Spring cleaning for entrance, living room and kitchen (right-click, select 'save as' to download)
Spring cleaning for bedrooms and bathrooms (right-click, select 'save as' to download)