Written by Stacey Kelleher. Reviewed by Sean Busch.
The arrival of summer is typically a welcome change. But for millions of Americans, blooming plant life and warmer weather bring sniffles and sneezes as airborne allergens increase.
Two of the best ways to keep allergies at bay involves adjusting regular home cleaning routines and choosing cleaning products for allergy sufferers that won’t trigger reactions.Discover our tips for avoiding allergy triggers – and breathe easier this summer!
What Are Allergens?
Allergens are substances found in our environment that can trigger a vigorous immune system response in people who are allergic to them. Because the body doesn’t “recognize” them and perceives them as a “threat”, it works to fight them off in the form of an allergic reaction.
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Itching and watery eyes
- Postnasal drip
- Itchy throat
Common Indoor Allergens
You clean to get rid of dust throughout your home, but do you know what’s in dust? You might be surprised to discover that it can include:
- Dead bugs
- Dust mites
- Fabric fibers
- Skin cells
12 Easy Ways to Reduce Indoor AllergensFortunately, it’s possible to reduce indoor allergens and avoid uncomfortable symptoms. Try these simple cleaning tips to help keep allergies under control:
1. Stick to a Cleaning Schedule
As Puracy co-founder, Sean Busch likes to say, “Frequent care is easy care.” Decluttering, cleaning, and disinfecting every part of your home can seem like a daunting job. Breaking it down into a few daily tasks makes it far more manageable and helps ensure that you haven’t overlooked a room or a surface. Download our weekly and monthly cleaning checklists to keep yourself organized.
2. Cover Your Face
Whenever you’re cleaning, wear a mask to avoid breathing in airborne dust and dirt. A breathable cotton bandana or old t-shirt is perfect as long as it covers your nose and mouth. Be sure to wash after you use it!
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3. Vacuum Often
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends vacuuming once or twice a week to remove indoor pollutants on furniture and floors. During allergy season, consider vacuuming more frequently. Use attachments to vacuum curtains, blinds, corners, and other less-obvious areas where dust collects.
Pro tip: Use the vacuum bristle brush attachment to eliminate dust on blinds, window sills, and baseboards.
4. Choose the Right Vacuum
A good vacuum is a necessary investment for allergy sufferers. One that is poorly-designed (and seems to spew out as much gunk as it takes in) can do more harm than good.
When it comes to reducing allergens on carpets and other soft surfaces, look for a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA). HEPA filters are a mechanical air filter that removes at least 99.7% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns (for perspective, a single human hair measures around 80 microns).Allergy sufferers should also look for a vacuum that collects debris in a bag or bin. Emptying bagless models creates a dirt cloud that is tough to contain.
Our Favorite Vacuums for Allergies
- Canister: Miele Compact C1 Pure Suction Canister Vacuum Cleaner: The Miele’s sophisticated filter system traps 99.9 % of fine dust and offers six suction settings, making it ideal for all types of floors.
- Upright: Shark Rotator Professional Upright Corded Bagless Vacuum for Carpet and Hard Floors: The Shark Rotator contains a HEPA filter and Anti-Allergy Seal Technology to keep allergens contained. This model is easy to maneuver around corners and works well on both carpet and hard floors.
- Robot: GOOVI HEPA 1600PA Robotic Vacuum Cleaner: The GOOVI offers powerful suction, and remote or auto cleaning modes. You can even set it to clean at the same time every day and it automatically returns to the base when it needs charging.
- Cordless: The Dyson V10 holds a powerful charge for upwards of 35 minutes, functions on hardwood and carpets, and its fully-sealed filtration system traps 99.99% of particles.
5. Shampoo Carpets for A Deeper Clean
At some point, your carpets are going to need a deeper clean to remove pollen, dust, and grime. Keep them looking their best by spot-treat stains that crop up from time to time with a Puracy Natural Stain Remover.
At least once per year, shampoo washable surfaces by hand or machine with Natural Carpet & Upholstery Shampoo, but be sure that the water is fully dried to avoid mold growth.
If you or someone in your home suffers from severe allergies, it might be worth investing in a carpet shampooer. The Bissell ProHeat Upright Carpet Cleaner is a good starter model that offers a professional deep clean at a budget-friendly price.
6. Dust the Right Way
Dry-dusting ends up spreading allergens throughout your home, so avoid using dry rags and feather dusters.
To collect and remove dust effectively, spray Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner on the surface with one trigger pull per 2’ x 2’ area. Next, use a clean, folded microfiber cloth towel to wipe the spray away in a “Z” pattern. You’ll see the liquid begin to disappear, taking dust and dirt with it. If you have allergies, be sure to dust your home at least once per week.Pro tip: If you’re in a hurry, our microfiber towels can be used to trap remove dust – no cleaning solution required.
7. Keep Dust Mites out of Your Bed
It sounds like a sci-fi movie, but your bed is actually an ideal spot for microscopic invaders to hang out.
What Are Dust Mites?
Dust mites are tiny little creatures (arthropods technically) that thrive in warm, humid places, like pillows, mattresses, and other upholstered surfaces. They live and breed deep down in these areas, living off discarded flakes of human skin. Both their bodies and waste are allergens, causing reactions in people with dust mite allergies.
While it’s nearly impossible to remove or prevent all dust mites, there are things you can do to reduce their numbers:
- Use zippered, allergen-proof pillow protectors and mattress protectors.
- Every week, wash blankets, sheets, and pillow and mattress covers in hot water.
- Even if you use a mattress protector, clean your mattress twice a year with your vacuum and carpet cleaner.
- Manage the humidity in your home to make it less habitable for dust mites (less than 50% is ideal).
8 . Keep Clutter to a Minimum
Every surface is your home is a place for allergens to collect. And if those allergens are alive (like dust mites), it’s a place for them to thrive. Reducing clutter in every room is a good way to keep your space tidy and allergen-free. It will also make your cleaning routine shorter.
Tips for a clutter-free home:
- Give everything a place.
- During weekly cleanings, “rehome” misplaced items as you go.
- Donate or sell unused items before bringing new ones into the home.
9. Watch out for Mold
Mold generally thrives in warm, damp places like the shower, under the kitchen sink, and in air conditioning and heating vents. There are thousands of varieties of mold, with some more likely to be found in the home. Some types of mold cause breathing problems and can trigger asthma attacks.Mold is less likely to grow when indoor moisture is controlled. Mop up spills immediately and use humidifiers and exhaust fans in damp areas.
What Should I Do If I See Mold?
Mold requires a heavy-duty approach. After cleaning the area with non-toxic surface spray (to remove surface dirt), follow-up with a diluted bleach solution or commercial product designed to kill fungus. Always follow usage instructions and ventilate the area before cleaning.No one should attempt to remove black mold, especially individuals with severe mold allergies. Consult a professional if you spot large areas of mold or any signs of black mold growth.
10. Keep the Outside...Outside
A little fresh air is nice, but in high-pollen areas, it might be best to keep windows closed during allergy season. If you can’t resist, consider leaving just one window open at a time to reduce the flow of outdoor contaminants coming into your home.
Here are a few more ways to keep outdoor allergens where they belong:
- Machine-dry clothes and bedding instead of line-drying them outside.
- Keep shoes, coats, backpacks, and bags in a separate mudroom or storage area.
- When washing windows, only keep one open at a time to limit exposure to pollen and other outside allergens.
- If you’re doing yard work or are spending time outside during peak pollen times, take your clothes off at the door and immediately take a shower.
11. Use an Air Purifier
Air purifiers improve indoor air quality by removing small particles from the air. From commercials air sanitizers to smaller, portable models, there’s one to fit every budget. We suggest asthma- and allergy-friendly models since they’re tested and proven to meet strict indoor health standards.Note: We suggest using MERV-10 (or better) air filters in your HVAC systems, though it’s vital to consult the owner’s manual to select the right one first.
12. Switch to Natural Cleaning ProductsAccording to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, some commercial cleaning products contain chemicals that can aggravate asthma and allergy symptoms. To reduce indoor allergens and ensure a healthy home, get rid of toxic cleaning products and replace them with safe and effective alternatives.
5 Common Cleaning Chemicals That Can Aggravate Allergies
If you suffer from allergies and other respiratory issues, certain chemicals and fragrances can aggravate them further. These can include:
1. AmmoniaOften found in glass cleaners and liquid dish soaps, high concentrations of ammonia exposure can lead to burning of the throat, nose, and respiratory tract.
2. FormaldehydeCommonly used in shampoos and commercial cleaning products, formaldehyde (and formaldehyde-based preservatives) can irritate the upper respiratory tract and the skin.
3. Sodium Lauryl SulfateSodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is found in many detergents, soaps, shampoos, and other foaming personal care items. There’s still more research to be done to assess the health risks of SLS exposure, but it may increase the risk of coughing, sore throat, and skin irritation.
4. Synthetic FragrancesWe equate floral or citrus smells with cleanness, but synthetic fragrances used in cleaning products can result in respiratory problems and skin irritation. And because the FDA considers fragrance a “trade secret,” companies aren’t required to disclose these ingredients.
5. BleachBleach is found in disinfectants, laundry detergents, and various other cleaning products. In addition to skin irritation and poisoning, bleach inhalation can cause respiratory issues, resulting in throat irritation, coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath.
Puracy Cleaning Products: Safe, Gentle, Effective
You can do everything possible to keep indoor allergens at bay, but if your cleaning products cause allergic reactions, your efforts may be in vain. Instead, opt for cleaners that won’t irritate your senses.
Puracy gets their fresh scents from essential oils, and harnesses the cleaning power of plant enzymes and coconut-based cleansers. You won’t have to worry about harsh chemicals either, since every Puracy product is free of:
- Animal byproducts
Choose Puracy Cleaning Products
Natural cleaning products and regular cleaning will do wonders to minimize your allergies and the misery they cause. You’ll also feel good knowing you’re keeping toxic chemicals out of your home – and away from your family.For more tips on keeping your home clean and green, check out these earlier posts: