Don’t Let Allergies Dampen Your Spring Cleaning Plans

Spring cleaning with Allergens

Don’t let Allergens ruin your spring cleaning plans

( — Spring cleaning can be more than just cleaning—for some it is a purging ritual. It’s a time to get rid of the old and wash away any dirt in preparation of the beautiful months that are soon to come.

For people with allergies, however, spring cleaning may not be such a happy ritual. Many cleaning products on the market today have been known to irritate allergies. Symptoms of irritation that can be caused by cleaning products include:

• Sneezing
• Itchy, watery eyes
• Congestion
• An asthma attack or wheezing
• Skin rashes

The best way to avoid irritation from cleaning products is to have someone in the household who does not have allergies do the cleaning. Even the act of cleaning, especially sweeping and dusting, can trigger an allergic reaction, because dust and other allergens can be stirred up.

However, if you suffer from allergies and must do your own cleaning in your home, there are options. Most importantly, it can help to use products that are less likely to cause allergy symptoms.

Products to Avoid

It’s best to stay away from cleaning products that contain harsh, potentially irritating chemicals. Read product labels to avoid the following ingredients:

• Formaldehyde
• Bleach
• Ammonia
• Sodium lauryl sulphate
• D-limonene
• Sodium hypochlorite

These chemicals are found in many cleaning products, including:

• Furniture polish
• Disinfectants
• Mildew removers
• Dish detergents
• Dish soaps
• Laundry detergents
• Fabric softeners
• All-purpose cleaners
• Drain, oven and glass cleaners

Products to Use

For allergy sufferers, the best types of cleaning products are those that are labeled nontoxic. And the good news is that today is there is a great deal of awareness that many harsh chemicals that have been around for decades are truly harmful to humans as well as the environment. “Green” cleaning products are usually a better option for those with allergies, but read the labels carefully, as some of these products still contain irritating substances.

Baking soda and vinegar can get just about anything clean, in different concentrations for different uses.  Here are some suggestions:

• Vinegar* and salt for a surface cleaner
• Baking soda and water to clean baby bottles
• Baking soda on carpeting to remove scents or odors
• Olive oil or lemon juice with vegetable oil for furniture care
• Ventilation, cinnamon and cloves, or steeped tea for air freshening

*Never mix bleach with vinegar or bleach with ammonia.

Allergy sufferers can benefit from regular home cleaning to reduce indoor allergens, including molds, pollen, pet dander, dust mites and insect droppings. Consider adding these cleaning tasks to your regular routine:

• Reduce dust-collecting clutter
• Regularly vacuum carpeted floors with a double-bag or HEPA filter vacuum
• Regularly wash blankets and throw rugs
• Wash all bed linens in hot water every week
• Keep counter surfaces clean and dry
• Do not leave food exposed on kitchen counters, and store food in sealed containers

Taking a few simple steps to keep dust to a minimum, preventing molds from growing, and controlling cockroaches and other pests can usually help minimize anyone’s allergy symptoms.