Fall allergy cleaning tips: your guide to removing allergens from your home
We all know about spring cleaning – but the reality is that if you suffer from allergies one deep cleaning per year just isn’t going to cut it. In order to keep your allergies in check you’ll want to tackle the main sources of household allergies by cleaning your carpets, floors, upholstery, drapes, and eliminating any sources of mildew and mold every fall. These fall cleaning tips will help keep your autumnal misery to a minimum!
The Basics of Allergens
For some people allergy season feels like something that lasts all year, although generally people agree that fall allergies are the worst. The most common allergy symptoms are itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and sinus congestion.
But what causes allergies? Well, one of the common names for allergies, hay fever, points us in the right direction to understand allergy triggers. Some people are sensitive to certain environmental irritants, including pollen, dust mite droppings, or mold spores.
This sensitivity varies from person to person and is the result of an overreaction of your immune system. In fact, the symptoms of allergies are actually your body’s immune response and are not typically caused by the allergen itself. An important exception to this is mold – which both causes allergic reactions in addition to its own health problems.
What Allergens are most common in Fall?
While South Carolina’s fall season is known for the beauty of leaves changing color and a pleasant crispness to the air, it is also known for allergies.
If your allergies always flare up in the Fall then ragweed is a likely culprit. In South Carolina there are two species of ragweed, and both begin to bloom in late August and will continue making us miserable until the first hard frost. Unfortunately, as the climate warms we can expect ragweed season to last longer.
Ragweed is particularly likely to cause allergies as ragweed pollen is dispersed by the wind and can travel massive distances. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) reports that ragweed pollen has been found up to 2 miles above the ground and 400 miles away from land!
For those unfortunate enough to suffer allergies year round, the cause is harder to pinpoint without going to an allergist. Some of the most common indoor allergens include pet dander, dust mites, and mildew or mold spores. Generally these allergens aren’t more present in the fall, but as the weather cools off and you find yourself spending more time inside you may be exposed to more of these allergens.
What do I need to remove allergens from my house?
Removing allergens from your house is an ongoing process – and involves attacking the problem on a variety of fronts.
The first step to preventing allergens is reducing how many you introduce to your house. On days with high pollen counts keep your doors and windows shut and shower after coming in from outside. Never wear clothing that was used outdoors to bed, as pollen can adhere to fabrics.
One of the best ways to maintain your indoor air quality is using a high quality air filter in your HVAC, that way your air conditioner isn’t simply pushing contaminants around your home. Studies have shown that using a MERV-12 filter can reduce the symptoms of allergy-related asthma. While cheaper air filters may prolong the life of your HVAC system they do little to stop the circulation of allergens. Also, your air conditioning can become a source of indoor allergens if the filters are not changed regularly!
In order to prevent mold from growing you should keep your home’s humidity between 30 and 50%. If your home is wetter than this you should invest in a dehumidifier. Be sure to check the humidity of your basement – often this part of your house can be far more humid than the rest, allowing mold growth to go unnoticed.
Even if your indoor humidity is good, this is a great time to check underneath sinks for slow leaks. Even a tiny leak can produce the right environment for mildew and mold. If you spot the telltale black splotches of mold or the flat, whitish-brown speckles of mildew, you should immediately address the problem.
Allergy sufferers should invest in a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA filter) – otherwise routine vacuuming will only serve to pull allergens from the floor and release them into your air. For hard floors you’ll want to ditch the broom in favor of a damp mop.
If you have a pet whose dander causes your allergies to act up there are a few tips that can help reduce its severity. Dander is natural and completely eliminating it is impossible, but ensuring your pet is on a healthy diet can help keep it at a minimum. For cats, obesity can lead to dander, as it can prevent them from properly grooming themselves.
Long haired dog breeds or breeds with two coats need regular brushing to distribute the oils across their hair – this too will minimize dander. Just be sure to do the brushing outdoors to ensure that stray fur stays outside!
What should I clean to remove allergens?
If you’re being plagued by seasonal allergies, you should make sure to clean all of the cloth and fabric surfaces in your house.
For upholstery and drapes this will often be limited to giving them a thorough vacuuming. Start at the top and work your way down so any dust you liberate won’t make its way onto your freshly cleaned floors!
Be sure to wash your linens, sheets, blankets, and pillowcases – ideally using hot water. If you want to ensure that you’ve killed any dust mites present you should use water hotter than 130 degrees or dry the fabrics on high for at least 15 minutes.
You’ll want to vacuum your carpets with a HEPA filter vacuum or have your carpets professionally cleaned. The same applies for rugs, although take care when vacuuming Persian and Oriental rugs – you should be sure to disable your vacuum’s carpet brush in order to not damage the rug’s pile.
Don’t forget about your hardwoods too. Instead of using a broom or vacuum, which often just launch allergens into the air, use a slightly dampened mop to remove pollen and other allergens. Add an all purpose detergent to the mop water to maximize its cleaning power.
For upholstery, hardwood floors, carpets, and rugs Whitehall Carpet Cleaners offers professional deep cleaning services – eliminating allergens and saving you time. Carpets should be professionally cleaned every six months to keep them looking their best and to prevent allergens from building up and causing you problems.
Finally, you’ll want to clean or replace moldy shower curtains. While you’re in the bathroom check under the sink for any mold growth. These hidden sources of mold can exacerbate your allergies year round. When you shower run the bathroom fan, and leave the door open afterwards to allow the room to dry out in order to prevent mold from forming in the first place.
The Best Way to Avoid Fall Allergies
Fall allergies may seem inevitable, but giving your upholstery, floors, and rugs a deep cleaning each fall will help reduce your seasonal suffering. As an added bonus this is an excellent time to spruce up your house before the holiday hosting season arrives! If you need a hand with the cleaning or want a professional touch, Whitehall Carpet Cleaners can take care of your upholstery, carpets, and hardwood floors.
Why Should You Go With Whitehall Carpet Cleaners?
Whitehall cleaning professionals are some of the best in the business. Trained in a variety of specialty areas. (Including residential cleaning, commercial cleaning, and disaster restoration)
We’re certified by the IICRC, we have the knowledge and skills to address any of your problems. We aren’t just skilled: we are the experts on fabric and floor cleaning, as well as damage restoration and mold removal.
Choose The Whitehall Way
Doesn’t matter if you just need regular maintenance or emergency disaster relief in the middle of the night. We’ve got you covered.