10 Steps To Allergy Proof Your Home!
From Elite Floor Care Specialists, Your Local Indoor Healthy Home Specialists
Call us on 0800 246 5383
Cleaning to Control Allergies and Asthma
The Environmental Protection Agency and it’s Science Advisory Board have consistently ranked indoor air pollution among the top five environmental risks to public health.. According to the College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 50% of all illnesses are caused by or aggravated by polluted indoor air, mainly from the HOME!
In the UK, over four million people (majority of them children) suffer with respiratory allergies aggravated by indoor bio-pollution. Over 2,500 people die each year from asthma, and the number of sufferers is growing. Millions more suffer from allergen related symptoms … including headaches, running eyes, sore throats, itching, feeling sick etc…
If you or a member of your family has allergies or asthma, you already know that many things can bring on, or “trigger”, an asthma flare or episode.
Some things that commonly trigger allergy attacks like smoking, traffic pollution, dust etc… are often not the cause of the attack.
The most common cause of allergy attacks is an allergen found in the House Dust Mite! This is the biggest cause of asthma in both the home and the workplace!
Step 1 – Start with an Allergen-Control Plan
If you or your family suffer from allergies or asthma, ask your/their doctor or clinic to advise you as to which allergens affect you/them the most. Some doctors may only suggest medication—this is OK short term, but will not benefit you long term.
Here are my recommendations on controlling the allergens at home. This will help you and your family:
- Do something! Make a cleaning plan NOW!
- Keep an Asthma Diary – so you can monitor your work!
- Ventilate all rooms with fresh air
Help to remove the problems by …
- Damp Dusting regularly (don’t dry dust)
- Vacuum with ‘HEPA’ filtration vacuum cleaners daily
- Wet mop hard surface floors daily
- Have your carpets, upholstery and mattresses cleaned professionally and treated with an Anti-Allergen Treatment on a regular basis
Ask us about our Perfect Care Maintenance Plan which is our unique programme of cleaning, allergy control, stain protection, and spot removal treatments, for the whole year, which saves you money and gives you total peace of mind.
Step 2 – Bedrooms /Soft Furnishings
Every home has House Dust Mites. They only live where we spend a long time … and the place we spend most of our time is in bed at night! Your mattresses and pillows contain the largest amount of Dust Mites and their allergens!
Once you get out of bed they burrow deep inside the mattress or pillow and they can survive in the open air! They feed on our decaying skin flakes, as we all shed about two pounds of skin each year there’s plenty for them to eat!
Although it requires specialist cleaning and protection to eliminate dust-mites, you can help to control them by keeping your bedroom well ventilated with fresh air (they hate it) and control the dust by cleaning carpets and soft furnishings.
Wash pillows every 3 months, mattresses and carpets every 6 months! Contra to some people ideas your carpets help fight the battle against Dust Mites! They act as filters and filter the air in your rooms—and allow you to remove it safely by vacuuming.
Your vacuum cleaner will probably have an attachment designed for upholstery—use it! Soft furnishings such as upholstery, and curtains should be cleaned on a regular basis.
We not only clean and protect carpets, upholstery and curtains—we also clean mattresses—call us today on 0800 246 5383 for more information. Don’t compromise the safety and health of your family!
Warmth + Moisture + Skin = House Dust Mites
Step 3 – Toilets/Bathrooms
Mould and mildew are tiny organisms like plants that grow where it’s warm and damp—like in the bathroom. They release invisible ”spores” into the air. The floating spores trigger allergy and asthma episodes. And wherever they land, the spores start growing new mould.
Warmth + Moisture = Mould
Mould can also grow on appliances—like extraction filters, air conditioners, dehumidifiers and humidifiers. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to change filters and clean regularly.
To find products that remove or control mildew—read the label. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for wearing protective equipment if required. You can use an antibacterial product two or three times a week to prevent mould from coming back.
– Clean bathrooms and toilets thoroughly, a minimum of once a
week, toilets may need to be cleaned more frequently.
– Clean soap scum regularly as mildew grows on it
– Wipe up water around basins
– Wash towels and mats at least
once a week
– Keep the area under the sink dry
– Keep a toilet brush at the side of
the toilet, for everyone to use, and do ensure that it is cleaned regularly with a bleach solution.
Step 4 – Kitchen
Cockroaches are attracted to food and moisture—including crumbs, cooking grease and plain water. After dust mites, cockroaches are the second largest group of indoor allergens. It’s important to remove or tightly cover all food and water, especially at night when cockroaches are more active.
Food + Water = Cockroaches
Cockroaches are often found around the refrigerator because of food spills and dampness. These spills and moisture also grow mould. Keeping your refrigerator clean is an important part of controlling allergens. Follow the cleaning instructions in your owner’s manual.
– Clean food and grease from the cooker daily
– Clean up food and spills, crumbs and liquids on counter tops
and floors immediately
– Empty rubbish daily
– Clean the outside and inside of the
– Wash floors at least weekly
– Keep food in closed containers
– Use bait or gel products to get rid of cockroaches. Follow instructions on the product.
Step 5 – Living Areas
When children play and crawl on the floor, they can breathe in allergens. Keep carpets, furniture and curtains as clean and dust free as possible.
All soft furnishings should be professionally cleaned on a regular basis. Cleaning frequency is based on the number of people in the
home, the number of pets, smokers and the amount of outside dust and pollution.
The use of a low quality vacuum cleaner can throw into the air some of the allergens trapped in your ‘filters’ – your carpets and upholstery.
Use a vacuum that has a HEPA (99.7% efficient) filter and/or exhaust filter; or use a special bag that holds allergens inside the bag.
Vacuum at least once a week and more often if the weather conditions, etc result in a lot of dirt.
Empty the bag when it’s half full (or throw it away if it’s disposable).
An upright vacuum or a canister with a powered head is best for carpet. A canister vacuum without a powered nozzle is fine for cleaning upholstery, curtains, blinds and light dusting.
Mould and germs can grow in wet or damp carpeting. Carpets that have been damp or wet for more than 24 hours should be removed or professionally cleaned and restored.
– Have carpets, upholstery, area rugs and mattresses professionally cleaned on a regular basis
– Dust with a damp cloth and regularly rinse it out – never use a dry duster as you will put dust into the air
– Clean and dry window frames and sills regularly
– Clean ceiling fans and light fixtures at least monthly
– Use washable ‘Barrier Mats’ at doors to catch dust, pollen and soil.
– Wash ’Barrier Mats’ at least monthly
– Vacuum upholstered furniture regularly
– Damp mop hard surface floors at least weekly
Dirty carpets and fabrics hold
dust mites + pollens + animal dander = allergies
Step 6 – Air Handling System
A lot of modern homes now use a central heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC). Others may have central heating and or cooling systems. All heating and cooling systems should be cleaned AND serviced on a regular basis.
Air duct systems can hold dust, pollen, animal dander, dust mite allergens and mould spores. If you are an allergy sufferer and have never had your air handling system cleaned, contact a professional to have this service performed.
Condensation in the air conditioning system, particularly during the summer, can collect and be a breeding ground for mould. Make sure the system drip pans are cleaned and moisture is draining properly.
Replaceable filters should be changed monthly. A filter enhancer can be sprayed on to disposable filters to improve their efficiency.
– Remember we spend 90% of our time indoors.
– The EPA research reveals the levels of some hazardous pollutants indoor is greater than outdoor air
– Prevent moisture from accumulating in your HVAC system
– Use filters over heating vents and change them regularly
– Change system filters monthly
– Make arrangements to have your system cleaned often
Step 7 – Cleaning Products
Cleaning products are tested by their manufacturers to make sure they are safe to use. But accidents can happen, especially with young children. Also, people who are very sensitive to certain chemicals should be certain to read the product contents on the label before purchasing harsh cleaning agents.
Here are some ways to use cleaning products safely:
– Open windows when using cleaning products, especially if an asthmatic person is present while cleaning is done. Ask that person to go into another room while you are cleaning.
– Don’t leave cleaning buckets where children or pets can get into them. Young children can drown in very small amounts of liquid. Large buckets are especially dangerous.
– Never mix different cleaning products together. They can make dangerous fumes (like bleach and ammonia).
– Store cleaning products out of the reach of young children and away from food.
– Keep products in their original containers with their labels in place.
– Read and follow label directions, different products work in different ways and can have different use instructions.
– Do not use products with high amounts of VOC’s (volatile
Step 8 – The Clutter Plan
Want to save time and reduce allergens? Then get rid of clutter!
Having lots of stuff around the home does more than clutter up a room. It makes cleaning harder and gives places for dust and other allergens to collect. Follow these simple steps to reduce clutter:
1. Sort It – Start with your children’s bedrooms. Sort out their wardrobes, shelves and under the bed! Put stuff in separate piles: Clothes, shoes, toys, books, school supplies, sports equipment etc…
Work with your children to pick the clothes and toys that are the most important. Remove none used items (to loft, charity shop)
2. Clean It – Give the room a real good clean while empty, and clean wanted items (if you’re unable to wash some toys give them a good vacuum and place in plastic bag and freeze for 24 hours—it will help kill dust mites).
3. Cover It – Try to put everything away in cupboards, drawers or even plastic containers Label drawers and cabinets so that you and your children know exactly where to find things, and more importantly, where to put them back!
Follow these simple steps as part of your daily routine.
Step 9 – Water Incursion
The number one enemy of any property is water. If you have water damage from broken pipes, leaks or rain coming into your home —it must be treated immediately! Steps need to be taken to dry the structure and its contents properly by a certified water damage contractor. At SelectTeam™ we are certified in Water Damage Restoration. Call us on 0800 695 0208
When walls, flooring, carpets or parts of your home stay wet for longer than 24 hours, mould and bacteria will grow.
If you have even a minor leak over a period when the home is closed up, for example while on holiday or even away for the weekend, it can result in the release of severe allergens. Mould produces mycotoxins, which have the potential to produce toxic affects to our immune system and internal organs.
With moisture present, mould can grow on wall linings, between the walls of your building or under flooring. You may have a mould problem after a flood that is not at first visible. Do not delay in immediately contacting your insurance company whenever you have the unfortunate event of water damage.
– Keep the name and number of your insurance agent near your phone in the event of water damage.
– Contact a plumber to immediately stop the flow of water from a broken pipe.
– Turn off electricity at the main box before entering a room with standing water and electrical appliances.
– Do not put newspapers on the floor to try to absorb water.
– Call Elite Floor Care Specialists on 0800 246 5383 to immediately begin drying your home and its contents.
Step 10 – Cleaning if You Have Allergies or Asthma
Since many allergens float in the air, they are hard to avoid. Cleaning (like ‘dry’ dusting and vacuuming) can stir up the air and the allergens in it. Just like other particles in the air, sometimes cleaning products can “trigger” an asthma attack. But, it’s still important to clean. If you don’t, dust, mould and other allergens will build up, making asthma symptoms worse.
If you have allergies or asthma, here are some important tips:
– Read and follow label directions on cleaning products. The label directions give the proper amount of product to use, how to use the product and any special safety advice.
– If you use spray products, spray the cleaner on a cloth or sponge first instead of on the surface.
– Break your cleaning into small tasks. Spread it out over several days instead of doing it all at once.
– Clean in a “well-ventilated” area—open a door and a window or turn on an extractor fan. Leave the room when you have finished cleaning and allow the room to air out.
– Try using cleaning products that have no scent or are perfume free. Try different products to find the ones that work best for you.
– If your asthma is severe, have someone else do the cleaning. Try to leave the house when the cleaning is being done. If you must do the cleaning yourself, wear a mask.
– Have asthmatics leave the room when cleaning is being done. Don’t ask children with asthma to dust or vacuum. Have them do other chores like washing dishes, taking out the rubbish, etc.
– Use cleaning products that are “green”. Ones without hazardous ingredients including VOC’s.