ALLERGIES bite the dust
KEEP YOUR HOUSE CLEAN AS A WHISTLE
One in every three Kiwis suffers from an allergy of some sort and they can make life miserable.
Mould, mildew, dust mites and pet dander (skin cells) are among the leading causes of allergies, but the good news is that there are steps you can take to make your home as hypoallergenic as possible. Here’s how:
Dust hard surfaces with a damp cloth instead of a dry one or a feather duster, which just spread the dust around.
For soft surfaces such as sofas, vacuum using the special furniture attachment.
Keep pillows and mattresses clean. Beds easily trap allergens, such as dust mites and can be hard to clean. Use hypoallergenic mattress and pillow protectors to keep dust mites at bay. Wash linen in very hot water and vacuum your mattress and pillows using attachments.
Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate) filter. They can be expensive, but will be worth it in the long run.
Think seriously about having pets. Their dander can make some allergies much worse. If you do have pets, try to keep them out of bedrooms and off beds. Regularly wash their bedding.
Curtains are a haven for dust – you might want to replace them with window shades, which are are easier to clean. Carpets are also like a giant dust reservoir and need to be vacuumed regularly. You might want to consider putting in hard flooring such as wood, tiles or linoleum instead, which is better if you have allergies.
Get rid of ornaments and knick-knacks that collect dust.
Children’s soft toys attract dust. If you’ve got room, pop the toys in the freezer overnight to kill dust mites, then wash them on your machine’s hottest setting to help get rid of the allergen residue.
Keep mould under control – this is a major allergen. Remove mould from any surface as soon as you notice it. Reduce the chance of developing mould in your home by using extractor fans in areas like the kitchen and bathrooms, which produce a lot of moisture. Make sure you have adequate ventilation – open windows for a while every day, even in winter. It can also be worth investing in a dehumidifier.
Use shower doors instead of shower curtains in bathrooms to reduce the risk of mould.
Restrict the number of house plants you have – mould can grow in the soil.
Choose cleaning products carefully. Products with VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and artificial fragrances can cause irritation and trigger allergies. Use cleaners made from natural products instead.