Health professionals agree that controlling allergens in the home can significantly reduce symptoms for people with allergies and asthma.|
"Taking 'allergy control' of your home by cleaning is an important step in combating the allergens that build up and cause problems for allergy sufferers," said Jane Meyer, Director of Consumer Education for The Soap and Detergent Association.
Removing common indoor allergens like animal dander, cockroaches, dust/dust mites, mold, mildew and pollen can help make life easier for allergy sufferers. The Soap and Detergent Association recommends the following four cleaning strategies to help prevent or minimize allergy or asthma symptoms:
DON'T LET THE DUST MITES BITE
Dust mites in the bedroom are the worst problem for asthma and allergy sufferers. To help control them:
- Wash and dry sheets weekly
- Launder pillows, blankets, comforters and mattress pads at least four times a year
- Encase pillows and comforters in allergen-impermeable covers
- Dust bedroom furniture using a dusting product -- a dry cloth just spreads dust
KEEP LAB EXPERIMENTS IN THE LAB
Mold and mildew make themselves evident on tiles, grout and shower curtains, but they also grow around window frames and sills, under sinks and where the tub or shower meets the floor.
The following daily and weekly routines can make the difference in combating mold and mildew:
- Keep these areas clean and dry
- After showering, use a shower cleaner or wipe down walls and curtains to prevent mildew growth and open shower doors or curtains to allow walls to dry
- Clean shower walls and tubs weekly using a nonabrasive, all-purpose or disinfectant cleaner. Be sure to follow label instructions for safe use and to get the full benefit of products that kill mold/mildew.
FEED YOURSELF, NOT UNWANTED PESTS
Food and water invite cockroaches and cockroach droppings are
allergens. To help keep these pests away:
- Clean up food spills and crumbs right away and wash dishes as soon as possible after eating -- Empty trash daily -- Wash floors weekly -- Regularly clean under and behind appliances where crumbs and grease may collect
TAKE A MAGIC CARPET RIDE
As carpets are home to dust mites, animal dander, mold spores and pollen, it is important to do the following in order to combat indoor allergens:
-- Vacuum carpets at least once a week
-- Vacuum against the carpet's nap, taking at least six to eight strokes over each area
-- Use mats or area rugs in front of entryways to collect dirt and allergens brought in from the outside
-- Launder rugs weekly to remove any collected allergens
For more cleaning tips and a free brochure, Managing Allergies and Asthma, visit The Soap and Detergent Association web site at: www.sdahq.org or write SDA at 475 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016.