Cleaning Maven: Keeping Allergens Out
Our bodies and homes are exposed to allergens at every turn. Each and every day our bodies fight an uphill battle to keep these invaders out. Give your body a break by taking a few precautionary steps.

The Mayo-Clinic explains why allergies are such a serious issue. “The Mayo-Clinic gives some great tips for homeowners.Your immune system produces substances known as antibodies. Some of these antibodies protect you from unwanted invaders that could make you sick or cause an infection. When you have allergies, your immune system makes antibodies that identify your particular allergen as something harmful, even though it isn’t.”

They continue, “When you come into contact with the allergen, your immune system’s reaction inflames your skin, sinuses, airways or digestive system. The severity of allergies varies from person to person and can range from minor irritation to anaphylaxis — a potentially life-threatening emergency. While allergies can’t be cured, a number of treatments can help relieve your allergy symptoms.”

One of the biggest culprits of allergens is fabric, including the carpets under your feet. If you are a true allergy sufferer you’d be served well by upgrading your home to hard surface floors such as hardwoods, laminate, polished or stained concrete, or tile.

Carpets have a way of holding on to dust, mites, and dander. Hard surfaces on the other hand can be wiped clean.

If you are committed to carpet it’s time to step up the cleaning routine! Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and opt for natural fiber carpets, such as wool.

For the rest of your fabrics, choose washable curtains, blankets, and throws. If you have a front-loading washer or dryer you may even have a “allergen” setting. This particular setting uses very hot water that removes 99.9 percent of allergens, such as pet dander.

For those bedding items that can’t be washed on a regular basis arm them with dust-mite covers. These pillow and mattress covers can be bought online or at your local bedding store.

Allergens also circulate through your air. If you need proof just shake out a blanket that is backlit by sunlight and watch for all those lovely floating particles. Air filtration systems can be godsends when it comes to allergy. Be sure to change filters (in your regular system as well) and use HEPA filters when possible.

To keep extra allergens out, be sure to close all of your windows during high pollen days and season. Finally, be on watch for moisture.

Kitchen and baths can be breeding grounds for mold, which is a top allergen for many people. Mold thrives in moisture rich environments, such as around tubs, sinks, and refrigerators. Clean your fridge regularly and dispose of old or moldy food. Keep water from standing around sinks and tubs and apply extra caulking where needed.

Allergens are all around us, but take a few easy steps to protect your arm and your pains will be eased this allergy season!