Dust may be small but even a little bit can trigger an allergic reaction! One of the most common allergies at home is thanks to dust mites, the tiny bugs that live in dust. If you find yourself sneezing a lot, dealing with a runny nose or itchy eyes at home, it’s a good idea to identify which areas around the house cause the biggest allergic reaction, and eliminate that dust!
Do you sneeze when you change your bed sheets? We spend a third of our day in bed, where we naturally shed skin, secrete sweat and create a welcome environment for dust mites. The allergic reaction is generally caused by the proteins in dust mite faeces, who otherwise cause little harm.
Protect yourself from a runny nose or itchy eyes by vacuuming your mattress regularly. Lauren Haynes, a professional cleaner from British cleaning service agency Star Domestic Cleaners, thinks it’s important to protect a bed from becoming an allergy breeding ground. “Vacuum at least once a week, and change bed and pillow covers,” says Haynes. She adds that it’s helpful to thump your pillows, blankets and other covers to get dust out, even to replace them if necessary.
For those looking to blitz the bed, “freshen up your mattress by sprinkling baking soda over it then vacuum it out. Use a protective mattress cover to reduce the amount of debris and liquids getting into it.” Given that baking soda is a natural deodorizer, it’s the perfect non-toxic way to clean your home.
Designed to remove pollutants in the air, an air purifier will not be effective if the filters are filled with dust. Remember to regularly remove the filters from your air purifiers, clean out the dust, then wash with warm soapy water before replacing them.
We will run the air conditioning in the summer, or heating in the winter, but seldom clean the vents. Allen Michael from The Stick Vacuums points out that this is a mistake. “From our experience, I would have to say that one area that always gets missed is your HVAC vents and ducting. Because the ducting is hidden behind walls and in your ceiling, it is easy to forget about.”
“The vents and ducting suck dirt, dust, and debris into them, but not all of it makes it to the unit, and sits stuck. There it sits – contaminating the air with allergens and dander until cleaned. Cleaning the ducting at least once per year will help with this tremendously. You can hire someone, but it isn’t hard to do the majority of it yourself. Just take off the vent, and get your vacuum’s extender wand into the ducting to clean it. Take special care of the ducting corners – this is where dust and dander tend to gather.”
Shutters and Drapes
Which are better at collecting dust, shutters or drapes? Curtains and textiles can easily collect dust, which means they should be vacuumed regularly, and taken down to wash every three months. If the fabric is expensive, best to have this done professionally.
Shutters may seem like an easier option to clean, comparatively. With a soft brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner, you can clear off most of the dust. But because of the small spaces and tight angles between shutters, you may find yourself needing to go over them again with a cloth anyway!
What Lurks Beneath
Sometimes it’s easy to forget about the areas you can’t see, but that’s how dust is able to accumulate. Don’t forget to lift up furniture and appliances and remove the dust that settles there!
Professional organizer Jennifer Snyder from Neat as a Pin reminds us not to forget about the dust that accumulates behind electronics! “I see first hand where our dirt accumulates,” she explains. Check underneath kitchen appliances, like refrigerators, under the bed, and behind sofas too. Her parting tip? Don’t forget to clean at the “very back of cabinets in the kitchen, especially the storage corner cabinets and behind lazy Susans.”
Read our tips and tricks to organizing your fridge to make this process even easier.
It may be a tiresome cleaning task to tackle, but dust accumulates quickly on top of bookshelves. Especially if you love to style your bookshelf, give it the clean it deserves. Use a microfiber cloth to catch any lingering dust.
Dander from pets can be a real allergen, meaning man’s best friend can also be his biggest foe! To reduce allergens, keep pets off the couch, and remember to clean cages and pet beds frequently. Vacuum regularly and bathe your pets regularly.
Browse our collection of cat friendly homes for inspiration!
Tips to Combat Allergies
- Dusting can sometimes lift up and scatter the allergens, so wear a face mask or cover your nose with a towel before doing any dusting or vacuuming.
- Choose a dampened cloth to scoop up dust, instead of a feather duster which is more likely to disperse than collect.
- Try to vacuum once or twice a week, and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- Keep a cleaning schedule to help track what needs cleaning.