Are sneezing and rashes common occurrences in your home? Do you and your children take turns downing some antihistamine every once in a while? If you said yes to both, you’re probably facing a series of mild allergic reactions.
EMedicineHealth writes that one fact about indoor house allergens is that they catalyze the most reactions in people. One allergen is dust, which is the main contributor to indoor allergies. Even if you don’t have a bad case of dust at home, there can still be minuscule particles that can trigger allergies, especially that of children who have weaker immune systems than adults. Dirt and dust can also carry bacteria and germs that could cause illnesses far worse than allergic reactions.
If you’re careful with your food and you don’t experience reactions outside your condo, maybe it’s time to grab a vacuum and get to work! We’ll walk you through a short cleaning checklist to help you set up a routine. Depending on the help you need, and the time you have, you can clean your condo in just under an hour!
Here are 17 steps on how to keep your home allergy-free:
- Gather up the right cleaning tools
- Target the problem spots
- Be aware of the cleaning basics
- Declutter all your belongings
- Dust shelves, cupboards, and windows
- Vacuum the nooks and crannies of your furniture
- Steam clean carpets, mattresses, and chairs
- Wash bedding in hot water and dry clean
- Deep clean your bathroom
- Clean toys and toy bins
- Replace filters on your air conditioners
- Control the ventilation
- Consider pet hygiene
- Control pests inside the home
- Make it a team effort
- Have alcohol or hand sanitizers at all times
- Set a cleaning schedule
Ready to start cleaning up? Let’s begin!
1. Gather up the right cleaning tools
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Before you start cleaning, you need to have the right tools to go about your tasks. Prepare these the night before your scheduled clean up, assuming you’ll have to start first thing in the morning of the next day. Nothing better than a sunny headstart!
You’ll need the basics: broom, mop, washcloth, and disinfectants. If you prefer healthier cleaning alternatives that are already available at home, you can also use homemade cleaning agents like vinegar and baking soda.
If you, too, are intensely allergic to dust and dirt, ask help from a family member, housekeeper, or a friend to assist you in cleaning, You can also wear a facemask to avoid inhaling allergens, and some gloves if you’re going to handle harsh disinfectants.
2. Target the problem spots
Once you’ve got your tools, you need to assess your condo in terms of problem spots. This means you need to know what parts need the most focus. You need to take note of what places in the house the children spend the most time in, and what things and furniture they use. This can help you determine what spots you’ll need to clean most frequently, and the ones you can schedule per week.
The ideal way is to do it by room and start with a simple routine in each. Before you begin cleaning, make sure you have a cleaning checklist, somewhat of a method that you follow every time you clean, to ensure you won’t miss anything. You can use the cleaning checklist by room. For example, in every place, you can start by dusting everything off first, and then vacuum. To save time, you can also do the laundry from all the rooms simultaneously.
3. Be aware of the cleaning basics
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You don’t need a degree in sanitary engineering to understand how to clean your condo to avoid allergy triggers. You can start simply by knowing the enemy; dust, dirt, and molds are some starter targets. Knowing how to handle these can be the first step to cleaning your condo. After all, they’re the most common perpetrators of allergic reactions, carrying various bacteria and viruses that can harm your family.
4. Declutter all your belongings
Although we can get very sentimental about the littlest things like toys, books, or clothes, too much of these things can help dust and dirt gather around your house. Decluttering and organizing your belongings can make the cleaning proper easier for you, and you can also get rid of things that don’t have use to you anymore.
5. Dust shelves, cupboards, and wardrobes
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The easiest substances that cling to our furniture is the mighty dust. You can find it almost anywhere in your house. But just as easy as they are to accumulate, they’re also easy to get rid of.
Persistence is key. Dusting off furniture can be a tiresome task, especially if you are starting now and will have wipe off layers of dust that have accumulated in the past weeks. One tip is to use a damp rag to avoid the dust getting into the air and settling down again.
6. Vacuum the nooks and crannies of your furniture
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A good ol’ feather duster is no match for deep-seated dirt in the corners of your furniture. You’re going to have to fight it with a stronger weapon: the vacuum. This handy tool is going to suck out every last bit of lint or fur right out of your sofa or pillow. Just be sure there aren’t small toys or trinkets lying around that could be sucked away. That missing earring could be lost forever if it ends up in the vacuum bag!
If you’re a traditional, thrifty Filipino, usually the broom can do the job for the floor. If you want something stronger and something that could clean hard-to-reach spaces, then the vacuum is the way to go.
7. Steam clean carpets, mattresses, and chairs
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When we’re at home, we spend so much time perched on the couch and lay down on our bed. Unconsciously, we have accumulated so many germs and bacteria and other icky things in our favorite spots. That’s why we need to do some intense cleaning if we want an allergy-free household.
One way to clean sofas and carpets is steam cleaning. Steam cleaning is an organic, non-toxic way to clean furniture. Instead of harsh chemicals like bleach and disinfectants, steam cleaning uses heat to fight off bacteria and germs.
According to Better Homes & Gardens, when done right, steam cleaning can kill 99.9% of germs and bacteria. The heat of the steam can kill dust mites, bacteria, viruses, germs, and more, and make stains, dirt, and grease disappear.
Although steam cleaners can get a bit expensive, it’s a small price to pay for the protection it provides, and it can last a whole lot longer than a bottle of disinfectant. You can also steam clean hardwood floors, carpets, and other flat surfaces in the condo.
8. Wash bedding in hot water and dry clean
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Aside from bedding specified to be washed in cold water, if you want to disinfect your blankets, comforters, and pillowcases, you’re going to have to wash them in hot water. You’ll also need to dry clean them instead of air-drying to avoid pollen and dust. This kills the germs and bacteria that cling to the bedding.
You can do the same with area rugs in the rooms or cleaning rags and washcloths in the kitchen. But don’t wash them together! Wash the rugs separately from the kitchen washcloths.
9. Deep clean your bathroom
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Once or twice a month, you’re going to have to deep clean your bathroom, which houses lots of germs that you’ve stripped away when you took baths or used the toilet. You can also use this 5-minute cleaning routine to avoid the monthly deep clean.
You can use household materials like a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to disinfect your bathroom. Let it sit for a few minutes on your tiles and toilet to let the mixture uproot the clinging mold and dirt. Then, use a sturdy brush or scrubber to whisk the grime away.
If this doesn’t do the job, you can use a stronger all-purpose cleaner to soak the floor and toilet. To deodorize and disinfect, turn up the heater in the shower and let the steam mix with the cleaner for almost half an hour. Then, use a scrubber or washcloth to wipe the dirt away.
10. Clean toys and toy bins
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Children spend most of their time playing with toys, sometimes even putting them in their mouths. Not only can this trigger allergies, but it can also infect your child with diseases. It’s best to clean your children’s toys and toy bins just as you would clean your furniture to be safe from allergens, bacteria, and germs.
Just be sure you strategize the cleaning to not leave your children with nothing to play with. You don’t want them to hate cleaning time because you separated them with their favorite toys!
11. Replace filters on your air conditioners
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Another thing that can help alleviate allergies at home is replacing your air filters on your air conditioners. There may be times you’ve turned them on, and your kids start sneezing in crazy harmony. This can mean that your filters need replacing. Air conditioners can circulate contaminants more. By replacing your filters, especially into HEPA filters, you can kill 99.9% of these contaminants and tone down those allergic reactions.
12. Control the ventilation
If you can, rely on air conditioning and keep your windows shut to keep smog, pollen, and pollutants from entering your home. You can also install an exhaust fan by the kitchen that redirects the smoke out of your condo so it won’t be trapped in and inhaled by the kids.
13. Consider pet hygiene
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As much as dogs are beneficial for your health, they can trigger allergies. They don’t mean to set off allergic reactions; it’s what they have in their fur and saliva. Don’t worry; you don’t have to get rid of your pets. But there are a few things you can do to minimize the allergy triggers.
First, you should keep them off your bed. Yes, having pets on the couch is comforting, but it’s not helping your allergies. You can give them a bed right beside yours, and you should deep clean this pet bed regularly.
You should also bathe your pets at least once a week, to get rid of the dirt and other contaminants on their fur.
14. Control pests inside the home
If you have pests in your condo like cockroaches or rats, you should get rid of them right away. They could be carrying diseases and contaminants that can harm your children. If it’s not too bad, you can use the common insecticide or DIY insecticide regularly to keep insects at bay. You can also sprinkle some rat poison in strategic places to get rid of rats.
If it’s not just a couple of mice scurrying around, you can hire a professional to do pest control in your home.
15. Make it a team effort
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Speaking of children hating cleaning time, why not let them assist you in cleaning so they’d understand the importance of cleaning up after themselves? They can learn a thing or two about hygiene and chores at the same time. It can also be a fun bonding activity for the family!
Just make sure they don’t have access to toxic chemicals or complex cleaning equipment to avoid accidents. And if they’re highly allergic to dust and dirt, you can let them handle the laundry after dry cleaning or put their toys away after you dust and vacuum them.
16. Have alcohol or hand sanitizers
Photo by Anna Shvets
Good home hygiene can also be achieved through hand disinfectants placed in strategic corners of the house like the kitchen sink and the bathroom. This can help stop the spread of bacteria and germs in the home by killing them in places where they usually thrive.
This can also help your children learn about good hygiene and encourage them to develop a habit of washing their hands.
17. Set a cleaning schedule
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One thing that can help you protect your child from diseases and allergic reactions at home is to set a cleaning schedule. As mentioned above, you can target problem spots that you need to clean more frequently, say twice a week wipe down of furniture, as opposed to once in two weeks’ general cleaning of rooms.
And that’s about it! You’re all set to create your cleaning routine to avoid allergens from spreading and keep your family safe from pesky allergies.