Ideally, an allergic person shouldn't be doing extensive housecleaning. The cleaning process, after all, stirs up the very allergens that provoke your symptoms. Unfortunately, life is such that unless you're fortunate enough to have an angelic housemate, a teenager who needs chore money, or the financial resources to hire a professional cleaning service, you'll have to do it yourself.
To rid your home of allergens, you need to be well-equipped. After all, you'll be nose-to-nose with sneaky spores, multitudinous mites, and drifting dander.
Here's how to best protect yourself:
- Wear a high-quality dust mask, which you can find at any hardware store. You may get sweaty under that mask, but which do you prefer: sweaty or sneezy? When working with harsh cleaning agents, you may consider donning a more expensive vapor mask.
- Wear junky clothes while cleaning and then wash them in hot water immediately after you're finished. Only hot water kills dust mites.
- Wear plastic gloves throughout the cleaning process.
- Use a damp rag to capture dust before it flies off.
- Use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) filter. Allergists recommend HEPA-filter vacuums because they reduce airborne allergens by trapping dust mites and other small particles and don't re-release them into the air. This separates them from regular vacuum cleaners, which also take in dust, dirt, and allergens but unfortunately redistribute them back into the air.
- Take a shower after cleaning.
- Ask, employ, or bribe a family member or friend to do the real dirty work, such as cleaning the air filters and vacuuming underneath the bed.
Now that we've learned the basics, it's time to clean the space where you spend almost a third of your life -- the bedroom. The next section will focus on the ways you can allergy-proof the spot where you sleep.