Mellow Mummy: Allergy Awareness Week - Spring Cleaning Tips : Taking life as it comes...

Monday, 20 April 2015

Allergy Awareness Week - Spring Cleaning Tips

This week is Allergy Awareness Week and Time4Sleep have asked me to share my top tips for spring cleaning as a way of reducing allergens in and around the house.  This is particularly well timed because Lara seems to have, in the last month, shown the first signs of developing spring allergies. 

Lara has always had sensitive skin and we've made attempts to reduce her exposure to dust around the house as well as trying to always use skincare products without known allergens.  But more recently Lara has been showing signs of airborne allergies with a consistent sniffle so it is time to start investigating the causes.  We're starting by giving the house a spring clean so here are my top tips for spring cleaning to reduce allergens in the house.

1. Invest in a good vacuum cleaner

If you suffer from allergies, you should invest money in a vacuum cleaner that can remove as much of the dirt from your floors and upholstery as possible.  Many allergy-specific vacuum cleaners will additionally filter the air from the cleaner to reduce allergens in the air around your house.  I have experimented with a water-filter vacuum before and found this to leave the house feeling very clean (but I killed it by trying to suck up water from the now-infamous tap incident).  Currently I'm using a Dyson Animal which passes the air through HEPA filters before releasing it back into your house.  Vacuum cleaners like this don't come cheap, but they do make a big difference in the home.

Time4sleep have done a little research into the places in the UK most at risk of dust mites, and have some tips on how to tackle dust mites.

2. A little an often
Try and keep on top of cleaning jobs such as dusting, sweeping and wiping down surfaces.  If you clean one small area regularly, it won't feel like such a chore as if you save it all up for the weekend and the house will feel generally cleaner, preventing build up of allergens such as those found in household dust.  Wipe down surfaces with a damp cloth.

3. Use natural cleaning products
We like to try and use eco-friendly cleaning products where possible (and where they actually get the job done). Apart from having a lower impact on the environment than many household chemicals, natural cleaning products are less likely to irritate sensitive skin.  Using natural cleaning products doesn't have to mean that you resort to vinegar and lemon juice (though they are very effective in my experience) - many supermarkets now stock cleaning products with high natural content and you can find natural cleaning products online, for instance at

4. Dry bedding outside (but not when pollen is high!)
We wash the girls bedding regularly to try and keep on top of allergens.  Until now, I had always felt that, when the weather was good enough to dry the bedding outside on the washing line, this was preferable to tumble-drying or hanging indoors because it got them fresh air and away from the indoors dust.  Now that Lara is showing signs of potential hayfever, I'll have to keep an eye on this as pollen from outdoors could make things worse!

5. Throw Away Old Newspapers
Newspapers can harbour mould spores so make sure you put old papers out for recycling regularly rather than letting them collect inside the house.

6. Wash Soft Toys Regularly
We always experience tears when the girls favourite cuddly toys have to go through the wash but regularly washing (washable) soft toys along with your bedding on a high-temperature wash is a good way of killing and preventing dust mites.

For more advice on allergen avoidance in the house, visit Allergy UK.

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