Around 20 million people in the UK suffer from an allergy – dust, pollen, mould and pet hair are the most common allergens and can cause all sorts of unwanted symptoms such as sneezing, blocked noses, headaches, itchy eyes and breathlessness. With Christmas decorations now put away, now’s the time to get rid of these unwanted irritants once and for all.
Find out what you’re allergic to so that you can focus your efforts on the most appropriate preventative measures. In an ideal world, as the allergy sufferer you shouldn’t be doing extensive cleaning as this will whip up the very allergens you’re trying to avoid.
But unless you’re blessed with a team of staff, you might just have to don a high-quality dust mask and plastic gloves, wear old clothes and wash these and yourself immediately after you’ve finished cleaning.
Down with dust
Cleanliness is next to godliness and it’s time to leave no stone unturned. Go minimalist, removing household items that attract dust, such as ornaments and trinkets, books and soft toys.
Use a damp cloth to dust regularly and remember that furniture can be a magnet for allergens, so choose leather, metal, wood or plastic over upholstered fabrics. The same goes for curtains – choose roller blinds to avoid opening up your home to a host of unwanted guests.
Keep pet-free zones, cover pillows and mattresses with dust-mite proof covers and wash bed linen regularly.
Upgrade your vacuum cleaner
If your current vacuum cleaner doesn’t have a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) filter, upgrade to one that does. Best-selling floorcare brand Vax sells vacuum cleaners containing clever filters that are designed to trap the tiniest of tiny allergen particles.
What’s more, HEPA filter vacuums retain the allergens rather than redistributing them back into the air like many other machines. Currently if you spend over £100 with Vax, you qualify for a free handheld vacuum cleaner, handy for spot cleaning and getting into awkward corners.
Carpets are a disaster zone when it comes to housing allergens and should ideally be taken up. Shag-piles are out, hardwood is in. Tiles, lino or any impervious flooring that can be washed regularly work well.
Alternatively you could treat your carpets (try to opt always for low pile) to an industrial strength power wash.
Make sure kitchens and bathrooms are kept scrupulously clean and well-ventilated to avoid one of the 100,000 or so species of mould making themselves at home in the dampness.
Scrub and dry areas that attract water and dirt, replace grotty grouting, install extractor fans and use mould-resistant paint on the walls. Consider investing in a hygrometer, which will give you an idea of your home’s moisture levels – a reading of 60 per cent or over and it might be worth getting a dehumidifier.
Clear the air
Think about installing room air filters, which capture airborne allergens such as pollen. Remember, however, that they have limitations in that they can’t trap anything that is embedded into rugs or furniture.
And beware that some air filters produce ozone, a gas that is particularly irritating to allergy sufferers.
Identify the triggers of your allergy symptoms and be ruthless in your attempts to eliminate them and give yourself a healthy home and a happy new year.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.